Thursday, February 25, 2010

Devotional 250210

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Praise God for giving us another beautiful day to be in His service. I reached home at about 1 am this morning and woke up at 7 am. I was working on a video project for our vision sharing event. The editorial work was so tedious (I marvel the details of God’s creation by His Word. I wished I had that power to finish our project by just saying, “Let there be a video project!”). Our team spent 4 hours to finish only 2 minutes of our presentation. And the video is more than 10 minutes long. Therefore, we still need to work on it this evening. Hopefully, it will not take us till midnight because I have to fly to Houston tomorrow morning with it. Please pray for God’s creative power for our team to finish it on time.

Let’s read the spiritual journal from Dr. Eugene Peterson in his book Living The Message. No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this. Never so much as imagined anything like it – What God has arranged for those who Love Him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you (1 Cor 2:9-10 Message). Every Monday I leave the routines of my daily work and hike along the streams and through the forests of Maryland. The first hours of that walk are uneventful: I am tired, sluggish, and inattentive. Then bird-song begins to penetrate my senses, and the play of light on oak eaves and asters catches my interest. In the forest of trees, one sycamore forces its solid rootedness on me, and then sends my eyes arcing across trajectories upwards and outwards. I have been walking these forest trails for years, but I am ever and again finding an insect that I have never seen before startling me with its combined aspects of ferocity and fragility. How many more are there to be found? A rock formation, absolutely new, thrusts millions of years of prehistory into my present. This creation is so complex, so intricate, so profuse with life and form and color and scent! And I walk through it deaf and dumb and blind, groping my way, stupidly absorbed in putting one foot in front of the other, seeing a mere fraction of what is there. The Monday walks wake me up, a little anyway, to what I miss in my sleepy routines. The wakefulness lasts, sometimes, through Thursday, occasionally all the way to Sunday. A friend calls these weekly rambles “Emmaus walks”: “And their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (Luke 24:31).

What walking through Maryland forests does to my bodily senses, reading the Revelation does to my faith perceptions. For I am quite as dull to the marvelous word of Christ’s covenant as I am to his creation, “O Lord, and shall I ever live at this poor dying rate?” Not if St. John’s Revelation has its way. A few paragraphs into the Revelation, the adrenaline starts rushing through the arteries of my faith, and I am on my feet alive, tingling. It is impossible to read the Revelation and not have my imagination aroused. The Revelation I forces and enables me to look at what is spread out right before me, and to see it with fresh eyes. It forces me because, being the last book in the Bible, I cannot finish the story apart from it. It enables me because, by using the unfamiliar language of apocalyptic vision. My imagination is called into vigorous play.
In spite of these obvious benefits and necessary renewals, there are many people who stubbornly refuse to read it, or (which is just as bad) refuse to read it on its own terms. These are the same people who suppress fairy tales because they are brutal and fill children’s minds with material for nightmares, and who bowdlerize Chaucer because his book is too difficult as it stands. They avoid the demands of either imagination or intellect. If they cannot read a page with a rapid skim of an eye trained under the metronome of speed reading, they abandon the effort and slump back into passivity before cartoons and commercials.

But for people who are fed up with such bland fare, the Revelation is a gift—a work of intense imagination that pulls its reader into a world of sky battles between angels and beasts, lurid punishments and glorious salvations, kaleidoscopic vision and cosmic song. It is a world in which children are instinctively at home and in which adults, by becoming as little children, recapture an elemental involvement in the basic conflicts and struggles that permeate moral existence, and then go on to discover again the soaring adoration and primal affirmation for which God made us.

Hope you find time to enjoy meditating on the book of Revelation with similar imagination like Eugene Peterson.

Have a blessed day of service,

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