Shadows and Avatars

Today is Sunday, July 23, 2017. Day 21,682. 27 days until S’s birthday!

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Psalm 70:4
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Psalm 90:14
With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
Psalm 71:16
I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
Psalm 119:162
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
John 6:51
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know my necessities before I ask and my ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever Amen.
The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From The President’s Devotional)

Who Exists?

The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:47

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.”
George Bernard Shaw, The Devil’s Disciple

Joshua DuBois asks the question, “Who exists to us?” That might sound like a silly question, asking if we are solipsistic (an interesting topic all its own). It’s more than just a question of who we see, because, with peripheral vision, we “see” a lot of people.

But do those faces in the crowd really exist to us? “Do the faces in the crowd exist? Do we care about their well-being, their families, their lives? Do passing acquaintances exist? Are we hopeful for their future?”

Naturally, we cannot let every person we meet into our closest circle. We must guard our hearts, as the Proverbs tell us: Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23) But we tend to go too far in the other direction, allowing those people to not even truly exist to us. “They become shadows and avatars, cardboard cutouts where humans might have been.” We need to be careful to extend “human dignity,” the courtesy of “real existence,” to all of these. “Because in this world, there are no lesser beings.”

Let’s define dignity. I have come to love that word, in my readings of Dallas Willard. I can’t find the exact quote at the moment, but in his writings, “dignity” is the value that a thing/person has that cannot be exchanged for any other thing. So when we speak of human dignity, we say that people have an intrinsic value that cannot be exchanged for anything else. This is why it is not legal to buy and sell human beings.

So consider that everyone you run across today has dignity. Every single human being has value. Certainly, it’s not realistic to think that you have to speak to everyone you see, especially if you are walking down a busy sidewalk in, say, New York City. But, truthfully, I am guilty of walking past people where I work and not even acknowledging their existence. And we probably have less than 50 people in our building. I need to make sure that all of these people exist in my world. Most especially, when I got to our worship gathering, this morning, I need to acknowledge everyone that I can, and speak to everyone that I can. I need to extend human dignity.

“Dear God, help me to see my brothers and sisters as you do. Help me acknowledge their existence and extend to them dignity and worth. Amen.” (Joshua DuBois)

Father, I echo Joshua’s prayer, this morning. As I make my way to our worship gathering, help me to show this value to everyone there. They are all your children, and deserve to be treated as such. Help us to truly love one another as you have loved us, which is one of the commands that Jesus gave to us. Then, let us worship you together, as one.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.


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