Wednesday, April 18, 2012

For Every Thing

Seedlings sneak forth from the snow-dampened earth
    Winter's sigh fades in the the wind
Memories of seasons and years where once planted
    a mother, a father, a mentor, a friend.
Joyful anxiety! Cautious -- desirous --
    the season has come; it is here!
Petals shouting brightly! Blossoms sweetly singing --
    the season has come!  It is hear!

Time hallowed hopes of the summer arrive:
    Exhultation! Rejoicing abounds!
Songs understood from time-ripened growth
    Climbing earnestly up towards the clouds
Squirrels joust playfully, still slightly warefully
    in warm well-known days with the sun.
The landscape's familiar, horizon's peculiar
    in warm well-known days with the sun.

Now the statuesque trees of an earlier summer
    begin a new season of change
And stores from the harvest of meadows and forest
    are carefully planned and arranged
These acorns of wisdom, this grain gleaned with hard hands
    shall not simply fade away soon!
Projecting tommorrows: "These tid-bits we've borrowed
    shall not simply fade away soon!"

Now showing their laurels of snowflakes and starlight
    stately maples and oaks stand firm,
Enjoying their moments of present past future
    and the warmth they had strived to earn,
The seeds have been planted; this season's behind us.
    The time it is near -- it is near
Joyful anxiety! Cautious -- desirous --
    the time it is near.  It is near!

copyright ©2012 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Fickle Heart

“Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!” shouted the people of Jerusalem as the King of Glory rode into the city. Here was the Promised One they had long awaited! Yet a week later, they shouted a different cry: “Crucify Him!!” Victorious King or Hideous Scoundrel… the heart vacillates between beats. Are we any different from the people who laid down palms for Jesus? I’m not.

My heart seems to work like a tide that ebbs and flows: one moment wholly devoted to Him and the next moment focused on my own selfish desires. The spiritual life is a constant battle, fighting through strategies and tactics toward victory, where any tactic that does not support the prime strategy is doomed to failure. No matter how noble a tactic may sound, it will be twisted to support the Adversary’s strategy if we lose sight of the primary objective that has been given to us: draw close to God.

Like the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what he needed to “do”, we desire a set of tactics so we can heroically win the war. But Jesus gave a strategy that confounded the man, who went away disappointed, essentially saying: “Abandon everything else and walk with Me.”

Or perhaps it’s like Martha, who in frustration complained to Jesus that her sister, Mary, was not helping out with the chores associated with Jesus’ visit, but Jesus responded that Mary had chosen the better activity: spending time with the Guest. Jesus never told Martha that what she was doing was wrong; He simply pointed out that Mary had chosen the better thing. I’ve come to believe that tasks are important, but only as much as they support the relationship.

Mary kept sight of the reason behind all the tasks associated with hosting Jesus’ visit. Martha was distracted by the tactics, perhaps letting her desire for everything to be “perfect” distract her from the main goal (e.g. – spending time with Jesus). The rich young ruler was fully prepared to sacrifice his desires to a set of rules that would give him victory, but he failed to understand that the victory really belongs to God and that our prize is being with Him.

I confess I don’t always appreciate the Prize because I can’t see it clearly. I sometimes forget how beautiful God is. I have not seen with my eyes or often heard with my ears the sights and sounds of heaven, and in my forgetfulness I become distracted by lesser beauties. The pleasure associated with being in God’s presence is incomparable, yet my heart is drawn to smaller things when I can’t see Him.

As a race, mankind is most guilty of two things: self-worship and forgetfulness. We forget God’s greatness and we seek our own will over the One Who desires what is best for us. Like the rich young ruler, we establish rules and standards that we can’t possibly live up to in our desire for self-edification. And in the end, the rules keep us from attaining the prize. Sometimes we turn away from the prize, mistakenly believing we know a better way.

So I identify too closely with the people of Jerusalem to judge their fickle hearts. I, too, can get lost in activities that distract and can seek my own desires over God’s. I am still a man in need a Savior.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10 (NIV)
copyright ©2012 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)