Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ways that Jesus is the Way

Book three. Done.

I've been negligent about posting because I've been reading. A few days ago I finished my third book in Eugene Peterson's five-volume spiritual theology series: The Jesus Way. If you're keeping track, I'm not reading them in order.

Weighing in at just under 300 pages, The Jesus Way not light reading.
In the book, Peterson begins with Jesus. He then examines many of the great Old Testament characters and how they prepared the way for Jesus. The closing chapters examine three New Testament figures that interacted with Jesus: Herod the political leader, Caiaphas the priest, and Josephus the Jewish historian. None of these men followed Jesus. Actually, they set up systems in direct opposition to the Jesus Way. Yet their ways are still evident today.

One of the most insightful and intriguing illustrations Peterson paints comes near the end of the book. He refers to the ways the Pharisees ended up becoming consumed with the details of religiosity while while neglecting the grandeur and beauty of God. It's a slippery slope we've all encountered. Here's what he writes:

"Imagine yourself moving into a house with a huge picture window overlooking a lake with a grand view of mountains beyond. Snow-capped mountains, beautiful mountains. You have a ringside seat, before all of this beauty, the cloud formations, the wild storms, the entire spectrum of sun- illuminated colors, and the rocks and the trees and the wildflowers and the water. At first you’re just captivated by this view. You sit and you stand and you look and admire; you catch your breath. Several times a day you interrupt your work and stand before this window to take in the majesty and the beauty. And then one day you notice some bird droppings on the glass, and you get a bucket of water and a towel and you clean it. A couple of days later, a rainstorm leaves the window streaked and the bucket comes out again. One day some visitors with a tribe of small dirty-fingered children come, and the moment they leave you notice there are smudge marks all over the window. They’re hardly out of the door before you have the bucket out again. You’re so proud of that window, and it’s such a large window. But it’s incredible how many different ways foreign objects can attach themselves to that window, obscuring the vision, distracting from the vision. Keeping that window clean now becomes compulsive neurosis. You accumulate ladders and buckets and squeegees. You construct scaffolding outside and one inside; you have to get to all the difficult corners and heights. You end up having the cleanest window in North America, but it’s now been years since you’ve looked through it. You’ve become a Pharisee." (Peterson, The Jesus Way, 211)

I've obsessed over many windows in my lifetime. But none more than the church. The church is a beautiful example of a window through which people see God. Sometimes I obsess over it instead of looking through it to see the beauty and splendour of God. It constantly gets dirty and needs to be cared for. But it's no picture of beauty in and of itself. It's what people see when they look through it that should take their breath away.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Does Jesus care about kids' sandals?

My family is headed to a wedding this afternoon.

So, the hunt was on for Elijah's missing dress sandal. It vanished a couple of months ago and he's been wearing his little orange Crocs for every occasion since.

After scouring the house for 45mins I said to Elijah, "let's ask Jesus to help us find your sandal."

And that's what we did. There was nothing profound or magical about our prayer but within 5 mins we had our hands on the missing sandal.

Thank-you Jesus.
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