Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Metaphor I Couldn't Refuse

Not exactly... 
Now that I have gone and pondered the crucifixion and the resurrection… My whole life has turned around and I am living perfectly. My eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus, and I sold everything I had and gave it to the poor… but don’t worry – I’m soooo freakin’ humble about it. AND I am super nice to everyone ALL the time – especially my husband and child. I lay down my life for them – and all my fellow man – every single day, meeting their every need with joy and complete compassion…

I’m guessing that you know that this is not true. Yeah… I’m still a big mess. I nearly always disappoint my own self with my inability to live out the gospel as it deserves. Sure, I’m contemplating Jesus on the cross and His empty tomb, but… Where is this new creation He says I am? ("Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17) It seems like knowledge of these earth-shattering facts ought to do something IN ME…??? 

My friend Grace wrote her dissertation on Spanish mystic poet St. John of the Cross and he referred to something call the “palabra sustantiale.” And I'm probably spelling it wrong, but if I remember correctly, it means a word that effects creation or change. Like when God said, “Let there be light,” (Genesis 1:3) and there was.

St. John of the Cross 
knew what the palabra
 sustanciale was.
When she explained this to me, I yelled, “YES!!” because I knew that’s what I needed… to be changed, or re-created… and if it could be done with a word, then by all means SAY IT NOW! Although... as John says, Jesus is the Word (John 1). John echoes the creation story in his beautiful language at the beginning of his gospel. Put Genesis 1 and John 1 side by side and you’ll see what I mean.

So, apparently Jesus Himself is the Word that creates, or effects change. Like He said, “You must be born again.” And if you were to ask me, “Julie, have you been born again?” I’d say, “Why, yes!” And sure I believe in Jesus and I go to church nearly every Sunday… And I don’t smoke pot or sleep with just any old person anymore, but … But here I am, the same old insecure, grouchy, selfish as all get-out, out-of-control me.

My new computer still
looks like this...
So… what the heck, man? Well… the conclusion that I have drawn after much reflection is that the change effected by Jesus is on the cellular level and has already occurred. That is, being reborn in Christ not like running antivirus software to delete extraneous files, etc.  And it’s not like upgrading to Mountain Lion. It’s more like … getting a whole new hard drive.

And accessing the NEW functionality of your NEW computer may take some time and effort. You don’t automatically become a better or nicer person, though… I can attest to that!

To continue with the computer analogy, let’s say you’ve got this new hard drive – and it’s the finest, fastest, most up-to-date there is. (In my world, that’s a Mac, but… I swear I’m not a Mac-ist!) And it’s loaded with all the newest, most productive and creative software as well…

but has THIS kind of power.
Except ... it's still inside the old tan SE case. And maybe you aren’t sure exactly what your job assignment is… or maybe you have no idea where the Applications folder is. Or once you find that, you still have to learn to use these programs… You could do tutorials or go to classes, learn it on  the job... The thing is, though, it kind of has to be intentional. You have to decide to use and learn this new stuff.

If that sounds like a lot of work, well, honestly it’s not always easy. But you do happen to be sitting right next to the IT guy. And a lot of the time, he just jumps in your chair and does the work for you. But you have to let him.

You will find that some programs are easier for you to learn, because of your natural proclivities. I found right out of the box that I could run the Evangelism software right on start-up… but only because I was already super excited, a bit too talkative, and likely to wax philosophical at any given moment.  (I'm thinking that lot of people are sure that if they trust God He is going to make them go to Africa, or take a vow of celibacy… or something equally counter to their nature… And I’m not going to say that God never asks us to do anything hard… but in general, God wants to work WITH your strengths.)

Say the Word and 
you'll be free!
So… in our scenario, unfortunately, your brand spanking new computer might also still be running old outdated programs like Freehand and Pagemaker… and you might still try to use them sometimes because you’re familiar with them. Some of the old files you brought with you from your old system might infect this new machine with a virus… Lots of things could gum up the works on your new computer...

But the fact remains, even though you may be chugging along with this outmoded software and probably inefficient work habits, you have been supplied with a brand new computer with brand new cutting-edge software. You can toss the old programs, and the old files. Run them through a virtual shredder. Goodbye virus.

Anyway… that’s my theory about why I’m still a mess even though the Word has been spoken and change HAS been effected… Because I’m still running old programs and files on my brand new computer.

And I know it’s not that simple… our lives are much more complicated and joyful and painful than this describes… but once I started down that metaphorical path, I just couldn’t turn back. I keep thinking of my friend Shaun – who I hope will read this – who loves Macs… maybe more than I do.
Some awesome IT guys I have known...
It’s a fun analogy, and… and I have a lot more to say about the serious side of it all… but until then… keep thinking about the IT Guy in the sky who’s working on your reboot...!

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