February 26th, 2006

hound of heaven

Good News

that_guy_zach preached a very fine Transfiguration sermon today. Oh, if I'd been in professor mode, I could have polished things a bit here and there, but that's not what makes preaching effective. What made it so good was that he preached the gospel to me.

Not that he was aiming my direction, I'm sure, but that's no matter. God was, and he was so used. And it was well-enough put together that I could drop my critical faculties and receive it for my soul.

Anyway, he spoke of the disciples seeing Jesus as he really was -- seeing his Core Being, rather than his Looking Glass Self, to use some sociological terms. And in that moment, the disciples were caught flat-footed, and showed their own Core Beings, rather than the carefully polished Looking Glass Selves they would normally try to show.

Using mountaineering images (which we both have a lot of to draw from), he talked about how under the stress of climbing the mountain, one's real self shows through -- and how under the stress of following Jesus (or just living one's life), occasionally our real selves show through: our Core Beings, not the carefully nurtured images we want others to see (and think they are seeing).

Well, I've been under a lot of stress lately. Sometimes, when my Core Being shows through, I'm not real happy with what is disclosed. I'd rather burnish my Looking Glass Self and present only the image of my soul I want others to see. But when my inner self is revealed, I have to confess: that's who I really am, both the good and the bad.

I can repent of the bad, but I have to own it first. And I should not let others talk me out of the good, and I have to own it, too. And he loves me even as I am, good AND bad. You don't have to be afraid to show Jesus who you really are. And if your carefully nurtured image slips and others see that, too, well -- if they're Christly, they'll love you, anyway; and if they're not, they probably wouldn't, anyway; what does it matter, after all?

Only, let me see Him whom I came to see -- as he really is. "For we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.

O tempora, O mores

Another ancient photo has been resurrected from the mists of antiquity. The handsome young man in the picture below is I, a Freshman at Spencer High School, ready to go to my first Latin Club party in full legionary kit (home-made by Yours Truly).

Ready to tramp off and conquer the world, I was. Reminds me of that great line by Sgt. Kilrain in Gettysburg, when asked by the colonel if he doesn't get tired of marching, "Oh, I'm used to it. It's the first five t'ousand miles or so that's hard. After that, a man gets limber on his feet."

Last summer, I got to stand on Hadrian's Wall, and I bought a coin issued in the Empress Helena's name in the Lake District. Yeah, I've always been kind of obsessive.

Ave, Caesar Ave, Caesar

Roman legionary standing watch in Spencer, Indiana, in olden days.