Burying Your Underpants

Yesterday evening we had a family gathering – 15 of us. Our local family was joined by some of our French family – Sara, Fred, Camille and our dear sister-in-law Genviève. There was a lot of conversation (in French, English and a bit of Portuguese), food (the obligatory barbecue) and laughter (I may need to apologise to the neighbours!)

I’m so grateful that I have family; I hope I never take it for granted; I’m kept humble because I realise others aren’t so blessed.

I love Bible stories. I love the well-known ones – their familiarity their constant freshness. I love the less popular ones…

This morning I read Jeremiah 13… God tells Jeremiah to buy a linen loincloth – the equivalent of Marks and Spencer’s underwear. Then God says ‘Don’t wash it!’

God tells Jeremiah to bury his dirty underpants under a rock by the riverbank. A long time later God tells Jermiah to dig up his loincloth – and it was dirty, rotting and falling apart… good for nothing…

After a lifetime of wearing underwear I’ve learnt 2 things – Firstly it’s there to stay close to you; secondly it needs to be kept clean and looked after.

After a lifetime of living as part of a family I’ve learnt the same 2 things.. they are there to stay close to you… family relationships need to be kept clean and looked after.

Jeremiah actually uses his rotten buried underpants as a sermon illustration – saying that this is like the way that Israel treats their God… a distant rotting relationship.

Then Jeremiah 13 surprises me with words I know but didn’t know their origin: ‘Can an Ethiopian change the colour of his skin or a leopard change its spots’   

There are some things that we can’t change!

Musing this morning… the facts of my family that I can’t change… the dangers of letting relationships – with God, family and friends – become dirty, distant or damaged… the greater danger that abandoned relationships can become irreversibly destroyed.

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