Friday, April 15, 2016

Me in the throne room of heaven

What if I wound up in heaven’s throne room today? Not dead mind you, but maybe there after eating pounds of chocolate and going into a coma.

Or better, getting transported there while reading my Bible or on my way to church or to give food to the hungry. You know, something good.

But however it is—if I wound up in heaven’s throne room today what could I be but speechless? Overwhelmed?

Such a place!

For a minute though, let’s not even think about God’s unimaginable grandeur. Let’s just think about the imposing wonder of heaven’s host of angels, all its Seraphim, the high-ranking arch-angels and all those too-terrible animal-like creatures doing who-knows-what around the throne of God.

Just imagine lil’ ole’ me there, right in the presence of all these holy-glowing beings. The stronger than anything-we-know creatures. Who knows? Even the angel they say wiped out 185,000 world-conquering Assyrian soldiers overnight might be there. Imagine all the powers who’ve soaked up God’s presence, light and goodness all these ages upon ages.

What? I think all that alone would reduce me to a cowering mass of—I don’t even know.

Or not.

Maybe it’s more like this:

Maybe I’d tell them, “Move aside please,” and gently ease them out of the way as I edge forward looking only at the throne in the distance.

“Excuse me,” I might say. "One side, thank you. My Father asked me to come near.”

I’d tell them I’m sure they understood I wasn’t being rude, it’s just that my coming means so much to Him. It might actually be one of the most important things in the universe.

After all, we all would know and acknowledge with a nod that for a season He gave His Son, their mighty king, to death-itself so I could cozy up like this.

And I’d move closer and closer still because I’d been asked to visit. Visit with All Holiness. All Righteousness. All Perfection.

“Excuse me, Gabriel,” I’d say as I cut in front of him. “He called me because He delights in me.”

I know, I know. I should simply be dissolving by now but the sense of His acceptance is more overwhelming than my unworthiness.

I know the secret. I know I’ve been given a special invitation and a special covering. That’s the ticket! I come washed. I come sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ. I come in no other way and no other name but His. Certainly not in my own doings.

As I get closer the Ancient of Days recognizes Himself in me. He sees His likeness, His gift, His promise which—by His grace—I chose to believe.

The Creator of stars and galaxies and grasshoppers and pansies reaches His arms to me. He looks forward to our time together. We talk of many things.

Hard to imagine? Oh you bet. And maybe my telling it is rather fanciful but it’s essentially true. See Ephesians 2:13, James 4:8 and many, many other Bible verses and put the story together for yourself. You should put it together for yourself.

The real wonder is that it’s true right now without cosmic transport, heavenly vision or much imagining. Or pounds of chocolate. It’s true today in the muck of my life. With goosebumps or without, the invitation and the way are real. We're invited any time, by faith.

But I’ll cut this short. Someone’s waiting for me and I won’t disappoint.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Me and my phone

I walk in. I’m tired. I sit down and I take my phone out of my pocket as I sit.
I look—no new email.
Well, there’s something from AARP but I’m not going to read that.
Nobody likes my latest cleverness so that’s disappointing.
And none of my friends are doing anything especially interesting, just Trump-Cruz-Hillary-and-Bernie stuff plus that cat falling off a roof I’ve seen a million times. It’s funny but nah, not that.
Then I check Pocket. No. Everything there I wanted to read but didn’t want to read right then I still don’t want to read right now.
And no new email yet.
Disappointing. Hmm. I wanted interesting input.
What’s left?
Oh, how about my Bible app?
I could crank it up and spend a little time with the Creator of heaven and earth.
My Savior Shepherd.
The One who bled and died so I might live.
The One who’s my only hope of getting through today and tomorrow.
Really. I’m serious.
Or maybe I could just write a blog post about how we all should do that instead of messing with our phones.
It’s an important message. I could write that. Instead of actually doing it.
Yeah. That’s what I’ll do. We should all spend more time with the Lover of Our Souls.
That’s what I’ll do. I’ll write about that.
Oops ...

Monday, April 04, 2016

A seed went into the ground

Been thinking about seeds for some reason lately, and thought of this old poem:

A seed went into the ground.
A good seed. The best possible seed.
Before it got into the ground
its hull was ruined.
Battered and torn. Horribly so.
Still, the life in that seed--thank God!--was life indeed
and did not hold back doing what seeds do.

Friday, March 18, 2016

And they crucified Him … (Mark 15:24)

Can you imagine? Jesus in the flesh, every muscle tense. Working. Straining beyond any measure. Constant. Agonizing.
Every ounce of energy beckoned for one more moment. Another second. Every effort summoned to exert more strength. More power.
That is, all the muscles not already broken or torn and unable to react.
And nerves.
Nerves hammering, screaming, “Quit-the-hell what you’re doing! Give us relief!”
Unceasing, unparalleled torment from nerve endings, nerve paths, nerves connecting muscles, flesh, bone. Every cell exploding and blaring to the brain: This! Must! Stop!
It doesn’t. He doesn’t let it. Push harder. Pull deeper.
Imagine: fingers and nails claw and fight, dig in and don’t give up. Don’t let up. A little more. A little longer. Using all he had. All he is.
Can you imagine?
I guess we really can’t. I can’t. All this to survive a little longer on a cross.
We think of Jesus on the cross suffering. Surely he did. We see crucifixes and drawings with a forlorn face, a drooping body.
But imagine it a little differently: instead of seeing him gasping to survive—see him furiously, ferociously fighting on that cross. Fighting for you. For me.
Suffering? Absolutely. But not as victim.
Punished for my sin? Yes. But also there as warrior.
Can you imagine it not as excruciating pain but as the explosive brawn of God, Jesus in the flesh, straining and fighting for you?
Jesus the champion fighting. Jesus the wrestler striving with every breath, straining with every motion to win a battle with unthinkable cosmic stakes.
I hadn’t thought much before about Jesus being ferocious.
Ferocious in his body, battling for me.
Furious in flesh and blood clawing against the enemy for me.
Not fighting tooth-and-nail for his own life but for mine. Victory was assured, but still it’s the battle-of-the-ages. The Lamb of God slain, ferocious in his sacrifice. In his forgiveness. In his love.
Maybe this vision of God fighting ferociously on your behalf will mean something this Easter season. Ferocious love for you. Maybe his fiercest battle was actually the struggle in Gethsemane where he weighed your worth, my worth, against the terrible cost of sacrifice. But still, it was all embodied at Calvary where he followed the Father’s will that he fight for us.
You’d think we are hardly worth it.
I’d think you were right.
Happily, he thinks otherwise. You can trust him. Don't you just love him?
Can you imagine?