Sunday, September 4, 2016

Meeting Jesus at Glasgow Airport

I read a book called “Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport” (Richard Mouw). The scene when I was departing Glasgow airport to return to my adopted Australia reminded me of this book that addresses how Calvinists live in accordance with their worldview.

My wife, two brothers, a sister, and their partners, and a nephew and I were all sitting in a circle in bucket seats having a coffee before my wife and I were to take to the skies after spending a month with them in Scotland.

I’m usually nervous about flying (and/or roller-coaster rides!), so I welcomed the conversation I had with my eldest brother as a nice distraction. The dialogue went deep. I felt as if I should have been engaging with the others too, but my big brother had my almost undivided attention. He wanted to get the (Dooyeweerdian) point across that theology and its propositions is not God, but only one of many pointers to God. In other words, we can become guilty of confusing a signpost for the actual destination, an analogy for the reality.

I asked my brother if the Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (i.e., the famous “This is Not a Pipe”) painting illustrated what he was driving at. The point being that an actual pipe and a painting of a pipe are two different things. We discussed how God reveals Himself by way of analogy, i.e., through the things He has made and also what He has said in written revelation, the Bible.

We sipped on our coffees as airport announcements interrupted our verbal interaction. As the precious minutes ticked away, lest I missed his (or Dooyeweerd’s) point, he put his hand on my arm and referred to the Bible passage where Jesus said to Martha after her brother Lazarus had died, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” My brother said that Martha was thinking in terms of theology, i.e., propositional truth. She knew about the resurrection that will take place at the last day. This is what the Bible teaches.

However, Martha was missing the point, a major point. And, so that I would not miss it too, my big brother began yanking on my arm while saying the words Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection…” Jesus was saying that He is not a theological proposition, a painting of Himself, a signpost, a mere analogy. He was saying, I AM the resurrection!”

Wow! I felt as if I really met Jesus at Glasgow Airport.

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