Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Triangle, circles, community and Christ

Good morning,
I pray that the day is finding you well.
I got to the YMCA a few minutes later than normal this morning, the snow storm that we were going to have never really materialized.  In fact, the weatherman told us last night that NOAA would not even record the snow that we did get because it wasn’t measureable.  I learned that “a trace” of snow is not measurable, hmm.
When I got to the YMCA Norm, Nikki, and Lindsey were at the front desk.  Norm and Nikki doing their normal front desk stuff and Lindsey had a child from childwatch with her and he had math homework.  He was busy adding and subtracting on the number line.  Norm was helping him.  It wasn’t long before a math conversation ensued.
We started talking about triangles and the question came up, “How many triangles does it take to make a circle?”  We found out it is two, did you know that?  Of course you did, as my youngest son told his grandfather one Christmas when Grandpa guessed what was in the wrapped package, “Grandpa you’re so mart; how did you know it was a train game?”
We continued to talk about triangles.
Did you know that two triangle of the same shape make either a rectangle or a square?  Why am I asking you this?  Of course you knew.
So if two triangles can make a square or a rectangle and two triangles make a circle, then there must be a corresponding relationship between a square and a circle, but you already knew that too.
The next thing we learned was that if you were to put a circle under a “theoretical” electron microscope you would find that the circle is made up of many, many very small straight lines.  Lines so small that there wouldn’t be much to measure at all.
In fact, I would say that if we were to put a word to it the word “trace” could be used.  In any given point of a circle, there is only a trace of a straight line.
I started to think about NOAA and the fact that the snow event wasn’t big enough for them to bother with.
I started to think about Christ and how He was amazed at the little things, the same things that most of us would not even notice.
Matthew 13:31
 31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
Matthew 18:1
 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
 2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Christ wasn’t impressed with the size of something, in fact the bigger something was the more He saw man’s will and not His father’s will in it.
Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline makes the following observation about service and the heart.
True service comes from a relationship with the divine Other deep inside.  We serve out of whispered promptings, divine urgings…Self-righteous service is impressed with the “big deal.”…True service finds it almost impossible to distinguish the small from the large service…Self-righteous service requires external rewards.  It needs to know that people see and appreciate the effort…True service rests contented in hiddenness.  It does not fear the lights and blare of attention, but it does not seek them either…Self-righteous service is highly concerned about results.  It eagerly waits to see if the person served will reciprocate in kind.  It becomes bitter when the results fall below expectations.  True service is free of the need to calculate results.  It delights only in the service.  It can serve enemies as freely as friends.  Self righteous service picks and chooses whom to serve…True service is indiscriminate in its ministry…Self-righteous service is affected by moods and whims.  It can serve only when there is a “feeling” to serve (“moved by the Spirit” as we say)…True service ministers simply and faithfully because there is a need…Self-righteous service is temporary…True service is a lifestyle…Self-righteous service is insensitive.  It insists on meeting need even when to do so would be destructive. True service can withhold the service as freely as perform it.  It can listen with tenderness and patience before acting.  It can serve by waiting in silence…Self-righteous service fractures community…True service builds community. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishing Company, 1998), 128-9.
Just as a circle cannot be made without many, many very small straight lines.  One cannot build community without placing one’s self in a position  of smallness and place other people’s needs  at the center.

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