The Re-Creation (An Easter Story)

The echo still resounded, “Let there be Light!”  This Light beyond all light which transports the soul from the black of evil to the bright shine of goodly glory had come, had spilled all over the earth and over the hearts of men, exposing all, radiating all, loving all, burning all.  Some seared souls arose against that Light and resolved themselves that this Light would have no part of them!  They shook angry fists to the heavens from which that great Light shone; they spewed blasphemous rage.  They sought to destroy the Light. 

With a sigh, the Light absorbed their derision and rejection.  The Light faded with the weight of infinite sorrow shrouding its glory moment by moment.  At last, the very Daylight died.  There was morning and there was evening: the first day.

Rage.  The earth itself did tremble and rupture, and the dead began to crawl from their graves.  Look!  Look to the heavy curtain of the universe, veiling all things from the unapproachable Light which would consume them!  The glorious Light, the Holy of holiest Light, which men could not enter lest they die–the marvelous Light did not kill the foolish trespassing Man, but true to the nature of Light, it only exposed the reality: that the trespassing Man was already dead!  The curtain sways as all things slip into tumultuous darkness, heaving groaning despairing dark.  The curtain sways, and suddenly is torn!  Men avert their eyes, lest they too die…fall to their knees, grieving that they should stand so close to the Holy Room…and then they raise their eyes.  They look, in faith, they look and can see as the Light wills them to see!

Silence elsewhere.  Men strike hands in sinful pledges, women seduce, children revolt, parents despise, fathers abuse, mothers tantrum, sons lust, daughters envy.  It is as any other day.  There was morning and there was evening: the second day.

Night passes and begins to ebb away.  A slow blue burns the edge of the horizon, burning itself into a watery light which creeps farther and farther heavenward, ascending as only the Light can ascend!  At the same moment, watery tears yet fall from the cheeks of those precious few who loved the Light which left them two days hence.  Will they be left alone in darkness?  Darkness still within them, darkness all around–O, will the Sun also rise?

Unknown to them, the earth again moved–this time, but a single great boulder, a stone which stood before the shadowy cave.  A hundred men who doubted the Light (but also doubted Death enough to stand as guards against the imperishable Light) look in awe for a moment and are struck down.  They lie as though dead. 

It is the breaking of the Dawn!  Light passes among them, and among many more, thousands upon thousands more, Light passes among you and I…the Light burns on, loves on, restores on, proclaims on, satisfies on, sears on, frightens on, rages on!  The Light remains and darkness cannot overwhelm Him!  O God!  What Light!

It was morning and it is forever morning: the Third Day.

Crowns

Something about good stories makes me long to be the characters–heroic, simple, pure and plain, witty, just, true, beautiful.  I was reading Prince Caspian the other day and began to have that wish again, that I were such a young man as he, destined for a throne which I must fight to win from the hands of wicked men.  Surrounded by goodly men and brave, I would battle and calculate and consider and decide in every hour the acts of faith which would lead me thus (always humbly thankful that there is a great Lion standing tense nearby, dangerous in His goodness and eager that I should have the day’s victory).  What a difference comes to a man who knows he is meant for greatness…

(Even as I write, I wonder, can you follow my thinking when I say that this knowledge and greatness are no arrogant thing?  For a man may be truly great and all the while know He Who is greater still; a man may speak and act with supernatural authority, because he himself is under authority.  This is what I mean…)

…such a man may dare great things indeed!  But surely I do fight wickedness within that I might win the prize, and a part of that prize is a crown!  So I think of it–how would I live if I knew that I were one day to rule a great kingdom?  How would you?

I was wondering about this yesterday as I sat on a very large rock on Signal Mountain, looking out across the river valley, and my journal alone receives those thoughts, but here is a sum: we who belong in Christ, and are found in Him, we are also co-heirs with Him, and His promises are true which tell of the heaven and earth to come.  We are stewards and slaves of nature now, but then we shall be masters and kings!  Not gods but kings; kings and kingdoms are His and in His hands, and so shall we be, rulers of dominions and kings of kingdoms, and He shall be our King of kings!

Have you ever looked at life in such a way?  Perhaps not…it seems the stuff of egomaniacal cults or selfish religions, and I hope you understand I am not urging any man to embrace Christ for the sake of dominion.  Whenever I look out across great spaces of the earth, I am immediately struck by the complete sensation that I am both master of the earth (by God’s original command) and but a tiny, fallen creature in it!  God made man ruler over the earth; yet even the smallest of that earth’s boulders might dash my head to bits.  So we are weak: we do not come to Christ that we might have power of our own–truly we come as beggars and enemies of God, desperate beyond hope that we might only Live and delight in His power.

And still, God has plainly told us we shall reign with Christ that we might be blessed by this knowledge!  We shall never be as worms or microbes, nor the beasts of the field; we shall be kings and queens!  In the grand scheme, a king is still a very small thing, smaller probably than we even imagine…yet with a greatness, too, which our common days and common efforts rarely afford us.

By grace, look at your day today from the eyes of an heir apparent to a throne…

::Edit::  I had the privilege of spending a few hours with Claire this afternoon, just singing and playing some of our songs, recording them for a project she has in business class.  She was kind enough to let me ruin some of her songs (by dreadful drumming and other accompaniment–grin), but in all the songs sounded really awesome and she should be very proud!  If you have not had the pleasure of hearing her sing, you are totally missing out on a blessing from the Lord…I recommend you visit her page and pester her till she sings for you or sends you a cd.

What Time Is It Where You Brush Your Teeth?

My bathroom has its own time zone, didn’t you know?   Apparently through some cosmic confusion the bathroom in my apartment occupies the same position in the day as some places well over the Atlantic Ocean–you see, I have a small clock on the counter near the sink (a terrible electric hazard, I know, but I’m just such a daredevil), and whenever I try to set the time aright, after my first good hot steamy shower, the time shows a little over an hour ahead of when I set it.  I can only assume the wet shower awakens the bathroom to its true self, and it adjusts the time on the clock accordingly. 

Pretty awesome, isn’t it?  You might think of the infinite possibilities such magic might permit me–for example, an hour before sporting events I should be able to pick the winner, right?  At this point I would, with grace, remind you that differing timezones doesn’t actually mean that one person lives in the future of the other person.  Silly.

Still, I can’t say that I am terribly frustrated by this time/space anomaly–in fact, it’s rather useful on occasion.  For example (and here I am about to confess something rather terrible, praying in advance that any socially respectable reader will forgive me), suppose I receive a phone call which lasts much longer than I’d like.  Well, simply step from bedroom into bathroom (it’s true! I occasionally take my phone into the bathroom with me!), and suddenly–“Oh my, look at the time!  I really should be headed to bed.  I’ll talk to you later!”  See how convenient?  Then I simply step out of the magic water closet and I am right back in time with everyone else, having another hour to write or read or some such.  I really must encourage everyone in getting one–if you have the means, I highly recommend picking up just such a bathroom.

It may be there are some drawbacks to this arrangement, too, but really who am I to complain?

In Not Of

My friend Matty posted a brief question regarding how we are to be in the world and not of the world, and I began writing a comment to encourage him but found the comment too long to encumber his site with…so I post my prayer here instead:

“I pray for them.  I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they are Yours….I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them.  I have given them Your Word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world! 

My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the Evil One.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 

Sanctify them by the truth; Your Word is Truth!”

O Jesus, what does it mean to be protected from the Evil One?  You pray for us that it should be so, according to the grace of our Father in heaven, and You present it as alternative to being brought out of the world.  So while we are in it, I must believe we are as strangers, foreigners, aliens in this place with citizenship in a High Country, Your Country.  Therefore, let me look on the world again with the eyes of a visitor, having nothing to do with its customs and practices, for I am not hoping to win a home here.  This is not home; let me delight in and cry over those things which in their small way remind me of the Home You have prepared for me, and let me utterly detest and avoid any thing which does not so remind me.  What has light to do with darkness?  And we are the children of Your light, holy and unapproachable.  Shall I touch the things of death, I who am alive by Your life?  May it never be!

This I say, knowing that every day my feet, ankles, and trousers get sullied by the dust and grime of this world.  I grieve, my God, that I should always be such a panderer toward You, a beggar whose feet need washing; and I shout with furious joy, Lord, that Your Word is true to the utmost, and can wash and wash again the muddied man who is in You.  New every morning, Your grace is enough.  And every day, may I learn from You, my Teacher, to walk by ways less filthy and crude, trudge less and less through the muck of this tiresome ungodly wilderness, until at last I walk the streets of purest gold. 

O God, remind me of my Lord’s prayer for me!  That I would be sanctified, made holy as You are holy…You promise to complete that good work!  But let me think, as I daily choose this path or that, this activity for the next hour, that word spoken in the next moment, think upon the fact that You desire my sanctification.  Open my eyes, that I may truly see how we, who with unveiled faces all reflect Your glory, are indeed being transformed into Your likeness from glory to glory!  And let me test my activities by Your measure…

Even so, Lord.

The Rack

So today something quite terrible happened.  I was sitting quietly in a comfortable chair, reading the next few chapters of “The Silver Chair” and thoroughly engrossed in the adventures of young Prince Caspian who longed for the early days of innocence more than the strongholds of his wicked uncle.  Gentle music was playing from somewhere overhead, classic tunes from the eighties, nineties, and today…Phil Collins, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey…”We belong together…”

…when suddenly out of nowhere enormous gloved hands gripped me and I was slung down into a chair which far from fit my long lanky frame! The chair whirred and grumbled and bent out backwards, stretching me out as upon a very torturer’s rack.  A headrest thrust itself painfully in the nape of my neck, and now, my eyes turned upward, I saw only a great horrific light, unnatural and wan.  Wide-eyed, I watch as shadows crouched above me and my jaw felt forced open, wider and wider until long, metallic pointed objects might begin rooting about in my mouth!  (What a wicked world we live in.  The curse of the Fall, no doubt.)  A tiny vacuum drew away my breath along with every drop of moisture in my mouth, which now tasted of cotton in a Georgia sun.  Then, when worse seemed impossible, another tiny instrument prodded into my mouth and began boring holes into my very bone!  Grinding, grinding–the wicked thing even hummed while it worked!  Cruel.  Spittle and dust sprayed up into the loveless light.  And then, one last device inserted into the orifice, the gaping cavity now formed in my tooth was filled with some form of concrete–concrete, I tell you!  White concrete!

Cursed trip to the dentist.

p.s.

They seek him here, they seek him there–
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere…
Is he in heaven? or is he in…hell? (gasp)
That demmed elusive…Pimpernel!

Odds fish, my dear…Sink me, mademoiselle, if I knew that, I’d be the toast of London, what!

Confused? (smile)

Love of Loves

Today, as I think on the great love of God for all people, and then think further of His covenant-love, His deep special love for us, His Bride, His Beloved…I am, like the Beloved of Solomon’s Song, eager that He should come back for me.  I am zealous for Him to appear.  I run about and am seen by the watchmen, I am bruised by their laughter and blows as they mock me in my earnest love, but what do I care for their wicked talk?  For God has chosen Himself a wife, and by His promise we are that beloved of God!  Behold the love of God–not the simple love He extends to all men, but the special love a man would give his wife!  O, behold, how great the love He has lavished upon you…

Jeremiah 32:40-41…Hosea 2:16,19-20…Romans 8…

The Song in My Head, My Ears and My Lungs

There’s darkness in my skin
My cover’s wearing thin
I believe
I’d love to start again
Go back to Innocent
And never leave

Don’t give up now
A break in the clouds
We could be found

There’s nothing wrong with me
It’s just that I believe things could get better
And there’s nothing wrong with Love
I think it’s just enough
To believe

Don’t give up now
A break in the clouds
We could be found

Rescue is coming!

And there’s nothing wrong with you
And nothing left to do
But believe something bigger
And there’s nothing wrong with Love
I know it’s just enough
To believe

Don’t give up now
Break in the clouds
We will be found

Rescue is coming!  …coming now!

This evening I feel desperate for rescue.  Not the simple rescue from circumstance, nor that from the flesh (though heaven knows I am ever in need of that!), but the rescue in which I shall lift my eyes and see my Redeemer come.  No lesser glory than Him of lightning eyes will do. 

Ah, come, O mighty King, come in strength and power upon your warhorse, come!  Burn the night sky away, roll it up like a scroll stabbed through by the sword from Your mouth–for what is the sky but a Word You spoke long ago and sang that it should echo and resound again for numbered millennia?  And what again am I but a man whose whole being is to be satisfied in You?  No weaker delight than Your presence will please. 

O my soul, I will be filled with love and delight for the Lord, so that the sweetest of all honeys is loathsome to me!  Bitter is any other pleasure tonight; You are my pleasure, Jesus, supreme in valor and confidence and wisdom and power and patience and meekness and generosity and love and freedom and happiness and strength and joy and laughter and ferocity and wrath and life and authority and bravery and knowledge and sovereignty and touch and song and worship and goodness and peace and silence…

Supreme in silence, perfect in silence.

O my soul, be silent before Your Maker, Master, Friend, Husband, Teacher…

X-Friends

It’s probably just a simple ploy to try to mimic myspace, but now xanga is offering us the opportunity to choose “friends.”  It’s not enough simply to subscribe to the people you know–now you have to be “friends.”

I’m not sure I’m ready for this kind of commitment (grin).

I must say, though, I am hopeful that xanga will not delve toward myspace philosophies in other ways.  If it even gradually begins shifting toward a collection of sites on which people paste sexually provocative photos of themselves for all to see (as myspace accounts, sadly, have the reputation of doing), then I shall abandon it altogether.  And so, my new xanga-friends, if at some point I become strangely silent on here, do not be terribly surprised that I have forsaken the online journal universe…only please revert back to the archaic “emailing” method of commerce and communication (smile).   For I will miss you.

p.s. “The North Avenue Irregulars” was quite entertaining (grin).  Anyone up for “Rear Window” tomorrow night?  Give me a shout…

Not By a Hair

That’s right, it’s about one in the morning and I’m sitting here researching sexually transmitted diseases.  It’s been my evening’s occupation, with generous allowance of breaks to catch a bit of Sweet Sixteen action (Duke went down, which should make all the Ritterbush family glad…sorry, Jon Graent).   But now the games have finished, the buzzers sounded and players retired for the night. 

What must that be like?  Such fantastic energy expended in forty-five minutes of hard running and leaping and flying and rolling!  To play hard, sweat much, slide and tumble and throw and scream upon a court with thousands of eyes upon it all, and then after, to shuffle into the shadows of the locker room…where silence moves in like a fog expanding down the vacant avenues of a quiet town, clawing like a cat round windowsills and streetcorners.  You are spent.  You are alone.

I wonder what Adam Morrison is thinking right now.  The national leading scorer for the season, he and his Gonzaga Bulldogs had an advantage of seventeen points against the Bruins of UCLA until the final minute, when UCLA delivered a few quick and surprising (even to themselves, I think) strokes to win the game.  Is Morrison now sitting somewhere restless in the dark?  Is he trapped in memories of shots and passes and free throws missed?  Does he know why he lost?  Can he remember, in such moments, what winning feels like?

His team lost because they did not run the race in such a way as to win the prize.  I watched in the final minutes as they played to win but did not play to conquer–I suppose we all know the difference.  They scrambled around, attempting to kill time on the clock and making half-hearted attempts at scoring as their shot-clocks wound down.  Slowly UCLA crept closer.

This will seem a strange shift, but it makes perfect sense at one-thirty in the morning (smile): this scenario reminds me of one scene from a novel called Watership Down.  An excellent story about a collection of rabbits (okay, don’t laugh–it’s good), with several sweet little spiritual metaphors in its pages, but at one point some good rabbits are fleeing from bad ones.  As they run, one fast bad bunny runs up and keeps pace with them, taunting them and saying nasty things.  Some of the younger good bunnies are tempted to turn and fight him, but one wise older rabbit remarks that this is exactly what the wicked bunny wants–for this would give his evil companions time to catch up. 

All this to say: run hard, Christian, run hard.  Run in such a way as to win the prize, pour it all out here on this field of earth.  Do not allow the Enemy to distract you or turn your focus from the race; fix your eyes on the Author and run the Story He has written to its glorious finale!  Explode, charge, ignite, leap, fly, race, grasp and gain–O, be strong!  Run like one with the Law on his heels.  Run like a captive who’s been broken out of prison, run with the memory of the cold iron bars and run with the rapture of the blue sky above you.

Win the prize.
The prize is won and waiting.