What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Getting Me to a Monastery: Desitin, Pots, Pans and PC's

I spent today retreating--a local retreat center, my Bible, my journal, a lot of quiet, and a whole lot of wide open space.

Being temporarily monastic (it was a Catholic retreat center I went to, after all) made me think about my favorite monk: Brother Lawrence. If you've never heard of him before, check out the Wiki article.

This made me think back to a post I did a couple years ago, January 2006, on how work and rest and being monastic can all come together. Take a look at a Piebald Life Classic Post In My Mind:

Last week I was reading the story of Mary and Martha in my Christmas-present-new Renovare Spiritual Formation Study Bible with cool footnotes.

The story is familiar to some of you: Jesus visits Martha's house, Mary sits at his feet and listens as Martha rushes around doing preparations--and gets frustrated at her sister for being a slacker. I can relate so much more to Martha's busy-ness than I can to Mary's thoughtful contemplation, it's good to be gently rebuked through this story.

My cool footnote talked about Martha's service in this way: "Martha was unable, like Brother Lawrence, a monk who ran the kitchen sixteen hundred years later, to cheerfully pray, 'Oh, Lord of pots and pans,' while she clattered about cooking her meal."

I've been meaning to put Brother Lawrence's prayer on a Post-It note on my computer monitor. Work is mean to bless us, along with all of it's props. When I can cheerfully pray, "Oh, Lord of computers and cell-phones, diapers and Desitin, students and their struggles, to-do lists and e-mails," than I am just beginning to enter into the fullness of the blessing intended by God for the work he has given me to do.

Any time I attempt to do my work outside the tent of the Lordship of Christ, I am missing the point. My work will then become either a source of bitterness and angst or pride and self-aggrandizing, both of these are a curse.

My work, and all of it's challenges, opportunities, accessories, and day-to-day little annoyances and joys only fully bless me when they are all brought under the banner of God's "yes" to me in the Lordship of the one who is Lord in the Land of the Trinity.

The reality is, Jesus is already Lord of those things. I don't "make" him Lord of any of it. When I pray "O Lord of pots and pans!" I am simply aligning my life with the life that runs and rules the universe. To live apart from this reality is to go against the grain and get splinters (as my theology prof was fond of saying)--broken relationships, stress and anxiety, striving and complaining.

So I'm trying to bring myself again and again back into the joy of working and serving my family by praying this prayer. I could go with "O Lord of Dell PC's and bassinets" but I find that "O Lord of pots and pans" has a much nicer ring to it.

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