Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Header Story

My header is a photo of a piece of art that I value more than any other I have in my home.

Several years ago, somewhere in the early nineties, Vic and I were strolling along the shore of Harrison Lake admiring the wares of the vendors who had set up temporary shop on the sand.
One artist and his work caught my attention and I stopped .

I learned the French artist had been fascinated one day by slabs of slate stone ..
the jagged edges begging him to paint them into mountain scenes.

He had numerous resulting pieces on display
but my eye immediately rested on one in particular.
It was as if he had sat in my family room and painted using the colours around him.

I LOVED it … I went closer and instinctively reached out to touch it .
The artist had been watching me, and as I reached out, he cried
“Don’t touch it !!.... then too late , he added ..”its still wet!”
But to my dismay, I had already left my thumb smudge in the wet paint and the picture perfection was ruined.

His face severe, the artist handed me a scalpel “Now you have to fix it , “ he said.
I took the scalpel my hand and looked at the painting.
I knew I could not repair the damage I had done.
Then the artist’s face broke out in a smile, his eyes twinkled and he said, “I’ll fix it !”
With a few deft strokes of the artist’s hand the painting was a good as new!
He joked, “100 years from now when they scrape back the paint
they will find your fingerprint and accredit you as the artist !”
Of course I bought the beautiful slab of slate.

How like the artist is God and how quick we are to mess up what He has done.
God said, “Don’t touch!” in the garden of Eden but Adam and Eve touched and ruined perfection with their sin.
God gave them the Old Covenant and said “Fix it !” but of course man in his own strength could not do it !
Then God smiled and took the Old Covenant, perfected it through Jesus and gave us the New Covenant – perfect!

Our personal imprint of sin has been covered over ,
eternity is ours at a price we can afford ---
Our faith in the Artist’s work.

But God continues to cover our ‘imprints’ does He not?
Bad things happen and He promises ,
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28)

We fail, we stumble, we touch , and He is ready, scalpel in hand, to make it right again. “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!” (I John 1:9)

One day when we are standing at heaven’s door and are asked why we should be allowed in… we will be able to say .. “because my imprint of sin is covered by the redemptive work of the great Artist!”


Monday, January 11, 2010

The Ship is Sinking

Last week I saw a documentary about the Oceanos.
The Oceanos was a Greek cruise ship with the highest possible safety rating at Lloyds Registry of Shipping. She was sailing off the coast of South Africa when she hit turbulent waters and sank on Aug. 4,1991.

The crew discovered the ship was in trouble and instead of alerting the passengers they quietly lowered the life boats at 3:00 am. and deserted the ship.

The Captain was still on board but he did and said nothing, leaving the passengers unaware their very lives were in danger.

There were entertainers on board, Julian Butler and Moss Hills and His wife Tracy.
Despite the stormy weather they were doing their best to distract the passengers, but most of the 571 passengers were lying down in their berths.

It was Moss Hills who began to be concerned that not all was well with the ship and he went to speak with the captain who insisted all was well and that the ship was not in any kind of danger. Hills was not convinced and he went below deck to see for himself. What he saw, to his horror, was that the hull was rapidly filling with water. He realized that he would have to take charge if any one was to be saved.

He and his wife and fellow entertainer alerted the passengers to the imminent danger, handed out life jackets and ordered them all to the comparative safely of the top deck.
He radioed for help and several helicopters flew in for the rescue attempt.
The captain insisted that he be lifted to safety in the first helicopter - ignoring the age old rule that the Captain goes down with his ship.
(He, along with members of his crew, were later charged with negligence by the Greek Maritime Board.)

Thanks to the three entertainers, all 571 passengers were airlifted to safely. Butler, Hills and Tracie were among the last 5 to be airlifted, just before the ship sank.

An investigation revealed that there had been an unrepaired leak in the watertight bulkhead which would not have been a problem except that a door had been carelessly left open allowing the water to spread to the other departments. Also the port holes had not been closed by the fleeing crew which was standard procedure in an emergency. Because the port holes were open when the ship turned on its side it could not right itself because of the water rushing in through the port holes.

At the end of the documentary Hills commented. "What I learned from my experience was that rules are there for a reason and when obedience to these rules is neglected the results are disastrous."

I saw this story as a parable.

Our Ship Earth has the highest safety rating that can be given to any ship sailing through the universe.

Original Sin has caused a leak in Ship Earth, but this in itself would not be a problem if the safety rules, given by God Himself were followed. They have, however, been blatantly ignored and disobeyed.
Consequently, Ship Earth is sailing toward destruction, but its passengers are totally unaware of any danger.

When things go wrong, the 'crew' of this world looks out for number one. They are quick to lower life rafts to ensure their own safety instead of risking their lives to save others. The captains are paralyzed, turning a deaf ear and blind eye to any danger signs.
Their wisdom and advice will help no one in the day Ship Earth sinks.

There is only one hope.

There are 'entertainers' on board Ship Earth.
Christians - Their message is not taken seriously and is often good for a laugh.
It is the Christians who see that Ship Earth is in danger and they are the ones with hope.
Their message will save any passenger who hears and obeys.
Everyone who hears their message and receives it will be air lifted to safety,
saved from eternal death to enjoy eternal life!

The lesson from the Oceanos.....
God has given us rules regarding every aspect of our life. His rules are not given to make our life difficult but to make it 'safe' . He gave us the 10 commandments, He lay before us the blessings in Deut. 28 and warned us of the curses (consequences) that follow disobedience. As surely as the rules of gravity cannot be ignored without hurt, so also God's other rules cannot be ignored without dire consequences.
May we learn to seek to know the rules that God put into place,
and obey them, every one.

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'
On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Matt. 22:36-40