“I am not afraid of anything. Except at bedtime – then I’m afraid of the dark.” ~ Ivy
As you know we live in a mail box exclusive neighborhood, but when all your dollars go into mail boxes… well it seems we did not have enough to clean the neighborhood pool.
When we first found the sign we were irritated. It never once occurred to us that the sign was preferable to growing body fungus. Instead we just want the sign taken down so we can dive into the pool.
After Swim and Things came out the sign was taped back to show only the blank side. So the girls headed straight for the pool. Of course taping the sign back did not take away its authority and a neighbor came over and mentioned the Health Commissioner will fine anyone for crossing a sign. I imagine these fines are another thing the Association would not pay – so the girls got out of the pool.
Megan had not met this neighbor and they introduced themselves. He asked where we lived and again our reputation preceded us – “Oh, your husband is the pastor.” Thankfully this fact did not end the conversation and instead he was happy to have us. It seems the former owners had doberman pincers and would chain them outside… in a yard with no fence. To the left you can see the stake I dug up out of the ground. Now that I know it held attack dogs in place – well, it would be nice if the public health guys would have posted another sign. Of course hanging that sign may have been difficult – chomp.
Dogs for protection is a strange thing. My Aunt had a doberman when I was little. As a child the dog was fine with me – granted I had been drilled to be wary of him. Still, I would come to visit and the dog would not pay attention to me from the fenced back yard. But when I got older, eleven or twelve, something changed. Now my visits were accompanied by death barks from behind the fence. I guess this should have made me proud, even the dog could tell I was growing up. But it only made me afraid.
But the dog was also a sign of fear. Fear that a world which appears fine was hiding dark things. And sometimes behind blue skies, a storm is just over the horizon. But other times our fears create the problem. (A child is maimed by someone’s “good” dog.)
Turning to our personal life. We often fear the truth. Rather than face our sinfulness we tape back the signs – not just in front of others. Sometimes we even cover up before God. As though we can hide from Him; rather than confess, we excuse. We try to forget. We just move on and not face the reality of the situation.
We fear what will happen if the truth is known. We believe the delusion that we can heal ourselves. And we do not trust the gospel. Because in the Good News, honesty before God does not bring bite. Instead it brings love. For that matter the beginning of healing is confession. Not just for the non-believer, but for every Christian.
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ dies for us.” (Romans 5:8)
In his sacrifice we are covered with grace. It does not happen just at our conversion. But daily we are made new. So that in the end there is nothing to fear. Everything has been paid. Retribution and judgment have passed over us to the cross. The guards have been removed and we are free to go inside…
The spiritual future of ragamuffins consists not in disavowing that we are sinners but in accepting that truth with growing clarity, rejoicing in God’s incredible longing to rescue us in spite of everything. ~ Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel