Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Roll Out

Whenever celebrities head to a premiere, they know that their eyes and smiles will be greeted with bright flashes of light while their shoes are warmly welcomed by plush red velvet. Royals experience the same sort of privileged treatment. It is not because their feet are any more sensitive than "normal" people's, but instead it is to show them the honor the world has deemed they deserve. For any special person on any special occasion, the red carpet is rolled out to declare "This honor is reserved only for those who are highly esteemed. Here walks one who is worthy of walking here."

Even before one celebrity or one royal sets foot on that carpet, onlookers know that that area has been designated for a special purpose. The area outside of the gala has been unmistakeably reserved, and all people can do is wait with bated breath to catch a glimpse of one who is worthy to set foot on the red carpet. The path has been laid, the crowd has been made ready, the way has been prepared, and all that is left to happen is that the honorable guest make an appearance.

They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
"Hosanna to the Son of David!"
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Hosanna in the highest!"

~Matthew 21:7-9

They didn't roll out a red carpet, but the people in that crowd laid down their own clothing to prepare the way for their Savior. They set out a path before him so that all would know that "This honor is reserved only for those who are highly esteemed. Here walks one who is worthy of walking here." Everyone knew that, for someone to walk on the road of cloaks that person must truly be honored. The crowd waited with bated breath to catch a glimpse of the one they had heard so much about and had hoped would come one day.

I have heard of your fame! we shout. King of kings and Lord of lords! He's coming back, and we go before him like John the Baptist who cried out Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him!

What kind of welcome will Christ get when He makes His appearance? Will the crowds be waiting with bated breath because they see the preparations that have been made for His return? Will they wait expectantly, seeing the things that have been specially set apart, knowing that "This honor is reserved only for those who are highly esteemed. Here walks one who is worthy of walking here"? We're here to roll out the carpet, to lay down our coats, to shout Hosanna and to announce the coming of one who is worthy.

What are we doing to prepare the way?

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Have you ever played The Ungame? The rules are simple: move your piece around the board and answer the questions you land on. There are no "go to jails", no "sorrys", no "lose a turns". In fact, it's quite the opposite. The Ungame questions were designed to be the antithesis of the "gaming" mindset (competition, speed, strategy...). Instead it asks questions like "What are the four most important things in your life," and "what do you think life will be like in 100 years?" The Ungame was designed to work against life philosophies propegated by other games that only lead one to bludgeon the enemy to a proverbial pulp.

Because of the design and intent of The Ungame the creators aptly named their masterpiece "The Ungame" and not "The Nongame". You see, there are many things that are not games (petting your dog, painting your bathroom, cooking your dinner), but the fact that they are non-games doesn't make them un-games. In order for something to adequately be described as an un-game, it must actively and intentionally work against everything that is a game. The Ungame is not a non-game; it's an un-game, un-gaming its participants in the process of play from gamers to un-gamers.

There are times when un simply means not, but often it implies intentional and direct counteraction. For example:

do - undo.
wanted - unwanted.
intelligent - unintelligent.
learn - unlearn.
enjoyable - unenjoyable

God's love, which is described as unfailing 32 times in the Old Testament, does not simply not fail, but it unfails. It cannot fail because it is too busy successfully loving us. Just like The Ungame is an ungame because it is actively working against that which makes something a game, so too God's love is unfailing because it's working against failure.

God's love cannot fail. God's love is reliable. God's love is unfailing.

16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
~Psalm 33:16-22

Armies fail. Our strength fails. Horses fail because their strength fails. God's love unfails. His unfailing love rests upon us, and it is the only thing in which we can legitimately place our hope.

Thank God not just for his nonfailing love, but for His unfailing love.