Saturday, May 30, 2015

My Bipolar Soul

So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands.  At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.  For He is our peace…
   - Ephesians 2:11-14

Reading these ancient, ever-living words this morning my soul goes bipolar on me. I rejoice that through the ‘blood of the Messiah’ I am united with God, a citizen of Israel, a joint heir in the promises of the covenant. Before Christ called my name I was content in my arrogance, ignorance, and unbelief. Then, one evening long ago Christ chose me. He called me by name. He called me his friend. This Voice that rang out through that hot July evening filled me with ineffable joy. The Living Word spoke a peace into my life that has now lasted for decades and will be with me into eternity.

But, even in my joy, I grieve over the billions of people ‘with no hope and without God in the world’. The billions who have no access to God’s life-giving word. The same Voice who called me friend also said, “I appoint you that you should go out and produce fruit”. He called me to not only know him but to make him known.

And so, in my grief, I rejoice that he has chosen me to be a living sacrifice making him known among the unreached. I rejoice in the hope that he has called me to ‘be persistent and prayer’ and to bless and not curse the nations in his name.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Build Your Life

“… build your life as if it were a work of art”

Heschel is saying that every decision, every action, we take or don’t take is an integral part of the work of art called ‘me’. Of course, there are major decisions such as what career will I choose, where will I live, and whom will I marry? But those are just the beginnings of a life well lived. Following Heschel’s metaphor, the major life decisions are like an artist choosing a medium — a painter picking a canvas, a sculptor choosing a block of stone, a writer opening a blank journal. These are important decisions in our work of art but they do not make the art. Everyone chooses a medium but not everyone turns it into a work of art.

Many of us choose, or perhaps have chosen for us, a wonderful life canvas with potential to become a true masterpiece. But then rather than thoughtfully making each brushstroke we rush through life slopping on whatever color we have on hand. We take the quick, easy answers rather than investing the time to live deeply into the questions of life. Heschel reminds us, “… that every deed accounts, that every word is power”.

Another famous rabbi teaches us, “A thief comes to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance”. This abundant, full life is available to each of us but we must daily choose to live it rather than let the winds of chance and the whims of culture paint our lives.

Great artists are countercultural, out of sync with the masses swirling around them and most are not recognized as great while they are living. A half-finished masterpiece may appear to be just random blobs of paint to onlookers but through the eyes of faith the artists sees the yet unseen, he paints the future of his vision. So it is with our lives. Our family and friends may think our decisions foolish, our life wasted but they haven’t seen the vision we see, they haven’t heard the voice we hear.   Another rabbi long ago wrote, “The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Own The Mystery

The Bible tells me explicitly that Christ was God; and it tells me, as explicitly that Christ was man. It does not go on to state the modus or manner of the union. I stop, therefore, where the Bible stops. I bow before a God-man as my Mediator, but I own as inscrutable the mysteries of His person.
    - Henry Melvill