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Posts Tagged ‘selah’

Art by Catherine Andrews

The implication then is this: if the Christ appeared in a more perfect tabernacle not of “this” creation, there must be other creations. Hmm. The psalmists write, Selah, “pause and calmly think of that.”

Hebrews 9:11
But [that appointed time came] when Christ (the Messiah) appeared as a High Priest of the better things that have come and are to come. [Then] through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with [human] hands, that is, not a part of this material creation . . .
[Amplified]

Are there other clear references to another creation? I mean, it isn’t necessarily heaven designated in this passage from Hebrews, it could be anywhere. It seems a bit “woohoo” and “new agey,” right? In fact, I find it totally other-worldly, Star Trekian, multi-dimensional, and clearly, we’re “not in Kansas anymore.” We’re outside our human understanding. We don’t know about this other creation(s).

I understand, some commentators still believe the “perfect tabernacle” is in heaven because the human tabernacle was intended to mirror or replicate some heavenly place. But I think that’s simplifying the Spirit realm of God. It’s anthropomorphizing what we don’t understand and trying to put it into human terms.

It’s a similar situation with all the prophets who were given extraordinary visions of things outside their ken such as animals covered with eyes and wings in Revelation or Ezekial’s animals with four faces.

When my children were little, my husband and I liked to have fun with the various holiday characters such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, etc. We always told them these characters existed in a different dimension. As the kids got older and realized how unbelievable it was that Santa could fly across the world in a single night and deposit gifts in each and every house, we reiterated: different dimension–anything can happen. Of course, our story is not as creative as C. S. Lewis and his world of Narnia, but ultimately, we share the same idea, once anyone goes through a “portal,” things are very different “there” (wherever there is).

The world and words of the Spirit realm are best depicted through the arts I think. Music, visual art, performance art, dance, film, scent, poetry: these are some of the better expressions of God’s kingdom or sphere or neighborhood.

What the Messiah did for Human is not really fathomable in our limited cosmos. One sacrifice for all? One outpouring of blood covers all sins from the beginning to the end of time? Perfection in human form? Covenants, promises, reconciliation, restoration, renewal, all of these possible by the act of one offering? Absurd, right?

Nope. It’s the link between our creation and all the other ones. The ultimate portal. Not science fiction or fantasy, but God business. And the stuff of dreams, imagination, love, resurrection, and transfiguration.

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When Paul’s cohort (more than likely, all men) lived and worked in Thessalonica among the new believers, they had a dual role: mother and father. It’s no different for us, for me. And I don’t mean replicating what it was for us, but what it could be.

I Thessalonians 2:7, 11-12a
. . . but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. . . For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God . . .

Like so many of us, I grew up with a dysfunctional family life. I wouldn’t say my early season as a believer was much better. There were “teachers” aplenty and people who were sure they had all the answers, but not too many who role-modeled mother/father love.

One role meets those basic needs like food, shelter, clothing and above them all, unconditional love and holding (this is how I see the mother who cares for a small child). The second role expands on this one with encouragement, comfort, and advocacy. The first role builds up within the safety of a known environment and the second role sends out into the world.

Jesus did the same thing. He taught in the small circle and gave his disciples everything they needed to thrive and then sent them out to build on what they had learned. Build strength; use strength . . . to grow even stronger.

Have I done this as a parent? Only in fits and starts. Have I practiced these roles as a friend? Not as much as I could or should.

Sometimes I blame my abdication from one or both of these roles because I didn’t get the benefit of them, or at least, it doesn’t seem that way on first blush. It’s not true, of course. God provided everything I needed to move me forward in the world, but in less traditional ways. My God is creative in loving and sending me forth.

In my first year as a believer, it’s true that I didn’t have a caring core to carry me through my questions and disappointments. There were no clear mother/father faithful around me. But I also remember a specific night when I prayed to God, a time when an hour in prayer was nothing because I was on fire and so hungry for the Holy Spirit. And in those early weeks and months, many of my prayers were in Latvian, a language I grew up with as a child. My birth father never did learn English and so up to his death, this was the language we shared. And so, on this night, I talked to God in that child-like way, in a language I hadn’t really exercised much as an adult. The result? I distinctly heard, in Latvian, God speak to my heart and claim that father-place. He would be the father I lost. He would comfort, encourage, and send me forth.

” . . . for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! Assuredly not!” [Hebrews 13:5, Amplified]

Selah! [Pause and think of that]

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I keep forgetting who I really am. I mean, there is a core, where Spirit resides within, where the Redeemer mystery took place, and that nucleus is holy. And worse, in the same way I lose myself, I also lose the “sacred other”: same core, same potential for good.

I Corinthians 5:7
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

If I could just hang on, daily, to the truth of the core, then the yeast of life’s challenges and bad choices wouldn’t find such a comfy environment to multiply. Instead of over-reacting to someone’s slight, I could draw on my shared center where the work was already done by the sacrificial lamb. I could forgive on the moment, instead of waiting for conscience to kick in later. Instead of replaying conversations, I could stay in conversation with the Spirit, a much more productive exchange. Instead of gossiping and tale-telling (oh, so cleverly), I could be building a new story with the God of Hope.

I am redeemed. I don’t have to be the ugly American, the chip on her shoulder worker, the judgmental observer, the pessimist.

Today’s yeast is no different than the biblical yeast: malice and wickedness. Do I really want that for my life? Do I want to allow my being to be consumed by this yeast unnecessarily? Or do I want to be that unleavened bread marked by sincerity and truth? [I Cor 5:8] The answer is a “no-brainer.”

Here’s what I have to do today: practice. That’s right. Practice sincerity and truth. Practice kindness and patience and self-control. Practice love. Believe in peace and joy and goodness. [Galatians 5:22]

These fruits are present already. They are the default harvest from the Holy Spirit within. The more I engage these fruits, the easier it will be to eat them and share them. Selah.

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