Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!


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Jeremiah 5:1-5:


Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look around and take note! Search its squares and see if you can find one person who acts justly and seeks truth— so that I may pardon Jerusalem. Although they say, “As the Lord lives,” yet they swear falsely. O Lord, do your eyes not look for truth? You have struck them, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to turn back. Then I said, “These are only the poor, they have no sense; for they do not know the way of the Lord, the law of their God. Let me go to the rich and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the law of their God.” But they all alike had broken the yoke, they had burst the bonds.

In this chapter, God challenges Jeremiah to simply find at least one righteous person in the streets of Jerusalem. Truthfully, I am pretty sure I would have similar problems roaming the streets of Kirksville, because, honestly, none of us are ultimately "righteous."

But as I was reading through some of this chapter, my mind wandered over to a commonality of "Northeast Missouri English"--the word "yoke" and "yolk" are pretty much pronounced the same. It got me to thinking about a little quirk about my food preferences when it comes to fried eggs.

You see, I prefer my fried eggs with broken yolks. I really don't like over-easy eggs. But the story of how that came to be is kind of funny.

As far back as I can remember, when my mom made me fried eggs, mine had broken yolks. There really wasn't any kind of discussion about it. I mean, I noticed that my parents were eating over-easy eggs, and they dipped them in their toast but I wasn't, and I liked the eggs I was eating, so I had this impression that my eggs were "special" and they were treating me "special" and that was fine. In my mind, I was thinking, "Well, their eggs are not 'done'. Mine are done." I thought maybe my mom wasn't very good at cooking eggs.

But one day over at my grandparents' house, I asked for fried eggs for breakfast, and my grandmother served me over-easy eggs. I looked at her and said, "These aren't done. Aren't you going to break the yolks so mine will be done?"

She looked at me in a sort of odd way. "What? This is how they are supposed to be cooked. How do you eat them at home?"

"They eat the ones like these. They're not done. I get the ones that are done."

My granny thought for a moment and said, "Your mother has pulled a fast one on you. She and your dad like over-easy eggs, and when she's broken some, or cooked them a little hard, she's pawned them off on you, because you don't know any better. Try them this way."

I took a couple of bites, cringed, and shook my head. "I don't like them this way; they're runny. Put 'em back in and break the yolks."

She just sort of sighed and complied with my request. I've eaten my fried eggs that way all my life. When I go to a restaurant, I tell the server, "Tell the cook to break the yolks. Not just over-hard. Smash those suckers."

Now mind you, I was a little put out that I was more or less the victim of a harmless scam, but that's not where I want to go with this post. I want to talk more on how so many times, when we start reflecting on our "sins of omission," there are many times we simply are not aware we've done something wrong, or wronged someone else. We don't know when something we've done innocently or in our obliviousness hurts another, because we have triggered some of their internal stuff.

For instance: Say we get a promotion at work. Obviously, we're quite pleased about that. But perhaps we were showing our excitement in front of someone else who was in the running for the promotion--and we were unaware that person was in the running. That other person hears our joy, and might think that we somehow "knew" he/she was in the running, and that we are "rubbing it in." Resentment sets in. Now suddenly we are "in trouble" with someone else and have no clue. We might never find out, and it manifests itself in some totally different run-in with that person.

Now, obviously, that obliviousness is not a "sin," but something sinful might result in a later interaction. Perhaps harsh words were spoken and feelings were hurt--harsh words we certainly could have controlled or tempered. Or the old perceived insult comes to light in the subsequent interaction, and it sends our minds scurrying back to the original episode. We start asking, "Was I a little big headed about my promotion that day? Was this more or less a thing of grace, and I might have over-attributed it to my opinion of my abilities?"

In short, sometimes in these sorts of encounters we find we were a little too big for our britches and had in a small way, broken the yoke of our obedience to God or burst from the bounds of living in a kind, loving way. We had not meant to do harm. But somehow a very tiny mustard seed-sized seed of self-aggrandizing bore a bitter fruit.

I honestly don't think we can stop these things from happening. We're human. We like rejoicing over good fortune. Truthfully, our bad habits are often our best qualities but the same quality in a slightly more "overboard" fashion. When these kinds of things happen, we simply don't know any better. We probably wouldn't have done anything drastically different even if we HAD the knowledge of "the bigger picture." But what we can do is when we do recognize these accidental slights, to show compassion and dialogue with the other person in a kind and loving way.

But in doing this, we must also realize that we have no control of how the other person feels about our story. They might choose to think badly of us. We cannot control outcome. But we can be honest with ourselves. We can simply accept that even accidentally broken yolks have consequences, and take these things to the altar in prayer.

The other question we have to ask ourselves is this: If we choose to "break a yolk" because "that's the way we like it," are we prepared to accept a potential consequence? We have an old adage in laboratory medicine: "Don't order a lab test unless you are prepared to deal with the possibility the result won't be what you expected." What will you do for the patient if it is elevated and you didn't expect that? What will you do if the result is unexpectedly normal? NOW what?

Our decision making processes often tend to be based on what we want, rather that what we perceive God wants. Do we examine our conscience? Do we examine how conscious we are in making this decision--are we aware and awake? Or are we asleep and oblivious? We don't always know.

When we think about "awake" and "asleep" in terms of our spiritual consciousness, it puts a whole new spin on the beloved Compline prayer, doesn't it?

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake
we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

3 comments:

I am in the grip of a very broken yoke. This is just what I needed to hear today. May you be blessed today, as I have been by your words.

Prayers for your healing, Gaye, and thanks for your prayer of blessing.

kirkepiscatoid --I think we were separated at birth --I, too, love my eggs yolks broken and hard.... a flat hard-boiled egg if ya know what I mean.

And, I've tried it --but I just can't stand to eat the eggs I picked out of the nest the week before... they are way too perky, way too orange --and they don't like to break.

But, thank you for the theological reflection regarding broken yolks... eggs just got betterer.

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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