2014 Lent 31

family

Psalm 128

Okay, I’m done with I Corinthians.  The lectionary offers a selection from II Corinthians today, but, as you may have discerned, I’ve reached my saturation point with the apostle Paul for now.  He’s a good friend, don’t get me wrong.  But he’s one of those friends that I need a break from now and again, so that our friendship will be that much better the next time we get together.

That said, Psalm 128 is a good place to turn now.  The guest Paul has made his visit.  In that time my family and I have shown him a lot of hospitality.  What this has meant for our family life–at least for parts of it–is that things have been put on hold.  The typical family meal, for instance, wherein we usually are able to let our guards completely down, talk, laugh, and argue about whatever, or hold those needed family meetings, or whatever–we haven’t been able to do this as freely as we’d like with our guest here.

Too, we’ve enjoyed late-night conversations with and otherwise entertained him, meaning our usual focus upon each other has been turned Paul-ward.

That’s often how it is with guests, yeah?  Regular life is temporarily interrupted.

But now he’s packed up and gone on his way, to enjoy another host’s hospitality for a while.  And my family, somewhat relieved, is able to turn its attention back on one another.

There’s always something of a re-entry time.  That is, after a guest’s visit we always need to readjust our lifestyle a bit to settle into the former routine.  We’ve been focusing so much on accommodating someone else that we’ve neglected each other.  It’s usually in small ways, ways perhaps we aren’t even conscious of.  But it’s there all right!  And the result is typically a few days of increased drama.

But once the chaos induced by the guest’s stay has had its way, we seem to settle well enough into our general routine of family meals, making music, playing games, spending time alone in a quiet corner of the house, walking the dog, helping out with homework, catching up on missed television shows (for those who are into this sort of thing), and so on.  It’s family life.  And, as they say, it is what it is.  But when it’s all said and done, it’s a downright good life.

That’s the essence of this psalm.  There is true blessing in a family around a table.  There’s genuine peace in a person’s seeing his children’s children.

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