Friday, February 28, 2014

The Presence Helps Us Be Present

If you have ever seen the March of the Ducks at the Peabody Hotel, you have experienced a rare, even unique event. It's fun to watch, and you are amazed at how the ducks march single file to the music, take a dip in the fountain in the lobby, and then return. It's a simple scene, but no one can explain it adequately to another person. You just have to be there, or it loses something.

The Transfiguration of the Lord is in that same category. You can share the gospel with others. You can tell them how great it is to believe in Jesus and the power of his resurrection. You can share how wonderful it is to have the Holy Spirit living in your life. But you can't explain it adequately. Only when the other person has that experience do they really begin to understand the power, majesty, and glory of God.

When we have those mountian top experiences, we want to stop time. We want to hold onto those moments forever. I am convinced that the only way we can bask in God's glory is to serve him faithfully, going where God calls, and eagerly being his hands and feet in our world. I know the scripture says Jesus returned to normal, and they came down the mountain. But it was a new normal for Peter, James, and John. They would never forget that first glimpse of true glory.

The cloud rolled away. The radiance dimmed. The road down the mountain was slow and reluctant, I'm sure. Nevertheless, I'm also sure they saw glory again many times. They saw glory in the eyes of those to whom they ministered. They saw glory in the steadfastness of Christ before the Sanhedrin and Pilate. They saw glory in the work they did long after the Savior had ascended to heaven. And I know they saw glory when their own lives ended, and they were welcomed into Jesus' glorious presence.

I can tell you about his glory, but have you seen it? Do you want to see it? Then say YES to Jesus. Follow him up the mountain and into the valley. Do what he would do. Say what he would say. Be what he would be. Then you, too, will behold his glory in faithfully serving at the feet of those who need him.

We are privileged to experience God's glory and are called to share it because the world needs it so desperately. Most conversations we hear today are critical, destructive, and even hateful. And these come from all levels of our society. Anger management specialists must be having field day. Jesus has revealed a more excellent way. He calls us to live by the law of love, and the hate and darkness will fade away in the presence of his glory.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lingering Thoughts on Ice and Snow

I know the weather is more spring-like now, but there are some enduring lessons we should have learned from the ice and snow of the winter of 2014. I learned one from the pine trees. As we travelled south on I-75 above Macon, I noticed that many of the trees along the interstate were broken off or completely uprooted from the weight of the ice and snow. I thought how sad that these young growth pines had seen their demise so early in life. They would not come back. Their circumstances had done them in.

Then I realized that the trees that were not by the road were standing tall and straight and wondered how that could be. As I looked more closely, I saw s few branches that had been stripped away, but the trees were mostly intact. I then realized that they had other trees around them to support them and prevent them from falling. Every tree out there was subjected to the same ice and snow storm, but as long as each supported the others, the damage was minimal.

 We need each other. We need the support that comes from being together even if we are all experienceing the same adversity. God did not intend us to be alone. No one can stand alone if the going gets too difficult. But when we have the support of of others, the outcome is so remarkably different. Unlike the pine trees, we don’t need each other just in the icy cold of winter. We need each other all the time. I hope I can remember the lesson of the pines even when the winter is long gone. It is an enduring truth.