A Paradox: Different but the Same

Written By: Chris Mace
A Paradox: Different but the Same
Lawn Chairs, Hollowell, Maine

Basically the same but superficially different, these colorful lawn chairs are reminders of both the similarities and the uniqueness of the people who occupy them from time to time. Brown, yellow, black or white, we categorize ourselves by physical characteristics, personal quirkiness, ancestry, social standing , abilities, intellect and other individual differences. However, whether living in some uncivilized aboriginal tribe or sitting at the Queen’s table, human flesh has the same amazingly complex physical properties, predictable functions, and requirements of food, water, security, and shelter for survival. Furthermore, we all stand on terra firma and have views, albeit with different perspectives, a well ordered, magnificent, awesome, vast universe.

As spiritual beings who struggle with questions about origins, meaning, and purposes which exist beyond the immediate and the material, we intuitively know that we are more than flesh, that we transcend our cellular and chemical makeup, that we are valued but broken, bruised, and weakened spirits who hunger for security, sustaninence, nourishment, relationships, and eternity . We need to be loved, to be part of a tribe,  and to have some sense of continuity.

We seek memorialization, legacies, some form of permanence,  some everlastingness because “eternity has been set in the human heart.(Ecclesiastes 3:11) We want our spirits to go to a good place when our bodies die. Most of us believe in God or gods or at least question or surmise their existence. So, we attempt to do what we can and try to be more than we can be. We fail at perfection. We know that we are not what we should be because we are imperfect in attitude and behavior. We need redemption and seek it through effort or belief or a hybrid of the two.

We flounder about to fulfill spiritual needs, to find inner peace and healing. Most often that is sought through fragile and superficial relationships, wealth and material things, worthy but fleeting vocations, religion and its rituals, and empty philosophies. These tend to distract and derail us from the fact we are meant for God.

We understand that our bodies will die, and we wonder about our spirits -that special part of us that is us.  They are our core being where we feel and think and formulate and choose behaviors, where we consider ideas and make decisions which are sometimes good and joyous and sometimes flawed and awful, and where we react with emotions that are not always good either. All of us sin and fall short of God’s glory for which we were created. We want forgiveness and peace with God, not the universe.

Our choices become to either live for the present and deny an afterlife, or to struggle to be good enough and to hope for eternal bliss, or to pursue the revelations of the reality behind the complexity of our bodies and souls and the universe. Truth seeking will lead to faith which will be both intuitive and logical if based on revealed Truth.

Scripture tells us that the Reality behind our world and us is God “ For (God’s) invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse.” (Romans1:20)

Scripture also reveals that God looks at who we are, at our souls, at our “hearts.” In compassionate understanding and mercy, He gives us grace. He loves us. He wants to do the best possible for us; that requires redemption; the whole counsel of Scripture emphasizes that God alone is adequate to save us. God invites us to Himself and  gives us what our spirits require. He is our hope. “How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey/Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life/ Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”(Psalm 119:103-105 (NLT2) Taste and see that the Lord is good. … blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! …Young lions go lacking and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing…(Psalm 34:8-10)

Christ’s wonderful redemptive message is the great invitation. Just as that little children’s chorus says, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world/Brown and yellow, black, and white/All are precious in his sight/Jesus love the children of the world.”

We may be unique, but we have the same spiritual needs. Christ can meet them. “Whoever believes in me shall live even though he dies“ (John 11:25) “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28)


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