24 March, 2008

Good and The Other Boleyn Girl

Saturday night I saw “The Other Boleyn Girl.” It is the story of a family: a father and mother and 2 daughters and 1 son. The father envisions great wealth and position for the family. The mother who descended from a family of power and chose to marry for love sees the virtue in having less in life. The sisters and brother have a closeknit kinship.
As the story progresses the family is literally torn apart by the choices they make in order to get ahead. Both sisters become impregnated with the king of england’s bastard children and towards the end of the film the brother George and sister Anne actually consider incest in order to cover up Anne’s miscarriage with the king’s child.
In the end both Anne and George are beheaded and the family is torn apart. The father dies in disgrace. Sister Mary moves on to her 2nd marriage and disconnects from her parents entirely. No one in the film is happy in the end. Everyone has been ravaged by sin, selfishness, lust, and greed.
The next morning I attended Easter services at church.
What a juxtaposition.
Saturday night I bore witness to evil in its sickest form. I saw lives ruined and disgraced because of sin. Leaving the theatre I felt overwhelmed. I felt like the world and its inhabitants were rather hopeless.
Sunday morning I was greeted with a message as opposite as any two messages.
Yes, we live in a world filled with hopelessness—that is, apart from the hope we have in Christ Jesus.
Only lives connected to His truth can make any sense, have any purpose, have any good in them.
What hope that though left to our own out of control whims and desires we literally destroy ourselves, but with the hope in Christ we can have not only abundant life daily on this earth but we can have assurance of everlasting hope and eternal life past the shores of Heaven.
I was reminded that the message of the Bible and the Cross is not “Get your lives fixed and then come to Christ. Get rid of your sin then you will be accepted into His kingdom.”
Far from it.
The message of Christ is that in no way are we capable on a human level in our own power to be good. We are selfish simple creatures. The joy and hope of Christ is that HE IS GOOD. So we are at a loss to try and scramble up a nice portrait of ourselves for Christ. The point of the cross is not to show Christ how we can be such “good Christians.” The message of the cross is to surrender daily to the love none of us truly deserve or have inherited because of our goodness. Praise God that there is hope. Praise God that He has the character that bestows such love and compassion on such dirty little selfish creatures as ourselves. Now I believe THAT is a hope to live for.

05 March, 2008

Are we destined for specific tasks?

“Then the word to the Lord came to me saying ‘Behold before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I sanctified you. I ordained you a prophet to the nations.’ Then said I: ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.’ But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say, 'I am a youth,' For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms. To root out and to pull down. To destroy and to throw down. To build and to plant.’ Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see a
branch of an almond tree.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.’”
Jeremiah 1:4-12

Clearly the Bible is saying God decided to use Jeremiah in a specific way before Jeremiah was even an adult. Does God still do this? Is it only for prophets or people doing ministry? Or are we all destined for specific tasks? Are they all spiritual people-need-to-get-saved tasks? And does this only happen when people can audibly hear God saying things? It seems like Jeremiah audibly heard from God in this passage. Of course this has been translated a few times. And is the purpose of this passage to simply be inspired by God using someone young? Or is the reader supposed to take something from it and apply it to his or her own life? Is it right to read this and infer that God is "telling me to do _________"?