Friday, December 24, 2004

i love to fly

Now planes are nice, but what I really like is to fly through the air with my own body, all by myself, under my own power. I have recurring flying dreams - have had them since I was a child. I believe all of us are born with this same kind of inner urge, some soul-cry for freedom, a deep longing that we cannot adequately express in our everyday, mundane lives. And if you look closely, I believe all of us will find evidence of it seeping through in our subconscious, our uncensored words, our day and/or night dreams, our playtime activities, in fact, any time we let our guard down and allow our childlike ability to unabashedly desire great things take hold for a just a moment.

You know how kids are…they will just outright ask you for what they want, no matter how ridiculous it sounds to the rational adult mind. Like chocolate cake for breakfast, or staying up all night to watch the stars, or sending their favorite toy to a poor child in Africa, or learning to fly by donning a blanket cape and jumping from a rooftop. They are not afraid to ask. To dream. To desire. To wish.

And one of my greatest dreams is to be free, untethered, not tied down to this motley earth with its restrictions, its festering sickness of decay, and its gravitational pull towards mediocrity and self-centeredness. Yech!

So I fly…up, up and away, facing the sky, free from fear, worry, pain, and law. But really, how much freedom can I experience in my everyday life as I toil, eat, sleep, and interact with other less than perfect beings, all inflicted with the same malady of sin? Way more than I ever thought possible, I am discovering. Having just read through Galatians again, I was struck by the adamant insistence of Paul (the author) that the great gift of grace that Jesus procured at incredible cost was for FREEDOM, and we so easily toss this gift aside for the four confining walls of rigid righteous regulations. Is that what really makes a person good? Doing the right things? Sticking to a diet of bland “safe” activities? Bah!

Putting on the appearance of righteousness is nothing, nor is being seen to have the appearance of evil – neither has any substance. The only thing that matters is if we have indeed under gone the metamorphosis from a dead soul into one who has had the breath of God infused into their spirit. Everything else is still death. Bondage. Restriction. Out of the realm of love. And I am tired of residing in that substandard claustrophobic state.

As you can tell by my rambling, somewhat random thoughts here, I am still working through this freedom thing, but I have climbed onto the roof, clutched a bright red cape in my left hand, and begun to edge my feet closer to the edge. And having seen the wide open expanse in front of me, I will not turn back.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Oh, Look!

Every Christmas, I ask God for a focus point, a theme...something that makes the season and the story of Jesus come alive for me once more. The problem with traditions, at least for me, is that I get bored with them. I have heard the story before, the songs are oh so familiar, I know what happens in the end, and though the truth can be amazingly profound, I loose my sense of wonder all too easily when there is repitition involved. So I ask the One who is never short on fresh ideas to show me a new angle, another dimension of truth, a divine revelation of the neverending depth of Love personified.

And this year, I was struck with the necessity of looking. Those shepherds would never have found the One who changed the course of their lives if they had not abandoned their work and went on a midnight treasure hunt. Wise men spent years poring over writings and watching the skies, and when all the signs lined up, they packed their bags and started on a lengthy journey to another part of the world, searching for someone they were sure was a King of the highest order.

Jesus is not always easy to find. You have to be looking, searching, wanting, longing, hungry for something of eternal worth. He does not parade His greatness or flaunt his authority. He waits to be recognized, and sometimes even hides himself for reasons I cannot fully understand. He appeared in unlikely places, in obscure locations, in situations where no one expected to find him. But those who were determined to find him, always did. Those who were content with the status quo, often busy with their systematic beliefs and traditions, all too often overlooked the beauty, mystery and simplicity walking right in front of them.

So this Christmas, I am choosing to bypass the obvious and instead, turn over a few rocks, pull back a curtain or two, and perhaps even gaze into the face of a stranger. What will I find?

"When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree from Jeremiah 29 (the Message)