[The farm girls and their mama have just landed halfway round the other side of the world, and we feel a bit spun from the travel, but woke up thinking about just this as we get ready for a our first full day here, and all the God-stories to come….]
So there’s a poor reason why they call ’em spin doctors.
You know, how the newspapers and airwaves are loud with them, PR guys winding journalists and the news up, spinning some yarn, some twist on this regulation, about that siege, this regime, those rebels and my heart twists, wrung out and weak.
Sometimes I have to just lean up against a door frame, a drywalled two by four, and exhale.
Spin doctors and all these circular arguments of pundits and broadcasts and bickering kids and financial analysts and family drama between Aunt Marg and Granny Kehoe and why in the world does just getting out of bed give you a bad case of motion sickness?
And then you’ve got the dizzy of dentist appointments and errands for more ink for the ever-parched printer and piano practice for girls.
And picking up an overflowing cart of cauliflower because it’s on sale this week at Food Basics and dropping one of the boys off at the Mennonite wood shop where he’s apprenticing and still trying to get late packages out in time for today’s mail.
I can be spun sick dizzy before 9 in the morning.
So there’s this mundane going out out to the freezer and getting a can of concentrated orange juice and squeezing it out into this pitcher and then there’s the stirring, and I stand over the mouth of the pitcher and watch it spinning too, this ridiculous concentrating on the concentrate.
There’s this stirring the orange juice slow and there’s that: Concentrate means to make stronger, be more focused; concentrate means to not be diluted by distractions, to be in one’s purest form.
And then, over the morning’s Bible reading, I drink back the orange juice and read it over again and again, like a circling of it’s own: “Give thanks to the Lord, His Love Endures Forever.”
Like every thought of the psalm had to be circled, had to be held together, by the only sinew that holds: Give Thanks to The Lord, His Love Endures Forever.
I read a theologian once who said that
“God teaches us by this method of repetition through Scripture with good reason:
The human mind is incurably centrifical, forever flying off at a tangent; it must be brought back to the great central truths of the gospel, over and over.
Our minds must be made literally to con-centrate.”
The earth spins, so Scripture keeps spinning around the central point. Because the mind is chronically centrifugal. In a whirling world, we keep flying off in tangents.
Our thinking needs to intentionally con-centrate — to literally circle again and around again around the central thing.
So none of this ever gets old: the giving thanks, giving thanks every day and again, for a thousand things, the memorizing of Scripture, the verses of Romans on repeat, the sitting down to eat the dead food three times a day and then never pushing back from the table until having eaten the Living Food.
The old paths never get old — they are what renew.
No one lives Gospel-centered lives, until literally, intentionally con-centrating: circling the mind around and around Christ again.
In the vortex of life, you keep your head above water by literally con-centrating your thinking:
Centering and circling your thoughts again around the things that matter.
We are only as Christ-centred as our minds are con-centric: thoughts circling around Christ — concentrating.
The mudroom smells like wet and raunchy dog — a home scent gone mad — and the fridge needs someone with a face mask in a wetsuit to pressure wash it down.
And there were tears over a math lesson already and no one can find one dire pencil sharpener.
Give Thanks to The Lord, His Love Endures — without expiry date, without end — Forever.
All fear is the lie that God’s love ends.
Untie that lie.
Untie that lie that strangles you by circling your life with Truth: Give Thanks to The Lord, His Love Endures —
endures cancer, teenagers, laundry, infertility, sleepless nights, debt, despair, betrayal, broken dreams, toddler tantrums,
a thousand pressures — His love Endures Forever.
So say it again, like a refrain on repeat.
In the whirl, circle thoughts around gratitude to Christ.
Go in circles around the right things.
The way out of confusion is to concentrate: circle around Christ. Simplicity isn’t a matter of circumstances — it’s a matter of focus.
Concentrate on Christ — and life becomes pure, concentrated joy.
Go ahead, the cynics and skeptics can roll their eyes; everyone has the free choice to spin crazy.
In the midst of the spinning, there is a doctor:
And I wash off the counter, soak up this ring, this circle of juice.
And there’s light over the fields and Hope’s playing her scales and on a blurring world, I’m thinking how there’s this other refrain…
how life tastes better when concentrated.