Wooo Hooo, It’s finally hear! The day we have been expecting, It has finally arrived! With excitement in our hearts and anticipation creating a buzz all around we dress to the 9n’s. Jewelry, suits, ties, makeup (for the ladies) and let’s not forget those sharp, but ever slightly uncomfortable shoes that complete any stellar wardrobe ensemble. One this special occasion, this rarest of days, we cannot forget the most important part. Our elephant. It is, in fact, “Bring Your Elephant to Church Day”
On this day of days, this ginormous occasion, of enormous significance, we absolutely can not forget to pack our profusely over sized, ponderous, pachyderm. Sounds quite preposterous, doesn’t it? Sorry, I just had to throw in a another big “P” word, for effect.
What does this day entail, besides making room for the oversize mammals in the pew or aisle next to us? Well, it’s real impact would be found when everyone could see everyone else’s massive, smelly, beast of burden, and know, they are not the only ones that lug these things around. Yes! that’s what I am getting at. We all have them. The thing we carry around that know one seas but wears so heavily on our hearts, or perhaps the sin that other people might know about, but no one dare say a word, because they don’t want to be seen as mean or judgmental. Inside we could be crying out in desperation, but if no one wants to share their elephants, then no one wants to share their elephant.
Church should be the place where all our elephants are welcome. We should have a special section filled to the top with peanuts and hay so they are comfortable while we worship God, and then we can show them off. Tell people that this burden or hidden sin is too much to keep in our house any more. It eats too much, it poops too much, and it’s too darn big. Heck every time it moves around in our house there goes another one of our porcelain collection of “Precious Moments” left to us by our grandma. We have got to take them somewhere! Why not church? Why not go to the House of God and say “Here, I can’t deal with this thing any more. It is just too much animal for me”. We don’t though, we can’t right, because if everyone saw our elephant, then we would not be welcome. The fake smiles, and half hearted handshakes would not be enough to cover up the stench of real sin, and the hearts in real pain.
Most of the people that have left the body of Christ, did so because one day their elephant came to church with them, and they were turned away. More often then we would like to admit, they didn’t even make it past the door, because it wasn’t big enough to let the massive mammals they had with them, in. The ones that do managed to slip past the front door are scurried into a room that know one knows about, or perfumed and adorned to look like something more then they are. Ether way, an elephant, is an elephant.
Jesus, lived, and loved the people who had the biggest, meanest, smelliest elephants. The sins that could not ever be hidden. The pain that seemingly could never be fixed. He loved them, held them in his hands and heart, and then he did something only God could do. He looked at the person with love, and then the beast, well, he sent that beast packing, trunk and all! He freed them! No more elephant!
Lets do it! lets have a day were we can change, be truthful, be real, stop trying to cover our burdens with giant blankets that clearly are in the shape of an elephant. Bring your pachyderm to church. You want to know what the absolute best thing about “Bring Your Elephant to Church Day” is, you get to leave him there! And that my friends is AWESOME!
It’s not! It just isn’t. One moment you are sitting on a flower, soaking up the sun, enjoying a lovely spring day, and in the next moment a windshield is careening at you at 60 miles per hour… or at least it would be if you were a monarch butterfly who happened to venture over one of the many highways right next to that lovely park. It’s not fare! Something so beautiful shouldn’t have to die, and yet, it does. Just like us. We get sick, we get wounded, we fall, we fail, we die.
I do not wish to sound depressing or morbid. On the contrary. My goal is simple. It is to say that though this life is not fair there is hope. There is life beyond this one. That is what I hold on to when I hear about something tragic in my life or the lives of others.
The average monarch butterfly lifespan is only eight months. It is rather short, but it can do a lot in that time. It can fly thousands of miles, pollinate thousands of flowers, and even take a moment to reproduce themselves, continuing the God’s grand circle of life.
With the power of Christ love we have hope that this isn’t it. Even if it’s not fair, even if things fall or fail, we have hope. Jesus is our hope. I write this with tears in my eyes, knowing that a dear friend of mine has lost her father to cancer, but one thing I know, from knowing his daughter, to hearing the testimony of his life, He HAD HOPE, and now he is with the LORD Jesus Christ. Praise God.
O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood. Psalm 71:5
Have you ever been the victim of someone on a high horse? Hopefully not literally, but figuratively speaking of course. I know I have. Recently in fact. The “High Horse” mentality happens when people self elevate to scrutinize others, looking down upon them from some lofty place they set for themselves far above those they judge. That got me to thinking, were did the term “Get Off Your High Horse” originate?
I did a little research and came up with this, people of importance actually used to ride high horses. Dignitaries, government officials, higher ranked officers in the military, all would obtain the tallest stead to ride, giving them a towering position, domineering over their fellow horse riders, and presenting themselves as larger than life. When the use of horses for battle became less common people began to use the term to mean someone who elevated themselves above others in thought, deed or action to be seen as superior.
Jesus came with a completely different mentality. Here he was, God, in the flesh, and he presented himself as a humble servant, loving rather then judging. He washed the feet of those he taught to show them how they should treat others. The only people he ever spoke ill of were the religious leaders who exalted themselves above everyone else. They called themselves holy, but they were full of holes, and they were the ones on the “high horse” in his day, and he told them that they would be brought down. So weather you are the victim of a high horse rider, or the mounted one, remember the words of Christ… “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12
But seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness…
I learned about perspective in my high school art class. Props to my teacher Mr VanDam. Ya, his name totally kicks butt. Anyway, basically visual perspective is that everything you see, every line, every angle, everything in the three dimensional world goes to a point in linear space known as a vanishing point. Many of the masters of the Renascence were also extremely good at understanding three dimensional perspective and how to develop the vanishing points so that the paintings had more depth.
Perspective in life is not always as easy as tracing lines to a point in a painting. Often times we get bogged down in all of the noise in the foreground, like objects that block lines to the focal points. This can be so prevalent, that we loose sight of what really matters. I recently had someone tell me, in a serious situation, that they didn’t see God in it. At first I was upset, then I wanted to get defensive, but after I thought about it, I realized no one involved, including myself, was having the right perspective. If we seek God first, Look at the point that points to Him, we will have the right perspective, and we will see that He is in and through everything, even the difficult things.
Just a cool tidbit of info, if you didn’t know, When Leonardo Da Vinci painted the “Last Supper”, he designed the image so that all of the perspective points pointed to the figure in the middle of the painting…That would be Jesus. Looks like he had the right perspective after all.
Does your heart have room for Jesus? Does Mine?
I have a three year old little girl, and as I watch her grow and play I think back in my own life, and how simple it used to be. Thoughts were clear, right and wrong, were “right”, and “wrong”. There was less confusion, less stress, less compromise, less busyness, less to fill my mind with, and most importantly, less to fill my heart with. My question is, When is it all too much? When do we start pushing the good things out and letting all of that other stuff in? When do we start nudging the Lord of all out of our daily lives and through up signs saying there is no room in this moment, or this activity?
Leave a vacancy. Leave room for good, for love, for truth, and most importantly leave room for Jesus. He is really the only thing in your life you absolutely need to have room for.