Today’s experience reminds me that my life isn’t quite as “important” as I thought it was. I had prepared well for this morning’s class; it was the first time I’ve been out of the house all week and I had had a lot of time to think about the lesson. One of the verses we would study uses the word “flint.”
Great! I remembered that when my children were, well, “children,” they came indoors one day with a grayish sort of rock, several inches in length, telling me they had found some “flint” outdoors in the yard. I had thought, how would they know? But they brought in some other rock, I think, and made us all go down into the basement, struck the flint, and sure enough, little sparks flew off.
How interesting! I’m not sure if I was more impressed with the flint or with my kids who could recognize flint lying around outside.
So of course I needed to find this rock and take it in to class today for an Object Lesson.
After all, that little incident was a few decades ago. It’s likely that I saved that flint rock somewhere; it’s not likely that I’d actually find it. (Who took the flint!!??)
I talked it over with my son, the pharmacist, and together, with his “chemistry” training, we decided a Bic lighter does indeed use flint, and a broken Bic lighter would be an ideal way to reveal the flint for my class.
I could find one of those. Don’t ask. We don’t smoke. I don’t know where it came from.
So this morning, with a notebook full of carefully hand-written notes, the Bible with the “right” translation, and my perfectly broken Bic, I was all ready to lead our little class into a study of the Flint Face…
Only when I got to class, I arrived empty handed. I had left everything at home. I suppose I was fussing about my sore throat and taking the right hot liquid with me…etc., etc.,.. I just forgot the rest.
And that’s when the “teacher” began to learn the biggest lesson today. A lifetime of experience, of accumulation, of preparation, of careful planning….all that turned out to be not needed. Not so important after all.
Here is the verse that was included in our lesson: (Isaias 50: 5, 6, 7) – “The Lord God has opened my ear and I do not resist. I have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat Me; I gave my cheeks to those who plucked my beard. I have not turned my face away from buffets and spitting. The Lord GOd is my Helper; therefore I will not be disgraced. I have set my face as flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.”
These words, of course, are the words to be spoken by the Messiah, when He comes, spoken throught he prophetic words of Isaias. We talked about most of these words, but especially the meaning of “setting ones face as flint.”
Flint is hard. Stone-face. Unresponding, uncomplaining. But more so, flint makes itself useful when it is struck, and struck hard.
The thought of the beautiful and loving face of Our Savior being struck was a difficult one. It was a most difficult lesson altogether, but it was one that unfolded itself to our thoughts and questions, word by word, as we needed it. The words carried us along.
The notes, the book, the Bic with its “real” flint that were all left behind this morning seemed as nothing, compared to what we were actually all reading and learning together this morning.
It’s Friday, now, when we customarily meditate on the Wounds of Christ, the beatings, the punches, the cords, the pulling of the beard, the spitting, and then the Wounds of the Crucifxion that He willingly went towards. And this Friday, this day, we look to the next few days called Holy Week, when all this really happened, a couple thousand years ago.
My best plans are not as important as my present experience with the Crucified One, unfolding, day be day, as I need it.