Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dance of the Innocents

I closed my eyes as the gifted fingers of our pianist brought to life "Amy's Lullaby." With the world around me shut off I envisioned the lullaby. Jesus is standing on a hillside covered in a blanket of daisies. To his right the hillside slopes away and the flowers converge into a blanket of white, as bright as the purest snowfall. The daisies seem to be dancing as a gentle wind moves up the hillside. Up to his knees in the dancing and waving of the petals he is smiling. He is not grinning or cracking a little smile, like one who is trying to be restrained or respectful. He is smiling with his mouth open wide, for all the world to see.

As the breeze moves and the petals dance I am captivated by the sound of giggles and laughter. It is the laughter of children, the music of the soul, giggles and squeaks, and the beautiful blending of the glee of boys and girls. Up the hillside they come, some running, some skipping, some falling and tumbling in the field of dancing flowers. Jesus is standing there with his arms outstretched, with such a smile that he is expecting all of the children to jump into his arms.

As the children run and dance and skip their way up the hill they take no notice of the language, color or clothing of their partner in the dance. There is no language in laughter, for it is universal, there is no disdain of clothes for all are wearing the same white, white as bright as the snow, the same white that Jesus is standing in. Theirs are the colors of every nation and every tribe that has ever graced the earth.

As they dance and laugh I can sense that these precious children are the Innocents. Fragile and helpless sons and daughters of the land. Innocent ones taken from the earth, from the arms of their mothers and the sheltering strength of their fathers. Taken by the evil design of men. Taken by the greed and envy and lust of those whose hearts are consumed with the thirst of power and rule.

Many of the dancing Innocents move towards Jesus and I can tell by the purity of their smile that they are laughing and dancing by the grace of God, as their lungs never filled and their feet never felt the earth. I know as a certainty that these that are dancing the Dance of the Innocents are so happy to see Jesus. They feel his embrace, their spirit innocent and free does not sense the wrong that has been done and wish for the day that all mankind will join them in the Dance of the Innocents.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

God is tolerant and intolerant.

Tolerate is a word used in every form of media today. Intolerant and intolerance are words used as accusations against, it seems to me, every thought and person we do not agree with. Christians are cast as the most intolerant members in the cast of the social life theater.  They are homophobic because they do not believe the homosexual lifestyle is in line with scripture. Because Christians believe in the work of Christ as the only avenue to to the throne of God they are Islamophobic. And we could go on  and on.

The Bible gives us a clear view that Almighty God is both tolerant and intolerant. God is  intolerant of actions that keep us from, or break, the intimate relationship mankind was created for. Adam and Eve's intolerant behavior towards the command of God in regards to the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil severed their relationship with God. They were cast out and the loving fellowship they enjoyed was lost.

The character of God is pure beyond our comprehension. His purity and holiness.abhors the actions of sinful mankind. His intolerant stand against sin will prevent sin and sinfulness from ever entering His kingdom. The Old Testament enlightens us in regards to His judgment upon flagrant disregards for His commands. To put it rather bluntly: God Almighty hates sin and sin will have no place in His kingdom.

In God's love and understanding of mankind we can discover His tolerance. We were created to have a relationship with God. His desire was, and still is, to share in every aspect of the human experience. He understands our condition as broken and marred vessels. Sin has broken and marred the original vessel that could contain His love and grace. Everyone has inherited that original broken nature.

If God is intolerant of sin and yet tolerant of mankind we might see a great inconsistency. There is no inconsistency with God. He will not tolerate sin in His presence. In order to be consistent and congruent His character must align with His actions. In Jesus Christ we find the perfect congruence of God. Jesus Christ took the penalty of an intolerant God in regards to Sin. In the death and resurrection of Christ sin is expiated, removed and made inconsequential. Sin is inconsequential only to those who embrace the gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ alone.

The intolerance of God is met on the battlefield of human salvation . Eternity for all of mankind will be determined in this battle. Should intolerance win the day only darkness and pain await. Jesus Christ, the Captain of the Lord of Hosts understands the consequences of the battle.He also understands the plan that was formed before the foundation of the world. The plan required His death in order to satisfy the purity and holiness of Almighty God.

The Captain on the battlefield faces the demands and yields His life. The Captain's sacrifice rips away the darkness that hung over the battlefield. The tolerant light of God broke through and illuminated His Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Godly Matriarch

Five generations together in a room, soon to experience a glimpse of eternity.
The saint of the family, the matriarch, is breathing her last air of confinement.
She has shared her heart, her life and her last words with each.
Her white hair is a simple reflection of her soul, pure and unspoiled.
Her body bears the evidence of her years, yet her spirit bears the richness of life lived.
Life filled with children and chores, wonderment and worry.
Life full of images etched on every soul in that room.
Life of berry picking and shortcake, jumping grasshoppers and wild raspberries.
Children laughing and playing in the bathtub on a Saturday night,
in Sunday school the next morning, singing Jesus Loves Me This I Know For The Bible Tells Me So. Words sung a thousand times by the gathered in the room,
witnessed so many countless times by the life and love and sacrifice of the saint
soon to meet her God.
It is easy to notice her skin, thin as tissue paper, causes a hesitation to hug as firmly as deserved.
The scars are evident on her knees, of a trait passed on.
All mortal signs of life's days and years soon to be replaced by immortal
glory filled instruments of praise.
God's saint has been ready for this day for a long time, even yearning for its arrival.
As the months became years and frailty became reality, her spirit looked past the stars more and more, seeing the unseen.
For some around her now life changed for a season.
A few short months of helping in the mundane requirements of everyday living.
Not work to be endured or a burden to bear, but an expression of love,
not ever to come close to filling up what was poured out for them.
Her breathing is very slow and shallow now, a sense of rest and contentment seems
to be filling the small room.
As she sleeps on her side, as she always did, her lungs are no longer filled
with the paltry air of the earth,
but with the celestial air of the heavens and her frail hand is held
by the One she so loved and longed to see.