Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jesus. Fully Divine. Fully Human.

Remember those times when you said you would never do something? And then you end up doing exactly that? Presently I'm attending seminary and the thought of it is continually baffling to me, but I am so blessed to be a student again, but also as part of a great community. I appreciate being challenged in my thinking as I continue to grow and be transformed in relationship with God. So, this is one of my posts where I process some of the things I have been thinking through from class. 

Jesus. He's the crux of my faith, yet I don't really have a great grasp of who he is. Sure, I know the stories and can tell you a lot about it, but it has never really clicked with me until recently. Over this last year, I have been struggling through who Jesus is and praying that I would come to a greater understanding and revelation of the person of Christ. So... here's some thoughts...

Last year I taught History of Christianity and it was fascinating to me to look at all the different groups of people that cropped up as heretics that were against the church. The main area of contention was the humanity and divinity of Christ. It's a tension that is very difficult to reconcile and accept, so most groups would choose one over the other. In reading about this, it seemed crazy that people would cling to one extreme to the point of leaving the church. Yet, recently upon deeper reflection of my own views of Jesus, I have come to realize that my own views are heretical in that I focus on the divinity of Jesus and discount the humanity of Jesus.

There were things that Jesus did not know (Mt. 24:36-the coming of the Son of Man), things he could not do (Mk 6:5) and his miracles were performed by the Spirit of God (Mt. 12:28). This would reveal the humanity side of Jesus. In Philippians, it talks about Jesus emptying himself, and it is suggested by some that "in becoming like a human being, the Son of God willed to renounce the exercise of his divine powers, attributes, prerogatives, so that he might live fully within those limitations which inhere in being truly human" (Gerald F. Hawthorne). So it is possible that the divine attributes were still present in Jesus but not exercised (for example, as seen in the gospels, he was not omnipresent or omniscient).

In this case, as I often assume, perhaps Jesus' understanding of his identity and mission were not pipelined into him, but rather they were developed through his life, through revelation, intuition, crisis, prayer and communion. Jesus was not able to sin, but was he aware of it? When Jesus went to the cross, did he know 100% that he would rise from the dead (before going to the cross, Jesus prayed that if it was possible, that the cup be taken from him, Mt. 26:39, suggesting that he didn't know). I read the gospels with the assumption that Jesus was born with all the knowledge of Scripture and who God is... but what if he learned it?

Here's another quote from Gerald F. Hawthorne to think about:

"God the Son, who became flesh in Jesus, became a real human being, and as such he needed the Spirit's power to lift him out of his human restrictions, to carry him beyond his human limitations, and to enable him to do the seeming impossible….to be sure, the Spirit met with no natural resistance in Jesus as in those of us whose lives have been hardened and scarred by sin"

There are moments when Jesus' divinity shine through, but I think I focus on those and read with the assumption of his divinity, neglecting his humanity entirely. If Jesus had everything pipelined into him and was able to do everything on his own, this is a Jesus that is difficult to follow. Perhaps even impossible to follow.  But... if Jesus, in his humanity, learned these things and built a relationship with the Father and depended FULLY on the Father, realizing he could do nothing without the Father, this is a Jesus a can follow, because he lived a beautiful life of full dependence on the Father and as a result had an intimate relationship and was a reflection of God's glory and image on earth.

Furthermore, as I have been experiencing lately, the humanity of Jesus, along with the pain and suffering he experienced, can meet my humanity and my pain in a real, tangible way. That's pretty powerful.

Jesus. Fully divine. Fully human. Just some food for thought-would love to hear your thoughts. And please don't call me a heretic as these are things I'm processing and thinking about, not putting out there as absolute truths.

May the humanity of Christ meet your humanity in a profound way today.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Home, Heart, Happiness

Home. It's a word that conjures up a variety of feelings, memories and thoughts. Some positive, some negative. Some filled with great happiness, others filled with great sorrow. Where is my home? This is something I have been reflecting on of late. Last week, as I prepared to leave Portland and return "home", I had mixed feelings because in a way I was also leaving a new place that has become home.

The dictionary defines "home" as, "the place where one lives permanently." In the last few years, that location has been scattered because I don't feel a permanence in any one geographical location. In some ways I feel tossed about and unsure as to my sense of placement because it all seems so transient. Yet, I realize as I make memories in different places, have new and repeated experiences, and deep friendships, I am continually creating a space of home.

First and foremost, my home is in God. I abide in Him and God's presence is ever with me, ever before me and behind me. It surrounds me. Nothing is a surprise to God because He is there. I can rest assured in that permanence.

 I have a home with my friends, new and old. They have a place in my heart and I in theirs. In that case, I have a home all around the world and all across Canada and the US. When I am with my friends, I am at home.

I have a physical home in places where I have lived, but also places where I have visited and had profound experiences with God, growth and transformation within, and have experienced community with those around me.  

So, in the last two weeks I have been deeply reminded of this. As I traveled down to Portland for school, there was a profound sense of coming home. As 18 of my American friends gathered around a table with me to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, I was home. As I went to Edmonton to visit friends for the weekend, I was home. As I came back to BC to care for a woman I love deeply and count as one of my closest friends, I am home. Despite sadness, hurt, pain, God is there and I can rest in Him. Through happiness, laughter and joy, God is in my midst. To take the time to recognize this, amidst the tension of juxtaposed emotions and experiences, there is a richness in the fullness of life that can be experienced and shared with those around me. I am home.

 I love the song, "Home" by Phillip Phillips (and not just because he has the best name ever). As I re-read the lyrics this morning, I felt God singing the words to me. I can cling to Him, through the familiar and unfamiliar, and where I am, I am at home in Him and will have experiences of home with physical locations I visit and the people I encounter along the way.

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall, Fotos, Fantastic

I never understood it when people would use their cameras as phones.. but to my own dismay, I realized recently that I have become one of those people. I always have my phone with me and it takes pretty great photos. 

But there is a difference when you're behind the camera and you hear the shutter inside opening and closing.. the other day I took some photos of my niece and it's as though something rekindled within me.  

My camera has been lying dormant far too long in my camera bag (partly because of a lens that needs reparing, but I have two others to use!).

Lately I have been missing the fall colours in Quebec and then I look out the window and realize that we have some pretty amazing and vibrant colours here.

So I took my camera, got creative and started snapping photos.  

And oh was it ever inspiring! There is something wonderful about being surrounded by breathtaking creation. I love that the leaves change colour when they die and fall. They could have just become brown and fallen, but our Creator designed them in such a fashion that they would be breath-taking and awe inspiring and reveal His glory. 

And in turn, there's something wonderful about being behind a camera and capturing that beauty in a small little frame, catching glimpses of who God is through the evidence of His handiwork.  

I love cozy, rainy, windy fall days, but I also love gloriously blue sky, sunny days. I'm thankful for this weekend. I got to play outside with little ones, go swimming, fly kites (which also meant simply running really fast and cheering the kite on). 

Days that start off feeling a bit blah and discouraged, yet as you engage in life and stop to notice God in the details, you are inspired and left feeling hopeful.  

So, whether it's pouring rain, cloudy or sunny, take a moment. 
Step outside. 
Be inspired.  

Secondhand, Snoring, Sobbing

 This Fall has been the perfect blend of rainy days and sunny days. I love being able to stay cozy in my pj's at home while hanging out with my mom when it's rainy and stormy outside. Yet, the mornings when you wake up to hints of blue sky amidst the fog, foreshadowing a gloriously blue sky, sunny day ahead!
I love rainy days but also love waking up to Fall days like this.
Last weekend I was so thankful again for my wonderful aunt who comes out so I can have a break. A friend and I went down for a double musical day (which we have decided to make a more frequent tradition). And on that note, I have decided to amend my list of 35 by 35. I don't know if it's allowed, but I make the rules, so I think it's a great idea. Instead of going to an underwater hotel (maybe that will make the 40 by 40 list instead), my goal is to attend 100 different musicals (update: I'm at 83.. so for the next 17 new ones I see, I will post reviews. And then maybe I will list the 100...).

Rabbit trail over. Anyway, the two musicals we saw were Secondhand Lions and Xanadu.  Secondhand Lions is based on a movie that came out in 2003 that I absolutely loved. As the program for the musical said, either people claim it as a favourite or have never heard of it. It was full of bright colours, dramatic scenes, moments for laughter and a few tears and was just fun all around to watch (hoping it goes to broadway in new york!). 

The story is about a little boy who gets dropped off at his great uncles' farm in order to try and get all their money. The boy has been lied to a lot of his life and through hearing antics and stories of his uncles' lives, he comes to a place where he realizes he needs something to believe in and chooses to believe the stories and builds a really meaningful relationship with his uncles. It struck me as they were dancing around on stage that we all need something to believe in. In Proverbs 29:18a, it says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." As the old and wonderful hymn says, "Be thou my vision". God, who is love and is faithful and gracious beyond measure is where I need to place my full belief. The God who does not sleep or slumber is where my vision needs to be fixed. And I know that as a result of my belief and pursuit of God, transformation and growth will occur. Not sure if you follow my thought process from a musical to that, but those are my muddled thoughts. 

Xanadu at Village Theatre in Issaquah
 In the evening, we went to see Xanadu at the Village Theatre and it was great. Very different from the one we saw in the afternoon. Set in the 80's, it's about a bunch of Greek muses that try to inspire an artist (there may have even been some roller skating involved). In the musical (spoiler alert), the meaning of xanadu is true love and the ability to create and share art. The one muse is struck by the fact that humans die and yet they strive to create even though they are mortals. It struck me that creativity is such a beautiful thing because it speaks of life and looks beyond the present to an eternal life.

My niece truly does love me, but I absolutely love this picture and realize the only thing that would make it better is if we had matching hair... (and when I came back to this post a couple days later, I wondered why part of the title was 'Sobbing' and then I looked at this photo and remembered)
Secondhand Lions, world premiere at 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle!

So, there you have it. Two new musicals and a great weekend (and a very delayed blog post since I started this days ago...)