Rediscovering Redemption

Chronicling the work of Redemption in the lives of Followers and Leaders. Articles, research and meditations from the writings of Dr. Joseph J. Bucci. Get blog updates by following Joe on Twitter @Re_Redemption

Joseph J. Bucci

Reality At 37,000 Feet

It’s hard to make things seem normal when flying 550 MPH at 37,000 feet above the earth’s surface.  OK, there are seats and food for purchase and a bathroom (thank the Lord) and smiling flight attendants and relative cooperation since we are all wanting to get where we need to go quickly and smoothly.  But then the infant in front of me erupts in screaming, and neither Mom nor Dad can do much to comfort him because this is not his normal environment.  It is none of our normal environments but we cooperatively cope with it since it seems that this is the least painful way to get us back to our normal sense of reality. What’s worse is that we cannot even assuage our egos by playing with our common 21st century creature comforts.  I mean, really: no phones, no internet, no movie on this flight?  I cannot even distract myself from this false reality by decorating my mood with artificial entertainment.

Isn’t this what life seems like for us called to be His servants?  We know as the apostle Paul says that “the things that are seen are temporary, while the things unseen are permanent” (2 Corinthians 4:18), and the thoughts about we hold this treasure in jars of clay (same chapter).  We live with this paradoxical perception of reality: first there is our propped up sense of reality (keep a low profile, don’t make spiritual waves, helping others when convenient) but then the overwhelming tug of Christ’s reality, born in us by the Holy Spirit: that this is not our home nor our destiny to live like this (as my son Joe sings “We were meant to shine”).  The reality is that this big titanium bird could crash to the ground and I would quickly be in the presence of the most glorious reality, beyond my imagination.  When faced with this reality (Revelation chapter 1), John the beloved disciple, who had actually walked the earth with Jesus, fell down as though dead at the sight of the resurrected and glorified Christ.

Well of course I hope this bird does not crash into Kansas (look out below, Toto) but as always I am looking for signs of redemption here.  Simple things occur to me, like the fact that I am alive and breathing today is one.  How about me sitting next to Bill, my boss and one who was given a second chance after a serious stroke.  Bill still does not have the use of much of his right arm and struggled to get around.  But he has learned to manage and actually seems to have softened since confronting this reality.  I had prayed for him previously to come to Christ and I hate to say it but this severe experience seemed to have alerted him to his own mortality. I hate to say it because I would have liked to have been one to encourage and witness (maybe I did).  I also hate to admit that severe discipline or trials draw us to the reality of Christ’s existence because then I acknowledge that sometimes this is the only way for God to get my attention.  I’d prefer that this was not so because I’d prefer to respond to the love of God.  But I also know that those He loves he disciplines (John 15, Hebrews 10) that they might bear more fruit and more fully depend on Him.  The Bible also says that in our wretchedness and weakness He is strong so that we might more fully depend on His redemptive work to completely eradicate our sin and by our complete reliance on Him give us a glorious live, both now and in the reality to come.  This was the reason He ransomed us from our depraved state, to be whole and complete in His marvelous light (1Peter 2:9).  Why then is this so hard for me to choose to pursue day after day.  Does living in this abnormal state really satisfy after all?

Wow, this is heavy.  And I am tired.  Maybe I’ll go back to my false sense of reality, at least for a little while.  Attendant, may I have a pillow, please?

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Joseph J. Bucci

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