Thursday, January 20, 2005

Picture of Jesus

I was watching the Phantom of the Opera Sunday for the second time. The entire movie was excellent but I had a few favorite scenes, only one of which I'll share.

For those of you who've seen the play, movie or read the book, then this will not spoil a thing for you, but for those of you who have done none of the above, go watch the movie, then read this. Anyway, towards the end of the movie the Phantom has Roul tied up to a giant gate and gives Christine 2 choices. Either she chooses him and her love (Roul) lives, or she doesn't and Roul dies. Lose lose situation right? You would think so, but something incredible happens. She sees him for who he is and has pity on him. She sings "God has given me the strength to show you that you are not alone". She then walks up to him embraces him with her hand on the disfigured side of his face and kisses him. Now to understand the enormity of that statement and action, I must share the with you who the Phantom is. He grew up in a freak show being beaten, being shown no mercy, grace or compassion. He got the chance after a show and choked his tormentor to death. A dance student saw this and felt sorry so she hid him in the opera house where he grew up and became a great musician, vocalist, writer, etc.... So now we know that he's a product of society, and though he could have made different choices, it's a bit easier for us to relate to him.

So how is this a picture of Jesus? The way I saw it was that the Phantom represented the world. We were born into disfiguration, and our lives have been a product of our social surroundings. To hide our hurt and pain we put a mask on so that everyone else will not see the truth. However Christ (Christine) pulls that mask off and exposes us for who/what we are, not to condemn us, but to show us compassion and love. When Christine embraces the Phantom, I see Christ leaving glory in Heaven, and choosing to die for us. Christine chose to stand beside the Phantom so that he would know love for once in his life. She did not know that he would fall apart and send the two of them away. Christ chose to take our sins and die a horrible death on the cross, suffering the worst pain He could suffer, which is when the Father turned His face from Him. The Phantom's reaction to Christine's love and compassion is much like anyone's reaction when they first come to know the love of Jesus and the mercy and grace that He has for us. We see ourselves in the light of grace and fall apart at the seams knowing how wretched and undeserving we are of such compassion.

Go see the movie. See if you see what I saw.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Goodness and Mercy

Yesterday was not looking good sometime around 5:30 pm. As I was driving Jared over to where I live for a sort of small group gathering something in my truck started making a lot of noise. I feared the worst, a bent rod, bent valve, or an extremely worn valve guide that just wasn't happy anymore. Due to this unfortunate turn of events I was late to work this morning because my dad had to give me a ride. I also had to get picked up. I talked to a few people at work and one fella who's been around awhile suggested that I take a dowl rod or screw driver up to the valve cover to see if I can hear and pinpoint where the noise is coming from. I fired it up at home and my dad listened to it. I knew it was something on the exhaust side of the engine, but wasn't sure if it was internal or not cause it sounded like valve rattle. Turns out that it's actually in the exhaust itself. Could be a chunk of honeycomb material from the cat rattling around, or it could be a piece of carbon that broke free of an exhaust valve and can't get past the cat. Who knows?

So what does this have to do with goodness and mercy? Throughout the day I pray, and this was one of the things I've been lifting up continuously today. I've prayed with various people on it too. The Lord has answered my prayers. I asked that this would be something relatively minor and a quick and easy fix, and I'm almost positive that this will be a quicker and cheaper than the alternative. If it's a cat, then those get a bit pricey, but the labor is in my hands, not some machine shops. The Lord showed mercy on me and was good to me. Maybe I'm giving the Lord credit for something He didn't have His hands in? Possibly, but all good and perfect things come from Him, and this is certainly good, relative to what it could have been. I can still drive my truck, even though it'll be a bit noisy. I praise the Lord for the blessings He's lavished upon me.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Life and Death

I was reading a Dec. 2nd post from Robert Howard ( and a certain part of it really impacted me.

The part that said "and leave this trailer park of a planet " described in a sort of sense what I've wanted for a long time. For a long time I've looked and even now look at death as a long lost friend waiting for his embrace, knowing that by returning from whence I came, I will finally be reunited with the one I love. I will be able to sit for eternity in the lap of my Father with my head upon His chest as it rises and falls. Hearing His heart beat with love that covers all sin. For a long time I've wished I could take upon myself the hurts and pains of the people I love. Take Jordan's disease and give him my health and strong body and mind, Cela's arthritis for my much improved joints, Kathy's kidney stone plagued kidney's for my healthy one's, and take them with my seizures, messed up foot and other little problems straight to the grave where there will be no pain or misery or 2nd death. Where my friends can enjoy atleast in part the healthy lives that God originally intended for them to have, but sin has kept them from having. And it would allow me to finally enjoy the one life I long to live. The one at the feet of my Father. I've seen nothing this life has to offer me and would be willing to give up any future I may have freely for even one day with my Father. For one day with Him is an eternity on earth.

And I wonder if I'm living as Paul did, longing to die, knowing though that it would be better for others that I live. Knowing that God's plan for my life has not been fulfilled and that my life is meant to be an offering of love for people who know Him not, for people who would gladly crucify Him again, who would drag His people beaten through the streets only to be left for dead in the fields. Knowing still that I was one of those people and it was His love that cut my heart open and made the heart of a killer into the heart a servant. So I shall serve the rest of my days whether long or short, laying down my life at the cross with the hope that as the world walks over me they may step straight into the arms of endless love, mercy, and grace knowing the love that would cause a mortal man long for death so that he could spend eternity in the presence of his only love, Jesus.

As tears roll down my face, I wonder where they come from. Are they because I'm pouring my heart out or because I'm not living daily the life I described. More than likely a mix of both.

Take My Life
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee
Take my voice and let me sing
Always, only, for my King
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee
Take my silver and my gold
Not a mite would I withhold
Take my intellect and use
Ev'ry power as You choose
Here am I, all of me
Take my life, it’s all for Thee
Take my will and make it Thine
It shall be no longer mine
Take my heart, it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee