The Mystery

Happy Lords day!

The calendar we all know and love is wrong. It wasn’t Christ’s birth that separates time. It was His death. At about 3 o’clock on a friday between the sabbath and the passover, the lamb that came into the world to take away the sins of the world was killed and eaten by death. He had been turned over to be crucified by the people who were supposed to guard that promise. In the most brutal of ironies, the author of life allowed His to be taken. The God who has all power, knowledge, and is everywhere — couldn’t even watch. The Son of God had been obedient to the Father, even though it meant his death. The Paradox split time.
That fracture in time and Christ’s magnetism created a breach through which all sins, past present and future could be collected and die. Because those sins died with Christ, we can live.
Jesus didn’t just die for our sins. THE FATHER RAISED HIM TO LIFE. Having destroyed our sins, he came back to life to give us THE reason to live. The relationship He gives, gives purpose for the rest of our lives, and since we know He lives, we know He can fulfill His promise to raise us up to life after we cross the divide of death.

1 Timothy 3:16
Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

Isaiah 53:2-5 (ESV)
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

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My thought-‘servations about Friends.

Today I was planning on living life as normal. I hadn’t given out my birth date to anyone, hadn’t mentioned it, had even skirted the issue yesterday at lunch (though Facebook has a way of making things like birthdays pretty obvious). I was going to try not really celebrating it at all this year. I have had small birthday parties, combined birthday parties, but invariably, there’s always some sort of get-together. This time, with the way events fell in my family I was sure that I was going to have a quiet birthday for the first time.

And God laughed.

The awesome thing about friends is that they don’t always take clues well.

I fully expected a decent number of communications on Facebook, text, and perhaps a phone call or two, but I wasn’t expecting an announcement in chapel, at lunch, and then a not-well-kept-secret surprise party tonight. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was something I’ve not experienced before, so it was cool. Embarrassed the socks off me, but it was cool and it helped me to think through something that I needed to think through.

I don’t deserve my friends.

I doubt anybody ever really does, but it still hit me like a hydroplaning deer. I’ve never been hit by a hydroplaning deer, so I imagine that this is what it would feel like. Oddly, there was no sense of self evaluation or really any self in that thought at all. I am in relationship with a group of people on an individual level, that I have no right to. I always try to be a good friend, but in the end, I don’t really measure up to what a friend should be…and the fact that I can interact with their lives, and they can interact with mine is beautiful.

I have a friend in God. His friendship is deeper than even marriage. We always talk about a marriage or a friendship that will last for eternity, but in reality, marriage is over at death. The emotional attachment to the memory ghost may remain until the other spouse dies, but the ability to interact with that person ceases to exist. Not so with God, Neither of us could ever lose our ability to interact, neither of us really die; God has chosen me, and that leaves the only variable in the equation as my commitment, but even in that, He hasn’t left me alone. I am incapable of maintaining my commitment to God, so he has made a way to keep me in His love through my ups and downs. Our friendship is deeper than the marriage vows and more unchangeable than the atomic number of a water molecule. As a single guy, I can only imagine the depth of commitment and love of a marriage that has made it 50 years. In truth, I can’t comprehend a truly eternal relationship where I have more than the time of the world to get to know my creator who will walk and talk with me in the morning under the oak trees by the river…

But I’ve got great friends and family who can show me a little bit of the magnificence of that kind of relationship, and one day, perhaps I’ll get to share some of that with a wife. With or without a wife though, I have the best in life simply by keeping my relationship with the creator strong.

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Unintentional Self Homicide Averted!

Labels can save lives.

Today I had to rush to clean a house. I had a bottle for one of the cleaning solutions I would need, but realized that I didn’t have a bottle for the second one.

Being the clever problem solver that I am, I grabbed a Frebreze bottle and emptied it’s contents into the only container I had on hand…

Later tonight, I was on the phone and needed a drink of water,  so I reached for the water bottle I had conveniently left on my dresser.

First thought was, “This water is nasty!”

Second Thought was “My mouth is going numb.”

Third thought was more of a life-flashing-before-my-eyes type thing.

I’m writing to assure everyone that I’m still alive. I should regain my sense of taste sometime within the next week or so. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. This lesson was learned memorably.

 

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A story of Forgiveness

A while back, when I was around five or six… I had a dream. It was like any other dream I suppose, except that in the end, I murdered one of my siblings. I haven’t seen any data to suggest that such dreams are normal, but I haven’t actively sought out that data either. After all, what’s in a dream? A thought at any other time might smell as sweet.

As I mentioned before, I was quite young and this dream scared me, but who could I tell? I didn’t want the one I murdered to fear me. For that matter I didn’t want my parents or siblings to fear that I would push them into a volcano too.

Let me just mention that not all of my early fears were rational. Did I mention that I used to be afraid of the moon?

So, after mulling over the dilemma for most of the day, I decided to sleep on it. I regretted it in the middle of the night when I pushed my brother into a volcano again.

I really don’t know how Cain dealt with the guilt of murdering his brother, but It kept me up for a good portion of the night, and I had to forgive my older brother for whatever it is that he had done to me a few days ago as soon as we were both conscious.

Only in hindsight did I learn these two lessons.

  • Don’t go hiking on the rim of a volcano with a brother you are mad at.
  • Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.

Those are in no particular order.volcano

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