Making your bed isn’t just a good way to get your day started, it’s an act of faith. So are cooking, cleaning house, diligence at work, and working in your garage. Or at least they can be.
Minerva’s Owl and the End of an Age
I’ve called this blog Minerva’s Owl for reasons I’ll explain later. For now I’ll say that it is drawn from a quote by GWF Hegel:
“The owl of Minerva only flies at dusk.”
Perhaps Hegel meant something different from me, but this is how I understand it: When an age comes to an end, things become vivid that were previously obscure. But only if you can see in the dark.
Since we are living through the death of one era and the beginning of another, I’m watching for her owl. When I see him, I do my best to capture him and entice him to speak. I ask him the questions we need answered. Maybe it would be better to say that they will need these answers who rise at dawn. If nobody compels the owl to speak, those who rise at dawn will have been badly served by those of us who slept at dusk.
In short, as our age ends, we need to capture any wisdom we can and preserve it for our grandchildren.
Questions and Responses
Questions have arisen that had not been asked for centuries or millenia, at least not in the form they are being asked now. What is a man? What is a woman? Can a man become a woman? Do things have a nature? Is it possible to get along with others or is all speech, even silence, violence? What is marriage? Can we know anything? Does it matter? Is anything not a question?
When the dusk comes, the night grows dark. The temptation to sleep is virtually irresistible. That’s what the body tells us to do. We are humans. We fear the dark. It is not our home.
When we fear, we ask, “Why should I have children?” “Why should I do lowly work when the world needs me to fix it?” and, “What difference does it make if I make a beautiful piece of furniture?” We even ask, “What is the point of striving to serve at work when I could be out on my ears in a flash if I say the ever-changing wrong thing?”
There is an answer. It makes the same difference when you have children, clean up after them and cook for them, make a beautiful piece of furniture, or give yourself to your work, it makes the same difference when you do these things as it makes when you go to church on Sunday and worship God. It makes the same difference it makes when you rest on the Sabbath.
When you make your bed, cook for your family, clean house, keep faith at work, make something beautiful in your garage, rest on the sabbath, and worship at church, you are saying that you know your place and you know it is limited, but you also know that through you in that place the love of God expresses itself. And you can’t imagine a more noble task.
The Coming Dawn
Dawn follows dusk. It started doing that in Genesis one. Two things will hasten the coming dawn: loving kindness and faithfulness. Put another way, grace and truth.
The postmodern philosophy of deconstruction that has conquered so much of American life argues that speech is an attempt to conquer the other. If they had no basis for their argument, it would be laughed into oblivion. They do. People do commonly use language to manipulate and overpower others. All of us. But having a basis for an argument, and having a comprehensive explanation are two different things.
It is possible to make a case against the idea that talk is tyranny. But only one response is decisive: to turn the other cheek; to say, as they mock you, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
For the Christian, persuasion does not begin with identifying a goal and cleverly leading the “other” along a predetermined path to your predestined end. Persuasion begins with forgiveness: receiving it at the altar and carrying it out to the camp and into the wilderness. Without the message and gift of forgiveness, nothing else we say matters.
Is it worth mentioning that the Christian message seems to be the only one that offers this forgiveness? That might be one of the things Minerva’s Owl is telling us.
An age of forgiveness is coming, when the redeemed of the Lord proclaim His mercy; when the meek inherit the earth; when the pure in heart see God; when eternity is an endless remembrance of the one who said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” Anger passes away, defeated. Forgiveness lasts forever.
Making your bed is not only an act of faith, it is an act of forgiveness. When you offer your service to God, making your bed will proclaim that the dawn of forgiveness has risen in your heart.