Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Meaning


This seems to be a time of year when meaning is a theme of the time. People look for; talk about; and attempt to define what is meaning, specifically the meaning of Christmas. There is an underlying current of dissent and dissatisfaction with the way in which life is defined.  There is a search or quest for reality, the defining purpose, the ultimate goal, the significant achievement and although these are all noble pursuits, I think for the most part people are lost in a world of ambiguity and multiplicity, unable to focus thier energies and motivations towards attaining any real meaning. We talk about mid-life crises, transitional phases and all boil down to frustration or aggravation at 'the man in the mirror' and facing a bemoaned existence. 








To borrow a humorous take on life from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
The story so far:

In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

"I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed," Marvin said. (Marvin is a robot)

He reached out and pressed an invitingly large red button on a nearby panel. The panel lit up with the words 'Please do not press this button again.'
"All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done."
"Come on," he droned, "I've been ordered to take you down to the bridge. Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cos I don't."
"Sorry, did I say something wrong?" said Marvin, dragging himself on regardless. "Pardon me for breathing, which I never do anyway so I don't know why I bother to say it, oh God I'm so depressed. Here's another one of those self-satisfied doors. Life! Don't talk to me about life."
"Life," said Marvin dolefully, "loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it."
I would like to say that it is a very great pleasure, honour and privilege for me to open this bridge, but I can't because my lying circuits are all out of commission.
 
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy answers the question;
"Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

"The Answer to the Great Question, of Life, the Universe and Everything"
but also provides this disclaimer;
"The chances of finding out what's really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied. ...  I'd far rather be happy than right any day."
"And are you?"

"No, that's where it all falls apart I'm afraid."
"Pity, it sounded like quite a nice lifestyle otherwise."



Christianity's claim to fame is that reality has its cornerstone. Life has meaning. The hypothetical question found the ultimate answer. In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the first question is: What is the chief end of Man?, that is, What is Man's main purpose?. The answer is: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever. God requires one to obey the revealed moral law saying: love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbour as ourselves. The Baltimore Catechism answers the question "Why did God make you?" by saying "God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven." The Apostle Paul also answers this question in his speech on the Areopagus in Athens: "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.



The issue at hand seems to be that Christians are unable to find completeness. We are unfinished, incomplete, unsettled. There is no fulfillment in an unresolved position. The question is not one of God's ability to redeem or save, the question lies in the heart of man. It is believing a reality, a reality so obscure that it lends itself to interpretation.
What is the finished work of salvation in this present life?
A discussion with a friend the other day was essentially about his need to be affirmed in what he believed. We face an onslaught of diverse meanings to every thing we think. "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." Thomas Deloney

There is an alternate interpretation to everything. How do we constantly have answers to every question to our faith?
"A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses. It is an idea that possesses the mind." Robert Oxton Bolton
 
I believe that the essential aspect of faith is freedom from fear. I believe that God's desire is for man to live unconstrained by fear. It is only in the fullness of faith that a man may have a quietness of the soul. We all face anxious moments, doubts with decisions, sheltered convictions, questionable beliefs, inuendo and insinuation. To be free means to have rest, shalom, completeness, soundnesss. It cannot be attributed to any internal skill or external action, these are merely anesthetics serving as narcotics creating a numbing or dumbing of our sensibilities towards our heartfelt reality. We all share the same fears. Those who are motivated by fears are slaves to fear, continually searching for ways to pacify and quell the tumult and afflictions of pain, disquietude and unhappiness.
 
Belief, meaning, purpose are intrinsically and inseperably tied with the cords of religion, philosophy, ideology etc. Meaning, purpose and belief provide life with substance; purpose, belief and meaning provide life with harmony, they place life's focus on the end of life by creating peace through the pain of the middle part. What we believe directs our purpose toward a meaningful life. Neither purpose, nor belief, nor meaning exist without each other.  
 
"For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible." Stuart Chase
 
“There is a fundamental human need for guiding ideals that give meaning to our actions”, states Roger Fisher. Renowned psychiatrist Victor Frankl’s premise is that ‘man’s search for meaning’ is the primary motivation of his life."
 
What is the meaning of my life?
What is the meaning of your life?
The question is a personal one. It may be based on a truth, but possibly not on The Truth. At this time of year there is a celebration happening. It is founded upon a belief that God Who created everything; John 1:3 "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." sent His Son, Luke 2:6,7 "So it was,... the days were completed ... and she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, ...Matthew 1:21 "... and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." to prove His love because, Romans 5:8 "...God demonstates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." God is love 1 John 4:10, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (satisfactory sacrifice) for our sins." and because of His love, He is patient 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some coumt slackness, but is longsuffering towrd us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." and forgiving; 1John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." we all know in our hearts that we have failed Romans 3;23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ..." and that we need to be restored to what was intended by God for us to be, not those who are weak and overcome by fear, but those who stand before life's challenges, undaunted by the storm, knowing God has us in His hand and having the assurance that He Who would not spare His own Son would give us all things. Revelation 21:7, "He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be My son."
1 Peter 4:19, "Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God  commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator." Peace is found in believing.

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