Thursday, July 21, 2005

What Are You Feeling?

What are we feeling... right now...??? What is it??? Where is the finger of our soul dipping, and where are the ripples leading our eyes? Are we children being watched as we wander down the street for the first time? Are the eyes on us as we look about in the realm of new freedom? How do I look at my kids as they trundle off without me for the first time? What is it I love as my soul lays a blanket before their gentle feet? What is it??

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Been Awhile, Been Busy

Well life has continued to flow on by and the sometimes turbulent stream has sped us along to today. Had some great things to say but life made a way into my life so I'll let the pictures tell the story. (A nod goes to Nathan for this. Thanks dude ;) )

They're gone!!

Sammy at Bear Lake

Feshya fishin'

Our man Ethan

In Sammy's bunkbed it's always a party!

At Grandma and Grandpa West's place

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Jealousy As A Good Thing?

So what is it saying when the word says that we worship a jealous God? It can be difficult to discern without first undressing our minds from all the clutter that blocks our view. We see through a veil when we use a human standard to assess what the bible says about the Lord, and it skews the perception. It is also difficult to lay aside these perceptions when we open the book. In a poem I once wrote there was a line about 'perusing the tomes of war' which referred to the tendency to read through scripture to find some ammunition against someone else and their thinking. This is what happens when the veil remains as I read. Of course the right way to come to the word is with the mind of allowing it to change how I think. A frightening concept to a human being, to hand your mind over to someone else and allow them to tinker with your treasures. These treasures often are shown for the trash they really are when we do this and that is perhaps the greatest reason for our most passionate defenses.
I found myself in this quandary recently, fumbling through the truth. It was not until I was in bed and trying to turn my brain off that the Lord finally found some purchase on the rocky soil of my mind to speak from. I guess it pays to be quiet. What the Lord started showing me was how I had a problem with the concept of God being jealous. Now this was the kind of thing where I just set it in the back of my thinking and basically ignore it because it doesn't quite fit what is in the foreground. Thankfully though He is committed to us learning and won't allow these treasure to sit there unused.

The problem I had with the idea of God being jealous is the ugliness of this emotion as it is expressed in humanity. It just didn't seem to fit on this awesome, loving God. What I had not considered was that this emotion would be untainted within the heart of God. To show me this He took me to the garden where He had just created Adam. Now to express jealousy in the human sense God's next action would be almost perverse. If He were jealous in the sense we use it He would not have allowed any other to invade this relationship. Yet, when God looked upon this man he said it would not be good for him to be alone. What!!! How does jealousy fit here?? It seems that our idea of jealousy resides within our own desires, whereas God's jealousy resides in the desires of others. His interest is in the right function of that which He has created. Even when He says in the word that He is a jealous God it is not saying that He is some egotistical lover who cannot handle some competition. It has more to do with the joy of the created than the need of the Creator. He is jealous for our good. Look at the harshness with which Christ attacked the hell-spawned ideologies of the people He came in contact with. If I begin to think that this was aimed at the hearers alone I would begin to sow seeds of judgment in my own thinking. I would begin to see pharisees wherever I look. The truth is that this jealous God was as passionate about seeing the pharisees free and living in the joy of the Spirit as He was about seeing the disciples free from their small 'g' God thinking. I have often made the error of taking sides in the pitched battles within the body, leaning towards defending those whom I suppose to be the oppressed against those I suppose to be their oppressors. Of course the oppressors are always flesh and blood. Oops! I forgot about that thing about us warring against principalities and powers, and not each other. Maybe this is what the human idea of jealousy has spawned within my own heart. A place where division can find a foothold and worse yet a stronghold.
So now I am left with this idea of a jealous God creating another love for His creation. Hmmmm, I wonder where this will lead??
from the Duomo di Orvieto

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Lest I Forget

In reading today's headlines I can become a little overwhelmed. That is when I read them in the context of only what these fleshly fishbowls in my head are seeing. It all fades into the colors and banners of hope when I look through the lenses of heaven. I can no longer slide into woeful cynicism (one of my favorite haunts in seasons of forgetfulness), nor into a stupified consolment of compromise, when I but glance upon the transcendant glory of the living Christ.
Consider the writing of John Milton in Paradise Lost where he recounts his vision of the expulsion of the great enemy from the glory of heaven. This is from book VI, lines 806-826 where Christ responds to the Father and the host of glory of His intent upon the hordes of Satan.
Gustav Dore, detail of plate 1
.......But of this cursed crew
The punishment to other hand belongs;
Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints:
Number to this day's work is not ordained,
Nor multitude; stand only, and behold
God's indignation on these godless poured
By me; not you, but me, they have despised,
Yet envied; against me is all their rage,
Because the Father, to whom in Heaven s'preme
Kingdom, and power, and glory appertains,
Hath honoured me, according to his will.
Therefore to me their doom he hath assigned;
That they may have their wish, to try with me
In battle which the stronger proves; they all,
Or I alone against them; since by strength
They measure all, of other excellence
Not emulous, nor care who them excels;
Nor other strife with them do I vouchsafe.
So spake the Son, and into terrour changed
His countenance too severe to be beheld,
And full of wrath bent on his enemies.

And through the flight of His foes this countenance is unchanged till at last they fall bewildered to the pit. (lines 853-877)

Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked
His thunder in mid volley; for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven:
The overthrown he raised, and as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together thronged
Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursued
With terrours, and with furies, to the bounds
And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide,
Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed
Into the wasteful deep: The monstrous sight
Struck them with horrour backward, but far worse
Urged them behind: Headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrath
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit.
Hell heard the unsufferable noise, Hell saw
Heaven ruining from Heaven, and would have fled
Affrighted; but strict Fate had cast too deep
Her dark foundations, and too fast had bound.
Nine days they fell: Confounded Chaos roared,
And felt tenfold confusion in their fall
Through his wild anarchy, so huge a rout
Incumbered him with ruin: Hell at last
Yawning received them whole, and on them closed;
Hell, their fit habitation, fraught with fire
Unquenchable, the house of woe and pain.

This is the Christ, the Messiah of Israel and the grafted Gentile Church. This is the Christ who sends my foes to flight. This is the Christ against whom the nations rage in vain and plot to their great loss. This is the Christ who will avenge His charished bride for all her sufferings. This is the Christ who beckons all to be at His side as the enemy of all is finally driven powerless to the hell formed for him and his own. This is the Christ who causes my soul to weep for those who will not join at his side, but rally to the side of the one who is forever lost. This is the triumphant Christ, who from birth to death to life forevermore was triumphant and transcendant. This is the Christ scripture reveals, His passion and fury poised against all the unrighteousness unleashed by and against humankind. He is on our side!!! He is the rescuer of our souls from their dark devisings. He is the One who hates the foes of all humanity. He is the One who loves. His jealous anger aroused against any who lift their hands against the cherished ones. Oh that I would remember the great warrior of Love. I cheer the cinema star as he plays a weak reflection of this Great King and go home forgetting the Son who is the light.
Today I remember. Today I will look out through the eyes of heaven. Today I am a son of the King and brother to the Christ of the world here and to come!