1 Chronicles 16:11: Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!

I don’t know how you manage your trash and recycling. It depends on where you live, and in Manassas, for single family homes, the City provides two wheeled bins: a green one for recycling (get it?) with a helpful list on the top about what can and cannot be put in that bin. Then there is the black container for trash. This one sports stern warnings about what the City considers trash. Residents don’t dare put in anything but trash for fear of the Trash Police, who just might be lurking. Before trash/recycling pickup days, residents who want to take advantage of the service roll their bins to the street and roll them back to where they are stored after the trash and recycling are picked up. Because our yard slopes down from where the bins are stored, our friend Mr. Gravity makes rolling the bins to their place beside the curb a near-runway event. When it’s time to bring the bins back, Mr. Gravity is no longer our friend, and I find that I must pull on the bins and find myself leaning forward to complete the task.

It seems there’s a parable of sorts in this weekly task. We can find it easy to involve ourselves in some behaviors or attitude that we really shouldn’t. It’s like me rolling the bins down to their place. But changing that behavior or attitude takes effort—it involves leaning forward to do what needs to be done.

Even when we are on a downward slope, God is there, urging us to change and helping us when we do decide to do so. It’s not our strength that makes this happen: God has guaranteed God’s help and strength. All we have to do is ask, and all can be restored, even again and again. Praise God for God’s strength, for God’s persistence and for God’s love that sent us Jesus Christ, who saved us by his blood and by leaning in to be our Savior. Amen.


How It’s Made

John 1:3: Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

I don’t know if you’ve ever watched How It’s Made on television. If you haven’t, it shows videos of different objects being made, strangely enough. Some of these things include 3-D printers, NASCAR engines, apple pie, barber poles, skateboard wheels, bicycles, foosball tables, office chairs, bowling balls, barber poles, miniature train cars, jukeboxes and grandfather clocks. That’s quite a list, and it doesn’t begin to dent the number of objects the series has covered since 2001.

Once we at home overcame our sense of wonder at the variety and uses of the objects, we noticed something unintended about the series. In almost every episode, there are incredibly complex machines that in a way are more marvelous than the objects they make. In fact, we’d like to see a show dedicated to the design, creation and use of the manufacturing machines. We could call it How the Machines that Made All This Stuff Are Made. I know it would be a big hit.

I think God is like the machines that make other things. God simply was, is, and will be. No one and nothing designed God. Instead, driven by love, God made the universe and everything in it and made them so that they can fulfill God’s plans. Humans are at the pinnacle of material creation, and God loved us so much that we can choose to be part of God’s plans or not. This choice differentiates us from everything else in the universe, and part of doing God’s will involves taking action to make sure everyone has a chance to experience salvation. And while that is a process, I still think the whole arrangement was made by God. And it works and it works well.