Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 26: Wave Breast, Help Thanks Wow, Book Club

There is the wave breast of thanksgiving--a catching God's eye with the easy motions of praise--and a time for it.  In ancient Israel's rites for a voluntary offering of thanksgiving, the priest comes before the altar in clean linen, empty-handed.  Into his hands is placed the breast of the slain unblemished ram of consecration:  and he waves it as a wave offering before the Lord.  The wind's knife has done its work.  Thanks be to God.

It's a powerful image that Dillard offers:  a wave offering.  Giving thanks to God for all of the blessings He has showered down upon ancient Israek.  God doesn't need the Mormon Tabernacle Choir breaking into the "Hallelujah Chorus" in order to be praised.  No.  It's all about something small.  A token.  Like taking a photograph of your child out of your wallet and waving it at the heavens, lifting it up, saying, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

One of my other favorite Christian writers in the world, Anne Lamott, wrote once about boiling down prayer to a few very short phrases.  Wow.  Help.  Thanks.  "Wow" is for those moments when you are overwhelmed by God's goodness--a beautiful sunset, the birth of a child, the Grand Canyon, a Godiva chocolate.  "Help" is, obviously, for moments of distress, when you are overwhelmed with need.  Depending upon the urgency of the need, this phrase can be repeated as many times as necessary.  It's about surrender:  help help help help help help help help help help help.  Ego steps aside and lets the divine take over.

And then there's "thanks," the prayer that Dillard is talking about in the above passage.  I have to admit that I don't say "thanks" as often as I should.  It's easy to forget.  When needs are met, crises averted, relief is the major emotion.  Not gratitude.  That's a human thing.  Selfish, but human.

Tonight, believe it or not, I am happy again.  I've had a good day.  It ended with my book club meeting at my house.  We had a great salad and fruit and cheese and crackers.  We talked about the month's selection, The Girl on the Train (not uplifting, but a really good story).  My son even contributed a dessert.  He layered a pan with cinnamon sugar pop tarts, Hershey and Nestle Crunch chocolate bars, a can of vanilla frosting, and sprinkles.  Threw it in the over for 15 minutes until it all melted.  Everyone ate it and told him what a good cook he is.

It was a lovely evening with family and friends.  Something to be grateful for.

So, even though Saint Marty isn't wearing clean linen or waving the breast of an unblemished ram, he wants to say thanks.  Thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks.

It's not always about money . . .

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you're raising a real chef :-)
    [As I read this NPR had a piece about a traditional Chinese dish -large intestine wrapped around small intestine, wrapped around a sausage. I think I'd prefer pop tarts with icing.]