Monday, September 25, 2017

God's Word is no Mystery

Enlight27.jpgMatthew 11:25  At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, LORD of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  (NIV)

Recently I was reminded of a time in my pre-teens when I was at a slumber party; we were going to use the Ouija board that night for the very first time!

We pulled the Ouija board off the shelf and turned out the lights.  Too curious to let fear get in the way, we collectively placed our fingertips on the rolling pointer.  There were goosebumps and nervous giggles.

One half of the Ouija board was printed with the alphabet and the words Yes and No;  on the other side were numbers.  The object of the game was to call up a spirit from the dead (!) who would answer any question you cared (or dared) to ask.  It was like a seance, and we were entranced.  We had questions like, “Who does Sarah like?” “How did you (oh Answering Spirit) die?” and, “Do you know my great great grandmother?”

We had no clue we were reenacting Genesis 3.  “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  (Genesis 3: 4-5)  We discoursed with death because there were things we wanted to know...

At that age, I was an agnostic.  My family didn’t go to church; my dad was an atheist and my mom was more of a believer in good luck and bad luck and her horoscope. I had great disdain for people who went to church and said they could find the answers to their questions in the Bible.  However, I was a wholehearted believer in the power of the Ouija board!

Why is it that we’d rather put our trust in a twisted word or a mysterious message?  Why is it easier to believe that we’ll be safe if we keep from crossing the path of a black cat, than by putting our trust in the plain and straightforward word of God?  What IS it about the veil?  

Maybe the idea that we have the means to lift the veil gives us an illusion of control? We can keep our hand in the game.

The word of God is plain and easy to read; if you read it in the dark, it turns on the light.  It is written in the heart language of every human being on the planet.  It is written ON the planet,  IN creation.  There is no mystery about it, no need to disturb the dead with inquiries.  The word can pierce the veil and bring the dead to life.  No question.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

God chose what is low

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  1 Corinthians 1:28-29

We’d never seen so many turtles in one day!  Canoeing on the Lower St. Regis, we discovered one turtle after another, sunbathing on logs.  Our game was to try and get close enough to shoot a good photo before each turtle slipped (or plopped) back into the water.

The best place for turtles was really boggy. We scootched the canoe in close to a mossy expanse of pitcher plants, baby tamaracks, and cattails.  I noticed wild cranberries growing just above the water and leaned over the side to get a photo; that’s when I noticed that we were surrounded by turtles!  I could see them watching us, their heads just out of the water.  They blended in with the vegetation around them.

Although the water appeared shallow, if we had stepped out of the canoe we’d have been up to our necks in muck!  The turtles were buried in silt, their heads just above the tranquil water.  Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement under the surface of the muck below me; I plunged in my hand and pulled out a beautiful painted turtle!

After a couple of photos, I released him.  Immediately he burrowed back into the silt.  His face reappeared in a hole - a perfect little window - in the silt below the water.  He watched me; safe from that vantage point.

A turtle lives by staying low. He needs and craves the life on the log, stretched out in the sun, but that's not where he finds safety.  His safety is in the dirt, under the surface of the water.  He lives by dying.  A turtle can spend 4 months of the year almost as frozen as the peas in your freezer - frozen as a clod of dirt - under the ice on a pond, under the silt of a stream.  (He continues to take in a small amount of oxygen through his skin, so don't try putting any turtles in your freezer at home!) He “dies” with autumn and thaws with the spring sun. He knows how to abandon himself to death so he can live.  

The word “humility”comes from a Latin word that derives its meaning from a word for “grounded,” or “earth.”  (Humus.) We, too, find our life by dying, by abandoning ourselves to the purposes of God.

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.  Proverbs 29:23 (NIV)