Monday, December 12, 2011

Through A Mirror, Darkly

A friend of mine, while teaching a class on Identity, made a joking reference to one of the many American Idol-cloned talent shows on television:
"Have you ever experienced the guilty entertainment of watching people -- who seem to think they are incredibly talented -- absolutely  humiliate themselves in front of millions of people on television?"

"And do you ever wonder: Where were the friends and family of these people, and why didn't they tell them the truth?"
Most of us are spared the nationally-televised indignity of having our lack of self-awareness broadcast for the entertainment of the masses.

And then uploaded to the Internet for digital eternity.

You'd have to be pretty cold-hearted to not feel at least some sense of empathy for these poor souls.

Of course, when you read the history of the people of Israel, throughout the Old Testament, you can also see the story of people who:
  1. Repeatedly saw, heard about, or personally experienced God doing incredible things
  2. And returned to worshiping idols shortly thereafter. (usually about 20 minutes)
  3. And had observant scribes in abundance, taking notes and chronicling their cyclical stories, for millions upon millions to read about for thousands upon thousands of years.

And, of course, the legendary thick-headed-ness of the original Twelve Disciples also lives on in print (and numerous movies of varying quality). These guys tried even the patience of Jesus. Again, captured for the viewing pleasure of millions upon millions, over thousands of years.

If there would have been a "patron saint" of these earliest followers of Jesus, I wonder who it would have been?

Yet there is another list to be found in the Bible. Again, captured for the viewing pleasure of millions upon millions, for over two thousand years.
I'm talking about the great Hall of Faith, located in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Not everyone on this list accomplished noteworthy things, although some did.

Not everyone on this list is named, although some are.

Not everyone on this list had a happy ending (at least, not in this life).

Everyone on this list had one thing in common: faith.

Self-reflection is a good thing. Even if we do only see through a glass, dimly.

Facing the truth about ourselves is always healthy, if not always pleasant.

Reading the stories of the people of God in the Old Testament, and the early disciples, should not only serve as an example to us, but also cause us to reflect, "Lord, is there anything in me, that is reminds You of them?"

And the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 should also inspire us, encourage us, and remind us that what truly counts is living according to our faith. Not "results". Not recognition or applause. Not the praise of man. Simply, faith.

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