Monday, October 28, 2013

Pomegranates, dinosaur eggs and great expectations

I suppose it wasn't fair to ask so early in the morning.

I finished the book of Jeremiah this morning in my slow reading through the Bible. In this passage, the Babylonians were ransacking Solomon's Temple and carrying off the things of value.  The chapter mentioned that at the top of a 27-foot support pillar was a network of bronze pomegranates.

It is an ordinary Monday morning.  What am I going to carry with me from this passage today? 

"When you read the Scripture, always ask, "So what? What is the point here?" I once heard a seminary professor say.

"Why would someone take the effort of embellishing a pole with pomegranates?"  I asked my husband early this morning.  He looked at me as if wondering whether I had coffee yet.

I looked up pomegranates in the Bible dictionary, thinking that perhaps there was some ancient symbolism in the fruit.  The pomegranate tree is not large and very common in the ancient Middle East.  It would be a familiar fruit, the round globes very recognizable to anyone who saw them.  Nothing extraordinary in that.

And now, more than 3000 years later, I am reading about a workman who made a concerted effort to beautify a pole with something quite ordinary.  A little detail, but in God's Word, details are always significant.

What was his intention?  Who would expect it?  Was it really necessary?

In my early morning divergent thoughts, I was reminded of my two-year-old grandson Howie who eats a packet of instant oatmeal with "dinosaur eggs" in it, almost every morning.  Pour in the hot water and WOW!  There is a "dino egg."  and another, and another, as if he is discovering something new -- each one a surprise -- like buried treasure.  And this happens, well, just about every ordinary morning.  Howie sees joy in just about everything.  Nothing is ordinary to him.  He expects the extraordinary because that is how he sees life.

And those pomegranates on top of the pole?  I imagine it made those ancient people smile by what they knew was found within that very ordinary-looking fruit -- hundreds of bright red seeds. Incredible sweetness spills out of a tough outer shell.  And they were reminded that God adorns our days with goodness, an explosion of incredible fruit woven within even something that appears so ordinary..

And this ordinary Monday morning?
Do I see what is familiar
                with a different heart?
 That bronze fruit at the top of an ancient pole
     reminds me to do what is excellent
     even when I think
                        no one may ever know.
Those pomegranates tell me
                              how to serve my God.
        What makes our lives extraordinary
                              is realizing that God is in it.
Take it from Howie.
                              Great expectations.
                              Great joy.
Even in
    the most ordinary things of all.

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