Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Man

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings  
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas. – Psalm 8:3-8

The writer of Hebrews quotes from these verses in Psalm 8 then considers:

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.  But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:8-9)

All of creation is destined to be ruled by man, the being made in the image and likeness of God, but our experience is that we do not yet see everything under our control.  As I look around, I think the human race is going out of its way to prove that we are not up to the job. 

Our present world system is not the first to fail in this.  The spiraling tale of history is longer than we can perceive in either direction.  There will be a winnowing, a planting and another season to come.  I see very few to whom I would trust power of any sort.  We are all still too easily corrupted. 

I know some people who cast their own lead bullets.  Pure lead melts at 621 degrees Fahrenheit.  I have heard it claimed – I personally doubt it, and I’m not about to test it – that a person can stick his finger in a pot of molten lead without being burned, so long as the finger is perfectly clean.  If the slightest bit of dirt is on the skin, however, it will burn to the bone.   

Power is a lot like that.  It will latch onto any flaw in a person’s character and eat its way into the heart.  The Incarnation shows us the potential in man.  It also shows us the path we have to walk to exercise that potential, a razor’s edge of perfect obedience, the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross. 

Jesus is Lord.  He is the Last Adam, the Second Man, the federal head of a new race spreading slowly out from the Place of the Skull to the stars.  He has made that impossible transit of faith, walking the razor's edge as He walked on the water.  He has passed through the fire and not been burned.  When we put on Christ, we may follow where He has gone before.  In Him we have died, and in Him we are raised.  With Christ we were buried, and with Christ we will reign. 


julie said...

Re. the lead test, it makes for a great metaphor, but I'd be very surprised if reality backs that up. I'd love to see some science on that - perhaps a test done using some sort of proxy for clean vs. unclean flesh.

But that's a digression; great post, as always.

mushroom said...

I couldn't really imagine a reason for it.

I suppose because it is so dense, even melted, maybe isn't a very good conductor of heat, and there's enough moisture on the skin surface to kind of form a shell. The 98 degree digit cools the lead it comes in contact with faster than the lead heats the finger. But then I don't see what difference the dirt would make.

I'll leave that one to the Mythbusters.

Rick said...

Great post.

"...without being burned..."

When I was a teen working the fry-a-laters at Burger World, the fry tongs slipped from my fingers and I went after the them. I didn't realize I entered the oil until I was about 3 inches into it. You know, I still remember what it felt like. For a few seconds it was almost a very pleasant sensation. Like warn honey. Luckily the manager that night saw me do it and told me to go quickly run cool water over my fingers for a good while. He said this was to counteract the progress of the heat traveling through the flesh. He was right. Had I done nothing, the burn and pain would have been much worse. So it may be true about the lead at least in terms of how it feels for some short duration. I forget if we even knew how hot the fry-a-laters got. I think the dial just went to "On".

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Power is a lot like that. It will latch onto any flaw in a person’s character and eat its way into the heart. The Incarnation shows us the potential in man. It also shows us the path we have to walk to exercise that potential, a razor’s edge of perfect obedience, the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross."

Amen! I would trust power to a humble person who doesn't want that power rather than someone who seeks it.

mushroom said...

Hot grease is bad stuff.

That reminds of a few months back when my nephew was welding up something for me and caught his shirt on fire. It took him a while to notice. I felt bad because it burned him, and ruined his shirt. But it was still funny.

Ben, I agree. The first qualification for a political office ought to be that the person doesn't want the job.