Tuesday, March 11

Feeling the journey....

“The marks of Jesus are silently impressed on His true disciples in the normal procedure of life in society as well as in the crises of suffering and martyrdom.” Hebert Hensley Henson,
Retrospect of an unimportant life. (As referenced in chapter seventeen of Glittering Images by Susan Howatch)

The truth will always attract the seekers, those lost souls who are searching for the fulfillment of their thirst and the answer to their stories. We don’t have to stand separate in the world, because it is in the process of being in the world that we show that we truly don’t belong here anymore. We are forever marked, in the blood by which we are set free.

A spiritual giant that has walked in my world spoke some words that I failed to understand in my younger days, when I believed God to be a legalistic and unsatisfied God with me. He told me, “Do you have to tell someone you are a Christian, or do they assume it by your actions, words, and life?” Christ spoke to doubting Thomas, “Touch my wounds so that you would believe.” His marks were clearly visible to the assembled apostles in that Upper Room, so there was no question to who He truly was. All doubt was removed.

Too often in the workplace, in our communities, and in our relationships with others, we leave the question to be asked, instead of walking in a lifestyle that is clearly different from the walk of Christ when He stood upon the shores of Galilee and taught twelve different and very diverse men the truth of the Kingdom they had grown up expecting.

If an outsider, who doesn’t see you in the worship center of your church or witness you speaking “christianeze” at some gathering of ‘Christian’ folk, saw you in your everyday image, would they assume the question to be answered? Whether you carried yourself as if a pilgrim in this world, despite the raging storms?

It strikes me that the story of Peter getting out of the boat to go to Jesus is similar to our journey to Christ. That we must forego the illusions of this world, with all its trappings of instant gratification and peace for the delayed justice of being made righteous and restored with Christ’s return.

We all have our ‘glittering images’, those selves that we show to the world as a whole, that are a pale illusion of the true self. We have this desire not to be close to one another supported and reinforced by the Church today. If the Church viewed our true self, they would have to claim some responsibility under the established behavior God set for all His redeemed children and walk alongside each of us, in our broken and sinful state.

But the Church is offering instant redemption; an illusion of the true process that each of the true followers of Christ have to go through to become what God has purposed for each of us in this broken world. We will have trials, people we love will die or fall by the wayside, children will turn from the teachings of their parents and chart a journey through dark valleys, and we ourselves will fail to achieve the mark on occasion as our old selves, our glittering images, seek to limit the painful interaction with the world that opposes our new birth.

But, it is remarkable, in a way, that the strongest warriors for the kingdom are too often those who have been scarred and wounded. Who have endured personal tragedy and sorrows and embraced the ‘glittering image’, recognizing its danger and limiting its power through the grace and working of the Holy Spirit.

And that reminds me of Paul’s words, those verses in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, that were spoken to me what seems so long ago in the journey God has asked me to walk; that Paul, like I, rejoice in the trials, tribulations, and tragedies that are experienced in this world of sin and shame……

For it brings us closer to the goal; to be like Christ.

A sign that we are on the journey to our homeland as less and less of the world's tragedies hold any claim to our peace and hope.......

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