Psalm 21; Genesis 37; Matthew 13:24-35

Greetings from Grand Marais, Minnesota.  Well, the “The Three Engineers” were out before dawn this morning (at 0 degrees F) photographing dawn over Lake Superior.  An awesome (in every sense of that word) experience to feel so connected to God’s creation.  We’re also grateful for high technology clothing piled on in many layers to keep us warm!

Psalm 21  We can almost hear the choir singing this psalm as David sits resplendent on his throne, the sun glinting off its gilt.  While this psalm of rejoicing is directed to the King, it is also Christological, a foretaste of the great throne room scene in Revelation: “For you meet him with rich blessings;/ you set a crown of fine gold on his head.”

For David the king—and for us—the core of his (our) relationship with God is our trust in God’s unquenchable love: “For the king trusts in the Lord,/ and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.”  Which is why “We will sing and praise your power”—the essence of worship.

Genesis 37  Joseph and his brothers: the Ur-story of sibling rivalry taken to extremes. 11 hardworking brothers and one dreamer.  And a dreamer so oblivious to the resentment of his brothers because he is “daddy’s boy” that he freely interprets his dream, making it obvious that the brothers would do obeisance to the dreamer.

But had the brothers’ resentment (and Reuben’s well-timed mercy) not led to their evil action, Joseph’s dream would never have been fulfilled years later in Egypt.  Proof that God uses all events—both evil and good—to his own, often mysterious ends. It is also a useful reminder about the short term and the long term.  We are so captive to the moment that when something apparently bad happens—either to us or to others—we cry out to God, “Why me?”  But long term, unexpected and often far greater blessings emerge.  I certainly have my own encounter with cancer as an example of this reality.

The question remains: Does God plan all this in advance?  People talk about “God’s plan” a lot.  I personally think it is arrogant of us to think we can perceive God’s “plan,”—even retrospectively. Although God is by no means random, and he is involved in our lives in ways we cannot fully comprehend.  I don’t know if what happened to Joseph was God’s specific plan, although the dream suggests it.  But circumstances could have conspired such that the dream could have come true in a slightly different way.  Who knows? This I do know: if we trust in God, his unfailing love will be with us through whatever happens—planned or unplanned.

Matthew 13:24-35  Having told his disciples he would be speaking in parables, Jesus is on a “parable roll.” Wheat and weeds; mustard see; yeast.  I’m intrigued that all his parables here are agrarian and involve things—both good and bad—that grow. There is nothing static about Jesus’ parables; change, evolution, maturation is everywhere.  That alone is lesson to us would would prefer the status quo ante. “What do you mean, ‘change?’ Not me!”  Yet, here growth is completely natural; it is the underlying assumption of the Kingdom of Heaven:  It is not, as we engineers put it, a “static state.”  It is a growing, dynamic process.

This is about the Church, and it is about us. That which does not grow and mature, dies.  Weeds grow, but their intrinsically evil nature are always found out, pulled out by their roots and burned.  Judgement does indeed await.

Dennis, I haven’t gotten the D800 out yet, but will be certainly using it this afternoon.  It was so cold out that my breath created a layer of ice on the back of the D3, but it kept on operating well.  Hope all went well at Hubcaps this morning.  Jerry, Joel and I ate breakfast after our shoot at the “South of the Border” cafe.  It took me a while to realize it wasn’t a Mexican joint and the border it is south of is the Canadian one that lies just 40 miles north!

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