These are the chronicles of the esoteric . . .

SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2009

i'm not the sheep

I have an intense love-hate relationship with Lyra, the cat I'm taking care of. And by intense I mean seriously zealous and over-the-top. This cat invokes of me the worst anger, wrath and impatience while simultaneously taunting out a protective, caring, and almost fatherly part of my being. One hour may see me get furious at her for doing something she shouldn't, sending her running to hide in guilt and fear; the next could find me laying down next to her on the floor, scratching everywhere she likes it and making sure she's contented. Indeed, I may pull her by the collar from under my bed in rage, literally throw her in her box and shut it closed; but I also will pick her up and scratch her belly - even nuzzle noses and chins - while cradling her in my arms.

No matter how many times I shove her off of beds and chairs, bat her for being bad, and shout at her how stupid she is Lyra never hesitates to come to my feet begging for attention; or to jump on my lap and nuzzle my face, rubbing my cheek with her paw; or to follow me around the house, whatever it is I may be up to.
It's a strange thing we have going on. It makes me laugh and it makes me annoyed; it makes me wonder why I did this and it makes me want to keep her. I hate her - I do. Yet I'm fairly certain that I quite like her.

A few Sundays ago I heard a sermon which has stuck with me throughout the week - that is, something in particular the pastor said has made some kind of lasting impression. The text for the sermon was John 10 and the focus was on Jesus as the Good Shepherd. In particular, verses 14-15 were central insofar as the relationship between us and Christ is shown to exist. He knows us and we know Him - He speaks and we know His voice. We belong to Him. It was likened to the relationship we may have with a pet.

I laughed that off. Such an analogy certainly couldn't apply to me - if it did, I'd be worried. Sure, Lyra somehow by now knows who I am and perhaps even knows my voice, but I hate her - I merely tolerate her. I chase her in rage, I lock her in boxes, I forcefully bat her away, I throw her, I shout at her. . . I get so furious and annoyed at her that I don't even want her near me sometimes. And that's supposed to be how God is toward me? I certainly hope not - I'd have no chance.

Okay, so maybe it can't apply to me because she isn't really my pet - I'm only taking care of her for the time being. That undoubtedly should break down the analogy. Except for the fact that after over a month she feels as though she is in fact mine. And I haven't quite been able to let this image go. Maybe I don't entirely hate her - I do enjoy playing with her, and when I'm in the mood I don't mind at all nuzzling and scratching her. So there's hope. But does that mean God is moody? Doesn't that then make His love conditional?

Maybe I'm taking it all too seriously; maybe I'm drawing it too close to my heart.

As I lay in bed readying for a nap with Lyra lying on my stomach as close to sleep as me, a thought struck: Perhaps for me it's the other way around; perhaps for me Lyra stands in for God's place in my life, instead of her representing me.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that this may be more-or-less the case. Perhaps the way I treat Lyra is in fact at times the way I treat my Lord. I admit, I haven't been so gracious toward Him - and as of late, I think I've acted more negatively toward Him than positively - neglecting, shrugging Him off, ignoring, doubting... As far as a Lyra comparison, God does seem to do things I don't completely understand, things that seem strange and confusing. Sometimes it makes me annoyed, sometimes it makes me angry; but sometimes I'm delighted, and sometimes I'm pleased - even excited on occasion. There are times I push Him away, I'm not in the mood and times I shout at Him; other times I beg for His attention, His affection, His pleasure. Sometimes I don't want Him to get into everything; other times I need Him. And try as I may I can't tell God what to do.

Yet despite my moodiness He always comes back to me with a love I don't understand and a love I question the basis of. He gives me affection and love and His presence, His grace new every day and every moment - as if He's forgotten that I turned my back on Him, neglected Him, been angry at Him. He actually seeks to be with me - He loves me - even though I can sometimes be distant, hostile, grumpy and doubtful. His love doesn't end and it doesn't change - it's always there and unconditional. He may not say it with words, but He acts it out. And He knows me - and He loves me. And I just don't know why.

So, fittingly, I end these musings with a cat on my lap, hugging me and attempting to kiss me with her nose, pawing at my cheek and purring in contentedness - and I like her. Yes, I do like her - even though an hour ago she incredibly annoyed me (and I may have even told her that I hated her). This cat has made Romans 1:20 ring true: For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (NASB).

I have a strange relationship with Yahweh, the God who takes care of me. And by strange I mean it takes a dive through the valley and it also flies above the clouds. But I do trust Him, and if I look closely I can see that He has been, that He is, and that He always will be faithful to His Word - and I have nothing to worry about. He is the Lord, our God, King of the universe and He has provided more than I deserve - including and especially His favour, His love. I may not always recognise it, but every once in a while I see it and I feel so blessed.


[posted by ericjordan at 1543 hrs]  

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SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2009

wordy wisdom: inspirational lyrics, pt 2

By virtue of its title, my brother declared this song as my theme. When I bought the CD in 2001 it was at a time when my answer to any question would often be, 'I don't know.' I did this for various reasons, but mostly as a way to avoid something I didn't want to talk about - either because I was still thinking it through or that I simply didn't feel like talking. It was an arbitrary labelling on my brother's part, but upon listening to the song (while of course reading along to the lyrics), I came to relate with what Mac Powell was saying, what he had written in some moment of spiritual doubt.

His words resonate within me now as much as they did then for the issue of salvation is an ever constant struggle. This song raises questions for me which are quite relevant to my faith journey - and I could only imagine with those of the spiritual positions each of us are in.

I Don't Know / Third Day // Come Together

cannot find the words to say i'm sorry;
don't know how to show You i was wrong.
i wasted all that You had given to me
and now i'm left with nothing and noone.

and i find
it's my fault -
i'm the only
one to blame
for the tears
and the pain.

well, i don't know what i can say -
or would it matter anyway -
'cause i don't know how You could still forgive me.
for all that i have put You through,
is there anything that i can do?
i would give my life to find Your mercy.

all my life has lead to this decision,
to return and ask You this one thing:
if i had one chance or if a million,
would it ever be enough for me

to explain
what i've done?
now i know that
i was wrong.
will You hold
me again?

well, I don't know what i can say -
or would it matter anyway -
cause i don't know how You could still forgive me.
for all that i have put You through,
is there anything that i can do?
i would give my life to find Your mercy.
what will it take until You forgive me?
i don't know . . .

i don't know.

and i find
it's my fault -
well, i'm the only
one to blame
for the tears
and the pain.

well, i don't know what i could say -
or would it matter anyway -
'cause i don't know how You could still forgive me.
for all that i have put You through
is there anything that i can do?
i would give my life to find Your mercy.
well, i don't know what i can say -
or would it matter anyway -
'cause i don't know how You could still forgive me.
for all that i have put You through
is there anything that i can do?
i would give my life to find Your mercy.
what will it take until You forgive me?
oh Lord, will i find that You have already?
i don't know . . .

i don't know.
i don't know.
i don't know . . .


[posted by ericjordan at 1353 hrs]  

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