Friday, April 15, 2011

The Lightning Bolt

Easter is almost here.  Many people across the country will flock to churches for their biannual visit.  Others will steer clear and mention, "If I stepped foot in a church, I'd be struck with a lightning bolt."  This lightning bolt thing has got me thinking.  Lightning Bolt?  God?

We are enjoying the last few pages of the final Percy Jackson book in the Rick Riordan series.  These books have been great read-alouds.  The kids and I have learned quite a bit about the characters in Greek mythology, their strengths and also their weeknesses.  We've learned about gods, demi-gods, monsters, and mythological locations.  One thing I've learned is the lightning bolt belongs to Zeus.  The premise of the first book was about the missing lightning bolt.  It had to be returned to Zeus or war would ensue. 

As I think about God, our Creator, who loves us with and everlasting love, I'm having a hard time linking coming to Him and being struck down by lightning.  I found a verse in Matthew 28:3 mentioning lightning describing Jesus's appearance after His resurrection.  "His appearance was like lightning and his clothes were white as snow."  In Revelation 4 we're told there are "flashes of lightning and peals of thunder" which are symbolic of the awesome power and majesty of God.  The lightning described here leaves us in awe.  The sight of Jesus should stop us in our tracks with a jaw-dropping, "Wow!"

If we truly seek out God's character and the character of Christ we don't find the angry lightning bolt hurling actions of mythological god, Zeus.  In turn, we find the welcoming love found in Luke 15 in the Parable of the Lost Son.  In this story, the son requested and early distribution of his share of his father's estate and inheritance. He left for a distant country and squandered the wealth with wild living.  He lost everything.  With nowhere to turn, he decided to humbly return to his father's home to hopefully work as a hired man. 

As the son approached his father's home, his father sees him in the distance.  His father was FILLED WITH COMPASSION for him.  He didn't take out his slingshot and try to aim it toward his son or send out his servants to send the son away.  He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him!  Surprised, the son said, "Father, I have sinned against you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son."  His father then told the servants to prepare for a great feast and celebration.  He exclaimed, "For this son of mine was dead and is alive again;  he was lost and is found."

This story describes what I think God does when we leave the self-centered, out-for-our-own-interests life and return to Him.  As I told the kids what I was blogging, they informed me that in the culture of the father in the Lost Son story, it would have brought humiliation on the father to "run" to his son.  It was unheard of to do such a thing, yet he risked the humiliation.  God cares so much for each and every one of us, there is no need to "save face."  He embraces us when we humbly come to Him.  True compassion.  No lightning bolts.  Just a celebration for a child who comes home to his/her Father.

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