I’m learning all about recycling right now, in my effort to pursue my one-word, green, during 2011. I’m not just learning for me, and my house, but because our annual April event, Butterfly Festival, which raises funds for the Church preschool, Chrysalis, is taking on a green theme this year.
Specifically, we’re trying to find a reputable company to do electronic recycling on the church campus that day and to provide an educational experience for the kids about what recycling does. One company promises to empty, clean and repurpose our electronics so they don’t end up in a trash heap. I did pause, though, at that word – recycle.
Recycle the old
At the heart, it means to run it through a cycle again. I’ve re-cycled hurts in that way. Every time I see the one who hurt me, or the situation is similar, I re-cycle those past hurts, running them through that same perceptual filter I have.
When I was all of 20, and planning a wedding/honeymoon, we wanted to book a cruise. The cruise company told us that because I was a minor, I could not be booked in a room with my husband, without a guardian aged 25 or older. So, if I didn’t want to take Mom on my honeymoon, I was out of luck. Every time I see advertisements for that cruise line, I remember the pompous sneer of the call center manager who told us that policy was policy. I cycle that bitterness through again.
In the book of John, I read of Jesus taking 5 loaves and 2 fish and feeding a crowd of 5 thousand. Talk about making a little go a long way! But there’s more. When the people had all eaten until they were full, he had them collect the leftovers, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” Collection. Congregation. In order to be recycled, items need to be collected out from among the rest of the waste.
When I’m hurt or angry or sad or jealous or fearful, I need to recognize those emotions for what they are, so that I can recycle them properly. I don’t just want to run it through that same filter, I want to bring it to Jesus.
Jesus Changes the Process
When Jesus touched the 5 loaves and 2 fish, suddenly it was more than enough to feed a crowd of more than 5 thousand. Not only that, but then “they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.”
Jesus isn’t a re-cycle program. I don’t give him hurt and he turns fresh hurt back to me. At first glance, it seems like Jesus just made more of the bread, he re-cycled the same thing, but if you look at the story as a whole, you see that he took Philip’s incredulity “Two hundred denarii wouldn’t be enough to buy them all bread to eat!” and turned it into wonder. He took something small and turned it into something miraculous. He took doubts and gave back hope. He took uncertainty and created surety.
I don’t want to settle for just getting what I give. I want more. I don’t want to re-cycle and run that pain and bitterness through the same cycle that created pain and bitterness, anymore. I want to change the production line. I want to put in trash and get back treasure. I want to trade my sorrows for dancing. The only process by which I’ve been able to do that? Jesus.
What difference have you seen in your recycling methods, and Jesus’?