Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Visible & Invisible

  • ODB: "We Shall be Changed" (18 May, 2 Cor 4:16-5:18)

    2 Cor 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

    Here is a simple definition of what is eternal and what is temporal: what we can see will one day pass away, but what we cannot see (God's Spirit, Kingdom of God, the human persons) are eternal. That does not mean we can neglect or ignore the visible (physical bodies) because the invisible (persons) can only be made "visible" via the physical bodies.

    It's not a matter of pitting the invisible against the visible, but rather a question of priority. The story of the Thomas DeBaggio who chronicled his own mental deterioration from Alzheimer’s disease tells us that while the priority is the invisible, a deteriorating body (visible) can shut off the person (invisible).

    I always like to think of the human person as a computer: the person's spirit is the microchip. Everything that happens in a person's life is recorded in the memory chip. However, the programs & memory in the microchip is invisible to the external world. It can only be visible if the computer is in good working order. The computer is like our physical body. When it is "healthy", the microchip (spirit) can then make its presence "visible" through the computer monitor (soul or person). The image & sound from the monitor is like the "person" that when animated can communicate with the external world. So, if the brain is degraded by Alzheimer's disease, the spirit (though eternal and unchanging) cannot communicate with the world because the monitor (person) is no longer animated. 

    So, while our priority of ministry is the invisible, we need to take care of the visible while we are in this world to engage the world.

    Father, we thank You have created both the visible and invisible so that we can function effectively in this world. We thank You that one day, even when the visible is destroyed, we will all be restored to a new world order where the visible and invisible will again be reunited in perfect unity. Amen.

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