Sunday, December 26, 2010

Living Backwards in the Upside-down Kingdom

"What I'm about to tell you is true. Anyone who will not receive God's kingdom like a little child will never enter it."  Luke 18:17 NIrV
I fully expect Merlin and his owl to step out of this tree
at any moment! Don't you?
I've told you before that one of my all-time favorite movies is the 1967 musical, Camelot.  In that movie, one of my favorite characters is Merlin, who lives in a tree, keeps a pet owl who sits on his shoulder and has eyes that look like mercury--pure magic to me when I saw Camelot for the first time in the theater, my first movie ever!

In the beginning of the story, a nervous King Arthur finds himself at a loss to know how to do and say the right things to his bride-to-be, and he laments that his teacher, the wizard Merlin, isn't there to tell him what to do.  He tells Guinevere that Merlin "is the wisest man alive--he'd know what to do!  He lives backwards."  She is understandably incredulous, wondering what he could possibly mean.  Arthur explains further, "He doesn't age, he . . . youthens."

Only in Camelot, right?

Not so fast--maybe it's not only in Camelot that it's possible to live backwards.

There is another kingdom, a true Kingdom, with a King who delights in turning the ways of the world upside-down.  Truth be told, it's the world that has things the wrong way up, but since we are so used to living here, we get turned around.  In this great King's right-side-up, upside-down Kingdom, growing up moves backwards.  Unlike here, where growing up means increasing independence on your way to maturity, in the upside-down Kingdom, growing up means depending less and less on yourself and abiding more and more in the King.  In the upside-down Kingdom, the longer you mature, the more childlike you become!  You could think of it as spiritual "youthening."

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15 NIV1984
In the waning days of this year, it's time to reflect on whether I've shown any signs of "youthening" since last year, and to begin to prepare my heart to begin a new year of living backwards in the upside-down Kingdom.

Do you think you're aging, or youthening?
What childlike qualities do you think Jesus had in mind?

I'm joining Ann Voskamp in her counting of the multitude of gifts God bestows everyday!
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!

holy experience


191. Young pastors who stand tall in wisdom and love
192. That when I call to vent sadness and frustration, Daddy calls me higher
193. For Drummer Boy, willing to walk through the fire for the sake of his love for others
194. That She-So-Sweet reminded me about the lunar eclipse in time to take pictures

195. For the Word who set the machine of stars and planets and moons awhirl and keeps it all in perfect motion
196. For even a little bit of wherewith to buy Christmas presents--giving feels so good!
197. Old friends who can't wait to see you
198. A Christmas party where there was no "small talk!"
199. For an acquaintance renewed and his strong encouragement for Drummer Boy
200. For She-So-Sweet's sense of humor and her feisty fun with *his* mom  =)  
201. For the contentment I saw in my children on Christmas morning
202. Windshield wipers
203. Our sure-footed SUV that carries us safely home in the heavy rain
204. For the opportunity to notice and appreciate things we used to take for granted
205. For my precious Savior who gave up so much "for the joy" of not giving us up


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