Yes, this is a photography blog. And no, this post does not contain any photos. Allow me to explain myself. As I see it, this blog serves two purposes: to promote my business (yep, I’m a realist) and to share things that I find beautiful. This morning I sat and wrote in my journal about something beautiful. And because of that beauty (that lies very much in the subject matter rather than the writing), I have decided it is worth sharing here. My journal entry is as follows:
This morning I’m thinking about a movie that I randomly decided to watch the other day mainly because it was free on Amazon Prime. Babel – a title intending, I assume, to conjure up our human incapacity to communicate dating back to the Biblical tower. Oddly, though, it made me think about Jesus. (**Spoiler alert** – movie details to follow). The movie starts with two little boys living in a rural part of a North African country. Their father buys a rifle so that they can shoot jackals in order to protect their herd of sheep. The boys feel excited and powerful with the rifle, having been told that it could shoot 200 km. They decide to test it by shooting at a bus that is driving down in a valley. They feel disappointed because they see no effect from their powerful toy – no explosion, no screaming or running or leaping flames. The bus eventually stops, which is the most dramatic immediate result they see. The ultimate results, though, are devastating. This act eventually leads to the death of one of the boys, the near death of a tourist, and a deteriorating international relationship. Clearly, on the surface this has little to do with Jesus. Indeed the parallel is quite limited since the results of the boys’ actions were disastrous while the results of Jesus’s actions are glorious. But I love the example of something so huge, powerful, and far-reaching seeming at first to be so small, even insignificant. I have long thought that if I lived during the time of Jesus, I would probably not have recognized him as the Messiah. Unfortunately, I can so sympathize with the Pharisees who “knew” what they were looking for – a military and political leader who would guide the Israelites to victory over the Romans in true Old Testament style. Big, visible, immediate results. So Jesus’s ministry and message must have seemed not only off the mark but dangerous – “Don’t listen to the man who wants you to wait when we must fight, to trust when we must move, to love when we must conquer, and to continue to hope when the end should be here already!” They must have felt like those little boys, waiting and listening for the explosion; needing some sort of irrefutable evidence that something BIG was happening.
They didn’t know that Jesus’s way was infinitely better. That the effects of his actions – seen and unseen – were farther reaching than they could ever imagine. That Jesus’s intention was not to glorify Israel but to glorify his Father, so that all who know Him can bask in the glow of that glory. That he did not mean to conquer Rome but to conquer death. That He was paving the way toward the day when he himself will dry every tear from the eyes of his people.
Of course, there are parts of this plan that I don’t pretend to understand. More time waiting and hoping has meant more time for people to experience pain, betrayal, hunger, death. More time for us to struggle in a world marred by sin and brokenness. When I think about this reality, I want to shout “Lord Jesus, come quickly!” And yet, on a day like today I see that the snow has melted and small signs of spring are beginning to bud. And it makes me think – what a privilege to get to see this winter coming to a close. What a privilege it is to experience first-hand the depth of brokenness, the biting frost of winter, so that I can begin to understand how incredibly penetrating and life-giving is the warmth of Christ’s love. The tree outside covered with pink flowers is reminding me today that Christ died and he rose. In ways visible and invisible, he is making all things new. And when we are able to see the full story, I have confidence that we will look back on that Easter 2000 years ago and feel blown away, dazzled, overwhelmed by the gravity of that event. Happy Easter indeed.