Bread – Simple

January 7, 2013


Readings for Monday, January 7, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Isa. 52:3-6; Rev. 2:1-7; John 2:1-11; Psalms 103,114,115

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Keep it simple. In the “kiss” formula, there is actually another word which follows “keep it simple,” but you can fill that in.

Isn’t it amazing how we can take the simplest concepts – there is a God, trust Him, obey Him, the world is broken by sin, etc. – and turn them into multiple volumes of theological treatises, religious rules, lists and measurements. In response to simple statements with which we find we cannot agree (because we have not been given the gift of faith), we develop complex questions and arguments which, to our “reasonable” minds, must be met with equally complex questions and arguments, else we are fearful that we will lose the argument, acting as if it was ours to lose or win.

In today’s readings, there are three “simple” points.

In Isaiah, God says “…here am I.” Isa. 52:6 At the end of the passage, which I am sure can be dissected into a million pieces, comes the simple truth – “…here am I.” God is present, God is real, God is here. He is present in the world. He is present among His people. He is with you. He is with me.

In John we read the familiar story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding feast. The story ends with this: “This, the first of His signs, Jesus did … and manifested His glory.” John 2:11. How is Jesus’ glory manifested in the manufacture of wine? How is God’s majesty manifested in the morning sun? There is no complex explanation required, no understanding of how a magic trick was performed needed, no great theological argument raised. The fact that Jesus blessed a wedding feast by providing the food is a simple act of God on behalf of His people. No more and no less. Yes, it is outside of our reason, our common sense, and our scientific understanding. But does that make God’s action in our lives complicated or hard to understand? No, not unless we make it so. Jesus did a simple miracle at the feast to provide a simple blessing upon His people at a simple point in time. No more and no less. It is in the simple things of day-to-day life where miracles occur every day because God is present, He is active, and He loves us and sustains us. Simple – not hard to see and hear, but maybe hard to accept. And in the simple miracles of daily living God’s glory is revealed, if we have but eyes to see and ears to hear.

Finally, in Revelation Jesus writes to the church in Ephesus, congratulating them on the religious compliance and critiquing them because they had forgotten the love they had at first. Jesus says to them “Remember therefore from where you have fallen…” Rev. 2:5. Now this might very well be a reference to the love the Ephesians had for Christ when they first understood what He had done for them on the cross, but it could also be a reference to the beginning, when man through his lack of trust and resulting disobedience was evicted from Eden and both he and the entirety of earth was brought low by his desire to be like God. But, simply, both references are the same reference. We fall from relationship with God when our faith in Him becomes transmuted to faith in ourselves, when reliance upon God’s work is lost in the shuffle to reliance upon our work. The simple but hard is “love God.” The complex but easy is “love ourselves.”

Why do we make simple complicated? I think it is because there is nothing you can do with simple except to either accept it as it is or reject it. With simple, there are no exceptions, no explanations, no better or worse performances, no measurements. There is either acceptance or rejection, recognition or blindness, hearing or deafness. There is no “in between” state.

Will we keep it simple? Only time will tell. But it is a worthy objective for the new year.

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© 2013 GBF

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