I suggest we follow Becca’s advice. Last week we were sitting around our living room, having just listened to a Podcast from our church in Seattle, Greenlake Presbyterian, and discussing the depressing notion of the two big empty buildings in our little village. One of the buildings is the school and the other is the church, and I guess one could say they are both closed for the same reason.
Like most small towns and most extended families, lines get crossed, and so do people. Misunderstandings take place, feelings get hurt (and one begins to speak too much in the passive voice), and soon what was once a simple solution turns into a feud of stark sentimentality and proportion. Unfortunately, that kind of feud runs deep and, ironically, can really only be lifted by that which it has driven out: education and faith, or, more specifically, knowledge of the Spirit. But when one is deeply or bitterly embroiled in a conflict of personal pride and worth of character, the last thing one wants to do is suffer humility. Yet humility is exactly what we must offer and exactly what we must gain.
Becca’s advice was not complex. She said we ought to Invest in People, not in Things. It sounded so precise, like A. A. Milne’s simplistic and wise Winnie-the-Pooh. The words transformed, though, and their truth still lingers, echoing even louder two weeks later. We have no church in which to honor or memorialize our dead, and yet we buried Dolly Jacko last Sunday after a heart-filled and close family service; we have no formal school, no building that is, and yet I sit here proctoring a math exam for four kids. I think we are given second chances, and the chance to show our humility before not only God, but our village neighbors gives strength to our claims that we are interested in increasing our knowledge of the Spirit.
Lately I have been neglecting my morning readings from the Bible. I had been consistent about it for several months, waking up and drinking coffee with my husband John, then spending time in Acts or Ephesians or Jeremiah before work. But something changed; the days grew light in the morning and my cavern of scripture disappeared. I’ve noticed a difference in my days, too. I was not at peace the way I used to be, and so I took it up again, this time with John, writer of the epistle. The work has already begun: In the interest of heart and mind, spirit and soul, let us invest.