DayBreaks for 10/31/14 – The Holiday of Pretending

DayBreaks for 10/31/14 – The Holiday of Pretending

Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV) – You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Halloween is the ultimate holiday of “pretending.”

On Halloween we dress up and “pretend” to be someone or something other than ourselves.  On Halloween we “pretend” to believe that the people jumping out at us and scaring us in the haunted houses” we paid $25 to get into are monsters and zombies. On Halloween we happily “pretend” that the scariest stuff in life are those things that “go bump in the night.” On Halloween we revel in “pretend” bumps instead of bumping into the terrifying realities of evil and cruelty that appear on any street, in any office, at any school, in broad daylight, on any given day – and that’s just a rundown of the terrors of the last two weeks.

Yesterday, the day after “All Hallows Eve,” is known in the liturgical calendar as “All Saints Day.” “All Saints” is a celebration and commemoration of those who were never about pretense, but who devoted their lives to expressing true faithfulness and genuine piety. The church lives, not by the majesty of its beliefs but by the manifestation of its manifold witness through the magnificence of its “communion of saints.”

Who are these “all saints?” The “all saints” are all the everyday, ordinary men and women who live lives of humility and service in Jesus’ name and for his sake. They never “dressed up” or “dressed down” in order to exhibit some “pretend” piety. They never paraded their piety in peacock plumage. Generation after generation of these “all saints” make up the great “Cloud of Witnesses” (the church had “The Cloud” before Microsoft) who make it possible for the historic Jesus of the first century to become the living Christ of the twenty-first century.

The community of “all saints” didn’t need to play “pretend.” Their lives witnessed to the living presence of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, who made them all into “transformers,” transformers of lives, transformers of hopes, transformers of dreams, transformers of the world in which they lived.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all were simply clothed with Jesus?

PRAYER: Clothe us in Your righteousness, Jesus, and take away from us our many pretenses. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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DayBreaks for 03/20/12 – Mortal Immortal Thoughts

DayBreaks for 03/18/12 – Mortal Immortal Thoughts

"For this mortal must put on immortality..."

42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man. 50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. 51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:49-53

There are times and places in our lives where we are reminded of our mortality.  While many recoil from such thoughts, the wise man Solomon said we would be wise, too, to ponder such realities, because pondering them helps us not only live better as mortals, but to prepare to live as immortals.

Our physical bodies are weak.  It doesn’t matter if you are the gold medal heavyweight weight lifter in the Olympics or the greatest triathlete in the history of the world, the fact of the matter remains that we have weak bodies – bodies that will get sick, can be broken, bodies which will molder in the grave.  And that is why we recoil at contemplation of our mortality.

How refreshing are Paul’s words: “…we will someday be like the heavenly man.”  These bodies of which we are so fond (and can we be honest – even those who say they hate their bodies fight like banshees to maintain this mortal life.  It may not be our bodies that we love, but this mortal life.

I recently have had reason to reflect on mortalality/immortality and I am glad for it for I am better for having done so.  As I pondered it during the darkness of the bedroom at night, I almost had a vision (not to get too mystical here!) of that moment of translation from mortal to immortal – or rather, of how it happens.  I saw myself (from behind my back) standing and facing toward God.  I was clothed in mortal garb, but it was dirty and rather tattered.  Then, I saw hands reaching out to me holding a dazzlingly white robe.  The hands reached around my neck and put the robe upon my shoulders.  It was brilliant, clean, spotless.  It shone.

No sooner was the robe put upon me than I felt a tremendous sense of unworthiness.  You see, in the “vision” my filthy clothes had not been removed – but they were covered over with the robe that I understood to be Christ’s righteousness.  The filthy clothes I had on underneath were not left on me to cause me sadness, nor to bring me shame or guilt, but just to remind me that I was unworthy of any claim of my own to righteousness, and it was only the righteousness of Christ that ultimately mattered.

I must say that in that vision I had a tremendous sense of peace and inexplicable joy.  It will be a great day when our bodies are transformed and we take on the heavenly body of God’s design for us.  But let us not forget that today is a great day because we already have the robe of His righteousness.

PRAYER: Thank You Father, for covering our sin and shame with the brilliant, dazzling robe of righteousness that belongs to Your beloved Son!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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