"In this place lay a multitude of the blind, lame and paralyzed, waiting for the waters to be troubled". The pool at Bethesda in John's Gospel.
There's often debate about certain things being of any real value. Homeopathy is one such practice that immediately springs to mind, but it's fascinating how certain other 'beliefs' (of equally if not more dubious suppositions) are peddled publicly without anyone so much as batting an eyelid.
This morning, for example, I was listening to a local radio station which had a guest who works with prisoners, getting them to record bedtime stories to send home to their children. Also on the show was a chap who runs a local zoo, whose biography is about to be made into a Hollywood movie. He kindly offered to bring a 3D audio/visual venture by the zoo into the local prison for the inmates to enjoy - fine - but his reason for doing so? Well, because we've evolved from tree-dwelling primates, so we enjoy viewing other animals... it reaches us at some primal level and refreshes us there! I guess you have to resort to such 'therapy' if you believe we're just animals.
A few minutes later, I flipped channels to see what the local 'Christian' radio station was up to...
any chance they would be giving something like the Gospel of Christ a mention? They were busy on another endeavor... advocating local church unity by looking at common ways that 'all Christians' in the town can be brought together under a common goal to love God and neighbor...that's what Jesus shows us it's really all about. I felt myself groan inwardly. Yes, we apparently can skip over lots of things (as with evolutionary therapy) in our haste to find common cause...like the need for the actual Gospel (we're saved by God's merciful work of Grace, and nothing more). It's the same old merry go-round... the same old message of we can, of course, all help ourselves, but the result is at best a few cracks hidden to our eye.
Jesus approached one man at the pool in the story referred to above. So many, apparently, wanted a cure, but only one of these would actually look and listen to the true remedy to all our ills. It would seem that reality is still very much the case today.
Friday, 7 January 2011
"Can you imagine what is to cross an ocean...
for weeks, you see nothing but the ocean,
you live in the grip of fear...
fear... of the immensity,
so you must drive that fear down... study your charts, watch your compass,
pray for a fair wind...
and hope - pure, naked hope,
At first, it's no more than a haze upon the horizon...
So you watch...
Then it's a smudge,
a shadow on the far water,
for a day,
for another day,
the stain slowly spreads along the horizon, taking form,
until, on the third day,
you dare to whisper the word...
Coming out of the vast unknown...
Out of the immensity.
That is the new world.
Raleigh to the Queen in Elizabeth:The Golden Age.
Back in 2005, I had the joy of traveling West, to find myself encountering some amazing places in Colorado and Oregon. One of the magical moments I recall is removing my shoes and socks on Canon Beach (pictured here - photo by me) to dip my feet in the ocean there, and trying to explain to the daughter of a friend that when I normally paddle in my home country, it's in an entirely different ocean.
Life's journey teaches us that there is so much more we are going to have to encounter, have to understand, and as we grow in that awareness, we begin to realize just how vital it is to have a fixed point, a focus, that allows us to navigate well through what we encounter - a sound chart and compass that not only allows us to engage with both the wonder and pain which becomes part of us, but brings us safely home so we can tell our tale and share the value of that journey.
In the person, the life and the work of Jesus Christ, we find the true fixed point amongst the vast ocean of our journey and life - the means to unravel the experiences, the confusion, the triumphs and the trials that are upon and around us. He is the one master and commander that makes this voyage of lasting value.
There is a moment coming when making the journey will truly be defined by reaching another shore...