Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Silly, or Significant?

There are many details of life that may be important personally, but are not of eternal or ultimate importance. The arrangement of furniture in your living room may be important to you. But aside from some "discussions" between a husband and the wife who wants to re-arrange, it's not worth talking about. Hebrews 9:1-5 mentions that furniture of the Tent of Meeting. It had importance for the Old Covenant community, and there are lessons that are related to these things, especially since God was in charge of the design. But the furniture arrangement has limited significance today, and we are in danger if we read too much into it.
A common trait of religious types is to wax eloquent and creative when it comes to the minute details of such things. We attach great significance to the smallest details in ways that result in mere curiosities. These things are easily remembered, and often repeated. And these curiosities may be of interest to others in our sub-culture. But I am afraid that to others - it is just strange.
For instance, I think of the ring ceremony at weddings. The pastor often says something about the gold and its purity, and the continuous circle and its relation to an enduring relationship. I've heard these things from others, and I've repeated them, because, after all,  you're supposed to say something. And you would like to say something profound. But on further reflection, these things may not be profound at all. Might it not be more likely that the wedding ring is gold because cheaper metals make your finger turn green, and it may be round because a square "ring" wouldn't be called a "ring," and because it wouldn't fit your round finger?
When we talk about silly things as though they are significant, then we are in danger of leading people to think that , when we finally mention something significant, we are still rather silly people talking about silly things.