Thursday, June 5, 2008

Labels that pigeon-hole us...

How many of you are familiar with those somewhat gaudy and stiff murals you find in the amusement parks -- priggishly painted scenes with posed figures where you and your family can pop your face through one of the holes? There are at least five or six oval spaces to poke your head through(tongue in cheek) while someone takes a snap shot on the side!

I saw one at the Toronto Island years ago. It was a pirate ship with five or six buccaneer figures arranged with costumes of that supposed era.Our lives can be like those murals, but not so comical. We can even find ourselves trapped inside one of those scenes -- one that was not of our choosing, neither for laughs and certainly not for snap-shots. Instead of paint these mural were formed through dismissive labels and distorted opinions that were quite effective in marking our lives. Those socially conventional scenarios have power to define who we are ... so much so that we cannot get our head loosened from them. They are grotesque caricatures painted when we were just children so we may never have questioned their effect upon our self-worth. However, no matter what your background, you and I can acknowledge we are free from condemnation, judgment or whatever other distressing ideas that would separate us from the joy of fellowship with God.

I think the lyrics below speak to everyone because sometimes we find ourselves strong, sometimes tempted and sometimes weak, yet God is merciful.

The Strong, The Tempted, & The Weak
(words by Derek Webb)

"In union with the Lamb
From condemnation free
The saints from everlasting were
And shall for ever be
In covenant from of old
The sons of God they were
The feeblest lamb in Jesus' fold
Was blessed in Jesus there
Its bonds shall never break
Though earth's old columns bow
The strong, the tempted, & the weak
Are one in Jesus now
When storms or tempests rise
Or sins your peace assail
Your hope in Jesus never dies
'tis cast within the veil
Here let the weary rest
Who love the Savior's name
Though with no sweet enjoyments blessed
This covenant stands the same"

Question for reflection:

What did your mural look like?

How did God free you from it?
-- © TR 2008

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