I once wrote a poem that began:
“Why are there 7 holes in my head?”
The answer to that question (in prosaic terms) is “To take in God and be transformed and show Him to the world.” One way of looking at the purpose of mankind is to examine our lives in terms of being made in the image of God. God created us in His image and placed us in His Garden (while the dew is still on the roses, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known – Wait! scratch that!) We are to eat His sacramental food from that Garden that comes from the world He created and that is transformed into us after we eat and digest it. Taking the energy and life from that food, we are to go out and transform the world, taking dominion over it and being fruitful and multiplying.
Though we got ourselves kicked out of the Garden of Eden a long time ago, God has now re-opened Paradise for business. We learned this when Jesus resurrected from the tomb that had been our home (when, like the demoniac, we were not yet clothed and in our right minds), having been resurrected into a garden (Mary mistakes Him for the gardener.) And so we’ve been restored to God’s image, re-made in His image, and now it’s time to return to our original God-given task of taking dominion over the world and being fruitful and multiplying.
But because of that nasty little speed bump called the Fall, the original commandment in Genesis 1 is now more difficult, but the commandment remains. Now, it’s not enough to simply be fruitful and multiply, as if simply having children is enough. Now we are commanded to take dominion by spreading God’s kingdom, which happens every time we obey Him and every time we proclaim Him. The Great Commission, therefore, is the renewal of God’s original commandment to us, and it is the commandment to be fruitful and multiply by making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Having said all of this, what we take into those 7 holes in our heads is extremely important. What we take into those 7 holes is our daily bread, the raw material of our lives that we transform into our lives. The old saying, “You are what you eat” turns out to be true. Every computer programmer knows this (and parents should, too): “GI/GO. Garbage in, garbage out.”
For this reason, Jesus teaches, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body is also full of darkness.” The eye, like the lamp, is not the light itself, but the instrument by which the light is received and spread. When your eye is healthy, you can see and make use of the light and walk in light (instead of into walls and cars and other people). The eye allows the light in – but it also allows in darkness, if we so choose. Whatever we choose enters into us and becomes a part of us.If, with our eyes, we choose to focus on pornography, then pornography becomes a part of our daily bread. It enters in through the eye (and every sensory organ is connected not only to the brain but also to the soul) and, like food, becomes a part of you. If you choose to focus your eyes on material possessions, then that lust for material possessions becomes a part of you, and visions of houses or cars or technologies dance in our heads.
But whatever goes in through the 7 holes in your head becomes a part of you, and whatever becomes a part of you will be reflected back to the world. The world is already receiving you, loud and clear. The people around you are already receiving and interpreting the signals you are sending them about who you are, what you care about, and what your life means.
What do you think they see?
When you eat the bread of God, which is to see Him and hear Him and taste and breathe Him, when you take God into you through all of the means by which He offers Himself to you, He becomes a part of you. He promises to come in and clean that den of thieves that you call your Self and turn it back into the house of God. Jackie likes to watch some of the HGTV shows in which they take a house and transform it into something more glorious. There’s a whole litany of them now, and I’ve even begun to enjoy them myself.
But God is hosting the ultimate Trading Spaces show or Before or After show. He wants you to trade the jagged rocks and tombs into which you were born for a mansion in heaven with Him.
When you eat God’s food, by which He offers Himself to you, you are to become more like Him. In fact, you are to take that food and allow God to use it to transform you into a creature of light, so that the light that is God is the light that you take into yourself which becomes the light that is reflected back to the world, from which your food came.
How brightly is the light that is in you shining? Is the lamp that God has lit within you being hidden under a bushel? If so, that sounds like a fire hazard to me, and maybe you’d better reconsider because the fire and light that we receive from God is not something to play with.
Consider, therefore, what you take into you and what you are becoming, for whatever you take into yourself and whatever becomes a part of you will be reflected back to the world. “Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.”
Prayer: Father, I thank You that You who are Yourself Light and dwell in unapproachable light sent Your Son to come into the world to be the Light of the World. As You offer Yourself to me each day, I ask that You would give me a hunger for You so that, seeing You who are light, I might be made a child of light. I ask that my light would so shine before men that they might see my good works and glorify you. Amen.
Resolution and Point for Meditation: I resolve to examine myself today: what I am taking into me, and what I am reflecting back to the world. From this meditation, I resolve to find one practical way to put what I have learned into action today.
© 2015 Fr. Charles Erlandson