Saturday, March 24, 2007

Exhortation-Imagine That

It is good that we are here this Sunday morning. It looks as if we have entered a fine building, one made by craftsman, skilled in beauty, a building prepared by the sweat and toil of many men’s hands. It is good to be the recipients of such hard labor. They worked and we get to enjoy. But looks can be deceiving.

We are not actually where you think we are. We are here but here is not the place you think it is. We make distinctions between holy and unholy, between sacred and secular, earthly and heavenly. And this is very understandable because the unholy world is such a contrast to our Holy God, the sacred nature of Christ and His kingdom is opposed to those who rule in Earth from Earth. But something strange is going on here this morning and you should know about it before we go very much further in our service. It is almost like science fiction. It is similar to imaginative literature, perhaps like a fairy tale, or even fantasy. For in those places of fancy, the fantastic often presents the real. Imagination and fancy can help us escape from our world, true, but they can also help us see things as they ought to be or even as they really are.

This is the something strange that is happening this morning. It happens every day, really, but on this day, the fantastic is even more pronounced, more magical than perhaps any other day. For, on this day, we expect fancy. We come to mystery. We experience that which seems outside the realm of experience. And we are told to hear God when men speak, we are told to believe that we are new men and women, we are told to eat Christ and drink His blood. This things seem unreal to us, mere metaphors of something other earthly, something waiting for us but not apprehended. But the surreal is not always unreal.

This is nothing less than the collision of heaven and earth but not a heaven and earth that are opposed to one another. It is more like lovers that are on a collision course with destiny. When they finally overcome separation, longing, waiting, and arrive at the altar together and then the marriage bed, the collision of two makes one and the one is more than the two, even though the two remain.

We are here, in a building made with hands inside a building made without hands. That is, the kingdom of God, which grows from a small rock to a great mountain that fills, not all of heaven, but all of earth. We are to see ourselves in heaven, not up there, away from earth, but heaven come here to invade the earth in a new and mighty creation. Heaven has swallowed earth, not to erase earth but to make earth a part of heaven. So, we are here in earth in heaven.

Let us remember, then, that we have come here, not to escape our humanity, not to imagine some other worldly existence but, rather, to become fully human. For Christ, as the first fruits of humanity, has brought us into Himself that we might partake of His glory. This means leaving the fleshly behind. Not leaving earth behind nor our bodies behind but leaving behind all things that rebel against the new humanity that we are in Christ.

It is fitting then that we confess our other worldliness, whether rebellion against Christ or even and unbiblical rejection of the world that Christ so loved and came to save.

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