Saturday, 8 November 2014

The tale of the plumbob


I recently had to drill a wall to put a large (and heavy!) mirror into position. It was only after opening the packaging that I realised that the mirror had two side positioning points rather than a single central one. The significance is simple, with a central fixing, positioning it to be level is easy – you just hang a wire and move it around until it looks level. Easy peasy. Two fixings are an entirely different matter; you have to drill two exactly level horizontal holes. The slightest measurement out and the mirror is never level and every time you look it in you notice the imperfection.

Those of you, who know me, understand that I am not the best DIY-ER in the world, but nevertheless I took extraordinary care in measuring and drilling. The result – according to my spirit level and plumbob was a complete success – until I put the unit back underneath it. You see, the mirror was straight, the wall was straight, but the dressing table underneath was not. To make it level, I had to put folded bits of cardboard underneath the legs to raise one side!.

So much for perfection.

It made me think of the way we look at the world. There are those people I know, and have known over the years who are real perfectionists. They see the world as something to control (some even use the phrase – a “control freak”) and become agitated when others around them fail to see things their way.

I wonder how God sees our world – especially at Christmas time? The narrative of God being born into poverty and the humiliation of a birth outside of marriage seems to many as frankly, rather vulgar. After all, if God is the “prime motivator” (the phrase used many hundreds of years ago to define God) of all things, surely he has only himself to blame if things do not work out as he ordered them?

When  I look at God working in today’s world – trying to sort out the mess we all make both on the everyday level and on an international level, I see the hand of someone “folding bits of cardboard” trying to bring back into true, to match the spirit level and plumbob.

The God whom I have come to know as a friend of many years is one who loves to take the mess of the ordinary and beyond hope, beyond expectation, make something remarkable from it.

Take Care and have a good Christmas

Alan

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