Tag Archives: Walls

Walls

Read Joshua 6:1-20

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Jesus replied, ‘Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!’” (Mark 13:2, NLT)

dungeon-tunnel_0005In my late teens (17-19 years old.), I was rebellious against authorities. This, honestly, is nothing too uncommon. Teenagers are trying to define who they are and what their purpose is. They are able to think for themselves, do things for themselves and yet they are still very much dependent on their parents and/or guardians. Older teens tend to have more and more responsibility put on their heads and at eighteen they are considred responsible enough to hold guns, shoot at people and get shot at in defense of their country; however, they are not considered adult enough to smoke cigarettes, have a beer, and gamble, among other things.

So, it goes without saying that I had a bit of angst toward authorities when I was a teenager. One of the songs that I always related too was Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” I think the lyrics really point to the distrust of the system and the realization that, as much as one wanted to be an individual, we are all becoming “just another brick in the wall.” In an individualist society such as the American society, there can be nothing scarier than realizing that your individuality is more of a ruse, more of an illusion, than it is a reality.

As a teenager dealing with angst toward the system, distrust for the authorities, and a general distrust of my peers, I found myself building walls all around me. I literally boxed myself in and built up walls all around me with the hope that no one could ever break through. In doing so, I literally shut nearly everyone (barring a few people) out of my life.

In effect, by putting up walls, I ended up walling myself in my own personal sepulchre. The result of that can be seen in the following poem I wrote back when I was only seventeen years old:

Visionary Madness

Destruction weighing heavily on my mind,
Confusion restraining my next move.
Darkness seeping into my eyes,
And attacking my vision.

Tormented, twisted paths of the brain,
A deranged, sadistic grin.
Hate distorts my evolution,
With a primitive dream.

Disconcerted by surrounding noises,
Fearing shadows on the wall.
Coughing up bloody solutions,
The vengeance of an angry ulcer.

Destruction, thoughts into action;
Restrained movement, no longer confused.
Blind to my surroundings
From a visionary madness within.

Human beings tend to build walls for all sorts of reasons, but the underlying reason for wall building is fear. I built up walls as a teenager because I was afraid to be vulnerable before my peers and others. I had been picked on and bullied throughout elementary school, was never popular, and had very few friends in High School (especially my freshman and sophmore years). So I built up walls to keep people out and as a result I felt even more isolated, alone, afraid, and vulnerable.

The fact is that walls are built to keep people separate from each other, and when we are separated we can no longer hear each other, see each other, and/or connect with one another. The church is excellent at building up walls. We build them around our theologies, our denominations, human sexuality, sexual identity, gender, religion, doctrine and an endless host of other things.

All those walls do is keep us separated from each other. Today’s challenge is for us to begin tearing down our walls and to reconnect with each other in divine community. To do so is to honor God. So, tear down those walls, commune with one another, and love one another regardless of the cost. That is what being “Christian” is all about.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Walls don’t make us safe; on the contrary, they seal our fate and entomb us.

PRAYER
Lord, help me to shatter the walls I’ve built around me and others. Amen.

Born to Follow Revisited

Read Galatians 3:23-29

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34)

Bon_Jovi_TheCircleAlong with being a pastor and a chaplain, I am also the co-coordinator of the district youth team in the district that I am serving. As the District Youth Co-coordinator, I am act as a bridge between the youth in each of the local congregations within the district. This past weekend I co-led a district wide Open-Mic Night which turned out to be a wonderful evening of listening to all of the many talents that came out and shared their gifts. I also performed and, being that I just recently wrote about it, I chose to perform Bon Jovi’s “We Weren’t Born to Follow”, among others.  It really is an awesome song and it is a lot of fun to sing to. So, I gave that song my all and enjoyed rocking out to it.

Prior to singing the song, I explained to the people present that I had just written a devotion about the song, and how we ARE actually BORN TO FOLLOW. We are born to follow the ONE who created us. We are born to follow LOVE and to be LOVE wherever we may go. I basically succinctly summed up what I had written in that devotion, because I feel that it is important to take the stigma off of following. There is NOTHING wrong with being a follower…depending on who or what it is that one is following.

But I didn’t end it there, as I had in the last devotion. It is absolutely true that WE ARE BORN TO FOLLOW, that we were made in our Creator’s image, and were born to follow the example and the path that our Creator laid before us. That being said, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora weren’t talking about that when they both wrote the song; rather, they were talking about following what others tell us about ourselves…about following in line with who and what world tells us we are. I am not sure where Jon and Richie stand spiritually, especially regarding this song; however, there is definitely some wisdom to be found in their words.

This world often tells us that we ought define ourselves based off of what we do for a living, based off of our status in life, based off of what community we live in, based off of our income, and based off of other such things. The world tells us how thin to be, how pretty to be, what clothes to wear, what foods to eat, and how to continue to hollow ourselves out into shallow, empty shells with no purpose or meaning to fill our lives. If we turn to the world we learn about might makes right, strength (aka force/violence) equals peace, and that there is a pecking order that we need to submit ourselves to.

But WE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY WERE NOT BORN TO FOLLOW THE WORLD!!!! We were born to follow God, in whom there is no longer Jew or Greek or French or Iraqi or Russian or American. We were born to to follow God, in whom there is no longer slave or free, male or female or transgendered or whatever other label the world wants to impose on each of us. That is not to say that we should ignore the unique value of each individual, or that we should pretend we don’t have differences, but that we should stop limiting our sights to the “labels” that we use to define each individual!

In the end, we are all CHILDREN OF GOD! That’s what matters! Each one of us was born a child of God, which makes each one of us related to each other in and by the Spirit of God. We weren’t born to follow the World’s labels or definitions. We weren’t born to follow the things of this world but, rather, were were born and are called to follow our Creator who had deemed us to be one, to be united as kin! Let us stop getting hung up on what the world tells us to think and/or to do, and let us preoccupy ourselves with following the ONE who created us with a purpose and a plan in mind: TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS GOD HAS LOVED US!

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” – Oscar Wilde

PRAYER

Lord, help me to tear down the walls of division in my heart. Heal me and teach me to love others as you love me. Amen.