Forty days to Freedom

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Actually, it wasn’t forty days at all but a need to know why this number is so significant to that little tribe of Jewish nomads who introduced our world to the One True G-d. I encourage you to spend forty minutes of investigation in exploring the concepts of transition and renewal bound to this number. Before long, you may find yourself driven into that wilderness with Jesus who thwarts temptation with the words from the fifth book of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy. My friend and guide has further illumined David’s confrontation with Goliath, this malevolent giant surrounded by 6’s (6 cubits high, 6 weapons, and 60 shekels heavier wearing his snakelike, scaly  armor). This very beast of creation who boasted of capturing the Ark of the Covenant and brought it to the temple of Dragon stood and taunted the Israelites during their morning and evening prayers. Yet it was out in this wilderness that David defeats Goliath of Gath (one of five city states of the Philistines) with but a sling and five stones drawn from a brook. Using the smoothest stone, let’s guess and call it the fifth stone, he kills this enormous Philistine by hitting him where we all must keep the Torah, the five books of God’s wisdom.

I’ll let the numbers 5, 666, and 40 stretch your contemplation but let’s not do that on an empty stomach. How about enjoying the five fruits in honor of the Jewish holiday of Tu BiShvat seder.  Here we enjoy fruits in the following order: olives, figs, grapes, dates, and pomegranates. When you eat an olive, it’s bitter and you spit the pit out right away. You’ll then you eat the sweet fig and maybe roll that pit around in your mouth for a little longer. The grapes are sweet yet the seeds are so small.  Sometimes you spit these crunchy little seeds out, swallow them, or get wedged between teeth. However, when you eat a date, the seeds cannot be separated from the fruit and eaten as a whole. Finally, the epitome (sorry couldn’t resist!) of fruits, is the pomegranate, that tempting “apple” of Eden, in which the seed is actually the fruit! This transition from an unwanted pit to actual fruit encourages our transition from Genesis to Deuteronomy (and hopefully the fruits of our labor).

Just a note regarding another seder, the Passover (Pesach), which encourages young and old alike to retell Exodus as if they were there in the dust and commotion. One of the most emphasized themes of this seder is Freedom. In fact one of the four names of Passover is Hag ha-Herut (The Feast of Freedom).

In the end, we are given a chance at faith, to be pushed, driven, tested, and transformed into a renewed retelling of our life in G-d. We begin as rough rocks allowing the water of the Word to wash over us, rounding sharp edges to become that smooth stone hopefully chosen by a (soon to be) King. We must run thirsty into the desert and face our own wilderness and realize our only battle is using the words Jesus himself chose from the living stream of Torah. This Jew, named Jesus, who came “…only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24), also claimed to be the fulfillment of Torah. Like the seeds of a date, Jesus cannot be separated from Torah, nor should Christianity not see Torah as a transformative and living gift from G-d. Just as passionately as Jesus wanted to gather the Jews as a hen to her chicks, so must Christianity embrace the Torah beyond its shallow understanding and truly bring a culminating awareness to what the Gospel writers are hoping to convey. Christianity exegetes the seeds from dates without realizing their integral part of the flesh.

Remember, we all must be transformed in Christ. Truly every seed must die, slowly transform, offering unexpected new life, freedom, and flesh for the world. Now consider the seed of a pomegranate…consider true freedom.

Shalom,
Chris

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New Wings

I was reminded through a friend’s difficult journey back to God of an inspiration I wrote in November of 2010 before I started my blog.  I believe it pertains to all of us as we purpose in Christian flight towards the One who makes all things new.

New Wings

     I continue to see life through a changing lens.  Instead of accepting fate in a linear dimension, that is, the gradual increase or decrease of some capability along life’s chronological path, I am learning to appreciate the true presence of transformation, like a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly that leaps out into unexpected dimensions from our predictable plodding time line. It seems necessary that our faith be living in order to meet an omniscient, living God.  Unlike the expectations of this world that only sees progress, even a Christians’ growth, as an ability to do more, I sense that Heaven awaits our “coming to Christ” or personal parousia towards the heart of Christ.  As stubborn and linear the world sees birth, life and death, it stumbles on the Christian who comes to Christ by diving back into the womb of our Creator’s eternal life and forgiving, all-powerful love to become reborn.  Here the wings of the newfound heart of Calvary’s hope lifts the Christian from life’s one dimensional path.  No, we do not become God but stand at the threshold of Heaven while seeing life from a changing perspective.  The world cannot see the wings of joyful, fluttering hope yet can feel their curious breeze.  Scientifically, the change from a caterpillar to butterfly is called complete metamorphosis. Hidden from the world inside a pupal shell known as a “chrysalis”, the caterpillar completely disintegrates except for two little discs of embryonic tissue that remained dormant in the caterpillar until this stage.  Suddenly, these embryonic discs rapidly consume the disintegrated nutrients and raw materials floating free in the chrysalis and proliferate into new layers of cells and new organs knitted together in new skin over a very brief time span.  Everything is new and different.  In fact, insects that experience complete metamorphosis are literally reborn!

God has written the laws of His love on our hearts, like embryonic discs, that await our complete metamorphosis.  Yet we don’t need to climb up a branch and form a chrysalis because it is Christ Himself, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings that has promised to perfect His good work in us.  Just maybe, it’s our part to disintegrate to ourselves in all that is and surrender to our very life just to feed those dormant, divine laws.   It is here in our very surrender that allows the proliferation of Heaven’s seeds that our old self gives way to a completely different spiritual structure seen only by faith.  Here, in the complete and absolute womb of Christ’s atonement, our soul explodes into new glorious structures that excites the countless angels to sing triumphantly at the coming of our soul sealed for Heaven. This complete metamorphosis is governed by our free will and amount of faith.  Yet, even the smallest faith, will be brought to complete transformation by the faithful promise of Our Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Christ has come to set this world on fire, so much so, that our very introduction to His claims of divinity immediately demand our response as believers or rejectors.  Dismissing Christ as the Son of God also rejects our belief in the Father’s faithfulness to send a solution to our sin; both are an incomprehensible affront to the jealous love of our most Holy Spirit. Christ again will set this world of fire and those without wings will soon feel the heat of His Parousia, His second-coming, while those with new wings will meet him in the clouds.  The return of Jesus will either be the joyful ending of a love story or the beginning of ultimate regret.  If this is our love story, then it, by the grace of God, is uncontainable. Like the chrysalis that finally rips open like a torn veil to reveal our new coming as new beings reborn in and by Christ, we become fruits of a miracle for the world to see. Love is unrestrainable as our new wings open and swell to lift us up to carry the Good News.  We have been born twice, to pollinate the world with hope against all hope.

Fly …the world is waiting…

 He lives,

Chris

For more Christian encouragement check out my ebook by clicking the following link: Thoughts2Share