Monday, January 31, 2005

"Something to Someone"

We all want to be “someone”, to stand out in a crowd and make our mothers proud. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. We get lost in a sea of humanity and become just another person, a number. We look around at celebrities, movie stars, and professional athletes and we have a hard time measuring up. Even ones we love hurt us and make us feel bad or use our weaknesses against us.

We just want to be something to someone, as we age, we look back and wonder what happened to all of our dreams and aspirations and we get frustrated. We want to leave our mark on the world and for people to remember us when we are gone.

We are someone to Christ, he loves us unconditionally and completely. He loved us before we were born, before our parents were born, he loved us enough to give up everything precious to him, most importantly being with his father. He loved us first and he will be there when it’s all over, HE will remember us when we leave this place and HE will stand side by side with us at the judgment and speak for us.

Phillipians 2:6 – “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…”

Romans 5:7 – “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Friday, January 21, 2005

Learning to Fly - Part 2...Transitions

As I was flying just last night (again) I was reading. It has become easier to read (and rest) as I get more and more used to flying. When I first started this adventure even reading a magazine was difficult, not only was it hard to concentrate on any thing that was written, but my hands would get the pages wet.

In the last couple of flights, I have found that I can actually read pretty well (and fast) on the plane - it seems to calm my nerves and distract my mind from wandering and going somewhere irrational. Last night I was reading "Ten Lies the Church Tells Women" by J. Lee Grady (a book that I hope to "review" here soon - I wasn't overly impressed) and as I was reading about a great number of women that have been terribly mistreated through time because they exerted themselves and their ideas something occured to I remembered that I was flying.

Something that I have noticed about flying is that things are most unpredictable and stressful during periods of transition. Obviously, take-offs and landings are periods of extreme transition. During take-off, a huge, heavy (I wonder how heavy?) plane is being coaxed into going from sitting on a runway to flying in the air at high speeds.

Landing is equally stressful. Now you have to get a huge, heavy plane to SLOW DOWN and land without hurting anyone (can you say "controlled fall"?). I have also noticed that you can pretty much count on some sort of bumping or turbulence when entering and/or exiting clouds or when going over mountains or when the pilot is trying to slow the plane down for landing (nicely, a plane is made for flying smoothly at high speed, not so much for flying slow with flaps open and landing gear down). Sometimes the pilot turns the plane while doing one or more of the above which is when things can get really interesting.

It occurs to me that transitions during flight...and life...are difficult, stressful, taxing - but can be ultimately fulfilling. The book I was reading told of women that had been tortured for doing things we take for granted today. Things like just stating that they may not agree with someone in authority or even for things they had no control over. Over time we have worked through transitions that have made huge impacts over large portions of our world and there have been others that only affect a few, but they all seem to have an accumulative effect. However, we still don't learn from the past.

Transition still seems to be painful, maybe that's just our nature. We like things the way they are and changing them makes us uncomfortable.

Did I use that word? Change? I guess I did.

Friday, January 14, 2005

A VERY Thoughtful Present

Do you know what Myrrh is? All my life, I have been told that it was an expensive perfume. While studying this week I learned that it IS a perfume...for the dead.

Myrrh is a bitter, gum-based substance with a very strong odor, typically used in embalming the dead to slow putrefaction. Yes, Myrrh is a precious substance that was kept for long periods of time and most likely traded for other things, but it's primary use was for the dead.

Why then would a Magi, traveling many miles, bring Myrrh as a gift to BABY Jesus? Gold makes sense, gold was a very common gift, especially to Kings. It would make sense to bring gold to Jesus to recognize his "sovereigness". Frankincense also makes sense - it was a very valuable fragrance and it addresses Jesus as our High Priest.

But an embalming agent?

Wouldn't it make more sense to bring a child something he could use like some type of farm animal there are many uses for these animals when a baby is around (milk, food, clothing). Maybe silver or some instrument created abroad (these men came from far away). Why bring a baby something he didn't seem to need?

Myrrh recognizes Christ's eventual suffering and death on the cross. Christ has identified with us in our pain and sorrow and the Myrrh that covers up our eventual decay makes a perfect symbol of the sin-covering love we get from our Lord and Savior. The bible doesn't tell us if the Magi were lead or influenced by God when they chose their gifts, but you would have a hard time convincing me otherwise...
"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18