When God was finished with creation he looked at it and it was very good. One should note that “very good” in God’s eyes is indeed – very good. So it went on for a while like this, until one day God gave another look to creation, but this time the picture was different. This time the Lord did not rejoice, but instead “he was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:6, NIV). He decided to wipe away what he had made, but Noah found favor in His eyes. So he spared him. This went on for a while until one other day the Lord said to Noah and his sons “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11, NIV).
I cannot help but wonder what went through God’s “mind” between the time of completing creation and the events of Genesis 6. Even more – what changed from Genesis 6 to Genesis 9? There’s little we can know about it, besides that God set off on a mission – a mission that’s one of a kind.
See, when, let’s say your TV breaks down and you want to continue watching TV – you have two options. Either repair it or get a new one, the latter being the more convenient, easier one. While the flood was God’s way of starting all over again – more convenient and certainly quicker, his covenant with Noah and later on with many others is rather astonishing. He basically said “I won’t get rid of you, but will do whatever it takes to fix you up – make you look good again; as good as you were when I first looked at you.” This might also seem easy until you grasp the scale of the repair that needed to be done. Consequentially, that decision didn’t come at no expense for God. The toll was the death and resurrection of His Son – a rather high price, but as I said – a lot needed fixing.
Some call it fellowship, others simply a relationship and I’ve chosen the name partnering in life. Neither one, however, can fully reflect the meaning of the Greek κοινωνία (koinonia) better than the passage from Acts 2:42-47.
Today we tend to take relationships for granted. The Internet offers them at practically no cost, and so does the local school, sports club… oh, yes – even the church. So far – nothing wrong. Sadly enough, the fragrance of the koinonia seems to have faded away. Instead of being like a fresh Spring bloom, it’s more like a frozen vegetable which has then been microwaved – you wouldn’t know it smells like something if it weren’t for the big fat colored label on the package that tricks your mind into believing it does. We’re either really dumb fools or really lazy and indifferent to our own lives.
We like having partners in life as long as they don’t require much of us. As long as they don’t disturb out comfortable and well planned and organized living. It seems to me that the fancier mobile phones one can buy, the less we care about sincerely maintaining our relationships. Perhaps this would be quite a shock to Johann Philipp Reis (whom I credit as the inventor of the telephone). Nevertheless, my point is – the things that ought to draw us closer to each other seem to actually scatter us apart.
Our prayers toward God speak a lot about our faith, as well as about the way of living which we have. If we constantly pray for material benefits, financial security and independence, perhaps even perfect health, then these things must be more important for us than God is. Moreover, this is a sign that our life spins around them.
Jesus uses the example of worrying to show us how strong our faith ought to be and how we need to live and consequently – pray. Let us turn to his words from Matthew 6:19-34:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. read more
Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for this town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:11-16, NIV)
If there’s one thing I wish God would keep away from our free will it’d be selective reading. In the context of human behavior it seems to be that part of us that ignores all that causes discomfort or even change. It’s the stuff that’s most of the time is essential, yet we chose to not regard it as such. It’s what makes us almost Christians in the most important of times.For the past few weeks the words of Jesus from Matthew 10 can’t get out of my head. They’re like a mosquito bite – you’ve just thought it’s dealt with and then you accidentally touch it… There it goes again – itches for ages. I figured I must investigate deeper the question of Why do Christians seem to never give up trying to get people into heaven? read more
It’s a question probably dating back to the days when the first overhead projectors entered the church building on Sundays. Or, perhaps, it’s not a question dating to back then. Probably it’s not even a question today. Either way, I don’t care. I ask instead: What’s your image of God? Not so much how you imagine Him, but how you see Him visually at church, on the camp, while you read the Bible to your kids…
Being actively involved with photography for more than two years now, I’ve realized more than ever before how powerful a visual image can be. Moreover, how much an image can reflect and at the same time direct our perceptions of a certain subject. Take a bottle of Coke, for instance – it’s never advertised static, dry and lukewarm, with dull colors… ‘Cause, frankly, who wants a Coke like that. It more sounds like being British tea at 4pm – boring and a thing from the past (for most people, that is). The energetic and fresh Coke image also makes you wish the Coke be that way – it kind of sets the standard for you.
There’s so much thought going into graphic design when it comes to advertising. Sadly, though, there’s little thought put into the graphics and design accompanying our faith. read more