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Different spiritual gifts

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. — 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

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Remember What World You Live In

Sleeper in a different world

Startled by an unfamiliar sound, you awaken on a soft bed of moss in an unfamiliar forest.  Your pulse quickens and your mind races.  Where are you?  How did you get here?  Where are your loved ones?  Are they safe?  How can you get home?  Is somebody watching you?  Will the person — or people! — who brought you here return?  Who dressed you?  Why did they leave you alone?

After this initial burst of panic, you realize you are thirsty, and the soothing sound of water churning over rocks draws your attention to a nearby stream.  The water is clear and cool, so you drink.

The sunlight sparkling in the ripples turns your eyes toward the sky.  Deep blue.  The air is perfectly comfortable.

The comfort of your skin reaches your ears, and you become aware of the sound of birds. Vaguely, you remember reading somewhere that chirping birds are an ancient sign of safety from predators.

Looking for the birds, you spot nearby trees and bushes bursting with fruit, including your favorite. You hadn’t realized your hunger until the moment its answer had appeared, and so you eat. The pleasure of the taste fulfills more than your belly.

As you reach for more, you feel a soft pressure on your leg. A friendly representative of your favorite kind of animal has appeared to investigate and befriend you.

Now you spot an inviting path into the trees, and you are about to explore when you hear what sounds like gunshots. They are in the distance but unmistakable. Hunters? An explosion insists on something worse, and then the sounds of screams and shouts. The forest darkens as a cloud covers the sun.

Before you have answered what next, a persistent buzz assaults your ears. Turning slowly, you find a horror hovering before your face. A thing, a mechanical bug thing glares at you through a single camera lens, and as your eyes focus, you see a menacing needle jutting out from below the glass. It drips a sickly green fluid, and though you do not look, you imagine the drop steams when it hits the ground.

A harsh voice barks from the bug thing:  “Follow the drone.”  You cannot do otherwise than obey.

The country that you gradually discover is full of despair and suffering, its people oppressed. Although the sun still shines, the haze of living strain saps it of its enlivening power. A sense of dread overruns every scene, robbing water of its ability to refresh, food of its flavor, and companionship of its comfort. But a hint of hope persists in a mystery.

Gradually, you discover that you are the child of an absent king, and although he’s let this country go wild, he has promised to reclaim it. Responding to the call of this adventure, you resolve to kindle and enflame the hope so that others do not let their temporary despair lead them to irredeemable ways of looking at life.

The world is not a paradise, even though — at times — the possibility seems tantalizingly close, but neither is it a dystopia, even though the hope of a better life can flicker as if it might be extinguished. You tell them that the light can never fail; it is always there if only you remember what world you live in.


Featured image by Justin Katz using Dall-E 3.