Wholly bound

The mind is a funny thing.

When I’m doing repetitive tasks, like walking the hound, or driving a vehicle, the tasks can largely be accomplished in such a way that the actions of driving or walking enter an automation phase, and the prayer part of my brain switches on.

Listening to praise & worship does the same thing, but in a different way. So, if I could combine the impossible by walking the dog and driving a vehicle at the same time, while listening to praise & worship, I would be set.

So, walking the hound on a given morning in March I requested of the Lord whether it was really necessary for me to have to endure hardship to improve my character.

“Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ”
James 1:3 – 4 (NIV)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+1%3A3+-+4&version=NIV

Why was I thinking about the book of James? I hadn’t read it recently and I didn’t mean to go there. But since I was, could my character not remain as is? Did I absolutely need to walk into headwinds to earn some perseverance?

Why was I asking such a ludicrous question? I mean, I’m setting myself up like the coyote. You just know a solid answer’s falling at terminal velocity like an anvil…the words of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah:

‘He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand Israel.’ (18:6, NIV)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+18%3A6&version=NIV

Nope, no hall pass for me. But I finished walking the dog, made a note of the incident, filed it away and resumed the busy-ness of my week.

Just innocently listening to music on YouTube, here comes the hammer to strike the anvil and reinforce the point.

“To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
For my life is wholly bound to His”

(Yet not I but through Christ in me by CityAlight)

It all comes together now, I actually see it. This body, this life, not really mine at all. I live like its mine: I watch the movies that interest me, eat the food that I want to, consume the media that amuses me, or the news that informs me.

My life is ‘wholly bound to His’. I realise that I have been living like I haven’t realised this. Not for some time anyway.

God can do what He wants with me, it’s His right as the Potter. For whatever reason He wants. And in the midst of the things I don’t understand and shy away from, and the things that hurt, I’m wholly bound to Christ.

The Ides of March

On the Ides of March in 44 BC, Julius Caesar apparently had an encounter with the seer who had earlier warned him about the date.

Caesar basically said: okay, the date you warned me about is here, and I’m still around. To which the seer basically replied: the day’s not over yet, buddy.

History records that Caesar was assassinated by being stabbed in the back at a meeting of the Roman senate.

History goes on to record that the assassination of Caesar set in motion a chain of events that transformed the Roman Republic (with a democratic structure) into a Roman Empire (ruled over by a single potentate). A turning point.

I can hear Emperor Palpatine cackling. For all I know, George Lucas was inspired in part by this period of Roman history and used it as an homage for the Sith to rise to power.

Politics is the exercise as power, and as Von Clausewitz once said: ‘War is a continuation of politics by other means’.

I’m not a seer, I don’t subscribe to the idea of omens and superstitions like the Romans. But I’m uncomfortable with how the world seems to have changed since 2020, like a turning point has been reached with the way power is being leveraged.

And here we are in 2022, and Russian troops are in Ukraine and the year isn’t over yet and who except God knows where the dogs of war are going to be unleashed next.

Like Gracie Lou Freebush, ‘I really do want world peace’.

I like how Revelation has the tree of life (last seen in Eden) in the middle of the city-to-come:

The leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations.  I’m sure the meaning is not strictly about world peace. Still, the mind goes immediately to global tensions: India and Pakistan, Iran and Iraq, Russia and Ukraine. I also think of racial and ethnic tensions: Hutu and Tutsi, black and white. There are also new ways of dividing people: Vaccinated and unvaccinated.

I see the tree of life, and I try to imagine a life without politics, without people trying to manipulate and leverage, using language, then threats, then violence and ultimately war.

Probably not anytime soon. But one day, in the New Jerusalem.