Friday, August 20, 2010

A rose by any other name...

"What's in a name? 
That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
-Shakespeare {Romeo and Juliet}

I am completely fascinated by the many names used to describe Jesus or our relationship with him. Master, redeemer, friend, husband, savior. These are names we have heard in church, if we have spent any time there. But there are also more obscure, however interesting names that he is called. One that has come to my attention lately is "rose of Sharon" mentioned in Song of Solomon.

"I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys." Song of Solomon 2:1

In the front of my brother's house there are two large, what look like bushes, on either side of the walk. You have to pass through these plants to reach the front door. I am always apprehensive between the months of April and September to do this, however. The plants are constantly buzzing, surrounded by bees of every kind. Beautiful butterflies float by, and I have even seen a hummingbird or two. I never thought much of this for the several years they have lived at their house, and I have visited, trying to slip by undetected to all flying creatures.

While visiting Tennessee last month, and arriving at my brother's house, with my parents, I remarked on how these plants were especially busy with insects. My mom says casually, "That is a rose of Sharon." 
I will never look at them the same...

After doing some research on 'rose of Sharon' it has been consistently stated that the plant is, "vigorous and durable".  That it will grow in full or partial sun, and that it will grow in nearly all kinds of soil.  It is an effective hedge, and even flowers in the summer months, when most shrubs no longer bloom.  It can be transplanted with little trouble and are considered a "butterfly bush" from the attraction of their flowers.

No, Jesus is not a plant.  Jesus is infinitely more interesting, amazing and powerful than a plant.  However, he even refers to himself as a vine...

 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing"
John 15:5 

So just as the bees and butterflies go to the rose of Sharon for nectar. 
We abide in the vine and are fed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jesus Freak

What would people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus Freak?
What will people do when they find that it's true?
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus Freak.
There is no disguising the truth.
-DC Talk

There are so many times I feel like just a visitor in this world. Like I belong somewhere else, and I am navigating through this foreign world trying to reach the place I am made for.

I see God in everything. I see him in the enormity of the planets and their endless imperfection, to the complexity of a tiny feather. I see his work when I watch nature shows with the sole purpose of disproving his existence. He is an extravagant creator, incredible thinker, and his imagination is unmatched. I pour myself over scriptures and marvel at the depth and intricacy of his plan for humanity. I long to be with him. He is my everything, I am in love.

I am reminded of a quote:

"We are all fools in love."
-Charlotte Lucas (Pride & Prejudice)

But this love goes beyond foolishness. This does not compare to earthly romance. No man could ever live up to what is obtained from this God-relationship, none should even try. My heart is secure, intact, never to be broken by this perfect Being that has moved heaven and earth to never leave me. I think of the martyrs and the inspiration I get from reading about them. Those that caught the vision of this love so deeply that they would die for it. Jesus Freaks indeed. This is more than a whimsy emotion. It is a knowing. A revelation you can hardly explain to anyone that has yet to experience it.

And if Jesus felt like an outsider, why do we think it will be different for us?
"He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him."
John 1:10

Not to say there are not wonderful pleasures obtained in this most foreign of worlds. When I look into my children's eyes, I am overwhelmed. And Josh, my perfect partner in this alien planet. How thankful I am that God has given me an accomplice in this crazy adventure. I may even say that he rivals me as a Jesus Freak. In his endless pursuit of Truth, no matter man's objections.

So, my final thought is this: that I love this planet, but I am not of it. I belong to a different kingdom. I am on loan. And how my heart longs to enter the blessed place that is free of fear, doubt, struggle and strife. Ahhh, my heart desires that! But until that day... Long live the Freak.