Salvation Beyond – May 26, 2022 (145-146/365)

So. I had to get out of the house earlier than I’m used to, because I was called to be a witness for what was to be the first civil wedding I ever attended. Every wedding I’ve been to since this time was a church wedding. There weren’t any lines to memorize or nothing, but we were called by the presiding judge, and were coached right then and there to say what we needed to say if we were to respond in the affirmative.

It was pretty straightforward, there weren’t any of the usual rituals – no candles, no veils. But apparently the state recognizes the significance of the rings. In fact, I learned that apparently the ring is put in the appropriately named ring finger because according to legend a vein is in that finger that connects directly to the heart. Not sure if that’s true but hey, it’s also telling me to go for the ring finger if you want to hurt someone exquisitely.

The session didn’t proceed as a religious one, obviously, but the presiding judge’s choice of words clearly showed that she was a fellow believer, a follower of the Christian religion. She mentioned ‘Our Father’, and she also shared how the state doesn’t necessarily support any one religion, but it does recognize the value of having solid beliefs. I found that interesting. Of course, she declared my friends husband and wife by the power vested in her, and gave her well wishes – but it just so happened that we as witnesses were serving at a church, so we took some time after the civil wedding, and after the impromptu photoshoot, to pray for the newlyweds.

And to think all this happened before lunchtime. We were told by the newlyweds that reception was to follow at 2pm over at a familiar buffet spot. Between the time we parted ways and the time I made my way to the buffet place, I went home to check on the house, before working out a little (skipping rope was the best use of my time, or so I believed), and taking a quick cold back to rinse off all the sweat. I spent a couple of hours with my newly married friends and their families, only to find out that the sister of the groom was married to a distant relative of mine. Spend enough time in the city I grew up in and you’re bound to eventually realize how this place is a small world.

The day didn’t end there. For see, right after this celebration, another celebration was to follow. It was a surprise birthday party for the wife of our late Senior Pastor. It was good that I arrived a little earlier because apparently they didn’t sign anyone up to take pictures. It was good that I had my camera bag ready in the car. It’s funny, I thought, because a couple days ago I realized I haven’t been shooting at all for the month of May. That prompted me to go out and shoot the sunset the day before yesterday, and a couple of hours ago I made myself the official photographer of the said birthday event. To all this I remember Al Pacino as an old Michael Corleone – ‘Just as I leave, they pull me back’

But hey, it’s not to say that I spurn photography. No, sir, if anything I’m just taking a break from it, at the worst. It’s just that I’ve only been shooting at my favorite sunrise and sunset spots, even if pandemic travel restrictions have been reduced dramatically here where I live. I don’t know, I guess I was just used to just going to those places, because I was sure to get good shots there… until I realized it’s not a new set of spots that I needed, more like a major change in environment.

And thinking about a change in environment, I’ve been giving less consideration to actual travel, considering how we haven’t taken any steps in taking serums which are supposed to boost our resistance against certain viruses. No, I’ve been led to thinking, if they wouldn’t allow our physical bodies to travel as easy as we used to before, then I would resort to travelling without moving – that is, meditation. No, not astral projection, just doing it as we would do according to the Word – that is, to meditate on the actual Word during both day and night… and to those of us in the Body of Christ this simply means that we recognize Him as the Living Word that gives life to the Word we read, and the Word of Life that reminds us of the word as we enjoy real Life.

There seems to be some sort of ‘travelling’ when pondering on Christ as the Living Word. It’s obviously not a change in physical location, but the way I’ve been led to see it, is that our meditation on the Word allows our entire beings to celebrate how we have been brought from darkness to the Kingdom of His everlasting light. And with that said, I suppose meditation on the Word is not JUST a change of our physical circumstance, but a holistic celebration of the complete and absolute change of our entire being. What all this seems to mean is that when we meditate on the Word, we’re celebrating Christ and His finished work. This is implying that we haven’t just ‘travelled’ from merely existing in this finite reality to the infinite heavenlies, but eternity has been brought to us, and we have been brought into eternity.

I’m not sure if I’m making sense here, but speaking of travelling all of this has been a really huge leap from me just talking about a surprise birthday party.

Well, perhaps it all ties together. I wouldn’t have acted the way I did during the actual party, if I haven’t allowed myself to be led by the Holy Spirit to meditate whenever I could on the Word, in appreciation to the living Word. Let’s just say that I had fun instead of being all uppity, which was a real possibility considering present company at the event.

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

O my God, in you I trust;

let me not be put to shame;

let not my enemies exult over me.

Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;

they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O LORD;

teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth and teach me,

for you are the God of my salvation;

for you I wait all the day long.

Psalms 25:1-5

There are times that it’s needed for us to just remind ourselves of God’s goodness and faithfulness, through meditation or, actually, any time we take to intentionally ‘consume’ the Living Word. However, there are times that we ought to just remember that it’s Christ who’s taking care of us, in ways we wouldn’t understand, or ways beyond what we see or feel or touch. Christ takes cares of us, in perspectives beyond our wildest imagination, or through ways we may never recognize or realize while we still walk in this finite reality.

I value this realization of the Creator of the Universe and all things seen and unseen actively taking care of us, or as Peter would say it, always thinking about us. I’m led to thinking that it’s that same realization that would have the Psalmist writing the same said line in abandon… and I guess, in these moments of turbulence, sure, I join him in saying that I lift up my soul to Him. There’s a meme of a cake I’m led to remember – you’d be used to seeing birthday or holiday greetings written in icing, but this one particular cake said, ‘Bahala Ka Na Lord’, which translates roughly from Filipino to English, ‘Lord, You take care of all of it’.

Indeed, in Christ I trust. I trust Him, and I dare trust Him to not only be my Savior, but to be the One who rescues me. It’s no guarantee that I would totally avoid being shamed, as I live this life. There are no guarantees that those who would call themselves my enemies in this life would never have the upper hand over me. But as you keep reading the Psalm, look – you see that we’re guaranteed, that though we couldn’t totally avoid being shamed, Christ has paid such a great price that we wouldn’t be totally shamed. Do you see the difference? The mistakes we make in this world still have the potential to leave us shamed, but not totally shamed – we may be shamed and seen in shame by men, but because of Christ and His finished work, we have been proclaimed as righteous, and therefore we shall never be put to TOTAL shame!

And look at that, it says that not only are we saved from the ultimate shame, but those who would try anything against us would be put to shame themselves. Not that we’re looking forward to that, though – we’re more content, we’re more focused on how our trust is in the Lord, and not on retribution. Or rather, we’re already so thankful of the fact of our deliverance from shame, that we would actually look at those who try to hurt us with genuine compassion.

To see how the Lord saves us, and to see how the Lord rescues us – though the awe and wonder may pique our curiosity, and would have us trying to explore the nature of our God and Savior with our own finite mind, it also humbles us to the point that we not only entrust Him with everything for Him to take care of as we discussed. No, beyond this, it also leaves us, not only to subject all of our beings to be taken care of by the Creator of the Universe, but because of the position we have, we are bold to run to Him, to ask Him to teach us, straight up.

However, I don’t think I can imagine going to ‘class’ with God. Sure, I can imagine our Creator as our Teacher, but personally I don’t think it’ll be an effective use of time to be taught theories. No, I firmly believe that if God was to teach us, He would teach us by way of application – Real-Life application. Just as He evangelizes to us – we see Him and all of His glory in all of His creation, and not just in spoken words taught in a classroom. Sure, faith may come from hearing the Word of God, but I also believe that His word is not only communicated through microphones and social media posts. We see His glory, and we hear His Gospel in all of creation – Surely, we learn His lessons and take in His teachings in all our situations and circumstances as well.

I think that’s the real Truth, which transcends mere words. I think that’s the Life in the Word, and that is the Word found in all aspects of Life.

It’s no accident that the Psalmist asks God to teach Him and to lead Him in Truth, immediately following it up with proclaiming that He is the God of his salvation. Again, we’re pointed to another perspective of how great our Savior is. We keep going back to saying that He is not just a get-to-heaven-for-free card. We can see in all we have discussed today that the salvation Christ paid such a great price for us to have is so much more, transcending what we can wrap within our imagination… leading us to finish the way we started the set of verses –

To You, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. We trust You. We thank You for Your trustworthiness. We thank You for Your faithfulness. Continue to teach us. Continue to build us up. Thank You for all that You are.

May our good Lord continue to bless us as we go through this week.

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