Bread – Sinewave

June 12, 2015


Readings for Thursday, June 11, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: *; 2 Cor. 12:1-10; Luke 19:28-40; Psalms 70, 71, 74

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I don’t know if “sine” and “wave” can be combined to form a single word, “sinewave,” but I did it anyway for today’s Bread.

When I was first introduced to sine waves in college, I always thought they were neat. There is the curve which goes up to the top, beginning slowly and then speeding up at first and then slower, followed by the crash to the bottom, slow at first and then faster – only to reach the bottom and repeat the process. There was always a middle point, a line, around which the sinewave would go up and down.

In our readings today from both Luke and 2 Corinthians, both Paul and Luke report the existence of lives lived around the cycle of ups and downs, where the ups are really high and the downs are really low.

In Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, he describes the height of being caught up in the third heaven, into paradise, where he experience things and heard things which were too wonderful and powerful to be repeated. He then goes on to describe the valley which followed, where he was given a “thorn .. in the flesh,” which was so bad that he prayed three times to be relieved from it, only to hear from God …”No.”

In Luke’s gospel, Luke recounts Jesus’ grand entry into Jerusalem where he was given a king’s reception by the crowd, throwing their cloaks on the road and proclaiming “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” Lk. 19:38. Of course we know that from this high point on the sine wave of life, Jesus crashes to the lowest point on the cross, abandoned by all after having been praised by all.

There are some who believe that the Christian life involves the leveling out of the sinewave of experience, putting us into a warm soup of friendship, joy, hope, blessing, and love. Instead the exact opposite is true. The Christian life accentuates the sinewave, taking us to unimaginable heights of revelation and glory and bringing us back to the crassness of our own sin and the sorrowful state of the world around us. The Christian whom God has freed from death to live now lives on the edge because, in his or her ability to love mightily, he or she has the opportunity to ascend to greatest heights and to descend to the greatest depths.

But as I mentioned before, the sinewave operates around a center point, a line. If that line is Christ, the highs may be higher and the lows may be lower, but the sinewave itself is stable because it is rotating around a stable center, a sure promise. In fact, if one were to stand off from our lives in Christ and look at them in time, one would realize that the line around which the highs and lows of life operates is actually ascending. From beginning to end that line runs toward that place of the saints, from dust to eternal life. The lows of the valleys may be low, but they are never quite as low as they were before Christ. The elevator so to speak is going up, so that maybe all we can see is that particular place on the sinewave we are (going up either slow or fast or going down either slow or fast), but what we cannot see but sense is that the center line is rising.

On the other hand, if we do not have Christ as our center line, we are still rotating around a center, but our highs are lower and our lows are lower still until we hit bottom – judgment and eternal death.

We may want to level out the highs and the lows because both are scary places to be for different reasons, but the fact is that God the Father even today in His Word shows us that neither Paul, His apostle, nor Jesus, His Son, were spared the sinewave of life. So our life will have its ups and downs no matter what.

The question is not whether we will have highs and lows. The question is the direction of the line around which the sinewave moves. Is it going up, down, or nowhere?

In our reading from Psalm 70 today, the psalmist says “Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me!” Ps. 70:1 How often have we said that when we are so high up on the top of the sinewave that we are fearful of crashing? How often have we said that when we are so low at the bottom of the sinewave that we despair of ever returning to normal?

At that time, at the time of crying out to the Lord “Make haste,” is the center line going up, down, or nowhere? The subjective evidence is that it is going down or nowhere.

The objective evidence is that it is going up. Why? Look who you are praying to; look who you are relying upon.

Our feelings about whether we are going up or down in life are merely based upon where on the particular sine wave we are today and are therefore untrustworthy measures of our real direction.

The only real measure of our real direction is who we are asking to “make haste” to help us.

I can say “O Lord, make haste to help me!” because I am on the up escalator cycling up or down depending upon where on the sinewave of my life I am, but pressing forward to the top floor from whence cometh my help.

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© 2015 GBF

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