First Person Life

2005-12-20

Reality and what is Real

The world is a scary place. Most of us are doing whatever we think is best at any given point in time. But each of us must live life for ourselves. Nobody can live our lives for us, and we cannot live someone else's life for them. Our own existence is real.

Vicarious living, either through television or through the control of the lives of others, simply doesn't work. Each of us occupy our own space in this world and must encounter the world for ourselves. Other people are real. Our encounters are real.

We live in communities at various levels (family, friends, co-workers, neighborhood, citizen, etc.). Some of these communities are voluntary memberships, others are obligatory by virtue of the fact that we exist at a certain place at a certain time. Our communities are real.

We each walk into every situation with our own "baggage" and have to recognize that others do the same. With each encounter our view of the world changes in some way, even if only we have another name on our list of "friends" or "enemies." That each of us has a different view of the world is real.

I am unable to see the world through your eyes, just as you are unable to see the world through mine. While I am unable to "feel your pain," I am able to hear your cry. While I am unable to "see the world your way", I am able to see how the world affects you. That the world has an effect on us is real.

Often we all feel like islands or solitary ships in the night. Often, we feel alone, frightened and neglected. Our feelings are real.

We wish that someone else could mitigate the effect of the world on us, that they could truly "feel our pain," and allow us to see a view of the world that transcends our "friends" and our "enemies" and all of the "baggage" that we have. We wish we could live in community with someone who could guide us to the right decisions and could make sense out of the scary place that is the world. Our desires are real.

While all of these things are real and all of these things are true they are not reality.

Reality is the world is not right. It no longer functions as it was created to function. Human beings, individually and corporately, war and rage against the created order of the universe. We seek to be our own master and seek to put ourselves, our wants and our feelings above everything else. We are selfish, arrogant, greedy and narcisistic. We hurt each other and hurt ourselves in an attempt to prove that we are in charge of our own life. We have no use for anything that does not serve our own real desires or feelings. In short, we are sinful human beings.

Reality is a baby -- born to a woman who had not "known a man."

Reality is that baby -- born in a stable because there was no room in the inn.

Reality is that baby -- wisked to a foreign land because the ruler of his own land was looking to kill him.

Reality is that child -- returning from a foreign land and growing in wisdom and stature.

Reality is a young man -- "about his fathers business" debating the religious leaders of his day.

Reality is a man -- baptized in the Jordan River and heralded as "The Lamb of God."

Reality is that man -- walking in the wilderness for 40 days with no food, no extra clothes, no water.

Reality is that man -- able to see beyond his real hunger pangs, his real thirst, his real exhaustion and still see the world as it really is.

Reality is that man -- knowing what is really right and what is really wrong and acting accordingly.

Reality is that man -- teaching others about the reality of the world.

Reality is that man -- really suffering and really dying.

Reality is that man -- really being raised again to life having accomplished all that he was sent to accomplish.

Reality is that person -- being restored to his rightful place as King and Lord of the universe.

Reality is Jesus Christ -- true God who humbled himself to be born of a virgin in a feeding trough because the world had no room for him.

Reality is Jesus Christ -- true man who was born, lived a perfect life, and yet suffered and died in order to restore us to a right relationship with himself.

Reality is Jesus Christ -- who was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven.

Reality is that through Him, your sin has been forgiven and your guilt has been removed.

We gain access to this reality through baptism in the name of the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We participate in this reality through corporate worship, the Lord's Supper, and our daily lives in the world. Through Him and in His church we learn to see the world from the point of view of Him who created and upholds it.

In this reality there is life, light, and peace.

May the Christmas Season, a time set aside to celebrate this reality, make it ever more real to you.

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