I'm in charge of celebrations!
Monday, January 1, 2018
From Numbers 6
This is how you shall bless the people. Say to them, “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you, the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace."
Would I be lonely in the desert? Not if I’m in the book with the one in charge of celebrations. Not with “the beargrass and the yuccas and the cactus and the rock. Not with the “deep ravines and the hawk nests in the cliffs and the coyote trails that wind across the hills. Lonely? I can’t help laughing when you ask me that.”
The Lord bless you and KEEP you! What a great day for a party, for a blessing party. In the Unification Church we called this “God’s Day.” Once on God’s Day a group of us went to see Rocky. The music stoked fires inside us, and we watched Rocky run up and down the steps, the famous 72 steps of Philadelphia’s Museum of Art. We ran with him. There was applause in the theater when he reached the top.
In those moments God touches you, and nothing’s gonna stop it. All things are possible.
In the desert our book friend gave herself one hundred and eight celebrations, “besides the ones they close school for.” She wrote them down, because she plans to remember them for the rest of her life.
Would I be as choosy as she is? I can feel some celebration blood rushing in me almost every morning. But still, there are special days. The Lord make his face SHINE upon you! “You can tell what’s worth a celebration because your heart will POUND and you’ll feel like you’re standing on top of a mountain and you’ll catch your breath like you were breathing some new kind of air … at a time like that, something goes kind of crazy in you.”
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you! Our book friend’s New Year celebration isn’t dictated by the calendar. She waits for the SHINE to come. “I wait until the white-winged doves are back from Mexico, and wildflowers cover the hills, and my favorite cactus blooms. It always makes me think I ought to bloom myself. I have a drum that I beat to signal The Day.”
What will give me peace? For our friend, it’s re-entering the lived-in world where God has given her dominion - loving, caring, hopeful, sacrificial dominion. “I go wandering off, following all of my favorite trails to all of the places I like. I check how everything is doing. I spend the day admiring things. If the old desert tortoise I know from last year is out strolling around, I’ll go his direction for awhile. I celebrate with horned toads and ravens and lizards and quail … and Friend, it's not a bad party.”
Sacrifice, you say? She gets more out of her giving than she would ever get in the receiving. Isn't that always the way? This year like all years, it’s in the giving that we grow.
Mr. Miles slowly learns to open his hand and release what he has so he can pick up what comes next. And on God’s Day, what that might be for you and me? How about this: his blessing and his keeping, his face shining, his countenance lifted upon us, and all the peace that we can bear.
It’s what Ebenezer Scrooge received, and then ever after, he gave and gave and gave. “To Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”
Oh, yes! The Lord bless and keep you.
Lord, I ought to be afraid to enter this new year, new world, new place. But that would be without you, and that will never be. It’s you that holds my hand, so we can push open the door together and close our eyes together to the biting dark winds that push through the cracks. You remind me to wait with you for sunrise. You point me to the east as I lean against your warmth. It will come. The sun will come.