lyef & thymes

Monday, February 27, 2006

When I look at the stars...

Sometimes, when the sky is really clear, you can look up at the stars and it seems as though someone has pulled a canvas over the sky. And the canvas is all that is keeps us from looking directly into Heaven’s glory. The stars are little
holes in the canvas where Heaven peeks in at us, waiting for the canvas to be moved aside so the welcome party, the wedding reception can begin. Fortunately for us, the veil has already been torn, and the bridgroom is inside the canvas. And He is loving us even now, with open arms waiting to embrace us, holding us even when we don’t know it.

I wrote that during the School of Ministry in 1999, and a friend just reminded me of it. It is amazing to me, because since that time I have moved to the countryside, and then out of the countryside and back into the city. Cities are places of light, always brightly lit up, and the streetlights take the place of the stars. In the countryside the image of the stars makes so much more sense. There are just so many of them that the sky is an amazing display of the Grandeur of God. Cities, it would seem, are a display of the Grandeur of Man, who is made in the Image of God, the "Imago Dei", but in this case, I would have to say that I prefer the stars. But the reason that this strikes me so, enough to write about, is that it displays to me a sense of distance in my view of God. I had a real "here vs. there" sense of God, as though he is sometimes here (nearby) and sometimes there (distant).

Cantalamessa said that "Jesus draws near so we will love him, and also draws back so that we will long for him". This seems consistent with a loving relationship, that it displays both fulfillment and longing simultaneously, but I have seen an error in my way of seeing this patern.

Namely, I saw nearness as relationship, and drawing back as something else, testing maybe. If it is so, that even the drawing back is to the end of causing my heart to long for Jesus even more, then this is loving relational behavior. If this is a test, "will you still love me even if I am mean to you, and cold, and far-offish" then I can't imagine this a love. But there was a time when I could, and therein lies the issue.

I have had so many harsh examples of love in my life that by the time I was in the School of Ministry I had begun to accept that love was pain, and pain was love. My poem/thoughts about the stars were originally written slightly differently than they are posed here. Let me show you the original:

Sometimes when the sky is really clear, you can look
up at the stars and it looks like someone pulled a big
canvas over the sky, and that is all that is keeping
us from seeing God’s glory. The stars are just little
holes in the canvas where God peeks in at us, waiting
to move aside the canvas and smile down at us face to
face. Fortunately for us, the veil has already been
rent, and He is inside the canvas. And He is loving us
with open arms waiting to embrace us, hugging us even
when we don’t know it.

It is still an image of love, but do you see how it poses God as more distant? Now I have an easier time recognizing the nearness of God as love, and the appearance of some sort of distance between us as an illusion. Even if God has allowed me to feel as though he is distant, causing me to long for him, and love him even more, the truth is that he is still just as present with me as before, maybe even more so. He is invisible, so it stands to reason that it is difficult to "see" God at the best of times. But we experience him in other ways, through the bible, through feelings, through prayer, and I feel as though my error was in believing that during seasons in which these things were less accessible to me, that God was somehow further from me, that I had angered him somehow, and now he was in the other room fuming, unwilling to talk to me.

God is never absent from us. Look at what Job had to say "Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him...But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." (from Job 23)

It's amazing love that I am talking about here. God is so faithfull to us, so in love with us, that even the times when we cannot perceive his presence in our lives, it is making us into gold. I tell you, God is amazing. I can't describe how perfect his ways are. Even when I can't see the way, 'He knows the way that I take'.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Thinking Deeply about Deep Thinking.

Imagine that you suddenly went back ten minutes in time. Where would you be?

WRONG! Where ever you thought you would be, you are likely incorrect. Ten minutes ago the specific area that you are currently inhabiting was located in deep space. The Earth is moving incredibly fast, and ten minutes ago, this part of space where Earth currently finds itself passing through was just empty space. Think about it. You, like me, assumed that if you travelled back in time ten minutes, you would go back in SPACE also, to the spot you were located in ten minutes ago. Seems insignificant, but really, it denotes that we think we are the centre of the universe. I assume that if I travelled back in time, all of the created Universe would go back in time. It's interesting to me. I assume that I would remain the same, and the rest of the universe would be altered.

I mean, this is garbage thinking really, because this type of thing is entirely speculative, but it does reveal something of how we view ourselves. In this self absorbed way we feel like we are at the centre of everything, but we are not. The rest of the world stands apart from our unique perspective. I reject the idea that the chair beneath me ceases to exist as soon as I cannot sense it.

But in another way, we are the centre of our own universe. I was driving in my sweet Ford Taurus, and I asked Holy Spirit to be my best friend. Suddenly my mind was alight with incredible thoughts about things I had never thought of before. For example, the previous example about time travel. And I almost shut it down, as though it were frivolous. But then I felt God saying " You love thinking about this type of crazy stuff. Why do you assume that I won't speak with you about these things? I am your friend after all."

It was unbelievable. I began to imagine all sorts of conversations about things I don't necessarily know much about. I imagined how I would respond to someone posing an idea that I disagreed with, or that rubbed me the wrong way. Many people (myself included at times) will interupt people just to let them know "Actually, I disagree" which puts the speaker in the awkward position of either changing their opinion on the spot, or telling the person "Actually I don't much care what you think".

Why can't I just say "Wow, that's interesting. I have never heard anything like that before. Tell me more." And maybe a conversation would begin into which I could eventually insert my thoughts and opinions. If I am friends with someone, I feel I assume teleological suspension of disbelief, at least for long enough to see things through their eyes. If I haven't gone this far, or cannot, I probably shouldn't be so quick to shoot my opinion out there.

I will try this on for size in the next while, and see how it goes. A few months ago I decided to try behaving like a duck, and it was so excellent that I decided to keep that discipline. I will let you know how this turns out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Thoughts on personal ambition and humility. I mean, looking at this picture, I want to be that guy who aspires to climb the mountain, and who goes for it. But how much of that desire is good, and how much is unhealthy? It isn't easy finding balance, I suspect.

Let's hear what Dan Wilt had to say on the matter:

Personal Ambition
From Genesis 11 in The Message.

“Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches Heaven. Let’s make ourselves famous so we won’t be scattered here and there across the Earth.”

Just because a crowd does it, does not make something a worthwhile activity. Even in the modern sphere self-promotion and personal aggrandizement can run rampant. Our goal, in community and as individuals, is to further the fame of God. Sometimes He will elevate us to achieve that purpose, and other times he will humble us and hide us. Either way, keep your eyes, and the eyes of your team, focused on bringing Jesus acclaim in all you do.

A Prayer: Lord, I defer to You becoming greater through my life, and I welcome becoming less that I might elevate You.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Jonny Appleseed...Amen

This is my first post ever from a Macintosh computer. Ry will be pleased if he ever reads this post.

I have been volunteering my time at a church in Toronto, and in order to maximize my efficiency, they have loaned me this fancy ibook computer. So far I have enjoyed it well enough, but I don't see what all the fuss is about. None of the "amazing streamlined features" have had much of an impact on my computing thus far.

Then again, I use my computer primarily as a word processor, and there haven't been a great deal of technological advancements made necessary in the field of word processing since the dawn of the computer age.

Anyhoo, just thought I would let folks know that I am alive and still blogging. This weekend I will try to come up with something of import to say on my blog, but for now the most exciting thing is the medium, not the message.