Saturday, April 19, 2014

Waiting

"How could this happen? How could we have been so wrong?"
"We believed the kingdom was going to be restored and those pagan dogs sent back to Rome where they belong. But this 'messiah' turned out to be just like all the others."
"Now here we are hiding from the priests and the Romans."
"Why didn't we fight back? What kind of wimps are we?"
"Fight back? Did you see how many men they had? Besides, Peter tried and he told him to put the sword away!"
"Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but as soon as all this mess dies down, I'm going back up to  Galilee."
"Me too. Back to the old life. When the only thing we had to worry about was catching fish and fixing nets."
"Yeah. It's been an interesting three years, but I'm through with messiahs and kingdoms. Just give me my boat out on the water. As soon as I can, I'm getting out of here."
And so, they waited.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

More from C.S. Lewis:

"Muzzle him!" said the Witch. And even now, as they worked about his face putting on the muzzle, one bite from his jaws would have cost two or three of them their hands. But he never moved. And this seemed to enrage all that rabble. Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find their courage, and for a few minutes the two girls could not even see him--so thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.
At last the rabble had had enough of this. They began to drag the bound and muzzled Lion to the Stone Table, some pulling and some pushing. He was so huge that even when they got him there it took all their efforts to hoist him onto the surface of it. Then there was more tying and tightening of cords.
"The cowards! The cowards!" sobbed Susan. "Are they still afraid of him, even now?"
When once Aslan had been tied (and tied so that he was really a mass of cords) on the flat stone, a hush fell on the crowd. Four Hags, holding four torches, stood at the corners of the Table. The Witch bared her arms as she had bared them the previous night when it had been Edmund instead of Aslan. Then she began to whet her knife. It looked to the children, when the gleam of the torchlight fell on it, as if the knife were made of stone, not of steel, and it was of a strange and evil shape.
At last she drew near. She stood by Aslan's head. Her face was working and twitching with passion, but his looked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid, but a little sad. Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice,
"And now, who has won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human traitor? Now I will kill you instead of him as our pact was and so the Deep Magic will be appeased. But when you are dead what will prevent me from killing him as well? And who will take him out my hand then? Understand that you have given me Narnia forever, you have lost your own life and you have not saved his. In that knowledge, despair and die."
The children did not see the actual moment of the killing. They couldn't bear to look and had covered their eyes.
While the two girls still crouched in the bushes with their hands over their faces, they heard the voice of the Witch calling out,
"Now! Follow me all and we will set about what remains of this war! It will not take us long to crush the human vermin and the traitors now that the great Fool, the great Cat, lies dead."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday

This Easter season, I'm putting up some posts from 2010.

From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

A howl and gibber of dismay went up from the creatures when they first saw the great Lion pacing towards them, and for a moment the Witch herself seemed to be struck with fear. Then she recovered herself and gave a wild, fierce laugh.
"The fool!" she cried. "The fool has come. Bind him fast."
Lucy and Susan held their breaths waiting for Aslan's roar and his spring upon his enemies. But it never came. Four hags, grinning and leering, yet also (at first) hanging back and half afraid of what they had to do, had approached him. "Bind him, I say!" repeated the White Witch. The hags made a dart at him and shrieked with triumph when they found that he made no resistance at all. Then others--evil dwarfs and apes--rushed in to help them and between them they rolled the huge Lion round on his back and tied all his four paws together, shouting and cheering as if they had done something brave, though, had the Lion chose, one of those paws could have been the death of them all. But he made no noise, even when the enemies, straining and tugging, pulled the cords so tight that they cut into his flesh. Then they began to drag him towards the Stone Table.
"Stop!" said the Witch. "Let him first be shaved."
Another roar of mean laughter went up from her followers as an ogre with a pair of shears came forward and squatted down by Aslan's head. Snip-snip-snip went the shears and masses of curling gold began to fall to the ground. Then the ogre stood back and the children, watching from their hiding-place, could see the face of Aslan looking all small and different without its mane. The enemies also saw the difference.
"Why, he's only a great cat after all!" cried one.
"Is that what we were afraid of?" said another.
And they surged round Aslan jeering him, saying things like "Puss, Puss! Poor Pussy." and "How many mice have you caught to-day, Cat?" and "Would you like a saucer of mill, Pussums?"
"Oh how can they?" said Lucy, tears streaming down her cheeks. "The brutes, the brutes!" for now that the first shock was over the shorn face of Aslan looked to her braver, and more beautiful, and more patient than ever.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

World Vision Wednesday

Here is an interview with a man who participated in the genocide in Rwanda. It is a stunning account of the impact repentance, grace, and forgiveness can have on an individual, and on a nation. It is also a good reminder that we all need forgiveness and reconciliation in our day-to-day.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blast From the Past: Palm Sunday

This was first posted on March 28, 2010. It has been edited.

Today we celebrate the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, surrounded by people hailing him as the Messiah. Evidently this procession was not the only one making it's way into the city that day. The Roman governor, Pilate, was also entering Jerusalem with his forces. This was something that happened before every Jewish holiday. After all, the Romans had to remind the Jews who really was in charge.

So, you have an imperial Roman procession on one side of the city and a subversive, Messianic parade on the other side. The people shouting, "Hosanna!" as Jesus made his way along the road thought they understood what was going on. As they saw it, this man who had performed so many miracles was the promised king who would drive out the hated Gentile oppressors and restore the glory of Israel. Unfortunately, as the week unfolded, many of these same people, now disillusioned, would join in the calls for his crucifixion by those same oppressors.

Those folks were partially right. Jesus was the promised Messiah. He had come to set up a kingdom and free them from their oppression. What they didn't realize was the nature of the kingdom. It was a kingdom that is not of this world, a kingdom that came in, not by way of overthrowing the present empire, but by the king dying at the hands of that empire. The Jews were expecting God to do things the way they expected. They didn't understand that God rarely works that way.

I thought of how many times I've prayed for things and thought that God was going to answer those prayers in a certain way, either because I had jumped through a certain number of hoops to "earn" God's blessing, or because I couldn't think of any other way God could act. I trusted in God for the things I thought he would (or should) do. Like the Jews I followed Jesus for what I could get out of it. The funny thing is, God never seemed to do the things that I expected, yet so many things turned out 
in such a way that I knew the Father was taking care of me. Things were not all sweetness and light, and sometimes I questioned God about what he was doing. But I can look back on those days and see that God was there, and that he was working.

During my life, I have seen that God is not predictable. He is not someone who can be counted on to always do things a certain way. God relates to people in all kinds of ways, and we cannot tie him down to a particular plan of action. None of us can figure God out, yet he calls us into relationship with him. In that relationship we learn to trust God simply for who he is rather than for what we think he can do for us.

Be encouraged. Your Father loves you more than you know. He has given you his life and his glory. Trust the Father, even when the parade of Palm Sunday turns into the darkness of Friday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

World Vision Wednesday

It has been twenty years since the genocide in Rwanda. A great deal of healing has taken place, but there is still much that remains to be done. For a report on what has been accomplished, go here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Obedience and Faith: A Fourth View

A few months back, Steve Fuller wrote this post. He wrote about the differences between Kevin DeYoung and Tullian Tchividjian in their view of the relationship between obedience and faith. Essentially,  DeYoung believes that obedience comes from faith but still requires effort along with faith, while Tchividjian says that the effort involved is focused on strengthening our faith, and then obedience will follow. Fuller then writes of John Piper's view that obedience comes from faith alone but that faith is in the promise of God to justify and to completely satisfy us with himself. You can read the post to get a fuller picture. Now, I am not a theologian and I don't play one on TV, but I got to thinking (that's dangerous, I know). With a number of issues, I tend to look for a third way. I wonder if there might not be a fourth way here.

In this post, I wrote about our union with Christ and all of the things that flow from that. Our justification, sanctification, our continued faith, and our obedience come from being in Christ. We have been crucified and raised to life in Christ. It is Christ living in us. Everything is ours because everything is Christ's. I believe that our faith comes from our union with Christ. Paul tells us that our faith is a gift from God. John 15 tells us that our fruitfulness in life comes from abiding in Christ. We love because God loved us first. Christ's obedience is ours. Christ's faith is ours. I would go so far as to say that Christ's satisfaction in the Father is ours. Everything we need to live in obedience to our Father is ours. When we keep our focus on the fact that we are in Christ and he is in us, we trust him to live in us and that in turn leads us to obey. We still disobey, but that is because we forget who we are and allow sin to co-opt our desire and tell us the lie that things other than God can satisfy us. When we remember who we are in Christ, we find our only desire is to live in obedience and intimacy with the only One who can satisfy us and who loves us with an inexhaustible love.

These are just some thoughts. I would love to hear some of yours. Feel free to tell me if I'm out to lunch, although I don't think I am.