31 October 2012

To Galilee and Beyond

“This very night you will all fall away on account of me...
but after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee...”

Back home, to Galilee. To the land of Jesus’ boyhood. A land of hills and valleys and men with calloused hands. It was the land from which Jesus had plucked each of his twelve disciples, ill-suited as they were: fishermen and taxmen, menders of nets and collectors of tolls––hardly the kinds of students on which an up and coming rabbi should think to build a following. And yet, despite their glaring lack of promise, that is exactly what he made of them: the single most transformative following the world has ever seen.

What a contradiction these men were; just take Peter, for example, who, out in a boat during the fourth watch of the night, saw Jesus walking toward them on the lake, and called out, “Lord if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.” 
And when Jesus answered, “Come,” Peter gets down out of the boat, walks on the water and goes toward him. But then seeing the wind, he becomes afraid, starts to sink, and flailing about, he sputters, “Lord, save me!” And then Jesus, catching him in his arms and bringing him up, says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Doubters with little faith. Such were the men that Jesus chose: fickle and unsteady; and yet... it was this same Peter to whom Jesus said,“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” Our Lord had a vision for who people might become in him.

22 October 2012

The Bird and the Tree

Sometimes you get to a place in life where you feel like you've gone off track, like somewhere along the way, you somehow misplaced your purpose and your passion and your sense of who you are; and when you stop and look at your life and who you've become, you feel like maybe... just waiting for the next season of Mad Men to come out isn’t enough, like maybe you're missing something...

We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves?

Do you remember that song? Do you remember how often the stations used to play it? That one Christian song: funny how it was able to cross over into mainstream radio, and just connect with people, like it was giving a voice to what so many are feeling.

We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves?

Seven hundred years before the time of Jesus, the nation of Israel had lost themselves. They'd gone off track and become estranged from who God had meant them to be. But into those colorless years, there stepped a poet, a painter of pictures,  a prophet named Isaiah. And among all the pictures that the prophet painted for his fading nation, there was the the bird and the tree...

15 October 2012

The Secret of Growth

When I was a young man, reading through the small, black, New King James Bible given to me by my parents, every now and then I would come upon a sentence which would lay a  blanket of bewilderment across my mind: a sentence which almost without knowing it, I would pass over, because in some troubling way, it confused me. Here is one of those sentences:

Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)

“Jesus what? He increased in wisdom? In favor with God? How can that be? Jesus is the Son of God, and as such, has all the wisdom in the universe, and all the favor of God that it is possible to have! How can it be that this same Jesus, whom the Bible says is God, could grow... in wisdom, and in favor with God, like any other of the 12 year-olds on his street?”

I couldn't have articulated that question so clearly when I first read this sentence, but it is a good description of the vague unease that I felt. So what did I do? I simply skipped over this sentence and let my confusion slumber, unspoken for years, until one day I noticed another sentence in the Bible...