Convection is good for the soul


Today’s readings:
Psalms 22; 148, Jeremiah 11:1-8, 14-17, Romans 6:1-11, John 8:33-47

It’s good to keep your freezer full, but not overly so. Solid items are easier than empty space (or mostly empty space) to keep cool, so it shouldn’t be empty. However, too many (or improperly placed) items can restrict the air flow necessary for proper operation. This can result in frost build-up, uneven cooling, and wasted energy. Ovens, especially convection ovens, also work best when there’s enough space for airflow.

We human beings also operate better when we leave room for the Spirit (or as it’s called in Greek, pneuma which also means breath or air). Take the Pharisees for example: Jesus told them, “you cannot accept my word.” Why not? Because their hearts were so crammed full of religion there wasn’t room for revelation. Ever seen a freezer whose contents have frosted into one giant immobile block? That’s what happens to a heart so overloaded with dogma, doctrine, and doing that nothing else – even the divine breath – can enter it. We can’t be so concerned with preserving the past that we ignore the present and oppose the future.

While the freezer preserves, the oven prepares. But we have to be sure we’re not putting too much in there at once either. Faith is not a body of knowledge to be contained and mastered, but an experience to be lived. We can cram countless theological concepts into that oven, but without time and space to expose them to the breath of the Spirit they may turn out to be half-baked. Sure your theology of suffering may have browned up nicely, but if it’s just one of many recipes you’ve rushed to complete, instead of testing thoroughly, it may still be a gooey, useless mess inside. Our ideas about God shouldn’t crowd out our experience of God, or those ideas won’t sustain us in times of need.

As with physical possessions, we may be surprised by how few mental possessions we really need to get by. At some point they become idols clogging our spiritual airways. Let’s preserve the essentials, prepare what’s been entrusted to us, and periodically check for an expiration date on the rest.

Comfort: You don’t have to fill up every space and second.

Challenge: Every day, take time to breathe deeply.

Prayer: God of mercy and love, I seek to sink deeply into your Spirit. Amen.

Discussion: When’s the last time you really cleaned out things you didn’t need?

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