Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Irrational Grace

do not scoff when a logical mind questions your faith. his inability to see the rationale behind the sacrifice of Christ is due to an unappreciation for the unreasonable. surely your laughter is infused by your childlike faith. and for this you are blessed. but to dismiss the seeker of knowledge is to withhold the key to the Kingdom of Heaven, which was freely given to you.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Mary, Did You Know?

it's Easter weekend and i'm just not feelin' it this time around. the cross. the scars. i don't want to mourn. it's a time when our King conquered death, He didn't succumb to the depths of a grave. i am reminded that He rose again, with every intention of saving our lives so that we may rejoice and tell others. how many people get 'saved' after watching a Sunday morning Easter play? i think our caricature of a one-dimensional bearded white guy gets over-drawn. the message gets old. we try desperately to re-enact the trauma and resurrect a grieving calloused heart. maybe squeeze out another tear. then go home and watch football.

i don't want to keep ranting about this. i've already done that. i want to paint a new Da Vinci picture.

the other day i lost my sister. i was supposed to be at the church rehearsing for this Sunday's Easter play (i'm Judas). but i skipped out and went to Oakville with some friends. i got back to one of my friend's house, about 3 hours after Lydia was finished work. i called everyone who might know where she went, but nothing. so i went home to see if she was there. she wasn't. she left a message on my mom's answering machine, crying about weird creepy people around where she was. my grandma called the police to report her missing. i stayed at home to wait for phone calls and my mom to get home with the vehicle so i could go find her. my mom was freaking out by now. on our way to Simcoe, we got a call that she had been dropped off at home. she was found waiting outside the empty church building. needless to say, she was very mad at me.

in one instance of His childhood, Jesus disappeared during the Passover Feast. Mary and Joseph were frantically looking for Him among friends and relatives. after three days of searching, they found him in the temple back in Jerusalem. His mother said, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and i have been anxiously seraching for you." Jesus said, "Why were you searching for me? didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:41-52)
i imagine countless times, Mother Mary tried to tauten the reigns of parental-influence on Jesus. but like a stubborn mule, He resisted. i think we've scratched out this picture of Mary. is she at fault? no. simply miscommunication with the Father, like we all have from time to time. Mary is the symbol of our inner struggle with a concept of God as an authoritative puppeteer with whom we are at constant tug of war for control of the marionette strings. while our lives are lived on stage, responding to God's direction. we don't like it.

while Jesus was talking to a crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak with you." Jesus replied, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" pointing to His disciples, he said, "here are my mother and my brothers. whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:46-50)

Jesus wasn't really much of a family man. He left His mother's house for the life of a homeless man. His family members even questioned His sanity. look what His instructions are for His followers: "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." (Matthew 11:34-36). He gave children ammo, and gave parents an option: "teach your children to follow me, and they will obey you." (Paraphrased)

even when His mother and brother stood at the foot of the cross, weeping, He said to Mary, "dear woman, this is your son," and to his brother, "this is your mother." (John 19:25-27) as if to graciously remove Himself from the equation.

obviously, different people draw different conclusions from the scripture references i have provided, but i like mine. perhaps i am biased, maybe out of context. i do believe Jesus loved Mary, and chose to obey her because God wanted that. but to disregard the conflict of interest between Jesus and His family members would be to assume Jesus led an easy life, with a perfect upbringing. this might put Mary up on a pedestal? i believe Jesus relied heavily on His Heavenly Father to teach Him the ways of the world, and has made that option available to us as well.

Vim and Vigor

i dusted off my old bike today. had to take advantage of this beautiful day. i remember as a kid i didn't think i could ever get as far as Jarvis. i went there and back in about an hour today. there's nothing like conquering childhood challenges.

sometimes i get lost in the complexity of life. the vibrancy fades from this pastel drawing. call me crazy but i think God is fascinated with His creation. maybe boastful at times. longing to show me the pages of His sketchbook. if God wasn't interested in the material substance of reality, why would He take so much care in creating it? why would He leave the blemishes of artistic signature in places so delicate and intimate if not to say "This is mine, I am indeed well pleased!" we see blemish and think of rubbish. much the same way a lucid mind will question the value of abstract art and ask "what's the point?" and go about his regular business, frustrated with limited ways to express himself.

if God wasn't interested, why spend the time working out the kinks of a functioning brain and life-giving heart and lungs? why baffle our simplistic minds with an unexplorable universe? if not to say, "You could not possibly know."

yet He thinks me fonder than all His other works of art.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

For Those Who Are Thirsty.

to be perfect is to be compassionate. this is righteousness beyond legalism. love people as they are; not as they should be.

to walk in liberty is to live the Gospel. this is to walk a fine line, not a path of rebellion. this necessity requires responsibility.

do not confuse the weaker brother for the younger. teach them to be strong and dangerous, not crippled and safe.

make your words soothing to the ear, but convicting to the heart. then you will be heard.

parables speak life to the eager, and stories to the cynic. this is how you hide pearls.

God's love is a great secret. it requires searching. this is Christianity.

Parables of Jesus 
Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well
Growing Seed