Sunday, October 31, 2010

The human experience

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience."

- Teilhard de Chardin, 1881 - 1955. A French Jesuit and philosopher.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Strong enough to exult in monotony

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life.

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.

But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.

It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun: and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon.

It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.

It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.

—G.K. Chesteron, ”The Ethics of Elfland,” chapter 4 in Orthodoxy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Bible’s really not about you

Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.

Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for our acquittal.

Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”

Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.

Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.

Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.

Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.

Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.

The Bible’s really not about you – it’s about him.

-- Tim Keller (perhaps quoting an unknown source)
source: here

Friday, October 22, 2010

Are you in God's story or is God in yours?

We are uprooted from our own existence and are taken back to the holy history of God on earth. There God has dealt with us, with our needs and our sins, by means of the divine wrath and grace. What is important is not that God is a spectator and participant in our life today, but that we are attentive listeners and participants in God’s action in the sacred story, the story of Christ on earth. God is with us today only as long as we are there. Our salvation is ‘from outside ourselves’ (extra nos). I find salvation, not in my life story, but only in the story of Jesus Christ. … What we call our life, our troubles, and our guilt is by no means the whole of reality; our life, our need, our guilt, and our deliverance are there in the Scriptures.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, October 18, 2010

We have forgotten who we are

We drove the five hours back to my home, with mom beside me and a few of her possessions in the back. She dozed- which is most of what she does these days- and on the radio, someone had won the Powerball jackpot of $340 million.

I realized that, at this moment, $340 million would do nothing for my mom that I was not doing. I was loving her the best way I could by taking her to my family. The hugs of her grandkids, the meals we can fix, the care in the declining days to come- these are the gifts I want to give her. In reality, $340 million does nothing for this particular human being at this point in the journey.

Of course, this is always true. It is true for all of us, now, as much as it will be true when we are within sight of the end of life. But yet we live as if $340 million, or another hour at work, or a bigger house, or bigger church facility will give us what we need.

The truth is, we have forgotten who we are. We do not want to look at where we are going, and we do not want to accept that what we need most of all is there for us all the time in the grace of Christ.

I close with a prayer from someone in a similar class.

“Too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient, O Beauty so new. Too late have I loved you! You were within me but I was outside myself, and there I sought you! In my weakness I ran after the beauty of the things you have made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The things you have made kept me from you – the things which would have no being unless they existed in you! You have called, you have cried, and you have pierced my deafness. You have radiated forth, you have shined out brightly, and you have dispelled my blindness. You have sent forth your fragrance, and I have breathed it in, and I long for you. I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you. You have touched me, and I ardently desire your peace.” --St. Augustine, Confessions

-- from an archived blog entry by Michael Spencer
source: here