Monday, November 19, 2007

Good Morning, Jesus

good morning!
Jesus woke me up this morning at 4 am (woohoo!) but i must admit it was not in the most gentle of ways. i do not dream every night, in fact until recently i have dreamed very little. or maybe i just do not remember my dreams. as of late i have been dreaming more often, but that could be due to the fact that i'm always eating right before bed ("yes there's more to gravy than grave about you!" ten points! anyone?).

in any case, more often than not my dreams are weird and kind of frightening. last night is a swirl of overlapping stories as dreams often are, in my case involving weird forms of torture, death, and hate crimes. i know...lovely. in the final 'scene' i found myself standing knee deep in water, facing away from the shoreline. i was one of dozens of people who were dressed in black robes about to be executed be men dressed in white robes. the interesting thing was that i was the only white person dressed in black. you can probably already picture what the robes of the men in white looked like. i can't exactly remember what my crime was, but i think it had to do with being associated with the African Americans who were standing with me. i knew that we all were about to be executed by the hundreds of klansmen behind us. i started singing, a medley of the gospel songs of my parents era, traditional slave songs, hymns, and contemporary christian worship songs (yes yes, i was singing hillsong songs- apparently my id is a bigger fan than my ego-yes i realize its an inappropriate application of the term 'id' i just wanted to sound smart). i was struck again and again by the hooded man nearest me, falling over and over into the water. it was more hilarious than inspiring, i must tell you, especially when i started singing "undignified" dripping with water and laughing like an idiot. i was a bit giddy and most definitely out of tune. i think i was halfway awake when i started screaming "do not fear the one who can kill your body but kill the one who after death has the power to cast into hell" and "is not a sparrow sold for three copper coins? i tell you not a sparrow will fall without the father knowing. yet the very hairs of your head are numbered. do not fear! you are worth more than many sparrows."

i woke up scared for a few minutes, processing the dreams that i could remember. i saw that it was only four but i was wide awake, and didn't really care to continue dreaming so i got up. so here i am three cups of coffee later, listening to keith green, trying to make sense of the many things that are running through my head. it seems that i am at the convergence of many concepts.

i have been reading "what's so amazing about grace" by phillip yancey (for about 2 years) and this morning was reading about christian political involvement and the folly therein (he says it much more kindly). about this same time i listened to "the sheep and the goats" on of my favorite kg songs which is all about practicing his agape love to others. at the same time i have been on this 'being the church to the world' kick. the undercurrent of all this being, if God's love and grace is so radical and moving inside me-why is the world not changing? why aren't christians loving more radically? why am i not loving more radically?? this book has been recommended to me by several people. it says in the back that this book was awarded the christian book of the year. marvelous. what's the point of an amazing book, or rather a moving exposition of a revolutionary (if ancient) idea, if it doesn't not move or revolutionize it? i thought to myself, how can so many people read this and be unchanged? immediately a voice asks "well why aren't you changed?" perhaps that puts too much responsibility on the book, a better questions is "why aren't you changing (yourself)?"

many have said in response to the grace/works seeming contradiction that works are an inevitable expression of grace. well that may be true but it is definitely not an equivalent expression. a bushel of grace yields a teaspoon of works.

this internal struggle to reconcile the revival in my heart with the lack of change in my life, the amazing movement back to the heart of Christ that i see in my peers with the accelerated decay of society, the amazing grace i experience with the decreasing amount of grace expressed in the world; this struggle i feel lines up besides the message of a truly amazing grace expressed by a brother which lines up beside the exhortation of another brother which lines up beside my dream this morning. what does it all say together? i'm still figuring it out but here's my best assessment thus far.

I think the single best representation of hate, ungrace, and the antithesis of Jesus Christ is the white-robed klansmen. this is not a conviction or belief, its just an impression. African Americans are certainly not the only victims of hate in the history of the world, i think in this dream it was just the best representation of the casualties of 'reckless hate' (thank you, king Theoden- funny that the answer to your question in that case was to kill the haters). the sad truth is that when i was thinking about the dream, it was not the world that was wearing the white robes and the church that was facing death at their hands, but the other way around. it was the Lost, dressed in black, facing execution at the hands of 'Christians' dressed piously in the white robes reminiscent of 'whitewashed tombs'.

so what's the message? well i can't verbalize it well though i have been trying for about an hour. this was just the picture that woke me up this morning.

God save me from living today as if i were Unchanged.

"woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." mt 23:27

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