Sunday, December 23, 2007

What's the Measure of Your Heart?

"A heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others." The Wizard of Oz (to the Tin Man)

Are you lovable? None of us are intrinsically lovable. One might wonder if the Wiz even had it right. It's true that we are commanded by Christ to love, but is that the measure of our heart?

I've been editing a video of our recent Christmas Concert at church. Right now, I'm waiting for the final cut of the second piece to export. It has 40 more minutes. What's missing from it is some fantastic camera work done by a girl studying cinematography in college. She even brought a good high-definition video camera from school. it uses the same miniDV tapes that mine does. When she was done, she gave me the tapes. I took them home and found out that the high-def format isn't playable on my camera. There was no way for me to capture the video she took with her camera.

We met at church, she with her camera and I with my laptop and had a capture party. After fiddling with the hardware to get the computer to recognize the camera, we were off. We captured all the video and I got to see the great closeups she got. A few hours later we were finished and I had some great video saved to files on my hard drive - or so I thought. When I got home, I found the files and tried to play them. They were blank except for some video that she shot with my camera. The format wasn't compatible with my software. I just don't have the capacity to process high-definition video. The greatest video I have are clips I can't use. All that work for nothing.

What is the measure of the value of the video? Is it merely utilitarian? That's what I'm tempted to say here. The high-def clips are useless. They exceed the capacity of the program. They outshine the quality of the other video but no one will ever see them. I have the tapes and no means to play them or use them. They will not make the final cut. However, their value transcends their usefulness. In them is encoded the greatest expression of the Christmas program that I have and I will treasure what they represent.

The pattern of Christ is encoded in creation. The Bible is inerrant and is our certain source of truth. However, truth exists outside the text of the Bible inasmuch as it agrees with the text of the Bible. This truth is to be sought for its intrinsic value. This is why I used the quote from the Wizard of Oz. I'll also use this song from Icicle Works:


My friend and I, were talking one evening,
Beside some burning wood,
Trading tales of places we came upon,
When the times were good,

Spoke of a girl he viewed like no other,
Whom he had come to know,
I swallowed hard and listened intently,
Resigned beside the glow...

Always there, it's standing proudly,
When all else falls down,
It's all around you, didn't it find you,
When you said you couldn't be found,

When love calls me, I will be running swiftly,
To find out just what all the fuss is all about,
Unrelentless, deep in the strangest feelings,
Believe me, love is full of wonderful colour...

I insist that you pick the wrong one,
To preach your theories to,
Simmer down, we'll run for a reason,
To see what faith can do,

Love is a beacon, on the horizon,
Watch when you touch down,
Reality finds you fumbling for reasons,
when the chance comes 'round

Take my confidence to guide you,
Through the fallen hope inside you,
Love is full of wonderful colour



Who knows precisely what the composer really meant by these words. This is a style of writing that is often nebulous although it sounds deep. however, there are some things to note that are pertinent to my observation here. Although, "a girl he viewed like no other" seems to indicate that the value is in the one who loves, he's talking about being loved: "didn't it find you, When you said you couldn't be found". "Take my confidence to guide you, through the fallen hope inside you." While these words can be interpreted different ways, the measure of our heart is not in that we love, but that we are loved. When we have hope in no other and when we are alone in this world, the value of our heart is in the love that we are given by God.

I love the word "confidence". We usually attribute this to someone who is self-assured. However, the word literally means "with faith". In whom do we have faith? If we measure the value of our heart by our own capacity to love, we have faith in ourselves. If we measure the value of our heart by how much we are loved, we have faith in another. "...we'll run for a reason, To see what faith can do, Love is a beacon, on the horizon." Do we operate according to our own capacity to understand or do we have a sure source of guidance?

I'm not referencing the Bible for a reason here. This is a truth that is easily found in the Bible. Do you know it well enough to find it in there? If not, then perhaps you don't know the love that God has for you. It is a truth that is pervasive enough for the Wizard of Oz to pick up on it as well as the decidedly secular New Age band, Icicle Works.

God loves you enough to come to this world in the person of the Son, born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. He loves you enough to pay the penalty for your inability to love and your status as one who is unlovable. Nevertheless, He loves you. The value of your heart is contingent not on your failed attempts at love, but on God's perfect love for you. The value of your heart is not contingent on a truth that you can invent on your own, but on the truth the God gives us. Pick up the Bible and learn the truth about His love if you don't already know it.

God bless you this Christmas season.

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