Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Grace, Jesus, Life, Mercy, Religion, Sermon, Spirituality, thoughts, Wholeness
Where do you go to buy a clock or watch? If I needed an inexpensive timepiece I would probably head off to the nearest Target and look at the selection that they had on their shelves, and what a varied selection that would be. Where do most of these clocks and watches originate? Most of these timepieces are made in Japan and China. Yet, there was a time, not too long ago, that when looking for a watch or clock the best option was to buy something that was made by craftsmen in Europe or Switzerland.
When it came to watches these were machines with complicated, tiny moving parts. First, there is the escapement, which is a group of interlocking gears controlling the unwinding of the clock. Second, there is a balance wheel together with a balance spring forming a simple harmonic oscillator. This controls the motion of the gear system of the watch in a manner like a pendulum of a pendulum clock. Finally, the tourbillon is a rotating frame for the escapement. This reduces the bias to the timekeeping (i.e. helps it keep accurate time). It is challenging to create a high quality tourbillon, and specialists are highly valued. It took experts to intricately place these parts into something that could fit in a pocket or on a wrist.
In 1957 the Hamilton Watch Company in Pennsylvania produced a watch that ran on batteries and did not need to be constantly hand wound. So, changes were on the verizon for watches. The battery-powered watch was just being researched and Swiss watch makers were beginning to be frightened. They grouped together to fund research on making an electronic watch that was more efficient and cheaper than the one that their watchmakers were already making. Their researcher created the first Quartz watch. It was presented to the watchmakers for their approval. Since it did not require the high craftsmanship that they were used to putting into a watch the Swiss ignored the research that they had funded to create. They believed that the Quartz watch would only become a short-term fad at best. They decided it was a bad idea.
This turned out to be one of the most fateful business decisions of the twentieth century. When the quartz watch was unveiled in 1969 a small Japanese watch company took notice. Seiko paid $1,250 dollars to produce the first Quartz watch. Although, this first watch was considered a failure they had set into motion a revolution in watch making. In the 1970’s the entire watch buying public switched to quartz watches and many of the Swiss companies who had ignored their own research collapsed. Eventually, most of the remaining Swiss watchmakers would have to turn to this technology themselves to survive.
That is how it is when we are being taught lessons in life. Often it is by our own hubris or low self-esteem that we ignore the choices that surround us that will make our life or the life of others worth living. We have a million excuses for why we don’t change, don’t learn from our mistakes or why we don’t have time to make the simplest effort to change this world for others.
In the short text from Luke Martha welcomes Jesus into her home when he entered her village. Mary, Martha’s sister sits at the feet of the teacher. Martha does all the things expected of her and becomes exasperated when her sister is acting like a man. Only men can get an education from a Rabbi. Yet, the teacher admonishes Martha, she is too distracted by what is expected from her from culture, family and religion. Mary has down the lasting thing. She is being taught and this is the better part. It will be something that cannot be taken away from her. Mary is teachable.
Are you teachable? Of course I don’t mean are you smart, can you take a test, can you remember the answers or can you write a coherent essay. This is not the teaching that we are exhorted to participate in as followers of Christ. We are taught those things that apostle Paul exclaims are foolishness to the wise. Love your neighbor as yourself, show mercy to others like the Samaritan, blessed are the peacemakers, turn the other cheek or do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
We may think that it is beneath us to learn new ways to act in the world. After all we come together as church to socialize, to be inspired, to find a positive ethical paradigm, a place for our children to have morals or because it is simply what we have always done? Right? We are not interested in being changed, radically altering our perspectives and forcing us into action.
Maybe we were told that we were a disappointment by a parent, abused, have so much power that our pride crowds out any lesson, have so much education that you sigh, are too busy, too old to learn something new or that people do not change. This is simply not the message of Christ. We are all possible students if we have ears to hear. They are lessons of following, serving others, working on the harvest, praying, giving to those in need, loving each other, uniting and showing each other mercy. These are all things that are counter intuitive to a society that teaches profit motives, power struggles, multi-tasking, survival of the fittest, unlimited consumption, war without consequences, radical individualism, shallow distractions and the unhindered American dream.
Are you teachable? Mary sat at Jesus feet and listened.
3 Comments so far
Leave a comment