Living Life Outside the Box (Part Three)

September 25th, 2015 by Carl Buffington

Outside the Box HS

Seems to me, we somehow think the box, which is quite real, i.e. the one with only X number of breaths for any of us, is really real, will last forever, but another part of us, somewhere deep down, knows it won’t.

Yet we paint it, decorate it, treat it, as if it will, with our cheers or tears for ourselves, others, and the world. And well we should on the one hand, but there is the other hand.

We have beautiful murals of our seasonal conquests while the corruption of days tends to be posted in closets. No matter, as someone once said, it’s all vanity and is soon strutted off stage in a moment.  Gone.  No more.  Just, not.

For some reason we don’t get it, what’s for real and what’s illusory, what matters and what doesn’t. If we are blessed we find ourselves inside this box we call life, and it is. And if truly blessed we may cross paths with Life with a capital L which of course, as we have seen, is the Way out of the box we know so well.

Sometimes, not always of course, but sometimes the way out is found in the way in. If Listening, Looking, Loosing, Longing, and Laying hold of (Gn 3.1-6, and Part Two) is how we built the box, then maybe it’s also the way to the Way, who is the way out.

Let’s give it a try. It’s not really retracing steps, though it does indeed entail a turning around, a turning away, but it is more like a map, a few steps to take to freedom if you will, to, well, get it.

So, ask then, to whom do we listen? The world? The flesh? The devil? He does want our attention and once did quite well at messing us up. Or do we listen to the creator who speaks in his Word, written and living. What/who do we invite into the battleground of our minds?
(Have you ever wondered what “selah” means, which appears in the psalms 70 some times? Best guesses are ‘stop and listen,’ or ‘pause and think of that.’ It could work here.)

And what/where are we looking at/for – things above, things below, things that shimmer and shine for a time, or at/to glory? It’s another doorway to our mind, a window to the soul, the eye. Don’t pluck it out quite yet.
(from Sunday’s gospel from Mk 9.38-50)

What if we loose our hold on this world? Sooner or later we will, some with more ease than others. And to let loose of sin is not something to be lackadaisical about. Better to loose a foot, hand, or eye then hang on to this. Now you can pluck it out.

So then, what do we long for? A world that is passing away or a world that far surpasses all our imaginations? Is it really that simple?

If so, then lay hold, lambano (Greek transliteration) (receive, embrace), it. This is important! Really important! When we do:

For a second time in the history of the world the Lord will breathe breath, spirit, wind, life, ruach, into us, humanity.
He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit." (Jn 20.22)
“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.” (Nicene Creed)
Get it? Get it!

With ruach in us we can leave the box even while in it. We can actually, literally, live inside and outside the box. What’s more we can decorate with colors and images that are really real, i.e. will last when the box is no more. With ruach we can do his will and thus experience the kingdom come on earth as in heaven, and without, we will not let sin loose.

XIII. Of Works before Justification. Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of the Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.
(Articles of Religion BCP p.870)

So, I suppose I am thinking we should get it, i.e. the Way is the way, then get it, i.e. lay hold of ruach, and when we’ve got it, get out of the box and live life, abundant and eternal.
BTW, I’m pretty sure this is God’s idea, not mine.

Blessings to you all,



The Journey From Old to New
April 22, 2016 In Friday Epistles, General
"Come On Baby Light My Fire"
August 15, 2016 In Friday Epistles, General
The Meaning of Life?
January 22, 2016 In Friday Epistles, General

About this author:

Carl Buffington

Carl Buffington

Carl Buffington is a bishop in Anglican Mission International (AMI). He has been in ministry for over forty years. He lives in Florida with his wife Barb and their lively golden retriever, Sammy.

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