Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mornings with Mum

My last apartment had a cheery, yellow comforter. I bought it my first winter living abroad, just as the cold, grey December was rolling into my cold, grey steelscape mountain. However chilly, mornings were my favorite time of day from that point on--early sun licking me wrapped in yellow cushiness, trying not to spill steaming coffee while I memorized James.

In those early mornings, verse by verse, I luxuriated through James and then a few Psalms and so on. I started memorizing books of the Bible last summer when I realized how cool Job 38 was during an otherwise yawner of a sermon. I wanted to remember the poetry of it, so I stopped reading through the Bible and started impressing the Word on my heart (ala Deut 6).

Maybe it’s just that funny thing where as soon as you learn a new word you hear everyone using it, but after I’d memorize a chapter, it’d come up in a sermon. At one point I only had Job 38, half of James, and a few scattered Psalms and every single one of them would come up in sermons I was attending, books I was reading, people I spoke to. God is a creepster. He doesn’t just facebook stalk; it’s everything. James is great but there are some 1189 chapters in our Bible; those are some pretty low odds.

I guess that’s what made that morning time so great. My “quiet time with God” finally included God speaking from his Word more than I was writing in my journal. It was in those lonely mornings that I finally wasn’t alone and I wondered if perhaps, like the yellow comforter, I would leave those behind when I moved back to America. I “went up on a mountain” in Korea and prayed and wondered if God would come to my quiet time in the States where I am never so alone.

These days I often spend mornings with my mother. It’s not as often as I would like because she gets up at the crack of dawn (no exaggeration; we’re talking 4 am) and I do not. But the days I do are the best. We both bundled up in a blanket, clutching coffee mugs and glancing back and forth from out Bibles to the ceiling, memorizing. My mother recently finished the entire book of Philippians.

Now, before you think my family is some kind of masochistically overachieving Christian mutation, know that my dad is catching up on facebook at this time and my older sister rolls her eyes at me when I says she should try to memorize a chapter. Mom did too, at first, until we did Romans 12 together. She said it was horribly difficult for her, but after that she swallowed up Paul’s letter to the saints at Philippi bit by painstaking bit, and now that I’m working on Philippians myself, we have conversations like this:

Wanna hear my verse today?
Okay. Verse 18: “But what does it matter? The important thing is that whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.”
You forgot “in every way.”
Oh yeah. Oops. “ every way whether by false motives or true, Christ is preached.”
But it doesn’t it matter if someone’s preaching the gospel out of goodwill rather than “out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing they can stir up trouble”? What is with that?
Paul is cray-cray. But maybe they’re still preaching Christ . . . just while hating Paul at the same time.
“Not sincerely” though? “Out of envy and rivalry”? That doesn’t sound like Christian preaching...

Then dad weighs in (having looked up a few relevant blogs, articles, ect. in the time we’ve taken) and then Grandma, if she’s visiting, goes off on a tangent about the Presbyterians but eventually we get back around to Paul and then move over to James’ translation and its frustrating ambiguous pronoun usage. And then we sip our coffee and go back to our individual study.

My faded yellow comforter, now dotted with ink and coffee, remains in Korea soaking up the sun.

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