Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion November 30, 2016

Greetings!

Back in the dark ages when I was young, social convention had quite a different look on life than it does now.  Practices were looked at as denoting whether a  person was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and the culture then was all about whether people saw you as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  Now - a - days we would look on the things we were concerned about as being pretty silly, but back then they were quite serious!  
I remember being in 7th grade and wanting a pair of heels to wear to church and I was allowed to have a pair of shoes that had this tiny little nub of a heel on it - and I remember one of the older ladies at church actually bending over and ‘checking’ to see how high the heel actually was!
There was also much consternation during ‘those times’ regarding ear piercing.  Pierced ears were considered to be on the edge of declaring you were a ‘loose’ woman (wonder what they would have said if they had seen those today with all the piercings in all those many places…..) so getting your ears pierced was something that you took to heart - you really had to think it through to be sure you weren’t branding yourself as something you were not.  
Those of us high school girls (yes you were in high school before you pondered such a brazen act!) who were contemplating ear piercing, wanted to make sure we weren’t declaring ourselves more available than others - we just thought it was a nifty way to be able to wear more jewelry!  Pierced ears made us feel very grown up and very 'worldly'!
Getting your ears pierced way, way back then was not a task you took lightly because there was no easy access to having it done (unless you were brave enough to have someone with 2 ice cubes and a needle that had been passed through the flame of a match perform the procedure…. I was not that brave!)
Getting your ears pierced in my day was not done in kiosks in malls or in department stores, but in the emergency room and/or physicians offices.  
My ears were pierced by a then nationally renown heart surgeon because he happened to be the one on call in the emergency room when I went in to get these holes strategically punched through my ear lobes.  Pretty snazzy, huh!!
He took it pretty seriously, too, as he laid me down on the emergency room table and used these great surgical sterilization techniques and a specialized tool that he made sure I understood was something he used for his most technical heart surgeries….   And my ears were pierced.  I really felt like I had made it in the world and was a woman of great sophistication (even though I was only 15!)
For years following this courageous move, the routine in my life was to daily take the time to make a serious decision as to which pair of earrings I was going to place in my heart surgeon surgically pierced ears.  Earrings were something I sought out when shopping to find nice and unique and ‘pretty’ ones to wear.  Earrings became a great source of gift ideas for me and an easy solution when someone wanted to know what they could get me for Christmas or Birthday or just because they wanted to buy me something (like that ever happened…..)
Then came along kids. Babies.  And babies seem to think that the neatest thing in the world are these things stuck in your ear lobes - their little hands immediately reach out to investigate these anomalies.   So to prevent small fingers from ripping metal out of my ear, I pretty well stopped wearing earrings.  Maybe on a special occasion…. and then finally out of the habit of every morning making that important decision of picking just the right pair of earrings, there were no more earrings.
However, when holidays came along - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter… I remembered all those holiday earrings I had accumulated and I decided that - well maybe - just for these special holidays I would put the earrings back in my ears.  
There was a problem with this.  Ear lobes are living flesh and all of our living flesh has this innate ability to heal itself.  Earlobes know they are not suppose to have a hole in them so when there isn’t something there to prevent it - earlobes try to heal themselves….
So when the holiday comes and I decide I need to wear my fun holiday earrings, and I try to put the earrings in my ear, I am greeted with this thin layer of skin that has grown over the long existing hole….  Wearing these fun, cute, holiday earrings comes with a bit of pain as I am forced to punch through this thin layer of skin in order to get the earrings in my ears…
Coming back to God after an absence of any length comes with a little bit of pain… Maybe not  physical pain like my ears, but with a bit of spiritual pain as we are confronted with the God we have neglected; confronted with this loving, gracious God who has stuck with us even though those days when we have excluded him from our lives; challenged with realigning our lives to begin again living as God wants us to.  
Coming back to God means a certain amount of personal reflection and that is never easy and always comes with a bit of pain as we realize how really selfish we have been in trying to live for ourselves instead of living for God.
Yes, coming back to God will be painful…. but ever so rewarding!

Amen.