Faintly imitating Christ’s matchless pedagogy, consider the following illustrations as parables of the Christian life.
The fifth is from creation. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods all share a common destructive trait: they so alter geographic features that people lose their way, even in well-known neighborhoods.
The people of Chicago lost those essential features in the great fire, October, 1871. The morning after the burning stopped, thousands walked the mile-wide, four mile long expanse of extinction. Since 73 miles of streets and over 17,000 buildings had disappeared, they couldn’t find homes or businesses. Landmarks had vanished. Great Chicago Fire, 188-189.
Spiritual Landmarks are absolutely essential in life. Because Jesus Christ is God’s Eternal Landmark, the great colossus cleaving history, and God’s final word to humanity, his believers KNOW their way through life. Indeed, we always know WHO we are by WHOSE we are. He remains the only spiritual Landmark by whom we have sure and certain anchors in life, from whom we always take our spiritual bearings.
Pity those who reject him for any other landmark. For he alone remains now and forever as God’s TRUE POINT of reference.
The sixth is from the Civil War.
President Lincoln often noted that Ward Hill Lamon was obsessed with protecting him from assassination. On the night of Lincoln’s re-election, Lamon visited John Hay, one of the President’s private secretaries. After a long discussion, Hay offered Lamon a bed in his quarters. Lamon refused, took instead a glass of whiskey and a blanket, went to the President’s door, wrapped himself in his clothes, laid a number of weapons close by and kept watch. Hay considered it a “touching and dumb fidelity.” War Years III, 586.
Why call it “dumb” as if, like an animal, Lamon protected his President? Why not call it “intense loyalty to the man”? After all, eleven of the Twelve disciples felt such allegiance to Jesus. Was it just “dumb fidelity”? To him they gave themselves unreservedly. They believed HIM, even when they didn’t understand him, when he bewildered them, corrected them, astounded them. Was that “dumb fidelity” or “spiritual enlightenment”?
Can we say we believe Jesus Christ as they did—as God’s Son and our Lord—whatever happens, whoever disagrees, despite any price we pay to be his? Do we commit ourselves to him, knowing we can never be wrong because he’s always right?
The seventh is from geography.
The earliest white exploration of America kept uncovering lands west in the trackless wilderness: French voyageurs, British explorers, American trappers. Wherever they traveled, and whatever stories they heard, they kept hearing one name—of one river—that supposedly led to the Great Pacific waters. That river was the Missouri. The one constant in all the speculation. The one name that finally proved true. That led Lewis and Clark west by north and finally to the Columbia and on to the great Salt Water. Westward Vision, 24
Jesus Christ is the Reality behind all the religious speculation in the world, in history, in our time. And every December, at this time of the year as Christians celebrate his birth, let it remind us that He hasn’t left. He’s still here. He’s never leaving. He hasn’t abdicated his throne. He’s the one in charge. He can’t be dismissed. We can’t avoid him. We must come to terms with him. And we better get used to it, America! – Finis –