Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Midnight Inspiration by Herman Melville :)

I read this excerpt from Moby Dick last night: 

"They were one man, not thirty. For as the one ship that held them all; though it was put together of all contrasting things -- oak, and maple, and pine wood; iron, and pitch, and hemp -- yet all these ran into each other in the one concrete hull, which shot on its way, both balanced and directed by the long central keel; even so, all the individualities of the crew, this man's valor, that man's fear; guilt and guiltiness, all varieties were welded into oneness and were all directed to that fatal goal which Ahab their one lord and keel did point to."
-Herman Melville
Moby Dick

This quote may not sound especially soul stirring or inspirational to you in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon, but let me shine some light on it to let you know what I saw in it as I lay in bed reading on a Tuesday night, half dosing off, before finally throwing up the white flag, turning off my green goose neck lamp on my night stand and letting the veil of darkness that covered me along with my 6 blankets {hey, its cold here in Texas these days!} work its magic on my brain that was slowly beginning to stew over those 104 words. Had it been any other night, I might have let that paragraph flow together with the rest of the epic tale of that sea captain, Ahab, that so desperately against all odds strove to slay that infamous White Whale. But for whatever reason, my imaginative mind would not let the thought waves that were crashing against the shore of the front of my head go quietly back into the vast ocean of my subconscious, no. As I lay quietly, occasionally adjusting my pillow just in case I wanted to give up all hope on my stirring brain and bury those thoughts in the grave of much needed sleep that covers all sane musings with dramatic dreams made out of left over thought currents that usually tie themselves together in difficult knots of strangeness and fantasy.
So, what was I thinking? Or what was it that quite literally jumped out at me, rather?
This quote plucked out of the pages of that novel that is arguably one of Mr. Melville's greatest works, as well as one of the hall of fame residents of American Literature made me think of none other than the Body of Christ. The description of that ship, made out of an assortment of woods of all different kinds of hardness, quality, color, etc. coming together to make one sea-worthy vessel. And then the comparison between it and the very crew that stood on that deck that had become like one, driven by one goal. To kill aforementioned White Whale. But wait, if I wasn't mistaken, that was Ahab's goal. Yet they all strove for its fruition as if it was the song of the depths of each of their individual souls. Their devotion to Ahab lead to their devotion to reach the destination he so dearly longed for. This wove itself into a beautiful allegory in my mind and reminded me of how, just so, we as the Body of Christ, who in and of our own selves have never desired to do anything but serve ourselves and bring ourselves happiness and yet when we are arrested by the love of Christ we then are driven to follow after Him and accomplish anything and everything that He strives to accomplish. And so, with that thought came this poem...hope I haven't lost you in that outpouring of random words. ;)

"For as we have members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another."
Romans 12:4-5

The Bible calls us the Body of Christ
An individual unit, though many the members
We’re fashioned as one seamless form with one passion
Like a giant flame made of countless hot embers

We’re called to have love, resulting in peace
We’ve been forgiven so much, God expects us to show it
 But there’s a frightening thing that creeps in unannounced
This thing is called “discord”, and I think we all know it

Discord is fed by large helpings of self
Simmered over the fires of our natures of sin
Eventually it’s topped with hatred and anger
Bitterness and resentment are soon sprinkled in

We might be thinking unison, but God desires for us unity
We have singularity: the same Lord, purpose, and goal
But let’s put down our fingers, pointing outward to blame
And focus more on what Scripture says is our role

We don’t need our rulers, stop measuring her skirt
Instead let’s open those God-breathed out pages
Let’s measure instead hearts and fruit by His standards
  Trusting His guidance because He is Rock of Ages

Let’s silence our whispers about this one or that one
Joining together in one loud jubilant voice
Praising our God who has blessed everyone of us
With blessings unfathomable causing great need to rejoice

Yes, we are all different in various types, various ways
We will never be exactly like anyone else
Does that bring us to the feet of the God who put us together?
Or does it drive us deeper into the pit of ourselves?

The gospel that is precious to all of the saints
Speaks of that sacrifice to which, by faith, we all cling
The Christ that is God, that we serve and we honor
Has, by His actions, taught us a staggering thing

He was and is perfect, Just, Holy, and God
But He subjected Himself to the violent hands of mere men
And we, who are nothing in comparison, truly
Act like we deserve much better than Him

How wrong we are, brethren!
If only we could all learn to see
That He was trying to tell us something
When He hung, dying on that tree

When we focus on the sin natures that we all sadly have
It’s hard to think of living harmoniously with ease
But if we refocused on the undeserved shared stamp of His grace
We might then know how it is that we can strive together in peace

©by Allix Ryan Brunson 2/8/12