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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Oscar...for achievement in the Christian faith

Oscar Time Again……The Envelope Please (drum roll)

 So I heard the Oscars were going to be on.  I was a little disappointed, though, when it turned out they didn't end with Grouch, Madison, De La Renta, or Mayer!  Turned out they were talking about the little trophies movie stars give one another to honor those they believe did the best job, as well as a time to show off obscenely expensive clothing (which is sometimes just obscene), and to receive adulation that borders on idolatry.  (This year, though, some are saying that political correctness was also part of the decision making process, as certain films were neglected that maybe should not have been.  I don’t know, just passing on things I hear and see.) 

Anyway, got to thinking about some of those awards, and made me think of some others.  What if there were such awards given out for achievement in the Christian faith, what kinds of things would we see?  (And let’s acknowledge right up front, there ARE awards going to be given, because God has said that He will…..but the list may not be what even some Christians would expect, at least not based on the highlights in Hebrews 11 or Jesus’ comments about those who THOUGHT they would get the honors but won’t.)

So let’s have some fun, shall we?  The first category could be, “best picture.”  The nominees would have to include things like the image of Noah trying to deal with all those animals in that little bitty boat, the conception of using a giant fish of some sort to transport Jonah from the Tarshish area over to Nineveh (imagine the sunbathers who were watching when the fish spit him out....clearly a comic moment to remember), and the expression on the face of the Babylonian king as he observes Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego walking around in a fiery furnace with an unexpected friend!  However, it seems to me that only God can win best picture, because at the moment of creation, after spinning the stars into space and casting the seas into the oceans, God’s pronouncement was that it was very good.  And all of us who have gazed at the night skies, relished the blossoms of the flowers, enjoyed the shifting hues of the sunrise or sunset skies…..we all know there is nothing that can compare.

Best actor.  Hmmm.  Without mentioning any names, I wonder if this would go to those people we know who pretend to be such great Christians, but really only live selfishly for themselves and don’t really let God change their hearts at all.  Or maybe it ought to go to Satan, who sometimes disguises himself as an angel of light, convincing us that the temptations he offers are really good, and won’t hurt us at all.  He certainly has a lot of takers.  Maybe the best actor could go to Jesus, who took on human flesh, who took on the form of weakness, who accepted the role of victim, even though He was God Almighty and could have stepped out of his circumstances at any moment….even on the cross.  He played the role assigned to Him with perfection….eventually leading to the surprise ending of a grand finale resurrection….one day to be followed by the sequel of a return to earth in power and in glory (release date yet to be announced). 

How about best supporting actor?  That would need to go to people who, like Barnabas and Andrew in the New Testament, give their lives to helping others succeed.  People who feel no need to be in the limelight, people who do not care if anybody notices the good things they do, people whose greatest joy is to see things go well for somebody else.  Maybe it ought to go do the Holy Spirit, because according to John 16, this supporting role is the role of the Spirit.  The work of the Spirit as described there is to glorify Jesus.  Maybe that is the way each of us ought to be pursuing best supporting actor ourselves.  Nope, you know who it would have to be?  The widow that Jesus brags on there in the temple…the one who put two copper coins into the offering, because they were her last two coins….all she had to live on, but she believed supporting the work of God was more important than buying herself some groceries.  I have known folks like that, too.

Best director?  Hands down, that has to be God.  Who else could send a vain guy like Joseph captive into an Egyptian prison so that, years later, he will be able to rule the land and save the family from famine.  Who else could capture a city by sending his army to march around it until the walls fall down?  Who else could take a cast of hundreds of thousands and provide for them as they wander through a desert, or feed thousands with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread?  Or think of all the ways God has done something in your life that, at the time, you didn’t even realize it was God’s doing.  I think I’ll just give this one to Him, because to make a list would be endless.

Best musical score?  Modern praise music?  Old time hymns?  Handel’s “Messiah”?  I don’t know, the songs of the Psalms are pretty good.  And I really like that choir of Jehoshaphat’s who sang their way into battle.  Deborah, Moses, Miriam, Servant Songs of Isaiah……I think I have to give best musical score to the angels on the night of Jesus birth:  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among men of His good pleasure,” in Luke chapter two. 

Well, as I said before, the things God celebrates in Hebrews 11 are not the same things as most people here on earth find so compelling.  But since God is the final judge of it all, it is the envelope He has written into that is the only one that really matters.  Although, my wife showed me something really cool called the Movieguide awards, which seek to support and honor those who make inspirational and uplifting kinds of films that are family friendly and teach good values.  Supposedly, some call them the “Christian Oscars.”  You can google it yourself…..kind of interesting, especially when you discover that those kinds of films actually make the best money, too. 

Enough of all of this.  Personally, I am glad the hooplah is over, and that, if it is your thing, you enjoyed this year’s Oscars.  In Hollywood or here on my blog!  As for myself, I’m still pretty torn between Oscar the Grouch and Oscar Madison.  Will have to let you know how it turns out.

TL:dr  Honoring award winning acts of God and His people, and imagining the Oscars God might give out.  

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