sábado, enero 30, 2010

I love watching the Olympics. And I can honestly say that I nearly salivated at the thought of enjoying the treat yet again when the 2010 Winter Olympics begin next month. Yet if there's anything that can kill my zest for enjoying a spectacle (even a potentially awe-inspiring and God-glorifying spectacle like the Olympics) it's the knowledge that human lives might've been demeaned, trampled, or ignored somewhere in the process. It was only after the Olympics in 2008 that I began learning of the downright mess of justice that happens in some parts of China. Now, a year and half later, I guess I somehow assumed that a good ol' North American first world country could of course host an international sports event without all the injustice and oppression.

Well buggers. Here we go again.

Vancouver apparently has issues. This article highlights some of the current tensions that are coming to a head this month. Yet it was this article, written three years ago, that really caught my attention while surfing. Far from reducing it's relevance, I believe that the oldness of the article (in news terms at least) actually works in it's favor in this case.
The closer people draw to an event, the more heightened their emotions get about it, both for and against. But to get a real sense of the way things have been for the locals in Vancouver it seems that a more temporally distant perspective is needed, and that second post provides it. It doesn't claim to be an unbiased take of the matter but then let's be honest, is there such a thing as a wholly unbiased take of anything? Mmm, probably not. In any case, it's a sobering enough look at the situation in Vancouver to make me question whether I want to be involved (even as a "passive" viewer) with the Winter Olympics at all.

Of course, a sport is never just a sport, political baggage and the fallen world in general continue to work against anything true, good, or beautiful. Even the wondrous feats of wonderful creatures made in God's very image, something that should be so exhilarating to behold, just has to get mired down in injustice, oppression, and the cheeping of those very same wonderful creatures. Alas, fallen world!

So perhaps I'll be tuning in next month when the games begin, or perhaps not. But both aspects of Olympic games in this world, both the glory and the shame, leave me hungering for more. For a day when excellence and mercy walk hand and hand together, when God's people soar, not on wings of plastic and steel but on rapturous limbs of bodies made new. Then we will run and leap and dance for joy that both our bodies and our souls are finally fit for the eternal exhilaration of heaven.

viernes, enero 29, 2010

mmm, but this is even better...

Evening by evening, C.H. Spurgeon, January 30

"The dove came in to him in the evening.” Genesis 8:11

Blessed be the Lord for another day of mercy, even though I am now weary with its toils. Unto the preserver of men lift I my song of gratitude. The dove found no rest out of the ark, and therefore returned to it; and my soul has learned yet more fully than ever, this day, that there is no satisfaction to be found in earthly things—God alone can give rest to my spirit. As to my business, my possessions, my family, my attainments, these are all well enough in their way, but they cannot fulfil the desires of my immortal nature. “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” It was at the still hour, when the gates of the day were closing, that with weary wing the dove came back to the master: O Lord, enable me this evening thus to return to Jesus. She could not endure to spend a night hovering over the restless waste, not can I bear to be even for another hour away from Jesus, the rest of my heart, the home of my spirit. She did not merely alight upon the roof of the ark, she “came in to him;” even so would my longing spirit look into the secret of the Lord, pierce to the interior of truth, enter into that which is within the veil, and reach to my Beloved in very deed. To Jesus must I come: short of the nearest and dearest intercourse with him my panting spirit cannot stay. Blessed Lord Jesus, be with me, reveal thyself, and abide with me all night, so that when I awake I may be still with thee. I note that the dove brought in her mouth an olive branch plucked off, the memorial of the past day, and a prophecy of the future. Have I no pleasing record to bring home? No pledge and earnest of lovingkindness yet to come? Yes, my Lord, I present thee my grateful acknowledgments for tender mercies which have been new every morning and fresh every evening; and now, I pray thee, put forth thy hand and take thy dove into thy bosom.

this quite possibly made me as happy as I've been today...

jueves, enero 28, 2010

temple of God

I was going over I Corinthians 3:16 today, "Do you not know that you [plural] are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" and thought I'd dig a little more into what it means to be a temple. My study notes led me to Exodus 25:8 which says, "And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst." Aha, another clue. And to this verse the study notes remarked:

"A sanctuary is a “holy place,” which, like the ground at the burning bush, is made holy by the Lord's presence. The presence of the Lord in Israel's midst will be borne out in the arrangement of the camp around the tabernacle."

And it was that first sentence which caught my attention. Hmmm. The Lord's presence is what makes holy ground holy (i.e. the burning bush). It makes perfect sense, of course, and I'm sure I've heard it before, but looking at my life this week it's just good to hear it again. Today is Thursday, and five days into the week with mistakes, lapses, and sins all to my record the hope that anything like holiness can be found in my life feels so dim at times.

But then I look back to God's word, and there it says it right there - God, I'm part of Your people and Your temple, and where You dwell it is holy (Isa 57:15). On our own we're just dust on some mountainside with a bush in the middle, but when You come down to live in us we are changed into holy ground and glow with fire. Oh Lord, how amazing that You use us thus and claim us for Yourself. How worthy You are of praise that You take what is sinful and make it sacred unto You. And how I want for this day to be imbued with the knowledge that no longer am I a temple to sin, or self, or Satan, but because You have chosen to make us your holy place, this day and all others after it... I am Yours.

viernes, enero 22, 2010

Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
Matt 9:2

But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said,
Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.
Matt 9:22

And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying,
Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
Matt 14:26-27

So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”
Mark 10:49

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but
be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33