Advent, Isaiah, RevGalBlogPals, Rheumatoid Arthritis

No Retreat

I've finally landed on Mondays as my official day off, and today I had plans to spend it quietly participating in the RevGalBlogPals Virtual Advent Retreat.

But just like a pediatrician or a veterinarian, a pastor sometimes finds Monday morning holds the emergencies built up over the weekend, and after several hours on the phone, I decided to call it a work day.

The good news is that part one of the Retreat is aimed at this coming Sunday, thus possibly counting as work. 

The bad news is that it's not on the text I'm planning to preach. 

And I have a mother's task to perform this afternoon, one involving driving and waiting and driving some more.

So I have to work harder to make the space to pull back from life and work and look for God on this first weekday of Advent. 

Here's a snippet of the Isaiah passage in the first post for the retreat:

He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

We're in Isaiah 11, and the words were written about the hoped-for Messiah to people who needed saving, from themselves as much as from the geopolitical enemies in their time and place.

Really, aren't we all like that?

I read something recently about how social rejection creates an inflammatory response (hat tip to Liz), and it gave me a lot to think about since I have an inflammatory auto-immune disease. Actually, I have two, both rheumatoid arthritis and eczema, but the medicine for the first one seems to have gotten the better of the second one, if not the first one. Either way, the tendency in this direction exists in me. And oddly when I went back to look at the link, after mulling it over for more than six weeks, I see it's SENSITIVITY to social rejection that causes the problem. 

For the sensitive such as your Songbird, a Messiah who would slay the wicked with the breath of his lips, literally, would be sah-weet! We want just that kind of a champion. We are the ones who look at life when things are going wrong and invariably find the fault in ourselves. 

I'm struggling today with new symptoms of RA, pain in places I have not had it before, and the feeling that my own tendency to care how other people feel (or don't) about me has made me sick in the first place. I don't like that conclusion. 

Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

That's the next thing about the Messiah. 

Some days I wish the rod and the belt could be used more actively. I try to be satisfied with the sash around his metaphoric waist, to believe God is faithful to us, even when things hurt. Especially when things hurt. 

Lion_wolf_lamb And I don't know the answer for the sensitive, and the over-sensitive, among us. Do we guard ourselves from hurt by closing ourselves off? That doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem right at all. 

I would hope that on the day Isaiah describes, on the holy mountain where wolves of various kinds live quietly with lambs and other sweet creatures, the wolves will be healed of their emotionally carnivorous wolfishness and the lambs of their delectably edible lambliness, and all will be beauty and joy. 

Meanwhile, I need to get ready to drive up and down the highway, hoping for a place to sit during the waiting portion of the program that doesn't hurt me.

6 thoughts on “No Retreat”

  1. “…the wolves will be healed of their emotionally carnivorous wolfishness and the lambs of their delectably edible lambliness, and all will be beauty and joy.” This made me laugh out loud, which I had to stifle, since I’m at the office. Be well, dear Songbird, in all ways. Blessings to you as you embark on the season.

  2. Songbird, please be careful and gentle with yourself regarding the information in the article about sensitivity to social rejection. You simply cannot blame yourself and your reactions to others for your autoimmune disease. Not anymore than I can blame myself for an asthmatic reaction to someone else’s perfume or cigarette smoke.
    I’ve been in healthcare since 1970 and articles like that surface every couple of years. The information contained in them may be helpful for those who are designing treatment plans or research projects. But they are not helpful for those who may make the leap of thinking that they are causing their own disease.
    Wishing you a blessed advent.

  3. Oh, Songbird, you just hit one of my hot buttons. I remember when I had cancer being told that my attitude (read: the right attitude, the one that makes others feel better) was really important. Fortunately, I was able to find research proving that was just false. While I know that our mental attitudes and dispositions may influence our illnesses, our illnesses are real illnesses. I hate the blame the victim mentality. I do not believe illness is a punishment from God. Blaming attitudes or dispositions is eerily similar. Sorry, I’ve gone off again.

  4. Oh, but I do believe that the stress of life does raise our cortisol levels and CAN impact illness, so managing stress and learning to let go of negative thinking patterns DOES impact our health in a huge way. No, we can’t “heal” our illnesses and no, we don’t cause our own disease, but I do firmly believe that we can impact its effect to a degree. Hugs to you my friend.

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