Sunday, February 3, 2013

Jesus Hears a "Who"!

Every story is in some way a picture of Jesus Christ.  In fact, it is hard to find a story that doesn't in some way reflect the power of the message of redemption, of true love, of the cross, of God's eternal purpose for his body, his family, his bride.  It is actually an inescapable reality that the telling of stories always finds itself back to the doorstep of the creator of the universe.

Some of the stories being told aren't exactly what you might assume that they are.  Sometimes the characters in these stories aren't found in books, movies or on the lips of a gifted entertainer.  Sometimes you will find these stories playing out all around you, in 3D, in real time.  In fact, you might find that you yourself are one of the actors in this drama, and as you look around you may realize that you are experiencing something that has been in the heart of God since before the beginning.

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) is a timeless children's classic.  Geisel weaves the tale of an elephant who believes he has a "small speck" on which creatures live.  The other animals in the "Jungle of Nool" feel that Horton the elephant is of course a great fool.  And while he tries to convince them of the existence of this other reality, they laugh and ridicule him.  And while he fights brilliantly for its survival, he is unable to convince them.  

This story reminded me of living in a world where I believe in someone and in something that everyone else thinks is crazy, outlandish, ridiculous even.  They see me reacting to something that they can plainly see, is a figment of my imagination.  Or is it?  This story show the experience of someone who clearly is persecuted for his beliefs and his experience.  It shows that those others have not taken the time to get to know our friend Horton.  It seems a little like Horton is Jesus Christ, and we are the jungle animals.  We are either crazed and frustrated by this strange belief, or are ready to destroy it by any means necessary.  Or perhaps Horton is you, because you are walking in Christ and everyone else around you doesn't understand you, they don't get your strange beliefs.  

And then there's the Mayor on that small speck ... who has a similar conundrum.  He is unable to explain to his fellow countrymen that they are in fact living on a speck of dust that is floating through a jungle unaware, resting on a clover.  To warn them he must convince them that this entirely incredible and unlikely concept is actually their reality.  He is persecuted, screamed at, made fun of.  It is not a pleasant experience until Horton convinces them that everyone on the speck should cry out for their small lives.  And then it is a picture of Christ in a whole new way.  Instead of crucifying the poor mayor, the tiny world unites to convince those who hold the speck of dust in their hands that they are worthy of a continued existence.

The interpretation of parables is never a wise thing to share very loudly or publicly, since some people might become angry at you ... they may want to shut you up, get rid of you, get you out of their way.  It was the way of the prophets throughout history.  Those prophets spoke loudly and critically of their generation and they were often killed for their words.  

Think of stories or parables as pieces of a universal genetic code.  The genes in any creature are, in a simplified explanation, similar to a computer program that describes every mechanism and part of how that creature should operate.  Now you can see how all these genetic parts are actually within every cell, but those cells are often specialized for a specific function and work.  That means much of the "software" is inactive and is not currently in use at any particular time in any particular cell.  So if you look around you and see stories that don't make sense to you, they are perhaps another part of the "program" that forms the genetic universe that is Jesus Christ, within which we dwell.  You often have to wait and watch for the parable that fits your place within the body before a story jumps out at you in living color and begins to instruct you in how you should operate as a part of the body.  That specific set of instructions was tailor made for you!

You will find many pictures of both Christ and of His Body in that small Whoville.  And you will find Him also in the story of Justin Bieber and his loyal fans (another article on this, another time).  You will find him in your own life as well, whether you're working to adopt a healthier lifestyle or meeting up with a new group of friends.  You will find his parables in the most surprising places, in the places where people don't know who Jesus is, in the darkest places, where corruption rules the day and death rules the night.  Where right and wrong are upside down, you will find his shining light.  

Not convinced yet?  Solomon had this same thought as well: "Out in the open wisdom calls out, she raises her voice in the public square; on the top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?" (Prov 1:20-22).  Jesus Christ is wisdom impersonated, all reality expresses Him, and everything is being and will be brought into Him.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  And it is wise to watch, learn, and understand the parables that are around you, to not be offended by them, but to truly understand the fear of the Lord.  As Horton said, "A person's a person, no matter how small!"

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