Thursday, September 23, 2010

Waltzing Matilda

So my 16 month old daughter can't seem to get enough of Waltzing Matilda, when the YouTube video ends she hits the button to start it over.  The wife came in and asked what the song was about since she doesn't understand Aussie slang. "It's about a lazy criminal who steals a sheep, cuts it up, and gets caught by the rightful owner. Instead of surrendering he commits suicide"
Her response? The poor man!  I'll confess I had the same when I first heard the song, but why? Is it because the song is about him? I can find no other explanation, we are drawn to him once we hear it's his story and though he's the criminal we think of the land owner as the villan.
In the same way it seems to me that the focus of our life story told via the tramp produces the most dreadful similar result with respect to God and sin.  A trespasser, a thief, a rebel who would rather die than pay the cost back gets our pity because it's us. 
Christianity must be about the business of hammering God perspective into our puny lives, or we will never be rid of our self-justified bias. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

The nature of Earthly Pleasures

John 12:25 - "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."
What is the nature of the good things we encounter and enjoy on Earth?  Set aside the obvious one, that all God makes is good and therefore the pleasure we see is the expression of His goodness. 
I suspect that marriage, children, nature, indeed all things that we might enjoy and savor are merely shadows or images of the reality that exists in heaven.  The good things on Earth exist to give us a foretaste of heaven, to have them is to get a sample of what heaven will be like, but they were not meant to trap us or keep us.  We ought to take the sample and think "If a watered down pleasure is this good on Earth, imagine when everything is made new what it will be like." We are not to think "This is enjoyable, therefore I will hold on to this because I know I enjoy it." because that is a perversion. It's falling in love with the handwriting of the love letter rather than the person who wrote it. It's to swoon for the shadow of the girl you love while caring nothing for the real person who casts it. It's to fall in love with a mirrors reflection and having no desire to turn around and get to know the reality.
And so it makes sense that if we are willing to cast aside our conception of life and pleasure as intended by God we will find the greater, but if we are intent on keeping the meager shadow and tossing the reality we will ultimately have neither, because we are asking for something that pleasure was never designed for.

And when you consider it further, it does make a little more sense to going back into the OT. Why did God banish man from the garden, or men from Babel? Perhaps also because as a fallen creature the temptation is to latch on to this life to the exclusion of the next.  After falling men were to look to God to make it new again, not look to themselves to enjoy what little there is.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How did John know?

John 11- So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them,"You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish." He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 

Now how would John know about the secret machinations of the council chamber?  How could he find out the hidden things said and unsaid?  Why do the other gospels make no record of this? 
I suspect it's because Paul was in the chamber, and he heard it.  Much later he thought it over while he was in Arabia alone studying and it impacted him powerfully.  When he went on his first missionary journey he then shared it with John in Crete.
But if that be true, and it's just a guess, it makes the next verse hit so much harder.

So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.