Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Posers Posters!

Let's go to my room - I'll show you my posters
- Dada, Posters 1992

Megan and I recently purchased a stunning piece of art for our living room and oh how far I've come!   At one time it was $3 posters that were my pride and joy; my father designed perhaps the world's largest cork board (most likely to save his walls from me) and I filled every square inch.  Those posters unashamedly spoke to every entrant of just who that 14-year-old me planned to become - they were pictures of my idols.

I grew up in Mayberry... not exactly, but close enough.  It was a picturesque slice of Americana with just a few trees that stood strong (if not tall) - those that would not be blown over by Western Oklahoma's infamous wind that pushes through town and on to more exciting places - but the folks stay put.   Like a few of my friends, I felt trapped.

But there were strangers' songs and stories from other places - from a world outside our little town - places we'd never been and longed to go.   We heard about the stories and listened to the music on Rock 100.5 The KATT and I couldn't get enough.

But try as I might to imagine what that life outside was like, I was stuck in my room with posters of "rockers" on my wall.  Guns N' Roses, Tesla, Cinderella, Motley Crue - you name it.  They looked drunk, angry, petulant, high and most of all, mysteriously exciting.  And I wanted what they had.

I wanted out of a risk-averse, manicured existence - to have all the fun - consequences be damned.  In retrospect it's clear to me that I believed myself to be above the consequences.  I was privileged, relatively speaking, and though I'd been given an (advanced) inheritance, in a sense, of safety, security, and a steady-handed work ethic that could pave the way for the same in a family of my own one day, what I wanted was sex, drugs and rock n' roll.  Essentially I salivated to become a walking cliche and that's just what happened. 

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. - Gal 6:7

I'll spare you the details of where my desires led me.   Suffice it to say this reformed poser eventually ran out of gas, I gave up and came home.   Not home to "Mayberry" but home to my creator.   I had made the journey. I'd caused a lot of pain to others and to myself in the process but in the end I found grace and forgiveness in The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Amazed that THE quintessential story of a father's one-way love for his wayward but "found" son had somehow evaded a friend's ears his entire life, I recently explained The Parable of The Prodigal Son. This is the universal story of every man in relation to his creator through which Jesus described the essence of The Gospel.

We have all in some form or fashion, to varying degrees, wasted the good and perfect gifts (read inheritance) given to us by God.  We've done so by living life to please ourselves - living lives either to please or manipulate others.    For some the result has been disappointment, guilt, shame and isolation for others the "rotten fruit" of self-absorbed lives cannot be faced.  The resultant and ever-present self-deception for these unfortunate prodigals increases to catastrophic and blatantly obvious levels.

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 
- Matthew 23:12

But then when all hope is lost.  When every effort and attempt to recover has been exhausted there is that liberating word from God, "sinner, come home".

The return home, repentance, the turn from one's old way of thinking to a true awakening of the heart and soul found only in the outstretched arms of the Father who alone can provide clarity in the midst of our confusion and light in the midst of our darkness.

This is the parable that continues to preach to my weary soul.   The eternal offer of God to return to Him.   The way home is a one-way road that leads the sinner across a bridge built with the wood of the cross and the nails of crucifixion by the pierced hands of Christ Jesus.  When He has delivered me to the other side once again, I am no longer my own.  I have been hidden in Christ to be received like the king that He is - righteous and without blame.

...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. - Phil 2:12-13

That journey begins anew each day.  Though I turn from the costly love of Jesus again and again,  by God's grace, my ears are being attuned to more quickly perceive the call of the Father and the sound of His footsteps rushing towards me at my slightest inclination to return to Him again.  With each journey home I learn more of the sickest parts of me that so desperately need all of Him and the grace that makes my repetitive return home possible.

As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. - Rom. 4:17

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Gal. 2:20

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus - Rom. 8:1

In a sense, I suppose, Christians spend their lives repeating that journey home being made ready for that eventual and final return, carried home in the arms of a Savior, Jesus - the only Son of God, who rather than waste His inheritance on Himself, lavished His life completely on humanity to the Glory of God and for the salvation of every prodigal son. (The most recent rendering of this kind of one-way "carrying" love was The Cohen Bros. True Grit's final scene)

Having shed His light on the futility of faithfulness to false idols and the ensuing disappointment to which they inevitably lead, may He paper the walls of our hearts and minds now and forever with His love and truth!

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. - Proverbs 3:3


This Week

* Monday Men's Lunch - Grace in Practice - Chapter 1 - Dakota's Steakhouse - 12pm

* Wednesday AM Book Study - Grace in Practice by Paul F. M. Zahl - get your books here!  Chapter 2, The Four Pillars of a Theology of Grace tomorrow at 7am - 2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* Thursday - The Magills at Rick's on The Square - Tyler, TX 8pm-11pm


1 comment:

  1. Good stuff MPM.
    I go back and forth between putting all my heart into the Law and then back to Grace. I get exhausted. Grace is so much easier to rest in!
    As I "work out my salvation" I need to sit first... But I'm not a siting kind of guy!