Lessons from the........

Lessons from the sludge and sewer

It was amazing; the heat and the movement of the shadows and the smell of the arid smoke....as the ore was being partly refined in this huge metal building (1999). My first time in an active mine.  I asked about the remnants…a dark brownish paste like mount that accumulated and was being hauled off to be ‘dumped.’ It seemed that there was no longer any purpose for it. 

Now move the clock ahead 20 years and have you heard that they are treating biowaste and sewage and finding amid the dumped stuff, precious metals in attainable amounts.  It seems that even in the dumped parts of living, there is preciousness to be gathered, if we figure out the mechanisms. I wonder if prayer is one of those mechanisms for finding the precious in the dumped parts of our living?

In Malachi 3:1-4,  the prophet speaks to Israel about their lives being refined and the need for an openness. Yes, when prophets speak of hope, it is hope for a purpose. I remember a church member telling me of the loss of a ring down the toilet and having to go through the sewer line to find it….. and they did search for it, because they knew something of value was there…..but wow, was it messy and the person stunk to high heaven for a week. It gets under your fingernails too.  

For the people of Israel living after the exile, they needed to have strength to go through their own sewer lines: their past community values and behaviours and relationships and find out what was of value or what was a lesson discern-able. God, grant us the willingness to wade into our own stuff and find the things of value, even if they are a lesson that is taken away instead of a gold nugget. Help us God to also use the rest of that stuff too, to grow.

Stephen Matthews