Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Eccles. 3:4 "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance;..." Tears are water from the soul, tears are human-specific, tears are associated with our joys, our sorrows, our fears, our loves, our convictions, our relationships, our dreams. We are the only creature that cries as a result of an over-bearing emotional burden. As humans, tears are an expression of a person's internal state of being, an involuntary, subjective, physiological response to an object or a situation, based in or tied to a physical state and sensory feelings.
A tear is nothing more than a clear, salty drop of liquid excreted from the eye due to crying or irritation. A tears significance lies with the understanding of the related emotions causing a person to cry. Crying or weeping is primarily an indication of grief. Grief is defined as "Pain of mind on account of something in the past; mental suffering arising from any cause, as misfortune, loss of friends, misconduct of one's self or others, etc.; sorrow; sadness." Grief is understood as the sense of loss we feel, the feelings that surface as a result of the distress created by disease, unfortunate events or death.
Grief and sorrow touch the soul; they hit where we live as a spiritual being; they touch at our inner being and we discover that we have the ability to dissolve; they reach into the realms of our fears and dreams; they reside where are passion lives; they have the power and capacity to distress our soul to the extent that it seems lost from our existence; they create isolation; they can devour; they bring out the best and worst in people; they create the heaviness of our hearts; they destroy hope.
Tears provide the water for the concrete and mortar that form the cement of our life's experiences. Tears are the fact and/or the observable outcome of the aftermath of emotional, relational or religious experience. They are the personal conversations with life's events, the cleansing of the spirit, the purging of our souls discontent, the enunciation of love and pain, otherwise inexpressible through words. In this, they speak volumes, they proclaim with a visible loudness that is eye-catching and profound to the observer, yet with subdued passion demanding respect, reverence and admiration.
For Lazurus; for sorrow; for tenderness sake; for the lack of faith, obedience, love; for His own pending death; for the children who would never grasp the meaning of life; because of the presence of sin; for those never understanding His sacrifice, His passion; for you; for me?
"The gods ordain
The lot of man to suffer, while themselves
Are free from care."
"Iliad," xxiv., 525.
The Gods of this world declare:
"I see thy love, but must not shed a tear."
Euripides, "Hippolytes," 1396.
Our God is acquainted with human sufferings, human joy, human pain and sorrow.
He alone is worthy to carry ours.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Mensch is a person of integrity and honour. A man who is steadfast, wholesome, virtuous, dignified, praiseworthy and respectable, in a word mature.
1 Cor. 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Childish thinking is disconnected from sound reasoning developed through knowledge, experience and growth in critical thinking, it is distanced from the healthy, secure thoughts and decisions of a grown (fully developed in behaviour and thinking) man, a man endowed with courage, intelligence, strength, and other noble attributes.
There are inherent characteristics of children which are to be evident in Christians, those being docility, mildness, gentleness, freedom from ambitions, pride, presumption and ostentation. There are inherent characteristics of children, their inability to discern evil and covert influences, their inclination to bow to peer pressure, their credulous and gullible nature, their inquisitiveness, that make them prone to fall prey to persuasions and biases and by these factors the previous list of characteristics can be contradicted. It is in this that the maturity of manhood is to be understood, the removal of the winds and waves of vacillating thought replaced by a constant, firm and dedicated mindset.
1 Cor. 14:20 "Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature."
Ephes. 4:14 "...that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,..."
There is in maturity an expectation that there is a stepping away from decision-making, with any involvement from a strong emotional context. "I was affected as a child. I was thrown into a transport of joy or grief on the slightest occasions, which manly reason taught me to despise."-Doddridge. The vaccilating emotional range of the juvenile and youthful age are to be contrasted by the control exhibited by the mature man, who is able by force of will and resolution to view life and circumstance without overbearing affections determining his responses and actions. Feelings, strong and overwhelming vicarious experiences, uncontrolled catharsises are to be despised in the adult male and are usually seen as a sign of weakness; a reason for contempt of the inability of the adult male to cope; a validation for the male-mystique 'real men don't cry'; an indication of a lack of maturity; a cause for questioning of the 'measure of the man'; the authenticity of the character of the man viewed as doubtful.
This is somewhat problematic.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Ice is a common expectation of Winter in Saskatchewan. We live our Summers in anticipation and/or trepidation of the coming of the season when ice in one form or another will cover our existence.
Ice is unusual, in that, as a solid form of water it is 9% less dense than its liquid state. This means that it will float, an important consideration in terms of marine life, and water supply.
Ice is a factor in climatic conditions. The accumulation of snow and ice at the polar caps increases the Earth's surface reflection, transferring more of the Sun's energy into space and maintaining a lower atmospheric temperature.
Ice/water is a poor conductor of heat energy which allows it to moderate Earth's climate by stabilizing the fluctuations in earth's temperature.
Water when frozen increases in bulk, its expansion being such that the power is able, when contained, to fracture any substance.
Job 37:10, "By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen.
I read a story of a man sitting beside a lake, watching the vapour from the warmer water mixing with the colder Fall air, when in an instance all the vapour disappeared and the lake, in the twinkling of an eye, was frozen over. As the verse implies it is as if a breath were expelled across the expanse and the result was a frozen surface. A mystical and miraculous event has occurred, the process being explained by science in terms we can understand, but, the actual change that results in water becoming ice is by nature a supernatural act.
Job 38:29, "From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?
Job 38:30,"The waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen."
An expression '...as cold as ice...' referring to a person's ability not to be affected by, or feel love comes to mind. Water is used as an illustration of how our life is to be a flowing of refreshment and vitality as a conduit of God's love and provisional grace to ourselves and to the world around us. Ice being the hardened form of water retards that flow, that influence, it removes the vigour of life so that not only is the surface affected, but the very depths of our being, our emotional core, is affected and becomes hardened and cold.
There is an arbitrariness to life, a 'chaos', an endless stream of random, illogical events, from which occur random, illogical circumstance and consequence. It is in chaos that love finds its greatest barrier to influence, impact, belief and perception; it is in chaos that the excuse for mistrust, fear and despair find their strength; it is in chaos that probabilities and determinations are calculated and the resultant expectations form our sense of worth, value and significance; it is in chaos that there is sensitivity to initial, preexistant and subsequent conditions; it is in chaos that the instinct for survival is an enlivened and prevalent requirement; it is in chaos that the hardest and most perfect substance is formed; it is in chaos that the perverted need for control of the variableness of life is predominant; it is in chaos that the intersection of love has and passes its greatest test of validity; it is in chaos that the predictability of love underscores life with meaning and purpose.
In a place of chaos, God takes the fall, the blame for life's situations, the arbitrary acts of nature and people, our seemingly uncontrolled existence. These are blamed on an impulsive God, who seems to allow or instigate, without any regard.
It is the first molecule of water that freezes that starts the chain reaction, the next molecule to it being cooled and freezing, and the next to it.... this is a microcosm of the butterfly effect, in that, a butterfly flapping it's wings in one part of the world sets off a hurricane in another. In what appears to be chaos is actually a set of deterministic variables dependant upon an initial reaction to a condition presumably initiated by God. Cause and effect, the answer to the question why?
It seems so simple (water & love), yet, the complexity of the most essential, basic of elements, water, is a mere reflecting the immensity of God; pointing out the intricacies of the Creator; being the tool of man and God; being used of God to denote His sovereignty and His provisional care for His creation; proclaiming His involvement in the minutest of details; making life a mysterious and mystical journey of discovery and adventure; confusing the science and beliefs of man by the depth, width and height "...of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33)
Water in its many forms provides a view, a glimpse, into the mind of God, His completeness, His fullness, His perfection, His wholeness, the entire circle of His existence and creativity.
Ephes. 3:14-19 "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.