Bread – Mirage

May 9, 2014


Readings for Friday, May 9, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Exod. 24:1-18; Col. 2:8-23; Matt. 4:12-17; Psalm 105

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In our childhood readings, we get introduced to the concept of mirages, fake images of an oases which appear while we are in the desert, craving water. At the times of our greatest need, we tend to see what we want to see, the image, the mirage, rather than what is real. We know that the image of the oasis is not the oasis itself, and that in grasping the smoke and mirrors of our mind’s invention, we grasp at despair. Pitiful is the person who is in the desert, alone, without water, with the image of hope ahead but without the reality.

Isn’t much of life figuring out whether what we are chasing is merely a mirage or is the real McCoy? How can we tell the difference, until we reach the end and discover that the place we are chasing contains nothing but sand or refreshing water?

So-called scientists among us would say that we of faith are chasing a mere mirage of faith, a necessary creation of our own minds while we are in the desert of life, something to chase after, only to be disappointed in the end. These people say that the reality is that we are in a hot, desert, wasteland with nothing to drink … and that is the way we will die. Nothing but the grave and dust, but at least they can “see clearly” and they are not fooled by mirages.

People of faith, on the other hand, some with and others without logic point to all of the evidences of God and say that people who perceive in all these proofs the absence of God are chasing their own mirage, their own will-o-the-wisps. For people of faith, the claim that man is god (or that there is no god, which is the same thing) is the ultimate mirage. The ultimate mirage is that we are in control, that we can cheat death.

What is worse is that we will warp reality to fit our mirage. For example, a man of faith might ignore good medicine because his god will answer all of his prayers, not realizing that he has slipped into the mirage of self, that our desires trump God’s sovereignty. On the other hand, the man of “science” might very well reject the real water which will give him life because he just “knows” that he is in a desert with no way out.

Another way of asking how we know if we are just seeing a mirage is to ask how we know what is real. Some people would say that the only reality is what we can see, touch, feel, hear, or smell. This is a closed box approach to life. To these people, there is no “outside the room.” Then there are people who realize that there is much evidence of there being something outside the room, which is not us (we are inside the room). How do figure out who is outside the room?

Luckily, we have a message from that person, called the Bible (or Scripture). In that big message, there is a small message about mirages today. It says “They [human precepts and teachings] have the appearance of wisdom … but they are of no value…” Col. 2:23 [speaking more precisely about man-made religious practices].

So, are you following a mirage or reality? I would say that only you can, but that is not true, at least for those who follow the man-mirage. The reason is really simple – “If you believe there is no God because you follow the mirage of man as god, then how will you ever not-know that?”

We are all in the desert, thirsty for water. While we are marching toward the mirage of our invention, how will we ever see the reality of the living water offered to us by the Creator, Jesus Christ? We can’t unless we are given eyes to see and ears to hear. We can’t unless God in His sovereign power mercifully gives us that ability. We can’t unless the God of the Universe snatches us.

How do I know there is someone on the other side of the wall? Because, by His grace, I have seen Him.

As Jesus said in today’s reading, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Indeed it is. Indeed it is.

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© 2014 GBF

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