FIGHTING FOR AFFECTIONS

"Mine," I said. "No way, MINE"

And I heard him murmuring… 

“What’s all the ruckus about?

It took me just a moment to figure out  the noisy interruption outside my office window.  As I sat at my desk yesterday afternoon I heard a disturbing sound outdoors that demanded my attention.  “What now?” I barked.  “Can’t a guy like me get a little peace and quiet to get some work done?” The rising decibles of what seemed like a symphony gone bad…would it stop?  The endless chirping made me wonder if another squirrel had been caught in the trap outside the sanctuary and was rebelling against the confines of a small 1’x3′ metal box with no way out.  Well, at least that’s what got my attention as we did have a squirrel attempting to set up housekeeping in the attic of the church nave last week and she did make an attempt to physically take part in worship a day or two early.  And despite my suggestion to the Property Team to baptize and confirm the furry tailed rodent (so it just might leave on its own as so many young church members do) it was trapped, prayed over for a long life and released along the banks of Clear Creek in a wooded area.  Thanks, guys! 

Now… the noise outside my window…

As I looked out along the sidewalk between the two buildings and along the chain link fence I saw two male mockingbirds going after it like two guys in their first ‘Fight Club” match.  Brutal. Noisy. No holds barred.  Winner take all.  Did one of them..   .and then I noticed what all the ruckus was about?  Well, there she was…sitting on the edge of the AC unit inside the chain link fence.  Just sitting.  Just watching as these two young dudes took each other on as if there was no other female mockingbird in the entire state of Texas.  It was hard to watch.  All three of them that is… the two males were all over each other… up and down…wings flapping… back and forth…moving left to right…this way and that and with every move and flutter the chirping was louder…but the female…she just sat there and every so often would move her head and twist ever so slowly left to right and with a careful look I would notice them glance at her to see if she had chosen one over the other…after all she did have a ‘bird’s eye’ view…

It seemed like a private moment between the three of them and I don’t know which one was the winner… but I do know it was a fight to the finish and an obvious sign to one who keeps an eye on the creation that Spring time is very near and so I went back to my desk… as another interruption was just down the hall… and yet, it got me to thinking… “How is that we fight over affections?” and “what is it that we are willing to go to the mat for that is so worth it to us?” It’s what Paul Tillich wrote about in his classic book, “The New Being“… asking ‘what is our ultimate concern?’ for as we seek to identify what that ultimate concern is… we will also discover ‘who’ and ‘what’ is God for us…

But, evenmoreso, because I am who I am and because I do what I do…I’m the one who must point out that affections run both ways… who and what it is that we place the fullness of our hearts is one thing but as people of faith and called to bear witness we must also consider who has placed the fullness of his heart upon us?  What does that mean?   What mat was God willing to go to for our affections?  What if, at the end of the fight…because she was cheering for one over the other… the wrong mockingbird won and in response… she said, ‘no thanks,’ and flew off to witness another set of brawlers… or worse yet…set up a secret rendezvous with the loser only for the winner to fly off scorned? Just wondering…

And God’s affections for us are certain.  He has fought the fight whether we saw it or not…

Life isn’t as easy as Hollywood or the TV advertisers make it out to be.  Life is harsh.  Ask those two mockingbirds.  Ask our soldiers.  Ask those in the streets of Cairo or Tripoli.  Ask a parent who works so many hours they often don’t know where their child is or what they are doing.  Ask the family of woman who is in the Alzheimer’s wing at the care facility.  Life’s difficult like that.  I know.  You tell me.  I see it.  And you’ve heard some of my stories, too.  It’s a battle for affections.  Yours and mine… and God’s!  What will be the most important thing?  What will my priority be today?  What do I recall that God has done for me in Jesus Christ that makes all the difference and sets the parameters about whose I am and how I will be in that friendship and relationship with God and the world I’m in? … Creator.  Created.  Redeemer.  Saved.  Life-giving Spirit.  Liver of a new life.

What’s all the ruckus?  Well, you’ll have to figure that out for yourself… How much of a ruckus will you make?  For good afftections…those things and relationships that build up and feed your own soul and the hearts and minds of others nearby?  We say that we want to walk in the path of Jesus… well and good… go for it… he made a ruckus, too… in Bethlehem, at the Jordan River, in Cana of Galilee at a wedding, outside Lazarus’ grave, at the house of a crooked tax-collector, along the seashore and on a hill called “The Skull,” on a cross causing a ruckus between two thieves… announcing forgiveness to all… forever…for the selfish affections we fight about…and a ruckus as his friends came to an empty tomb…

It’s quiet outside my window today… right now… at least… but one never knows for how long… Jesus, said, ‘store up treasures in heaven…treasures that won’t rust or break or that moths can’t get at…” and I can do that and so can you because we don’t have to fight for God’s affection… that battle has already taken place… and he promises to be with us in the battles of faith we engage…

   Brian

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About briangigee

Loves life; lives love! Bud and Doris' eldest son. Descendant of 'refiners' and 'reformers.' Husband to Margo. Father of 5. Grandfather to 2. Brother, uncle, friend and colleague. Working parish pastor. Became a naturalized Texan in February 2013.
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3 Responses to FIGHTING FOR AFFECTIONS

  1. Zachary Novark says:

    An excellent musing, Dr. Gigee.
    Kudos on the Tillich quote as well.

  2. John G. says:

    good words.

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