It’s striking how today’s Scriptures (Isaiah 5:1-7 and Luke 12:54-56), with their warnings of the coming judgment, resonate with today’s news … from stories of war (and the human struggle for peace)… to stories of climate change (and the planet’s struggle to adjust)… to our own very personal struggles to change ourselves before it’s too late.
We’re going shopping… in a world of plastic.
Do you remember a recent shopping trip? What did the store look like? What caught your eye? I remember going shopping when I first moved back to the United States after three years abroad. (In1970, we moved from 3 years in the Middle East to the American Midwest – and moving from Beirut, Lebanon to Columbus, Ohio was the biggest culture shock of my life.)
When we left for Beirut, Rob was just finishing graduate school, and now he was going to have a real salary – and that meant I didn’t need to worry about every penny when I was shopping. (I’m not talking about sudden wealth here, just having enough to buy the basics without undue stress.)
Shopping in Beirut was a lot of fun, even a cultural adventure. It meant learning some Arabic and even more French, the languages of the markets. It mean going out every day to very small shops and sometimes to the downtown souk – carrying our shopping bags, like everyone else. And, since our boys were very little, when we took them along they were mostly unaware of things to buy. The most tempting thing for little boys was probably the bananas in the tiny shop across our street… where the owner, when he saw them, would just give them a piece of candy or a bit of bread (no charge).
When we moved from Beirut to the Midwest, Rob had an even better salary – and I had even more money to shop with. Our boys were now 3 and 4, the perfect ages to notice all the things for sale along the aisles, and especially the toys and candy and the little cars and trucks wrapped in gleaming plastic. How to get through the aisles without a melt-down? How to check out without buying candy or a new truck?