Monday, August 30, 2010

Mezuzah your world

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. -Deutoronomy 6:4-9

This portion of the Jewish scriptures is called the shema when you walk into any Jewish home you will find in response to this passage the shema in what is called a Mezuzah nailed to the door post. So that as people come in and out of the house they will be reminded, “hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”. In his book ‘SoulSala (17 surprising steps to Godly living in the twenty first century)’ Leonard Sweet explores the Jewish tradition of Mezuzah and invites us to mezuzah our universe.

Over the past few years I have looked at different ways to do that. Things in everyday that help me to remember God, who is and what he has done for us and to live out that love in all I think and do. Let me share some of these with you and if you have some of your Own I’d love to hear them just write a comment.

In my twenty first century world I’m more likely to go in and out of windows as much as doors. No I’m not a cat burglar (I’ve never really got why people would want to steal cats) rather like many people I spend as much time in cyberspace as I do in time and space. So I have found ways to mezuzah my computer and my usages of it. Sweet talks of having classic painting as wallpaper that focus him on various things and for a while I would put pictures and verses on my computer wall paper so that when I opened up my computer for the day or returned to my desktop I would again be focused on God’s word and his presence. I get sojourners Voice and verse email sent to me each day and when I open up my email fist thing every day I stop and read a bible passage and a relevant quote and pray the prayer in that email as well.

I use facebook quite a bit to keep in touch with people and a communications devise for studentsoul Auckland, the church I am involved in planting. The Bible has its own facebook page thanks to the recently resigned head of the Bible Society of New Zealand Mark Brown. So the two or three times I go on facebook each day in my ‘news feed’ is a bible verse which reminds me that in the midst of all my relating with people that the core relationship is with God. It’s amazing how often the verses connect with where I am at and God speaks into my situation through this. I have to admit that the Bible isn’t as regular at posting scripture as it once was.

I’ve mentioned it before but when we lived in Dunedin I often saw Kereru flying round. Kereru are the native New Zealand wood pigeon. Amazing birds, the largest pigeons in the world and as close to doves as you get amongst native New Zealand birds. Every time I saw one flying or sitting in a tree or on a power line I would stop and thank God for the presence of his Holy Spirit. After a while it was amazing where and when they would turn up. I was feeling down in the dumps one day and looked out my window and there were three wood pigeons sitting on the power lines looking in at me, and I saw it as a very concrete reminder of the whole of the trinity’s presence with me. I was complaining about money issues (being an adult student with a family of four) and walking down the road to the seminary where i was going to school and looked up and there was a wood pigeon sitting on thre power lines with its head under its wings and right away the small voice at the back of my head that I equate with God (to quote Adrian Plass) said “ is that how you see me asleep in the sun? Off the job?” “Point taken” I replied. Now living in the more northern city of Auckland i don’t see wood pigeons very often but whenever I see a normal common ‘rat with wings’ city pigeon I say thank you God for your spirits presence. Even in this humble bird in this urban landscape.

I love the sea and find myself quite depressed if I don’t see it at least once a week. Fortunately Auckland is a city built on two harbours and I live in New Zealand where you are never more than 120 km (70 Miles) from the sea. When i see the sea I am reminded and pray “Thank you God that your love surrounds me like the ocean surrounds our Island home.”

Does it make a difference or is it just a tired new ritual? Yes it makes a difference I am more aware of what is around me, I find myself able to slow down and focus again and remember the LORD our God. I’d love to tell you that I have become more saintly... maybe I have but I still fly off the handle when that motorist cuts in front of me (it’s amazing the number of high end German cars on New Zealand roads that are so badly maintained, their indicators don’t seem to be working, perhaps it’s a design fault). I still get stressed out when I can’t find my remote mouse or my shoes or my glasses. But gradually I’m finding myself more and more aware of God in those spaces and places (sure wish it was the remote mouse I lost as well). The spiritual discipline of Mezuzah-ing helps and transformation is a slow process.

1 comment:

  1. I recently put a mezuzah that I ordered online on my doorpost and I was looking for an image of one to use as my facebook image. I used google images and after browsing through many many many, I spotted the pic of 3 you posted because the one that was sent to me was the one in the middle. I decided to read your link and noticed you mentioned Leonard Sweet and his book...I have met him and find his facebook postings informative. Just wanted to share this moment of serendipity...some word that I hope conveys a blessing to you as this search has for me.