Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Go and tell

The first command Jesus spoke after his resurrection was to Mary Magdalene. Standing outside the tomb, weeping for loss and confusion, Mary asked the man she thought had moved Jesus' body where it had been put. The Man answered her by calling her name, and when she awestruck moved to cling to Him, He told her it was not yet time, and then spoke his first command as the Risen One: "go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'" (John 20.17). His very first command as the one who had made purification for sins (Hebrews 1.3) was sending Mary to tell the good news.

We see the same pattern in Matthew's account. Jesus appeared later to the other women who had come to the tomb, but who had not returned with Mary Magdalene, and told them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me" () His command was to go and tell. Tell what? That his brothers would see him, risen from the dead. These were his first words to his own mother!

Jesus' final words spoken to his disciples on this earth are recorded in Matthew 28 and Acts 1.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and in the name of the Son and in the name of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to do all I have commanded you. Behold, I am with you to the end of the age." (Matthew 28.18-20))
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.(Acts 1.8-9)

Jesus' resurrection carried with it immense consequence for the lives of those who believe in him. No true belief in Christ can but proclaim the good news at every opportunity. He is risen! We must grasp, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, the magnitude of that news.

Imagine the women who went to the tomb that early Sunday morning, Jesus' own mother among them, sorrowful and yet still seeking to serve the one they loved by taking care of his body. They arrived to find the stone rolled away, the linens neatly folded, and angels inside telling them that Jesus had risen from the dead. They ran and told the disciples, all but two of whom dismissed the tale as rubbish (Luke 24:10-12). And then Jesus appeared to them. He was not dead anymore.

Read that sentence again. He was not dead anymore.

For anyone we love to be no longer dead but alive would fill us with joy incommunicable, would so overpower us that we would tell everyone we could find. Death overcome? A person who was undoubtedly gone now returned? This would warrant much attention in any individual.

But this was not just any man. This was Jesus Christ, the Messiah. This was the one of whom the Hebrew Bible spoke, the Man of prophecy, the Second Adam, the Deliverer, the Kinsman Redeemer. This was the reality of which there had been so echoes and shadows through history. This was the one in whom they had placed all their hopes and dreams, the one they believed would set them free.

He had died. He had been scourged within an inch of his life and then hung on a cross until he died. He was laid in a tomb, dark and cold.

And now... now he was alive.

This was news of incredible value, infinite import.

He told them to go and tell others.

They went.

So shoudl we.

Do we grasp the immensity of this news? Do we taste even the slightest bit the greatness of the proclamation for which we are trusted to be ambassadors? Do we live as though we really believe that Jesus Christ, for the joy set before him, humbled himself to take on a human form, to be marred beyond human semblance, and then rose again to life, conquering and sitting at the right hand of God? Do we?

Do you really believe that what you believe is really real? Do you live it?

Faith without works is dead. Those who love Christ keep his commandments.

He said go and tell.

Go and tell!

Monday, November 17, 2008

In the last week and a half, I've...

In the last week and a half, I've...

  1. Contracted a nasty stomach bug.

  2. Written a paper based entirely on original research into media influence on isolationist sentiment prior to Pearl Harbor. [Fascinating stuff, enough so that I'm borderline interested in doing some real research on this at some point. History is fascinating.]

  3. Contemplated, somewhat briefly, what it would take to actually write a decent novel over the course of the next year.

  4. Prayed for some of my friends, for my family, for my fiancée's family, and for my fiancée. None of them as much as I should have.

  5. Slept a normal amount most of the time, and a ridiculous, though necessary, amount the last several days.

  6. Helped carry an upright piano out of one house and into another several miles away. (Don't worry, there was a trailer along the way.)

  7. Watched The Dark Knight again. Yes, it really is just as good (and maybe better) on the second viewing. No, the morals of the story aren't as confused as people seem to think. Some explanation on that sometime in the future. Maybe. If I don't get really busy.

  8. Read a good bit of World War II history. Fascinating war. One of the only unarguably "good" wars in history, at least as fought by the Allies. Except that the Russians were brutalized as deeply as the Germans were, and the Pacific conflict was pretty ugly, too. It may have been for a noble cause, but like all wars, it was really, really ugly.

  9. Looked forward a lot to being married. Accordingly, flirted a lot with my wonderful, beautiful fiancée.

  10. Missed my family back in Colorado a lot.

  11. Missed mountains, though not so much as my family.

  12. Enjoyed the smell of fall, as it's at last arrived. (Yes, it takes till mid-November here in Oklahoma, alas.)

  13. Played guitar three times.

  14. Missed a composers' recital that had a piece of mine performed in it, and performed really well by all accounts (go Corey!).

  15. Finished writing an orchestra piece for the first time in several years. (Yes, that's a live link, and yes you should take a listen.) As well, printed the score and held it in my hands... now that's a rather giddy moment, let me tell you. There's something quite unique about holding an orchestra score in one's hands, especially one as pretty as this one turned out. Modern notation software really can work wonders for printing pretty scores.

  16. Tried really hard to praise God and glorify Him no matter what. Didn't get it right every time. Praised Him for His grace when I didn't. I look forward to the day (in Heaven!) when I do.

Someday I'll be back with normal, regular posts. By which, as you all know, I really mean pages long ponderings of important things. That day is not this day. And that's okay. Mundane things are good, too.

- Chris

Friday, November 7, 2008


I'm currently seeing if I can integrate the majority of my online work into a single location, making use of some of the very rich features of iGoogle. Currently I've integrated my Gmail account (one of two I primarily use; the other is my school e-mail address), my Calendar (which I've now synced up with iCal on my Mac, and which would readily support integration with a capable phone if I so desired), my Astronomy Picture of the Day, and even a Google Maps gadget. Thoroughly handy.

Oh, yes, and I should mention that I'm publishing this from one click on that same page, which immediately takes me to my "Create Post" page here on Blogger.

I'm finding myself fairly thoroughly impressed with this. Good work, Google. Between your superlative efforts and the ongoing encroachment by Apple on territory that Microsoft long dominated fairly effortlessly, the technological world is looking rather different these days than it did five years ago.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The everlasting God

There are many times in this life when we find ourselves tired, weary, broken by the hurts and pains that surround us and by the storms that buffet us. We walk through a world that is sad and lonely, that is filled with lives bereft of hope or expectation of deliverance. Pressing in are the needs of the tedium that is too often our existence: work, or school, or various chores about the house, or some pressing social engagement. All of them good things, and all of them so everyday that they can become a source of boredom and frustration, and we can lose sight of the eternal value of our lives. Worse, we can lose sight of the eternal consequences of our actions as we become increasingly consumed with the mundane.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Yet we do not have to be caught in this place; we need not forever leave our eyes on the things of this world. Make no mistake: this world is a good place, subjected though it is to frustration for our sins. But we look to a better place, to a city that has foundations and to a kingdom that cannot be shaken. As we walk through our days, it is not our own strength that sustains us, for if it is we will fail and we will fall. It is impossible for us to conquer the enemies and the travails that assail us every day in our own feeble strength. Praise be to God! We need not strive of ourselves, though every day we must press on in Christ. He who lives in us has already overcome the world. As we wait on him, we will receive strength, not for our own ends but for his. His purposes, his goals, his vision: when these are the defining elements of our lives, then we will have strength.

Our God, You reign forever
Our Hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

He is not a small God, not a limited God, not a puny or helpless God. He does not change; he is the same through all eternity. He is the omniscient, omnipotent one. He defeated death - by dying, and living again. Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having made purification for our sins. Now we look to him who is crowned with glory and honor on account of the suffering of death and recognize his lordship and sovereignty. We behold his glory in part. We anxiously await the day when we shall see it in full. (Or we do not, but we ought! If we are not anxious about the coming of that day, then our faith is feeble indeed.)

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer

Jesus Christ delivered us. He stands ready to deliver many more, and he works tirelessly to achieve his ends. He will not be thwarted. His power is not small. His arm is not short. His hands are not weak. His wisdom is not limited. He is more than able to accomplish all of his purposes in this world - in the lives of every human being walking through their days, so many unaware of his touch. Even those who claim to follow him often miss his works, so caught up and distracted by the world as they are.

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

And we are his ambassadors. He does not have need of you or me, but he delights in using us to accomplish his ends. Jesus sent his disciples into the world just as he had been sent by the Father. He prayed for them, and for us, to be made one just as he and the Father are one; he prayed for all who would follow him to be kept in the name of the Father so that many more might be sanctified by our work, just as we have been by his. As Christ is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, so we are to be his. The church of Jesus Christ - the body of Christ, his representation on the earth in this present age! Oh, that we might have a vision of who and what we are, of the magnitude of the honor we have been given: we bear in us the image of the invisible God, and are privileged to be a picture of him to a dead world!

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

This honor is not for our own sake, but so that his name might be made great. We daily choose our ends: to make much either of ourselves or of God. In the former choice is death; in the latter life everlasting. Eternal life is simple. Eternal life is knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ whom he sent - ushered into fellowship by the work of the Holy Spirit.

We have the words of life. We are alive, and there are so very many dead. We bear in us the image of God, and so are filled with hope and purpose and joy.

Let us go! Let us not be caught in the mundane or in the folly of this age. Let us run towards Christ with all we are and all we have so that in our every breath we might glorify him and make his name great! Let us live every day of work, every hour of study, every long moment of cleaning, to the glory of him who lives. Ours is a God who never dies, who never sleeps, who never fails; who ever lives, who ever loves, who ever stands victorious. Let his praise ever be on our lips; let our lives be a song to him.

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

You're the Defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You life us up on wings like eagles

- Chris