Hemeralopia

“And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.” (Acts 13:11)

This is “Saul (who also is called Paul)” (13:9) speaking to “Elymas the sorceror”. I suppose to receive this kind of first hand treatment from God wouldn’t be a bad thing in retrospect. David says “For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me:” (Psalm 32:4). Elymas’ way had so attracted the attention of God and as Paul made his way through that area, coming into the company of Sergius Paulus, Elymas’ number was called. As he was essentially a wizard, using spiritual auspices to channel things that weren’t in keeping with the Gospel, God had to shut him down. But notice, in spite of Paul declaring he was a “child of the devil” (13:10), he also offers a more hopeful prognosis. As an aside, I’m loath to tell someone to “go to hell”. But if I tack on “and stay a while”, perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad? Perhaps it would.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19, emphasis mine)

Also known as “day blindness”, hemeralopia is an inability to see during the day. When it’s night, things are clear. But the extra light, I suppose, cannot be dealt with correctly. When Jesus says “the acceptable day of the Lord”, this is what was inaugurated with His life and ratified with His death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit is shining and the more you acknowledge His presence, the brighter He gets. The more He will shine through the darkness in which this world still turns. This is what Jesus was aiming at.

There are all sorts of tangents we can get off on when sensitive to a spiritual source. But the thing is, there are only two sources and Elymas was connected to one of darkness. This is why, rather than let him fall into the abyss down which he gazed, God stayed him by physically blinding Him that he would be able to see, internally, where he’d been wrong all along.

Anytime we would continue to live in a way that is not pleasing to God, we attract the attention of those living in the light. And as they walk with the Lord, praying for what they see in you, His light will diffuse into you and open your eyes.

First Words

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Jejune

So there’s that world of difference between the above referenced childishness and the “childlikeness” spoken of by Jesus. The Bible may be decried all the livelong day for inconsistencies and paradoxes and contradictions. But this isn’t one of them for God’s sake. Granted, Paul is speaking through the King James translation but childishness is childishness. No way around it except by growing up. If you’re reading this and you’ve grown up, then you know what I’m talking about. Your tantrums (call it “emotional outburst”) and babytalk (“vocalese”) are of no effect here. But if you feel so inclined, know that God still sees you and loves you as His baby and He understands the wordless depths of your being that are represented by blunt feeling and simple color.

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

Puerile

This word sounds so childish, to me. I suppose because that’s what it means. Interesting thing, were you to elide the first “e” and interpose it between the “j” and “u” of the first, you’d get “jejeune”. Which isn’t a real word. But harks back to the French for “game” and “play” (“jeu”). Two childlike, if childish things. Two things you shouldn’t “put away” even as you become a man, or woman.

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4)

And “purile” is not a real word either. But it reminds me of the heart of a child. Pure. This is what God is aiming at and it’s what can be regained, if retained, by knowing Jesus. The key to returning to that state is humility. Humility is a voluntary act. One we can choose with each moment we encounter. To choose to bring God in to our circumstances and allow Him to diffuse the childlike atmosphere we waded around in at that age but perhaps (most likely) lost over the years. The beautiful thing is, now, as God regifts it to us moment by moment, He’ll also show you how to maintain it in light of a world that would put a damper (as opposed to a diaper) on the childlikeness of God.

Spontaneity

How is your spontaneity?

Spontanaeity, to me, is one of the hallmarks of a life lived in step with the Holy Spirit. Because it’s one thing to be so smart as to eventually work out all the particulars to where you exert a vice- and dictator-like grip upon your world–that will eventually spill over into controlling others. And it’s quite another to be sensitive to what you are yet not have consequence attached to each and every action you perform. All this under the banner of common decency, of course.

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit…” (Luke 10:21a)

It takes so much to suppress all our proclivities and peccadilloes to walk out the door in the morning and interact with all the normal people (there is no such thing as normal). I’m being partly facetious but I hope you get what I’m saying. The idea that Jesus could express the flagrant exultation He did in spite of all the nefarious machinations brewing in the background is proof that He had access to a deeper undercurrent of joy and rejoicing. One that’s ours for the tapping. But what about the aforementioned worries and fears that press in like chinks in our armor?

“Make me to hear joy and gladness…” (Psalm 51:8)

The second part of this verse reads “that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.” I feel that the shyness and awkwardness we feel are places in us that God holds back from being developed along the lines of the “way of the world”, to quote Earth, Wind and Fire. I understand David composed this psalm in response to the loss of his and Bathsheba’s child. I understand that he had built up a construct of lies that the Lord had to tear down. Call them bones. If they’re not meant to be, God has to break them. The same goes for any confidences of our own that don’t spring from Him.

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3)

“Confidence in the flesh”. See, it’s either one or the other. If you’re controlling it, it’s not spontaneous. And if it’s not spontaneous, you’re either controlling it or you’re afraid. I’m talking about the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The things that bloom and blossom from God’s heart that make our days and lives worth living. The bright spots we look back on and remember even as we step out our door and into the future.

The White Void

Pellucid

 “Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” (Psalm 51:6)

I’ve got a bit of a dichotomy to express, if confess, to you. Growing up and through my parents’ divorce, I saw my life as a void. Looking back, I suppose it was a white one, if that makes sense. I know it wasn’t black. But I also saw that there were no connections from there to here (abstractly), anymore. What I mean is, the tapestry of my life had been shredded. No strands remained on which to embroider the future. And so, as God is good, He began weaving one at a time to where, now, my life is a mesh of the interconnected threads sewn in by Him and His. Now. Here’s where the dichotomy comes in to play.

Pruinose

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)

Through the period where I felt I had nothing, I would throw my imagination out into the ether (I can do this–I suppose you could too) and wish I were in someone else’s shoes. It didn’t matter who it was, anyone’s life looked better than my own. But I knew that they had it. They had that airtight (I thought) life, a backdrop of family and friends and community on which to fall should anything akin to what was going on in my life, go on in theirs. But this is folly. You cannot live inside another’s head or life or what have you. You can walk a mile in another’s shoes but (and this goes without saying) you have to then give them back.

Pilose

“Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.” (Psalm 51:8)

See, I don’t see my life through your eyes. I suppose I could catch a glimpse here or there. But my life is my own. It’s one of those irreplaceable, but not irreparable, gifts from God. And if you find yourself staring blankly into space, wondering how it all connects, ask God to show you. Because if all you have is the foundation of Christ from which to build, I can think of no better place to start than Him.

“Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10-11)

Everything Is Symbolic part 2 Mattrous

“For if He were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things…” (Hebrews 8:4-5a)

What’s the matter?

In other words, were Jesus still here on earth (like, the way He was prior to dying), He would be, like, a celestial or mystical bridge to the Father–a direct line or portal, in other words. Actually, that just sounds wrong. And I’m being partly facetious. Look at the rest of the passage. There are still symbolic acts taking place with regards to the “priests that offer gifts according to the law.” Remember: “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4) And so Jesus dies and rises again and ascends to Heaven. Tangentially speaking, He tells the disciples in John’s Gospel “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” (16:6-7) So there’s that. I don’t mean (or want) to compartmentalize and/or shun the Holy Spirit (the Comforter). He figures into the point I’m trying to make majorly, in a moment. But look at the reason Jesus had to leave. Because He was the sacrifice. And now that He has arisen, the necessity has…dematerialized.

Is anything “the matter”?

“And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” (Acts 10:15)

Forgive me. Firstly, here’s five dollars for the word (it now is one, by the way). Secondly, it’s simply an adjective meaning “of or pertaining to matter”. Reason why we need a new word to wrap around the concept is because the whole stuff has now been redeemed by Christ. That He would be sinless in spirit (“When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:18) and work out that holiness and perfection into the natural world is what it took to wrest the Creation back from a never-ending spiral of atrophy and apoptosis. And here’s where the Holy Spirit enters the picture. It’s still “appointed unto men once to die…” (Hebrews 9:27). Holding up the matter that is our bodies as the earth crumbles for lack of care is pointless. Again, forgive me for pointing to the utopian escape of Heaven. But if your mind goes there in solace, you’ve missed the whole point. Because the matter at hand is Christ. He is the focal point. The opening words of the eighth chapter of Hebrews are as follows:

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”

See, He did all He did for you. He lived your life. He’ll give it (and His) to you as a gift if you ask.

A Gamboge Gestalt

Gesamtkunstwerk

It’s kind of like a movie but broader, if that makes sense. Forgive my simplistic definition but I am going to seek to analogize it as such. Whereas with the gesamtkunstwerk, you’re working with music and art and synthesizing them on the stage to achieve something greater than the sum of their parts, the same could be said for the motion picture. Sound and music. Visuals. Storytelling. All played out on a screen that’s larger than life. Feel free to look it up and shout me down but also follow me a bit more down this rabbit trail as I’m seeking to define it.

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Colossians 1:10)

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”(John 10:10a)

The literal translation of gesamtkunstwerk is “total work of art”. Coined by German composer Richard Wagner, the word sums up the idea that all constituent parts of the opera were to work together towards its expression as a whole. Nothing wasted, in other words. As I read up on the word, having just heard it the other day, I suppose it’s something that is now taken for granted. Why wouldn’t someone want all the art and music to flow and coalesce into one broad stroke (figuratively speaking)? I also read that the idea (with different letters no doubt) is something the Ancient Greeks sought to employ for their dramatic arts. But for me, as I do stray into thinking that sometimes there’s this overarching story being written about me (by God), the word fits. And I can also pronounce it.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

But what does this look like for your life? For mine? The broad strokes are there. The gestalt of my childhood, punctuated with bright spots of color and sharp, discordant tones. Each moment that I remember as it integrates into what I am now. It also helps to feel that there’s a happy ending to it all. But that in itself is more a distraction if I’m not living in the present. I believe God wants to write and/or redefine everything you’ve encountered and everything you’ve yet to do into the gesamtkunstwerk that He is writing about you. Even the hellish spots. The blemishes you can’t bear to read or look at. Life is a work of art. And the Lord knows exactly how to refract His beauty into a situation in order to cause it to bear fruit. The miracle of forgiveness and understanding and therefore direction. This is where I equate the whole of life to a movie being played out.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…” (Hebrews 12:1a)

Life is like a movie, not just because we’re being watched by God, but because as believers we have the same script from which we’re living. And that is, God loves you. Now work it in.

Shedding a Little Enlightenment

“When God does not exist, anything is possible.” Fyodor Dostoevsky

“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.” Voltaire

In philosophy, and with reference to God, the ontological argument states that God must exist. He must exist as explained through an inductive look at the nature of perfection and that how, if the superlative epitome of an extant being (in this case, God) can exist in your imagination, he (He) must exist in the world at large. It kind of comes back around on itself when you put forth a Landscape of infinite dimensions, the parameters of which must include a world that is defined exactly as the Bible defines it. From God on down.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

With Voltaire, it’s understood that he’s negating the outcome of Dostoevsky’s statement. In other words, God is seen as that giant parent/policeman in the sky bearing down with an unwavering eye. With Gabriel, however, we see that God wants Mary to give birth to Jesus, thus explaining how God truly is to a world that doesn’t know how to look at God, if at all.

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19)

It really isn’t that hard to wrap your mind around Jesus. There’s enough of Him elucidated in the New Testament to make an informed decision. If you wanna study out the fine points of any of the arguments for or against God, great. Do it. But when Jesus says “Come unto me”, there really isn’t any other place to go to get an answer. Believing is the battleground.

“And He said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:65)

In closing, I can’t really say I ascribe (subscribe/agree) to the ontological argument. Following the same logic, simplistically explained, you can make the case for all sorts of imaginary things. Which may or may not exist. The thing is, it ends in sounding like circular reasoning (it’s true because it’s true) and that doesn’t do one any good when what we need is a relationship with One who loves us.

“If God didn’t exist, who would love us?”