Silhouettes and Shadows
The intellectual puzzles are found in the fringes of prayer; prayer at its center is as simple and as profound as friendship. The inevitable effect of this sort of communion is that God becomes real. Only to one who prays can God make himself vivid.... Nothing is real to us except those things with which we habitually deal.
People say that they do not pray because to them God is not real, but a truer statement generally would be that God is not real because they do not pray.
Harry Emerson Fosdick - The Meaning of Prayer
I appreciate this dialogue in "Kingdom of Heaven":
Hospitaler: So, how find you Jerusalem?
Balian: God does not speak to me, not even on the hill where Christ died. I am outside God's grace.
Hospitaler: I have not heard that.
Balian: At any rate, it seems I have lost my religion.
Hospitaler: I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I've seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of God.
Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves.
And goodness, what God desires, is here (points to head) and here (points to heart).
And what you decide to do everyday you will be a good man... or not.
Balian (to Sibylla after the death of her brother the king and the surrender of Jerusalem): Your brothers kingdom was here (points to head) and here (points to heart). That kingdom can never be surrendered.
Sibylla: What should I do? I am still the queen.
Balian: Decide not to be a queen, and I will come to you.
With unveiled faces we cast down our crowns. Our King expects humility. We are learning to be like Him. He picks us up off our knees and faces and dusts us off and puts us on display before Him. His hands are on our shoulders and a smile is on His face. He is showing all those in His presence His love for and full support of His children. Then He sets us loose to go before Him into the places He is about to be going.
Running little silhouettes before a blasting furnace of light.
What does it means to have the glory of the Lord as our rear guard (Isaiah 52:12, 58:8) - to be back lit by the Lamb? In Revelation, John saw that the city of God did not need any Sun or Moon, because the glory of God was its light and the Lamb was its lamp (Revelation 21:23). And in synonymous parallelism, Psalm 119:105 tells us that the Word is both lamp and light.... everywhere we go the ground is being lit and leveled by that tangible powerful Light.
Those who have the call and faith to stand out front will be back lit by Christ himself. Stand still and watch what He is about to do. It's spine tingling when He is just over our shoulder. Nobody really cares where our meager shadows fall, as if our shadows influence anything! The closer He draws to us the less our shadow. May we not be noticed at all because all those with whom we have to do will be fixed on the life giving Light of the World, on Christ alone who is behind us personally and before us in all His glistening splendor.
Many kingdom proclaimers fail at the moment of introduction: where they must end and He would like to begin, taking the lesson from John the Baptist that He must increase and we must decrease. He is looking for those who will stand before the people in real time and say, "So, Lord Jesus, what are you up to right now? What would you have with us right now? Come be yourself among us our Lord and our God. We wait here for you. We're not going anywhere without you."
He is the One we are welcoming into this space, anticipating His approaching with our simple faith. The stronger and more intense His light, the less anyone will see of anyone other than Him. Stop looking around at everyone else and anticipate the One coming at the speed of Light... like a supernova blasting through clean windows. Do you see that little pin of light on the horizon?
Do you have any idea He's coming straight for you!?
Our scars are just as much silhouettes of his healing touch as the law was a shadow of His first coming (Hebrews 10:1). Listen to His voice, "You've heard it said... Well let me now tell you how it is and how it's going to be from now on!"
And once He deposits those lightning seeds into the fertile soil of our hearts and passes by on His way to be among other saints in other places, our eyes will need time to readjust, and it's then that we will look up and truly see each other... and we will see in each face the glory of our King, and we will love each other as He loves us.
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.