Thursday, July 14, 2011

Further Up and Further In!

"Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again."

We travel into Narnia, with eyes wide and hearts open, where we find talking trees, heroic mice, and deep magic. We are introduced to characters that seem to be mirror images of ourselves, often the worst parts of ourselves. Peter’s reluctance to show bravery until the situation is dire, Susan’s practicality that often overpowers her faith, Edmund’s self-indulgence and constant seeking of something other than what is best, Lucy’s often-naive innocence, Mr. Tumnus’s need to please, and Eustace Clarence Scrubb’s (yes, he really did deserve that name) need for Aslan’s painful removal of his dragon skin. We journey with them and we feel their joy and pain.

It’s a world so different from our own, yet it’s very much the same. There are battles and quests, adventures and dangers. Yet, to our delight, there is Aslan, saying softly, “Come, live with me and you’ll know me.” He is there when things seem hopeless, saving us from wolves, winning the battles, and giving his life to ransom another. He is with us when we sail to the end of the World with Reepicheep and when the Ape tries to deceive us. He is with us when he sings out his beautiful creation song, and he is there when the Witch lures us to her castle with sweet indulgences.

Yes, Aslan, the great King, has been there all the time, and he calls us to enter His country, our real home. It’s more than we could have imagined, and we know that this is where we’ve belonged all along! Despite the times we haven’t been able to see him because our faith was too small, he still welcomes us with open arms into the real Narnia. From a place where it’s always winter and never Christmas to a place where spring never seems to end, we’re finally home. And we find ourselves rejoicing with the Unicorn when he says, "I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Come further up, come further in!"

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Fish Out of Water

Trying to live apart from the Holy Spirit is like a goldfish trying to survive outside water.  We may look alive.  We may flop around a lot and move our mouths, making strange gasping noises now and then, but we will never know what it means to really live.  To glide free, breathe, and live effortlessly in the liquid life of grace.  Too often, I fear, we Christians settle for this fish-out-of-water kind of existence.  "Well, I'm just a sinner saved by grace," we gasp, as though that somehow excuses and explains away our spastic, flip-floppy behavior--almost holy one moment, completely unholy the next.  

As though Christ's coming and dying did nothing more than secure for us a place in heaven.

As though spiritual mediocrity is the best we can hope for here on earth.

As though God created us to be captives even though everything in the Bible says we've already been set free.

-Joanna Weaver, Having a Mary Spirit

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Enthralled

Psalm 45:10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
Forget your people and your father's house.
11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.
~~
David has written a wedding song, but God reveals more.  As a daughter of Christ, I am told to forget my people, and even my family for the sake of pleasing my Lord.  Does this mean that I'm supposed to cut ties with my family?  No.  (Unless they hinder me from Christ and God reveals to me that I should.)  But the real point here is that God should be so much more to me than my family that it seems like I'm forgetting them.  It's relative.  It's the same as the passage that talks about hating your family. (Luke 14:26)   And Philippians 3:8 applies here too.  I have lost everything for the sake of knowing Christ.  
So when I marry Christ, I move away from my family... the things that consume my time and my mind... and I walk with my heavenly husband.  
Then, verse 11 is such a beautiful picture!  Let the king (Christ) be enthralled by your beauty (purity, holiness); honor him (give him your everything) for he is your lord (Lord).  I imagine this newlywed couple in Israel. The young bride has come to her husband and he is so taken with her beauty, her purity, and he's just so pleased.  
I should desire to be beautiful to Christ, and what does he require?  A clean heart, a pure mind, and absolute abandon.  I should be so radiant with his love that he is, indeed, enthralled.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Outward Purity

"No matter how pure my intent, the only result of making outward purity my goal has been an unhealthy self-obsession and a self-worth that swings wildly between feelings of inordinate pride or overwhelming failure- depending on how well I think I've done that day."
-Joanna Weaver, Having a Mary Spirit

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