Life Notes—January 20, 2011
“Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day…because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.” II Corinthians 4:16, 18
Regular readers of Life Notes know I am no fan of the obvious. I believe our earthly existence is animated by forces we cannot see and that our physical existence has deep spiritual roots that trail into the unseen recesses of space and time. What we see today is the product of a complex set of actions and choices, most made long ago, and we simply cannot trace all the threads of cause that weave the tapestry of today’s experience.
Can I prove it? Can I see the oak tree in the acorn, or the adult in the embryo? Of course not. Life on Earth is full of unseen potential, waiting and wanting to express in all the glory it was created to become. In our time-limited existence we only capture snap-shots of the greater reality of which we are a part. We experience moments, but remain blind to the whole. In missing the whole, we also miss our intimate interconnections.
It is this lack of obviousness that makes many religious teachings confounding. Why couldn’t Jesus just tell us what we needed to know in ‘plain English’? I suggest it is because Truth—real, honest-to-goodness, no-kidding, this-is-the-way-it-really-is Truth—cannot be reduced to words. Since biblical writers couldn’t always put Truth into words for us to understand, they often talked around it. Jesus used parables and cryptic sayings that we can ponder many times and often interpret in new ways. These teachings challenge us to see with new eyes, eyes that perceive beyond what is visible.
Am I wrong? Maybe; but it’ll never be proven this side of the grave. And we’ll never understand the fullness of the life and teachings of Christ until we look beyond the obvious. Our earthly eyes see on the basis of differences—differences in light and shadow. They perceive separateness, not likeness. Our surface differences are interpreted, incorrectly, as differences in essence. We categorize and discriminate by gender, color, age, sexual preference. In the words of Paul to the Corinthians, “What is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal.” The Truth lies in the realm of the unseen.
This Sunday is Reconciling Sunday. The Rev. Fritz Mutti will be speaking at the downtown services, and his wife, Etta Mae, will speak at the west campus. Rev. Mutti, the former Bishop of the Kansas East Conference, and his wife have compelling messages to share. “A Message of Reconciliation for Everyone” will be rooted in the scripture found in II Corinthians 4:16-18 and 5:16-20. Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall; traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00. Worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to worship this Sunday. Wander into the less-than-obvious with us!
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator