Thursday, September 01, 2011

Refrigerator Art-Scribblings

How many refrigerators are covered with the scribbling of little children displayed as precious works of art? Grandparents, uncles and aunts, and parents alike receive the illegible writings and the muddled scribbling of beloved children and post them on every inch of refrigerator case.

Why? Is it because of the quality of the work? Or is it because of the value that love pours over everything done by the beloved?

Yet as much attention as love gives to the scribbling and smudges, the family does not make these mutated attempts at art stand as representative of the family. If the child should demand that these “masterpieces” be made the foundation of the family’s life, the answer would be a very firm, “No.”

It is the same within the family of God. He receives our prayers and our praises and our works and glows with fatherly love, praising our sickly efforts. But He has truly beautiful things planned for the life of the family. He has wondrous prayers that have been carefully crafted, even preserved in Holy Scriptures by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. Rich and magnificent hymns have been composed and passed on through the generations. The divine liturgy goes back to the temple and even the tabernacle in the wilderness.

Yet how often do impetuous people imagine that their spontaneous responses are equal to or even superior to these majestic works that embrace the ancient sages of the Church who spent lifetimes in the service of the Lord and composed hymns and music that still leave the heart in awe of God’s glory and mercy and grace? They want to get up on a stage and trash the chancel, bringing electric guitars and drums and dancers and bar stools to replace the altar and paraments and even the very paten and chalice.

No. This is not what a faithful father/pastor will permit. Yes, around a campfire at a youth lakeside sing-along some of these things may at times be appropriate. But not as the foundation for the life of the family. Yes, at the basketball or football or soccer game a spontaneous prayer is a wonderful thing, but in the divine service God has called us together for a specific purpose. What flows from the heart at a youth water ski party on the lake is planted in the heart in the divine service where the entire family is gathered for the Holy Supper of unity and life through the body and blood of our God and Savior. The things that carry us through in times of spontaneity are the things of substance that we receive together through the careful preparations of devoted pastors who pull together in the sermon what they have received through intense study of the Scriptures and of the lofty writings of the Church fathers.

Yes, the muddled artwork of children has a place on the refrigerator door, but it is not included as page one of the blue print for the house. Much less are our muddled prayers and praises used for the blueprint of the everlasting house that the Lord establishes for His family.

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