40 Days On the Edge (Day 17): "Epi-Knowledge"
40 Days On the Edge (Day 19): Finding Sabbath

40 Days On the Edge (Day 18): Orphans Of God

sky If you consider the praise that Paul gives in Ephesians 1:3-14, you may experience a disconnect between his experience and your own.  I do.  Paul praises God "who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:3).  It's reminiscent of Peter's confident assertion in 2 Peter 1:3, where he says that "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. . . ."  These are unequivocal statements of every, and all: nothing has been withheld from us.

As Stephen Smallman says, "[w]e have been adopted into the richest family in the universe and we are constantly lamenting our poverty!"  What Paul prays for through all these Prison Epistles is that we would know what we have in Christ, that we would know who we are.  It's as if when we read Scripture God is reminding us who we are, and when we walk away from it, He says "Remember who you are."  More than that, He is saying "Act like who you are."  But this is really our life purpose, to discover the essence of God and, in the process, discover the essence of who we are.

Singer-songwriter Mark Heard grasped what it would be like to go through life having the riches of Christ and yet acting like an orphan:

I will rise from my bed with a question again
As I work to inherit the restless wind
The view from my window is cold and obscene
I want to touch what my eyes haven't seen

But they have packaged our virtue in cellulose dreams
And sold us the remnants 'til our pockets are clean
Til our hopes fall 'round our feet
Like the dust of dead leaves
And we end up looking like what we believe

We are soot-covered urchins running wild and unshod
We will always be remembered as the orphans of God
They will dig up these ruins and make flutes of our bones
And blow a hymn to the memory of the orphans of God

Like bees in a bottle we are flying at fate
Beating our wings against the walls of this place
Unaware that the struggle is the blood of the proof
In choosing to believe the unbelievable truth

But they have captured our siblings and rendered them mute
They've disputed our lineage and poisoned our roots
We have bought from the brokers who have broken their oaths
And we're out on the streets with a lump in our throats

We are soot-covered urchins running wild and unshod
We will always be remembered as the orphans of God
They will dig up these ruins
And make flutes of our bones
And blow a hymn to the memory of the orphans of God

(Mark Hear, from Satellite Sky)

When I listen to the small but beautiful catalog of music Mark left us, I sense that he struggled in his relatively short life with realizing the riches he had in Christ, sometimes feeling like an orphan.

I'm not an orphan.  I've chosen to believe the unbelievable truth.  I just need to remember who I am.

Listen to mark Heard's "Orphans of God" here:

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