DayBreaks for 4/30/14 – The Moment of Recognition

DayBreaks for 4/30/14 – The Moment of Recognition

In the Greek myth The Odyssey we read the epic of Odysseus. Odysseus was the mighty warrior who fought in the Trojan War, but according to legend, his journey home after that war was interrupted for many years as the gods had decided to test his true mettle through a series of trials. His journeys carried him far and wide as he encountered mythic beasts and lands, many of which have passed into common parlance: the Cyclops, the Procrustean bed, Scylla and Charybdis, the sirens’ voices.

Meanwhile, back at his home, Odysseus’ wife and family presume he must have died en route back from Troy. Finally, however, the gods released Odysseus and he arrives home. Instead of simply walking through the front door and crying out the Greek equivalent of, “Honey, I’m home!” Odysseus decides he wants to determine if anything has changed during his absence. Did his wife still love him? Had she been faithful? In order to find out, Odysseus disguises himself so he looks like a stranger needing temporary lodging.

The housekeeper, Euryclea, welcomes the apparent traveler and performs for him the then-standard practice of foot-washing. As she does so, Euryclea regales the stranger with stories about her long-lost master, Odysseus, whom she had also served as a nurse when he was young. She tells the traveler about how long her master has been gone and she noted that by then Odysseus would be about the same age and build as the man whose feet she was washing. When Odysseus had been a young boy, he was once gored by a wild boar, leaving a nasty scar on his leg. As Euryclea went about washing his feet, suddenly her hand brushed against that old scar and instantly her eyes were opened and she recognized, with great joy, her beloved friend and master!

Recognition scenes like that have long exercised a strong effect on our hearts. Sometimes it is used for comedic effect, as in many episodes of the old I Love Lucy show when Lucy would disguise herself so as to worm her way into one of her husband, Rickie’s, shows. Jesus seems to have engaged in a similar recognition scene when he walked the road to Emmaus and met Mary in the garden after the resurrection. 

The moment of recognition is sheer delight. We shall be seen by Him, and we shall know Him – and He will know us!  The anticipation is almost too much to bear as we await that moment.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus, for knowing us and claiming us as your very own! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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Thank you!

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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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