Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Questions but No Answers

Woman: Do you think God loves you?
Man: I don't believe in God. So your question has no meaning. Okay, I'll be honest. He may exist or he might not exist, but either way, I don't think he cares. Why trouble yourself asking me, anyway? How does it help you whether I care or not if he loves me. Besides, if he exists, he's awfully far away and could probably care less what happens to me.
Woman: That's where you're wrong, if you don't mind me saying so.
Man: Go ahead; it's a free country, as they say. We don't have to agree about most things, anyway. But, really, why do you care? I'm fine like I am. I never give God much thought, anyway.
Woman: Perhaps, you don't think he loves you or cares about you, so automatically you may be thinking, "why should I care?" But maybe, if he did exist, and you felt that he didn't care about you, that doesn't sound like what God should be like? Or am I offending you by reading things into your answers?
Man: I like you, so I'm putting up with this just to be nice, but, really, it's kind of funny that you Christians are so preoccupied whether others think God loves them or not, or whether we think he cares or doesn't care about us. I have other things to keep me busy, like how I'm going to buy a new car after the last one got banged up badly by some nut on the midnight express lane.
Woman: Yeah, it must seem funny to some people, but the reason I ask, is because God means a lot to me. I've been around talk about God since I was a little girl, and though at times I was more afraid or disinterested in him, most of the time, I sensed that he really did love me and cared about what happened to me, the good and bad things I went through all my life.
Man: Well, I guess we were brought up differently. My family was not religious; they were artsy people--always going to museums and the opera, and stuff like that. There really was no need or time for God in my family. It wasn't even talked about. I got what little information I did get about God from standing on street corners when some lunchtime christians would give their talk about what Christ had done for them. It always used to perplex me why they bothered as very few people seemed to pay them any attention, or had anything nice to say about them anyway. It even annoyed me, when one woman in particular came to the mike and said "Every knee shall bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.' Or something like that. I probably got the words wrong. But it bothered me that she was so arrogant in saying that every knee was going to bow, as if Christ were the only God around. How about Buddah, and all those other religions or deities that people believed in? What made Christ so special that she insisted that every knee was going to bow, whether they wanted to or not? I thought, "boy, is she ever going to be surprised when that never happens in human history," but, of course, how would she ever know if it happend or not?
Woman: Wow, and I thought I was going to be the one to, ahem, do the talking. I guess you've said more than I ever would have had courage to say. But, I'm glad you're being so candid. I wish I felt at ease to be as candid as you seem to be. It sounds to me that you've thought about this question or issue at least a bit, or used to anyway. Otherwise, why would you even stand and shake your head at that lunchtime crowd of street evangelists as opposed to crossing the street so you didn't have to hear them?
Man: When you're in New York City on your lunch break, there's an element of boredom or rush or both, and that crowd always made me laugh, of course, when they didn't get under my skin. I always expected them to start jumping up and down, but, unfortunately, I never saw them do that.
Woman: So you stood there to laugh at them?
Man: Hey, sorry, I'm just being honest. At least I stood there. Most people would have crossed the street or rolled their eyes and kept on going--oblivious to the fact that those street talkers were even there every lunch hour, even in winter.
Woman: Did you stop to think of why they thought it important to be there every day? Some of them probably skipped lunch to be out there every day in the the middle of the work day? Was that in Rockeffer Center where you used to work when you lived in Manhattan?
Man: Look, I see you've getting very defensive or protective about these people that you've never met and, probably, they're not even of your own denomination, so why should you care so much. It sounds like you care more about their feelings than mine.
Woman: I care because I know why they were out there every lunch hour. I would have joined them even if we didn't see eye to eye on every point.
Man: Ok, you've made your point. Let's have a bite to eat. You can tell me more some other time when my stomach is not growling so much.
Woman: Yes, let's do that. I wouldnt want my agnostic friend fainting from hunger on the boulevard in front of the Ritz Carlton.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Blood like Rain - Sangre cual Lluvia

Imagine yourself standing under the cross of Christ. You are the only one there with Him. Even though you yourself had to have been the one to nail Him to the cross, neverthelsss, you find that you alternate between three positions:
  • looking up at the cross directly beneath His bleeding right hand
  • looking up at the cross directly beneath His bleeding left hand
  • prone on the earth, itself, with your head pressed up to the base of the cross with your face right under His bleeding feet

In all three positions, the cross is your only reality. Christ's bleeding hands are your only focus, interest and point of reference. Even though it clouds your vision, as it drips onto your eye lids, and partially clogs your nostrils, you cherish this experience because it is His blood that is gently dripping onto your eye lids and into your nostrils, and down the sides of your face. You don't seem to mind because it is Christ's blood, your Saviour's blood, that is washing your eye lids and your nostrils with its life-giving properties.

Imagine the blood of Christ soaking your hair, your face, your chest, your arms, your back, your legs, your feet, your belly, and, yes, every other part of the human body that He created.

Imagine the blood of Christ possessing an almost devouring quality or property so that any cloth or leather or metal that you were initially clothed in, has been disintegrated by the precious blood of Chirst Jesus, your Saviour and mine.

Imagine yourself, finally, completely covered from head to toe as though plunged into His crimson blood.

Imagine your heigtened sense of awe and love for your Saviour, as you stand in front of His bleeding body, completely covered by His blood. Imagine that this scene, or reality, is the only reality you have ever experienced or would ever want to experience. Both of you are frozen in time though it is a dynamic scene and experience that seems to never have had a beginning or an end. Your entire life has always been, continues to be, and will always be this amazing sight. You, His son or daughter, standing beneath your God and Saviour and Friend, as His priceless blood and life wash you over and over again with no end in sight.

"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3 (New International Version)

Imagínese estar parado debajo de la cruz de Cristo. Usted es la única persona allí con él. Aun cuando usted mismo tuvo que haber sido la persona responsable de clavarlo a la cruz, sin embargo, usted se encuentra alternándose entre tres posiciones:

  • mirando hacia arriba a la cruz y directamente debajo de su mano derecha sangrienta
  • mirando hacia arriba a la cruz y directamente debajo de su mano izquierda sangrienta
  • acostado en la tierra, sí misma, con su cabeza presionada hasta la base de la cruz con la cara bajo sus pies sangrientos

La cruz es su sola realidad en cada una de las tres posiciones. Las manos sangrientas de Cristo son su solo foco, interés y punto de referencia. Aun cuando su visión se enubleze, y tupe parcialmente las ventanas de la nariz, usted aprecia esta experiencia porque es su sangre que está goteando suavemente en sus párpados y en las ventanas de la nariz, y por los lados de su cara. A usted no parece que le molesta esto pues es la sangre de Cristo, sangre de su Salvador, que le está lavando los ojos y las ventanas de la nariz con sus características vivificantes.

Imagine la sangre de Cristo empapándolo a usted, su cabeza y cabello, su cara, su pecho, sus brazos, su espalda, sus piernas, sus pies, su barriga, y, sí, cada otra parte del cuerpo humano que él creó.

Imagine que la sangre de Cristo poseé una cualidad o una característica casi devoradora, de modo que cualquier ropa o cuero o metal del cual usted se encontraba vestido inicialmente, han sido desintegrados por la sangre preciosa de Cristo Jesús, su Salvador y el mío.

Imagínese, finalmente, cubierto totalmente de la cabeza al dedo del pie como si lo hubieran bañado en su sangre carmesí.

Imagínese que maravilla y amor está sintiendo usted hacia su Salvador, al contemplar su cuerpo sangriento, cuya sangre lo ha cubierto totalmente a usted. Imagínese que esta escena, o realidad, es la única realidad que usted ha experimentado en su vida o que desearía siempre experimentar. Para ambos parece que el tiempo ya no existe, aunque es una escena y una experiencia dinámica que parece nunca haber tenido un principio o fin. Esta escena asombrosa parece que siempre ha existido, continúa existiendo, y siempre existirá. Usted, Su hijo o hija, asercándose a su Dios y Salvador y Amigo, contempla su preciosa sangre y vida que lo lava a usted completamente, vez tras vez, por toda la eternidad."

Y ésta es la vida eterna: que te conozcan a ti, el único Dios verdadero, y a Jesucristo, a quien tú has enviado. " Juan 17:3 (Nueva Versión Internacional)