Weekly Photo Challenge: Down

How do you take a photo of down? What an interesting word, “down” with its varied meanings and uses. I could, for example, post a photo of a down comforter; however, since I’m not in the habit of taking photos of bed-clothes, I didn’t. And then I though of how, when we were children, we’d play the game of “‘if we dug a hole straight down, would we end up in China?” Well, we wouldn’t–but in those early years, we didn’t know the earth’s core was a fiery furnace and we’d be dead rather than in China.

I went through the photos and wondered how “down” spoke in them. I came up with three categories: down as below my window and literally down; down as down a road; and down as down in the basement.

This is the down below my window. This winter, we didn’t have any snow to speak of–a few dustings now and then–but last year we had full-blown blizzards and I fed the birds. Here’s the birds below my window. I like the winter colors of gray and white and brown and I like all the crisscrossing lines in this shot: telephone lines and fence lines and roof edge lines and bare tree branch lines.

bird tracks and snow

The Heart of the Matter

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

In his rage, Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace.  Daniel 3

Jesus answered, “Were God your father you would love me for I came forth from God, and am here.” John 8

This morning after looking at the readings, I tried to figure out what to say and my eyes glazed and my head felt tired. I felt out of words and out of thoughts as I considered living up to the discipline I’d set for myself.

How difficult commitments are! How difficult it is when we make ourselves accountable to a discipline or accountable to others. And I wondered if there was a difference between choosing and being accountable. One I suppose leads to another but being accountable is making a commitment.

Commit is to deliver a person or thing, physically or figuratively, into the charge of another. A “figurative” commitment is one easily set aside. Jail is tougher, but even there, one is eventually freed. We don’t hear this old story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego very often. It’s a good reminder of what we don’t have to commit to in order to live our lives as Christian men and women, but maybe the figurative commitments we make, to be kind, peaceful, non-judgmental, are just as difficult, day after day. We have a habit of creating our own “figurative” fiery furnace.

What’s also interesting is that when those times of crisis come, we get through them somehow. Expecting them is probably counter-productive.

Accountable is easier and simpler: answerable; acting in a credible manner.“Worthy of being believed” from the root “kerd” which means heart.  

“Were God your father [or God Father/Mother, or God Spirit or Energy or Great Spirit or Breath] you would love…” And that gets to the “heart” of the matter, the root, as it were.

Today’s focus, then, is on heart, my heart, your heart. Breathe into it. Allow it to open.  Allow it to be at peace and feel love.

It’s a challenge to live in these times of such rapid change and confusion and not feel tense, as if we’re constantly waiting for the next crisis, the next frustration, the next piece of violence. It’s a pretty messy time and messes create tense bodies. The challenge is to remember we can avoid creating fiery furnaces by our commitments to one another.

So this morning, I will thank you, my readers, for my accountability. I know you would forgive me if I dropped my commitment, if I took a day off, but I also know that my chosen accountability pushes me to be more than I might without it.

Be accountable to your heart today. Feel its beat in your body; thank your heart for its steadiness. Fill it with Christ-consciousness.