Monday, October 05, 2009

It Feels Like Death Because It Is

Not long ago our DVD player went out. It just stopped working. So, my wife and I and the kids just resorted to using the computer to watch anything on DVD. This started to get just really frustrating. But we didn’t just go out and replace it because we knew of so many other things that needed work on: car #1, car #2, carpet cleaning, etc.

Then the computer stopped playing DVDs.

And there was no way I was going to let my kids near my MacBook Pro. That would just be suicide. But my kids want to watch Max and Ruby. They are very persistent, might I add?

So I up and decided to head down to Wal-Mart and get a DVD player. I walked down to the end of the aisle where the cheapest one was sitting waiting for the cheapo Dads. I swear it was sitting there smaller than my first Walkman. While buying it, I became painfully aware of how it must look for me to be buying the cheapest DVD player. From Wal-Mart.

I paid for it. And as I was walking to my car, the strangest thing happened. I looked at my car and noticed the really nice car sitting beside it. Mine has a whopping 205,000 miles and feels it has earned the right to not always go when told to. And the thought occurred to me. Because I am a pastor who longs to follow Jesus, I will most likely never have a car like that. And I said this while holding an extraordinarily light DVD player. It felt like death.

Or at least like a dying.

It was death to the promises of the American Dream. It was death to the pride of possessions. It was death to clinching tightly to all my sinful self holds dear. I know, I know – this is a good thing. But the Apostle John describes it like he does because that is what it freaking is. It is a death and death is usually very painful.

It is painful to the one dying because of all they will leave behind. I might as well have been sitting in a hospital bed with a horrific array of tubes coming out of every orifice when I stood there in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I might as well have had a circus of medical professionals working to revive me. It reeked of death.

It is also painful to the ones being left behind by the death of another. They must deal with the effects of the absence. And my family will at least silently grieve over missing out on certain middle-class comforts. And in the silence, there will be times when we all hear the distant echoes of funeral dirges being sung over the desires of our heart.

This is I assume what Christ meant when he told us we must take up our cross daily. We are daily dying to all the world offers us. We die to what is seemingly mundane for everybody else. But just like our physical death, the dying daily ushers us into a joy we could not imagine on this side of the grave.

1 comment:

Aimee said...

I am sorry. Because of your and your wife's committment to Christ, you are living a life less tied to the world. As a result, your children will not struggle with the bondages of excess many others will.
I value your viewpoints and I want you to know that you encourage Jonathan and I. Light of the world, salt of the earth. (Phil. 2:15, Matt. 5:13-16)