Living in the full circle already!
We live already in a full circle, but only see part of it manifested on earth each season. Still, we are meant to live as if the whole circle were already present, for in some sense above it is. Each of us is surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, and a particular circle which is ours to sit in. Live like that already, and you will not struggle with belonging or context while here.
Blessing the earth itself.
The animals and earth responded to the cross. They were in Peace. The earth was effected physically by the new Adam sacrificing His life for the shalom or wholeness of the whole. I would love to do a painting of that instant in history, but to focus on the earth and animal kingdom at the moment of the Cross. Few people think of evangelizing the earth itself, but isn’t this the gift of the 2nd Adam, and the renewed Eve-her womb would bear the Life which overcomes death? He reverses the curse on our relationship with the earth, and allows us to bless it into place again, to call forth life and fruitfulness. We do so, in Him, with people—speaking words of life and calling forth real life in them. Why not also the earth?
Baptizing things into the whole of The Trinity:
The grand commission Jesus offered, was to baptize things into the identities of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It was a holistic calling. To baptize the whole person, place or thing into the being of God through The Son, and His Spirit. It was never just about religious information, it was to baptize them into The full Names of God-to introduce them to the three Persons of the Trinity. To be agents of fuller Lordship of His Being over all of creation. To be portals of His Kingdom onto the earth, and to bring all three Names to peoples.
So then, we ourselves must know all three Names, and carry them in our own beings. Different parts of the church tend to emphasize one or another of The Names. But we are meant to carry and be with and in, all three. This is part of discipling the nations. Seasonally, we tend to be getting to know one or another of the Names. The Father is often not the main One we know and carry to others. But Jesus Himself pointed His entire life towards the Father, just as the Holy Spirit points entirely to Jesus. Holistic baptism is to know, love and embody all Three.
The journey begins with owning our blame. I’m in the wrong, I need to make it right. I can’t, but One has. That’s the gospel. That’s what Adam and Eve, our parents, couldn’t do. And yet…
Keep me on “the blameless way”, David writes. Nice line. Paul echoes it later with, that we may be pure and blameless on that day. Then, Jesus, without blemish or blame (spotless, sin-free) tells us we are His siblings. Ok. Getting that word.
We don’t become blameless through religious practice! But through union with the blameless One who is also, the blameless way.
Adam blamed Eve, early on, and Eve blamed the serpent. All the types and ways of sin are revealed in the story of our parents in the garden. We, too tend to blame something else for our troubles-our parents, our situation, our oppressive leaders etc-but then there is this blameless way or One. So we stay near to Him and walk into the final room blameless. That’s the way to blame free living. The blame game never works anyways.
Now all the people perceived the thunderings and the lightnings and the noise of the trumpet and the smoking mountain, and as [they] looked they trembled with fear and fell back and stood afar off.
And they said to Moses, You speak to us and we will listen, but let not God speak to us, lest we die.
And Moses said to the people, Fear not; for God has come to prove you, so that the [reverential] fear of Him may be before you, that you may not sin.
And the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:18-21)
This little passage in the grand narrative re-captured me yesterday in travel. So many great midrashic streams oozing from it. Why are the people afraid to approach? Why is God “in the thick darkness”? Also such a great sensory description of what its “like” when God shows up-smoke thunder lightning and trumpet sounds! Yes! Powerful little passage from the Torah.
If we see ourselves as the people in the story: 1)We are afraid to encounter God; 2)God is in the hiddenness of darkness; 3)His Realm is like smoke thunder and lightning. If we see ourselves as Moses or the prophet (sign of The Prophet to come, the way between realms), we are allowed into the thick darkness to communicate directly with God in language. If we see ourselves as the earth in the story (which most people don’t consider a character, but which is), we are physically effected by how humans relate to their God. I love all the little doorways, windows and vistas one little passage offers when you chew on it long enough! Anyway, fun airport meditation! Things to “do” while waiting…
Jesus The Master Teacher:
In Mark 4, Jesus is teaching on a boat to those on the shoreline…
Jesus on a boat (among other boats, which makes you wonder who all saw Him teaching, and calming storms, controlling nature!) in the water teaching the masses of people (that’s enough for pause for consideration); and then breaking his teaching and methodology down afterwards to his inner circle (those who were peculiarly His!), at the same time as training them experientially during the storm, increasing their faith and understanding, and preparing them for what was on the other side of the body of water—a deliverance situation with a demonized man.
What a great story and scene from the life of Jesus while on earth! What an existential experiential teacher as well!
Again, if we enter these vignettes as little windows of understanding, the bible becomes so very rich and personal. This story is lots about how to teach and train as well. If we approach it as just a religious text or propaganda, we miss the inner meaning of the great tales in the book.
“I could meditate on any of these stories forever.” one great early desert father said. “If you just gave me half of one of the stories in the bible, i could build a mountain of truths and art.” Again here, Jesus’ most often used practical metaphors—farming, finances, fishing and family…what a great teacher! Very down to earth with his metaphors. Wanting to be understood clearly. Hard to ignore what a master teacher He was, even if you, as many have said, “have problems with His followers!”