DayBreaks for 11/28/12 – To Be Unknown By God

From the DayBreaks Archive:

Matthew 25:1-12 – “1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’

In his book, Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning describes the “impostor” – the false you and I that lives inside each one of us.  Sometimes, the impostor lives more on the outside than the inside.  The impostor is the phony us – how we talk and act differently in church or a crowd of Christians than when we are alone in the dark of our own minds or the dark of night.  The impostor is the one who always pretends to be something he or she isn’t – whether it be self-assurance, a false projection of happiness or joy, of reverence, of caring.

In the story of the 10 virgins and the bridegroom, it is worth noting that these virgins were apparently invited to the feast.  It’s not like they just showed up at the wedding feast on their own accord.  So they must have been known by the bridegroom.  Yet, the bridegroom says rather pointedly, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.”  What can that possibly mean?  I think it means that the behavior that he saw modeled by the foolish virgins revealed who and what they really were.  Rather than being wise, loving and devoted to sharing the joy of the wedding banquet, they were shown to not really care that much about the entire event or the persons involved.  Haven’t we all said to someone that we know, after being really deeply disappointed or shocked by something that they’ve done: “I don’t think I really know you anymore.  You’re not yourself.”  Ah – we all have a false self hiding and revealing himself!

Thomas Merton wrote: “Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person, a false self.  This is the man I want myself to be but who cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him.  And to be unknown of God is altogether too much privacy.  My false and private self is the one who wants to exist outside the reach of God’s will and God’s love – outside of reality and outside of life.  And such a self cannot help but be an illusion.  We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves – the ones we were born with and which feed the roots of sin.  For most people in the world, there is no greater subjective reality than this false self of theirs, which cannot exist.”  Manning explains: “Merton’s notion of sin focuses not primarily on individual sinful acts, but on a fundamental option for a life of pretense.  ‘There can only be two basic loves’, wrote Augustine, ‘the love of God unto the forgetfulness of self, or the love of self unto the forgetfulness and denial of God.’

We can hardly stand to be genuine.  God can’t stand it when we aren’t.   

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

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DayBreaks for 07/02/12 – Known Only to God

DayBreaks for 07/02/12 – Known Only to God

(NOTE: Galen is back from his trip to India, is recovering from the removal of his gall bladder, so one more week of archived DayBreaks!  New DayBreaks starting again next week!)

Ezekiel 37:1-3 – “1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.

They have lain in place now for hundreds of years.  But that’s nothing.  Others have been waiting for thousands of years.  Waiting.  Listening.  Waiting for Someone to call their name.  But I can’t do that, nor can you for we don’t know their names.  Who are these people?  As Ezekiel put it: “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.

I stood first at the Poulnabourne dolmen, a stone age burial site.  Dating back 5600 years, it predated the pyramids by 500 years, and Stonehenge by 1000.  It was a construction of rock slabs, roughly forming a house shape – four sides (two longer than the others) and a slab across the top as a roof.  It is to be found high up on the hillsides of “the Burren” in Ireland, standing a silent vigil over the earthly remains of those who lived, and died, in that rugged, windswept and mostly barren place. No one knows who built it, nor who was buried in it.  Just stone, ashes and bits of bone remain.  The names of those people who lived and died there has been swept away with the ceaseless winds that scour the hillside.

I next stood in the cemetery surrounding Reefert’s church in Glendalough, Ireland.  The church walls are still mostly intact, but the roof is long gone.  It has been dated back to at least the 11th century – possibly as far back as the 9th century.  I do not know when the last person was interred in the cemetery surrounding the church.  There were perhaps 30-40 markers in the cemetery, yet I don’t recall being able to read anything off of them.  In some cases, one of the stone arms of the cross-shaped burial markers had broken off and was long gone.  But in every instance, there was no name.  Who were the men and women buried there?  “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.

I have always been the curious sort when I am in a graveyard.  I want to know about the people – how they loved, lived and died.  I want to know about their interests, their hobbies, what they looked like, what they did for a living, how old they were when they died, how they died, but perhaps most haunting of all – I want to know how they lived.

Some day, we will all pass from this life’s labors.  For the saints of God, we will pass into eternal rest that God has promised to us.  For the unbelievers – well, the labors of this life will seem pleasant for them compared to what awaits.

As I wandered the old cemeteries and churches in Glendalough and the dolmen at Poulnabourne, I wondered if some day people would pass by my gravestone and wonder about me.  I wondered if they would know – or even care – who was buried there.  And the thought disturbed me that they might not know me.  I thought, however, of Ezekiel and his encounter with God and my heart found rest knowing that whether those cemetery wanderers in some future age know who I was or not is really and truly irrelevant.  The only thing that matters is that God knows me.  And He will not forget my name.

Isaiah 49:15-16 – “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!   16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

PRAYER: What comfort we take in the simple truth that You know us and call us by name, Lord!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

I Am 2 has just launched another project: to put in a water system for what will be the only pediatric hospital in all of Rwanda!  If you are interested in learning more, go to our blog: http://iam2.org/blog to read about it and learn how you can help! We are trying to raise up a massive army of compassionate people who will each contribute whatever they can – even $5-10 each, to help us deliver this water system through our partner, BeyondPoverty.org.  The budget for this water system is $8300.  Every gift matters…and every gift is appreciated!  They ALL make a difference!

Also, don’t forget our other project, Bright Future Children’s Home.  You can read the latest update about them at the blog, too, and can help us move forward with the feeding, clean water and protection these 37 kids in Kenya need to not just live, but grow!!!  We still need to raise a bit over $4000 to fulfill our mission.  Donations are tax deductible for 2012.  If you prefer to send a check rather than give through PayPal, write it and mail it to: I Am 2 Partners, Inc., c/o 3678 Creekstone Drive, Norcross, GA 30092.

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