Somebody Once Believed Jesus Had a Wife (Repost)

It’s not often that I reblog on Enjoying the Surface but fellow blogger Todd Bolen did a great job in looking more into yesterday’s news about the age-old theory that Jesus had a wife.  He writes:

The problem with today’s headline story is not the discovery of an ancient document that suggests that someone once believed that Jesus had a wife. There were many false and unbiblical teachings in ancient times, just as there are today. The problem is the media can very easily make a minor story into something sensational that appears to threaten historic Christianity. (read more).

The issue here deals with timing of these papyrus fragments.  Todd outlines this in greater detail.

Dancing Mice and a Heroic Pursuit

 

A dream is a wish your heart makes, or so it’s been said.  Because no matter how your heart is dreaming, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.  Such are the words that have flowed through my home in song in weeks past.  Most of you will quickly pick up on the fact that these are lyrics to one of the songs in Disney’s Cinderella.

Yes.  We have entered a new era of parenting—the love of Disney videos on the part of my daughter.  And while it’s fun to show her classics like this story about the housemaid-and-stepdaughter who lives in a high tower and still remains perpetually cheerful, in some ways we’re not doing much of anything other than helping open those preexisting places in her of hope and of longing.  Hope and longing for something bigger than herself, of adventure and of intimacy.

And while my daughter would not be able to articulate these principles as stated above, it is very evident that she has come prewired for that longing.  Remove those singing mice that can do wonders with a sewing needle and you have something far greater.  As Brent Curtis and John Eldredge said it, in “these two desires of adventure and intimacy come together in us all as a longing to be in a relationship of heroic proportions.”  You have a story that all of us desire—epic gestures of pursuit, passion, and ultimately being known and accepted.

This story echoes an even greater Story, the story of One who transcends time and space to care and redeem for those He loves.  Thanks be to God that we have the opportunity to be a part of His Story.

The Now and Not Yet

IImage’ve been thinking lately that the Christian life is weird.  There, I said it. 

But what do I mean, you ask? 

Well, it’s weird in that we are promised the blessings of the resurrection life, yet are stuck on a broken planet.  Weird in that we are told of a crown of glory awaiting us, yet are stuck in fragile bodies.  Weird in that the heaven of streets of gold awaits us on day, yet we are stuck in a land of war and greed.  I find this weirdness best described in the Church’s term about this very concept—the “now and not yet.”  The Apostle Paul said that we see things now through a mirror, darkly.  You have an idea of things, but not the full picture. 

As a child, I remember many a Saturday morning waiting for my father to come pick my older sister and I up for the weekend.  His arrival at my mom and stepdad’s, in my mind, was to give rise to a succession of events that would be wonderful, taking my sister and I to his home where a world of different rules, different traditions and different people awaited us.  We had an idea of things ahead, but not the full picture.

There was always something mysterious about the agenda for the weekend. Would we visit with my grandparents and enjoy their company? Would we spend time at the tidepools, casting rocks for Maggie the golden retriever to fetch out on the breakers?  Would the weekend allow for a visit to Friendship Park with the climbable bubbles (pictured) in the playground, begging for a game of hide and seek?  We had some idea of the weirdness of the weekend’s agenda ahead, but not the full picture. 

The wonder of a weekend at my dad’s is the intrigue I picture the disciples having as they waited for “when the Helper comes, who will testify of [Jesus]” (John 15:26).  Who was this Helper and what was He to help with?  How?  Who said they needed help anyway?  And what sort of help would He provide?  What sort of things would the disciples be able to do with the Helper’s help?  Like Alice, we too cry “Curiouser and curiouser!

The disciples found out just how deep the rabbit hole went on Pentecost Sunday, which we celebrated this past Sunday, when they saw the power that they received.  The Apostle Peter shows a great example of the Resurrection Life, of the power that was received by the early Church, and that is also available to those of us who reach out in faith to Jesus today. It’s the unleashing of God’s power from heaven.   It’s the power to forgive when circumstances just don’t make sense.  It’s the power to go beyond what we feel we’re able to do.  It’s the power that can only come from a God who knows that the life we live in is truly weird in that we know of His promises now and His promises not yet. 

This power, yearned for by everyone, is what is called for in Emilie Griffin’s Souls in Full Sail.  She writes:

What we need most is spiritual courage.  We need a biblical imagination to see God as He really is, in all His tenderness and power.  Before us, there is a whirlwind, and in the midst of the whirlwind is I AM.  I AM to whom all the world yearns; I AM, who yearns for His people with a boundless love.  I AM is the one who drives all loves, who guides all paths, who walks before us on the yellow brick and every other road.  I AM will give us the heart, the mind, the sense of being full, not hollow, who will satisfy all our yearnings and bring us home at last.  His city is more than emeralds, more than sapphire and rubies; all perfection reigns there; in that city the falsehood of our perfectionism is burned away by the fire of God’s enduring love.  

What sort of God do we serve that gives us this yearning but not the full picture?  It is a God of grace.  A God who knows that I can only take things piecemeal.  It is the God of Moses who covers his eyes because, while wanting to see Him fully, he could only see His back as the full glory of the Lord would have crushed him.  It is the God who allows you and I to make our own decisions, to have free will and wants growth and health for all of us more than we ever will. 

I AM is there in the midst of our life’s weirdnesses now and He, too, is also in charge of the not yet that lies ahead. 

The Apostle Peter: Living Out the Resurrection Life

Our own Easter celebrations earlier this week were much different than that of the first Easter.  Jesus’ disciples weren’t fully aware of the importance of His resurrection as they were perplexed an letdown.  Wasn’t this Jesus to be the political Savior for which they were waiting?  Scripture tells us that those like Thomas doubted.  You can imagine that the conversations they had over the weeks led them to fully understand what had gone on and what was to go on in the future.  Those must have been conversations that built up the trust and understanding of what had really gone on that leads us to see the hope we see in the book of Acts.

Fast forward a few weeks to Pentecost where we see that hope and confidence in the Apostle Peter.  Peter, who had so readily betrayed Jesus the night of His arrest, is a different man when we seem him in Acts 2.  This is where the Holy Spirit is first poured out on the Church.  On this strange and wonderful morning, we see a loud sound coming from heaven like a rushing and mighty wind.  And everyone there appeared to have divided tongues of fire above them, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Verse 7 tells us that some in the crowd were amazed and marveled, saying “Look are not all these who speak Galileans?”  This group felt that they shouldn’t have known and spoke in the language in which they were speaking.  Others in verse 12 and 13 were perplexed.  Some mocked saying that the crowd was drunk.

And here we see how the Truth that Peter so truly believed in motivated him to live in a compelling and pleasing way.  Peter’s words in this first real public sermon for him are very attractive.  He goes on to talk about how the Prophet Joel and even King David both had foresaw the coming of Messiah and how Jesus had fulfilled so many of their prophecies.

What astonishes me the most in Peter’s words here is his confidence.

Is this not the same Peter who only a few weeks before is denying his relationship with Jesus?

The main reason for this difference we see in Peter is that he is no longer trying to do things on his own.  He is a picture to me of Isaiah’s words that it is “not by strength, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”  Peter gives you and I today a brilliant illustration of having the Lord fill our cup and living out a life that spills out onto others out of the overflow God gives us.

May each of us live out the resurrection life today that Peter so readily demonstrates!

Don’t Be A Marlin

I am, more oftentimes than not, a Marlin.

No, this is not my post about my being drafted by Miami (the Angels would pick me first anyway).  And I am not referring to the giggling one in Cabo.

The Marlin I’m referring to is that of Nemo’s dad, played by Al Brooks, in Pixar’s Finding Nemo.  In that wonderful film (which to my surprise is nearly 10 years old!), Marlin is a worry wart, a Debbie-downer, and one who is constantly relying on himself and not able to see anything beyond his own two fins.  My own proclivity to Marlinism goes back many years and as I see more and more the ways that I Marlinize, I’m learning that it doesn’t get me anywhere.

In fact, one’s own Marlinishness can only lead to more fretting and less trusting.  The Apostle Paul told the church at Phillipi similar words when he encouraged them not to “worry about anything, but in every situation with prayer and petition, and thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Why?  Because then, “the peace of God, which is above all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  The benefit of not falling into Marlinism is peace.  God’s peace, and protection in Jesus.

That’s more than anyone could ask for.

A Word for the Weekend: Playing “Cards”

Evelyn Underhill writes:

Osuna says that God plays a game with the soul called “the loser wins”; a game in which the one who holds the poorest cards does best.  The Pharisee’s consciousness that he had such an excellent hand really prevented him from taking a single trick. 

Francis of Assisi understood this when he said that it is “in giving that we receive,” “in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”

May each of us take satisfaction in the hand dealt to us and, greater yet, more readily see that our Heavenly Father transforms that hand as only He can do into something wonderful.

Reliance

It’s the Christmas season.  The weather outside in southern California is not too frightful, but it recently brought a sickness to our home where words like “sore throat,” “phlegm” and “vitamins” were part of our daily vocabulary.

And wouldn’t you know, my schedule was quite busy, where there was enough to do that a day off, while probably needed, was not that easy to come by.  And so the choice was to either push through on my own strength or to admit my inability to do it on my own.   And it’s always easier to do one over the other.

This was also Peter’s journey.  As the Lord called Him to climb out of the boat and walk on water, Peter was faced with a similar situation—to admit that he could not do the seemingly incredible task on his own.  And so he stayed afloat as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus.

In this busy Christmas season, we, too, have the invitation from Jesus to rely on Him in our own lives’ situations that seem all too ominous, to keep our eyes focused on Him and remember that we cannot do it on our own.  As we follow Jesus, may we remember that He goes before us as He did for His disciples into Galilee, and look for His presence at this busy time of year, keeping our eyes fixed on Him and admitting to ourselves, and to others, where we could use their help, want their assistance, and need their grace.

Coming Towards…

It hit me yesterday that it was the New Year’s Eve of Sundays.  The church calendar flips over this week to start a new year.  And that new year begins with what has become for me one of my favorite seasons—Advent.

Advent comes from the Latin words “ad” and “venio” meaning to “come toward.”  As we come toward the holy day of Christmas, Advent offers a time to prepare our hearts for receiving the Christ Child Jesus, our Messiah!  As you do this this year, consider an Advent Guide that may be useful for you and your community.

Happy Advent!