Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dressed In Christ-Ask The Animals Sundays

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

Leona was my grandmother. She adored laughter, bare feet, homemade butter caramels, kids and birds. At her house when the phone rang the bird answered. "Cavey" informed callers they had reached the Cavanaugh's at Sterling-2-2839.

Cavey was an excellent mimic. An alarm clock was mistakenly pitched out for repeatedly going off in the middle of the day. The bird was not discovered to be the culprit until the replacement demonstrated a similar defect. Once he almost lost his place in the family for his spot-on impersonation of a tree being felled by a chain saw. He was the saw. The fact that he was whisked away to his cage and covered up every time he yelled, "Timber" and started the saw, soon broke him of the habit.

Every nice thing that green bird learned, he learned by watching my grandmother, who never seemed to tire of modeling good behavior then rewarding his performance. Without her voice in his ear or her cheek brushing his feathers we would never have heard a word from him. He became a good impersonator of Leona.

Man's relationship to the Creator needed a more intimate example if we were to be spared mere god-impersonations.

Our wonderful, relational, smarter than even my grandma, Heavenly Father knew this and took it a step further. He planned for His Son to actually become one of us and model a surrendered life, a holy life, for us; to demonstrate the vine-branches connection so vital to a relationship with God.

Jesus told his followers that whatever He saw His Father doing He imitated. The amazing "Be it done on earth as it is in Heaven" part. Whatever work Father did, Son demonstrated. The Father's love looked like forgiveness, healing, feeding, teaching and washing so that is what the gospels are filled with. Father's hands were Son's hands. Son's hands were disciples' hands and finally your hands and my hands doing Love's work in the world. All the while our hearts and God's heart were becoming one heart. We were becoming like Jesus and Jesus was like His Father.

Paul encourages us, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 An even stronger encouragement, "Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!" Romans 13:14 (MSG)

Christ never intended for us to imitate a chain saw but He purposed that we should be empowered to break every chain that binds this world to sin, sorrow and sickness. With our eyes on Him as His eyes are on the Father, we open our mouths in faithful, determined obedience. Heart trouble, hunger, and unholy habits shouldn't be able to tell the difference between Christ and Kathy when I order them off the premises. Neither should Heaven.

This is a season to look long at the short, powerful earthly life of Christ. To slip our feet into His sandals, wrap His robe around our shoulders and touch lepers. To weep in a garden and make God's will our own. To know the Father's desires and intentions and complete them. Like our tender bird, to repeat Christ's surrendering prayer but to mean it with the understanding that identification with Christ brings.

What do you see the Father doing?

What then shall you do?


Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
Job 12:7-10

(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She will join me to produce Ask The Animals Sundays, 2/19/12 through Palm Sunday.)

National Geographic parrot video link

Project NOAH link

1 comment:

  1. Now you have me on the prowl...what tiny, obscure or overlooked critter can show me something astounding about its Maker? -K