Insight From Isaac (And the Acorn)
A few years ago, when Isaac the dog and I were out for a walk, he began to limp in an odd way. I knelt down to look at his paws. I couldn’t see anything wrong, so I told him to shake it off and come along. He tried. But then he stopped again and lifted his front left paw off of the ground. He looked up at me with a face that said, “The problem is this paw. Look again.”
I removed my earbuds and knelt again next to the lifted paw. I carefully looked between each toe. I spread the pads of his paws and scraped away the dirt. And there it was. Tucked into the crevices of his paw was a small sphere with a torn edge: an acorn.
I carefully removed the acorn and placed his paw back on the ground. He hesitantly put his weight back on it. Realizing all four were back in working order, he took off with tail wagging, dragging his surgeon behind him. I know that was his bow-wow way of saying, “Thanks.”
We all have acorns in our soul. They’re not all necessarily dangerous, but they slow us down. If we ignore them for too long, the jagged edges dig into our hearts and can cause long-term damage. Anger. Jealousy. Resentment. Buried dreams. We human beings are not as quick as Isaac was to admit our need for help. We would rather limp with the acorn than leap with the aid.
In his beloved book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, the late author Brennan Manning wrote, “The New Testament depicts another picture of the victorious life … Jesus on Calvary. The biblical image of the victorious life reads more like the victorious limp.”
I love that phrase, “the victorious limp,” because it reminds us of our deep need for grace. An undeserved gift. The help we receive when we can no longer help ourselves. An admission that we need help extracting the acorns that dig at our heels. The church should be a place where we help one another do exactly that. The question is will be humble enough to receive the help when we need it? Sometimes we limp, and sometimes we walk, but together we can make progress on the journey of discipleship.
all good things to each of you,
Lectionary Texts for September 15, 2019
Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
1 Timothy 1:12-17