Be Significant

” ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.’* It would be scripturally false to leave out the second phrase, ‘and to enjoy Him forever.’ The men who formulated this showed great wisdom and insight is saying, ‘and to enjoy Him forever.’ Nevertheless, the first phrase is the first phrase: ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God.’ And in Christianity we have a non-determined God who did not need to create because there was love and communication within the Trinity, and yet having been created, we as men can glorify God. If we fail to emphasize that we can glorify God, we raise the question of whether men are significant at all. We begin to lose our humanity as soon as we begin to lose the emphasis that what we do makes a difference. We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous.” —Francis Schaeffer

Now you know why you’re here. Be significant.

—j

*The Westminster Shorter Catechism

New Year, New Chance

And He that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write: for these words are true and faithful.” —God, Revelation 21:5

Imagine that. This is what He does. Here’s your chance.

“Here from this stable, here, from this Nazareth, this stony beach, this Jerusalem, this market place, this garden, this Praetorium, this Cross, this mountain, I announce it to you. I announce to you what is guessed at in all the phenomena of your world. You see the corn of wheat shrivel and break open and die, but you expect a crop. I tell you of the Springtime of which all springtimes speak. I tell you of the world for which this world groans and toward which it strains. I tell you that beyond the awful borders imposed by time and space and contingency, there lies what you seek. I announce to you life instead of mere existence, freedom instead of frustration, justice instead of compensation. For I announce to you redemption. Behold I make all things new. Behold I do what cannot be done. I restore the years that the locusts and worms have eaten. I restore the years [that] you have drooped away upon your crutches and in your wheelchair. I restore the symphonies and operas which your deaf ears have never heard, and the snowy massif your blind eyes have never seen, and the freedom lost to you through plunder and the identity lost to you because of calumny [slander] and the failure of justice; and I restore the good which your own foolish mistakes have cheated you of. And I bring you to the Love of which all other loves speak, the Love which is joy and beauty, and which you have sought in a thousand streets and for which you have wept and clawed your pillow.”—Thomas Howard, Christ the Tiger

Happy New Year.

—j

Going Under for the Third Time

“He made us lamps for His light, not the salesmen or customers of His fire. He fits no category, exceeds every attribution, defies all description. He is immeasurably more than the object of our study—He’s the subject of the universe itself. “He’s the superlative of everything good you choose to call Him”, Rev. Lockwood proclaimed— yet we still tread the surface of the Sea of Him seeking to stay afloat—waters in which He intended us to drown.”

I’m going under for the third time. No rescue is necessary.

—j

Toast for Thanksgiving

I confess have a favorite movie—Babette’s Feast*. Like Jesus, Babette prepared a feast for a village of enemies—of each other. The table is set with mercy, peace and reconciliation. I hope you’ll watch it someday. Near the end, Old Lorens, a surprising character in the story, offers a great toast…

“Mercy and truth have met together. Righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another. Man, in his weakness and shortsightedness believes he must make choices in this life. He trembles at the risks he takes. We do know fear. But no. Our choice is of no importance. There comes a time when our eyes are opened and we come to realize that mercy is infinite. We need only await it with confidence and receive it with gratitude. Mercy imposes no conditions. And lo! Everything we have chosen has been granted to us. And everything we rejected has also been granted. Yes, we even get back what we rejected. For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another.” —Old Lorens Lowenhielm, Babette’s Feast

“Hallelujah!”

—j

*Rated ‘G’, French-Danish, with subtitles

He’s Still There

If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.” —Chaplain John Akers, PCLEC

What God is doing is greater than we know, even when it hurts. He never told His kids that life in Him was bliss—quite the opposite. But He said He’d be there when life hurts—and He still binds up the broken-hearted. Yours, too.

—j

The Eucatastrophe of History (Merry Christmas)

Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien declared, “The Incarnation of God is an infinitely greater thing than anything I would dare to write…” (italics in the original). But later on he tried. Here is what he wrote…

The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: ‘mythical’ in their perfect, self-contained significance; and at the same time powerfully symbolic and allegorical; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable Eucatastrophe… The Birth of Christ is the Eucatastrophe of man’s history. The Resurrection is the Eucatastrophe of the story of the incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many skeptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.

“It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be ‘primarily’ true, its narrative to be history, without thereby necessarily losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed. It is not difficult, for one is not called upon to try and conceive anything of a quality unknown. The joy would have exactly the same quality, if not the same degree, as the joy which the ‘turn’ in a fairy-story gives: such joy has the very taste of primary truth (otherwise its name would not be joy). It looks forward (or backward—the direction in this regard is unimportant) to the Great Eucatastrophe. The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is pre-eminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. Because this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men—and of elves. Legend and history have met and fused.”

Good job, Ronald, and Merry Christmas to all.

—j

Come Ye, Joyful and Triumphant

Come and behold Him, born the King of angels…

“Here from this stable, here, from this Nazareth, this stony beach, this Jerusalem, this market place, this garden, this Praetorium, this Cross, this mountain, I announce it to you. I announce to you what is guessed at in all the phenomena of your world. You see the corn of wheat shrivel and break open and die, but you expect a crop. I tell you of the Springtime of which all springtimes speak. I tell you of the world for which this world groans and toward which it strains. I tell you that beyond the awful borders imposed by time and space and contingency, there lies what you seek. I announce to you life instead of mere existence, freedom instead of frustration, justice instead of compensation. For I announce to you redemption. Behold I make all things new. Behold I do what cannot be done. I restore the years that the locusts and worms have eaten. I restore the years [that] you have drooped away upon your crutches and in your wheelchair. I restore the symphonies and operas which your deaf ears have never heard, and the snowy massif your blind eyes have never seen, and the freedom lost to you through plunder and the identity lost to you because of calumny [slander] and the failure of justice; and I restore the good which your own foolish mistakes have cheated you of. And I bring you to the Love of which all other loves speak, the Love which is joy and beauty, and which you have sought in a thousand streets and for which you have wept and clawed your pillow.” —Thomas Howard, Christ the Tiger

O come, let us adore Him.

—j