A lovely addition to a web crowded with stuff  

Posted by Denis Haack in , , , , ,


This past week my best friend and wife and co-worker launched a sub-set of Ransom’s web site called Margie’s Stuff. You can find it here.

On Margie’s Stuff there are essays, short pieces, recipes, audio recordings, and a link to her blog, Toads Drink Coffee. She has an uncanny ability to tell stories of ordinary life while showing the extraordinary ways grace reveals itself in humor and suffering and bright glimpses of glory. That is something we were taught by Francis Schaeffer back in the Sixties—that faithfulness in the ordinary things of life is where true significance is found—and Margie is better able to tease out the truth of that better than anyone I know.

There is something refreshing about someone who publishes a Bible reading program “for Slackers and Shirkers,” while insisting the title refers to herself. Or who finds glimmers of grace in an infestation of moths in her pantry, or who insists that cooking with cast iron can be glorifying to God even if you aren’t doing it for a church potluck, or who finds simple hospitality a chance to bring a measure of healing and rest into busy people’s lives. The sort of person who can read the Christmas story and find this:

From the Advent story one of the characters we don’t hear much about because she’s such a minor player is Anna. What attracts me is that she’s old, like really old. Luke tells us “she was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day” (Luke 2: 35-37). It seems she never forgot the memories of her young husband and his untimely death which could have left her angry and bitter. Probably her joints ached, her skin sucked, and her eyes got gunkier each morning. From a modern perspective she didn’t have much of a life, although her contemporaries called her a prophetess. One morning in walks this couple with a baby, one among hundreds, maybe thousands she’s already seen, but she has the clarity of truthfulness and purpose that helps her recognize something different about this baby—he’s The Christ of God. She walks over to touch this child that all the world is waiting for, and there in front of everyone she blesses him and thanks God.

In the Gospel of Luke in the chapter just before we hear about Anna, Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, says a profound thing, and I think it captures exactly what Anna was doing with her life. He says that the Messiah is going “…to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days…” (Luke 1:74,75) Which is exactly what Anna was doing, right there in the temple with corns on her toes and moles on her neck.

If I am busy considering either my body or time as enemies then I have succumbed to a limited perspective which is informed by my senses and, more subtly, by cultural pressures that determine whether we are good, successful, disciplined, worthy people, thanks to iCalendar, diet, and proper exercise. Both body and time are gifts that enable me to serve God in holiness and righteousness “before him (embodied) all our days.” That means being contented with twenty-four hour days where God says it’s good to live – from babyhood to end the of life. If I understand Anna’s life correctly, this child she blessed has the power to transform our fearful concentration on self (in whatever form), forgive our complaints, and direct us in acts of service to others.

So, I commend Margie’s Stuff to you. Not because I have too, but because on a world wide web crowded with nonsense and knowledge, it is a space devoted to wisdom.

This entry was posted at Monday, September 19, 2011 and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 comments

There is so much that I love about this post but I feel particularly compelled to tell you that, even with its opening sentence: "This past week my best friend and wife and co-worker", hope shimmered through my heart that all of these things be true of Jake and I someday....

September 22, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Thanks, Joie.
We miss you two.
Denis

September 22, 2011 at 1:50 PM

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