One of the themes at the movies asks if there is more to this life. It is there in horrors — something other worldly and usually rotten invades the real world — it is there in drama — as in At Eternity’s Gate (2018) where Van Gogh needs something more to paint on his canvas, perhaps a glimpse of the after world in its goodness is seen in nature. Is it there in spiritual fantasy — Field of Dreams (1989) where a voice guides a farmer to build baseball stadium, and in biblical epics — King of Kings (1961) where the Son of God ‘arrives’ on earth as a man. In my experience, there is more to this life, and in the experience of others. From a Christian perspective, the language of the Christian’s book, the Bible, is spiritual and informs us of a God beyond this world and involved with this world and in Jesus Christ who can give spiritual life to spiritually dead people. Yes, there is more to this life.
With so many different expressions of church I wondered who best represents Jesus? Is it the loving, generous, kind church? Or the militant, forthright church that has its “heart in the right place”? The one that listens and shares? Or the one that preaches and cares? I think that either of these expressions, as I have described them, are not only inadequate expressions of a church, but don’t really describe who Jesus really was, and is, the true, authentic Jesus.
I think most striking thing that can happen in a church is that Jesus uses that church and blesses someone. That is something special. One of the things that churches have done, is being a somewhat gifted, but flawed and imperfect, yet most of all functional vehicle for the blessing of Jesus in people’s lives, spiritually and otherwise.
I love this verse. “In judging others you condemn yourself, since you behave no differently from those you judge.” (Romans 2:1, Jerusalem Bible). That verse is a great leveler for me because I am doing the same things that I judge others for. It goes on: “We know that God condemns that sort of behavior impartially: and when you judge those who behave like this while you are doing exactly the same, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or are you abusing his abundant goodness, patience and toleration, not realizing that this goodness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:2-4). Humbling.
The idea that we can have a bird’s eye view of life — be that God’s perspective — is impossible for human beings. Although some people believe they do have God’s perspective on life. The “bird’s eye view”. The bible verse that says one has the “mind of Christ” is used as justification for the bird’s eye view or God’s view. But this verse cannot mean what it sounds like. If one reads the surrounding verses, passages, chapters, and books, one may get a better grasp of its actual meaning in light of these other passages. It does not sound, therefore, that “the mind of Christ” is what they say it means, being that we actually have Christ’s mind through the Spirit or a believer does. To say believers in Christ have the mind of Christ would be saying too much anyway and to quote that verse as literally as it does get quoted is I’m sorry to say thoughtless.
Saying we cannot know God’s view of things, does not mean we cannot know things about God. I will never have God’s mind, but I can still know things about God without going as far as knowing everything that God does. The same temptation to know like Goes does was what the Devil offered Adam and Eve in the Bible. Of course, I won’t know what God knows anyhow, so why give in to the temptation to know as God does. God is God, above; the scriptures or the Bible bear this out clearly. Gratefully, we can still know things about God, here, down below, on earth.
I have observed that people can give you a thumbs up or a thumbs down based on what you say, do or don’t do, your performance or appearance. That’s okay. We live in a democracy. When it comes to what we have to offer as individuals, or what it seems one has to offer, you don’t have to vote for me. I don’t have to vote for you. But don’t forget God. Because God’s judgements of us are not as the world judges. In the Scriptures, the people wanted a king, but God said they had him, they don’t need a king. Still, God gave them a king, probably in his love and grace. When their kings failed and led the people astray, the prophets told the leaders and the people to come back to God. The books of the prophets are about coming back to God. Because with the Lord, you find what you need: a reliable, fair and righteous King who can satisfy your soul. He gives unlike the world gives.