Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I was recently sick (or Why Vomiting Reminded Me of Jesus)

During the earlier part of this week I had a stomach bug. In other words, I got sick and threw up a lot.

At about 10pm on Sunday I was feeling pretty queasy and I suspected that I may have caught the same bug that my visiting family had experienced a few days earlier. By midnight I was sitting next to the toilet making the observation that the stomach does not quickly digest carrots.

After the first visit to the bathroom, as I was lying in bed trying to figure out if it was easier to sleep curled up or on my back, I started thinking. And, oh man, I was doing some thinking.

I thought about how very violent the act of throwing up is. It’s terrible. It’s disgusting, uncomfortable, unsightly, and exhausting. And you can hardly control it. It will turn your skin white and can make you break out in a sweat.

So then I got to wondering about why we vomit. I figured that in the case of a stomach bug, the answer had to do with my body’s health. I think there was something bad in me that my body was trying to get out. That was, as best as I could tell, the medical explanation. However, I figured that, at best, this was a secondary reason.

The primary reason must be related to Christ.

If we are made in the image of God, and I think we are, then I think it is legitimate to see aspects of who we are as pointers to who God is.

Even before Jesus became a man, Scripture sometimes talked about God in ways that made Him sound kind of humanesque. I used to think of these instances in Scripture as anthropomorphisms. So, I thought that Scripture would reference the hand of the Lord doing this…, or His eyes searching…, or the face of the Lord… because we really do not have a better way of describing God. Because He is so incomprehensible we are left to comparing him to us and using the same terminology that we use for ourselves in our discussions about him. But I am now more inclined to think that such thinking is backwards.

I think the reason we have eyes is because it reveals something to us about the way that the Lord sees.

I think that the reason that we speak with a mouth is because it reflects the way that the Lord speaks.

The reason we have two hands is because two-handedness communicates something about the Lord.

The reason that we throw up is because the action reveals something about our God.

As I settled on the conclusion that it felt better to try to sleep curled up, I remembered that Jesus had once warned a church that He would vomit them out of His body.

So there I had it. The reason we vomit is because it teaches us something about how Jesus reacts to a group of apathetic people who profess His name but do not reflect it in their actions.

Effective and violent expulsion of that which is detrimental and harmful from the body.

I need to be more like Christ.

Note: I think the part of the evangelical community that comes up with cheesy Christian catchphrases has a real opportunity to gain something if more people realize the connection between vomit and Jesus. Think about it…

“Got a Problem? Throw it up to the Lord.”

“Would you rather be thrown up or taken up to the throne? – Revelation 3:16, 21”


Yeah, I’m not going to waste time thinking about any others.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

When I Say “Hang Out” it Sounds Like “Hane Out” (or Why Long Distance Dating, Staff Reunions, Deathbeds, and Parting Friends Remind Me of Glory)

"Here I am and I’ll take my time.
Here I am and I’ll wait in line always.
Coldplay in "Parachutes"

I think I have recognized another longing that points us towards Christ and His redemption. It is the longing to make the most of the time given with someone. It is the longing to not be separated from those that we care about.

Have you ever been in a situation where you realize you only have a little bit of time left with a person? I think we find ourselves in that situation often. A good friend of mine is going to the far side of the world for a few years. He is here in Littleton for just a couple more days.

I have noticed that there is a strong desire to make certain that I enjoy every moment that I have left with him before he leaves. I do not want any moment to be stressed, forced, or taxing. I want each moment to be meaningful, relaxed, but significant. I even find myself running the risk of ruining the time I do have to hang out with him by worrying about how to maximize it.

The impulse to make the most of every moment is fueled by a recognition that time is short. I can say “carpe diem” but I recognize the power of that phrase, meaning “seize the day,” if I know that I only have a few days left to live.

I can say that I believe we ought to enjoy relationships and the opportunity for fellowship and community, but do I really interact with others like it is a something special? Separation in a relationship is a sad thing. The reason for such separation can relate to geography, busyness of a schedule, changes in affection, or death. If such a separation seems imminent, there can almost be a sense of desperation to find opportunities to enjoy life together before the separation occurs. That is why staff stay up late at the end of summer camp. It is why people will take off from work to see a terminally ill friend or family member. It is why people throw going away parties.

The shortness of time is frustrating. It seems there is never enough time when we want it.

I wish we had more time.

But here is the thing: we will. We were made for eternity.

The dislike I have for separation is because I am made for community and companionship. The dislike I have for a time that is too short is because I am made for a time that does not end.

For now, we live in a fallen world. It is a world in which you never have enough time when you want it. It is a time when we say goodbyes. It is a time where glory is only glimpsed.

But there is a coming age when goodbyes and separation will be no more. Glory will be revealed.

The effects of man’s rebellion will finally be undone. The whole created order will be redeemed and made new. The undoing has already begun, and it continues to be undone by the Gospel.

Christ is redeeming the world and He is doing it through the proclamation of His Kingdom. We must go and we must share the story of His good news.

Redemption changes everything. My friend is going away soon. The time I have to hang out with him is slipping away. But, I have a hope. It is a hope found in Christ (I cannot find any hope outside of Him). And that hope is in the promise that we shall join Him with His saints in a New Creation. It is a New Creation in which time is unending and every moment is meaningful, relaxing, and significant.

“As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”
Psalm 16:4

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:15-16