Socks and Stove Knobs
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together.” – Isaiah 11:16
The scriptures are often extravagant in their promises. My cat and my dog don’t even always get along – how can animals that like to eat each other lie peacefully together? My sister and I are not always on good terms. We love each other but have not always liked the placement of each other’s slippers.
Clearly we are being pointed to a reality beyond that of domesticated animals and domesticated humans. We are being pointed to a place beyond own ordinary experience. We are being advised to be different.
I had a glimpse of this spiritual advice just recently. The new stove knobs that we had purchased didn’t fit. They had to be returned. The new socks we ordered also didn’t fit. They were short when they should been long. They also had to be returned. I sent the socks back to the stove manufacturer and the knobs back to the sock manufacturer. The lady from the sock company in Minnesota gave Garrison Keillor a run for his money. She gave Minnesota nice a new dimension. “Mrs. Schaper, what would you like me to do with the stove knobs?”
I haven’t heard from the stove company yet about the socks.
To understand this scripture you have to do something as seemingly mistaken as send your hopes to the places of presumed violence, your knobs to the sock people and your socks to the knob people. You have to look for peace in all the wrong places. You have to wolf the lamb and lamb the wolf.
O God, take us a new direction and take us there soon.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Check out her book: Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.