We’ve had a problem with the concrete walk heading to our back door for the whole 21 years we’ve been in our home. It’s been on my fixing to do list ever since we moved in, but like usual, the fix only comes when we’re moving out. It’s a small enough fix that after the prep work late in the afternoon, I was able to do the patch after a meeting last night. When I was trying to get the mix of concrete and water right, I was reminded of the old M*A*S*H TV series episode in which they laid a concrete operating room floor.
The bunch of medical folk at M*A*S*H 4077 had no idea about how to mix or work concrete, so CPL Klinger piped up to offer “I helped my uncle with some concrete when I was a kid…” so he instantly became the expert. They really SHOULDn’t have gotten mad at him when the mix didn’t work—had had been only a kid helping occasionally, after all—but the first effort was a disaster! But they finally got it right, and when I finally got my concrete mixed right, I knew there had to be a message mixed into the concrete as well.
Concrete is a mixture of water, aggregates and portland cement. The aggregates are normal things like gravel and sand. The magic is in the portland cement paste that is formed when mixed with water, and when it completely covers, surrounds and encases the aggregates. The chemical reaction that then occurs forms a growing number of nodes on the cement particle that grow together with surrounding cement particles, that become virtually as hard as stone.
The cement paste, as it surrounds and encases all the aggregates and forms links with one another, is what provides the magic of the strength of the final product. This sounds so much like how God created us to work—we, like the ordinary aggregates in concrete, are nothing special in and of ourselves—until surrounded, held together, and encased in the power of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual reaction occurs in us, much like the chemical reaction occurs in the concrete, when we’re shaped by the water of our baptism, to then become intertwined and interconnected as the Body of Christ, one strong, malleable substance to be shaped by God’s master Mason’s hands.
Don’t you just get covered with spiritually excited goosebumps when you hear how this works? I just LOVE seeing in the most ordinary things around us how the hand of God works! And it does sometimes seem like we have the intellectual prowess of a box of rocks when we get away from the all-encompassing power of the Holy Spirit. Though it might not always feel so good to be hosed down and scrambled all together for a while, those trying actions are the catalyst that envelopes us into the Holy Spirit, so are essential to our spiritual growth.
Dive with me into the mix that God has in store for us. It can be a rocky ride sometimes, but it’s a small price for the priceless gift of being a part of the living temple God is building with us to be His presence in the world!
Ever in the mix–Rev. Jim