"Ah Ha" #2

It is now time for the 2nd installment of the “Ah Ha” moments. I hope you enjoy.

1. Have you ever stood somewhere or seen something historically significant and imagined the events that took place there? As I stood in the Circus Maximus, I saw in my mind the crowds rise to their feet in the grandiose arena and roar as the chariots raced around each corner. I pictured Christians being martyred for their faith. And for the first time in my life, while I stood in the exact place of death, excitement, and magnitude, I realized the History of the place actually occurred. I began to understand that History is not just about teachers quizzing students about some random facts that seem to have no importance but it is something real that can teach you about your life, God, and the culture you live in. The same thing can be said for my experience in Pompeii as well (see previous post).

On top of that, this realization about History has helped me understand, just a little, about the struggles I have had in my Christian life. Since I grew up in the church and in a Christian school, I heard the stories of the Bible all the time. By the time I was a junior and senior in high school, it seemed as if I knew everything about the Bible and Christianity and the rules that applied to it. I absorbed the material given to me for the sake of either gaining a “Christly” reputation among my peers and elders or for the sake of making a good grade. I did not understand the gravity of the information itself.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “If the ‘extraordinary’ (righteousness) were important for its own sake, we should, like fanatics, be relying on our own fleshly strength and power, where as the disciple of Jesus acts simply in obedience to his Lord.” To be a Christian is not to be wrapped up with the idea of righteousness or knowing about all the things of the Bible for the sake of it. In its fullness, Christianity means obedience to God, which comes through the realization that what is being told through the stories and parables and letters actually took place on the east part of the Mediterranean coast. Moses, Abraham, the Israelites, Jesus, Paul, and Peter all really did exist and their stories point us to the truth of God. I hope this makes sense. If it doesn’t, sorry.

2. In my last post, I wrote a story about a homeless man who decorated the statues in the airport lobby. There are also many men and women throughout the city of Rome begging for money. I’m always torn on what to do: give them money or look at your feet as you walk by. For one, they could be a scam and they are just trying to rip you off to fill their drug or alcohol addiction. But on the other hand, I am drawn to Jesus’ words in Matthew where he says, “I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink…’Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You’…The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'”And I remember Brian Ward, the youth pastor I worked for, say who are we to judge who is scam or not? We are supposed to be like Jesus.

But my shoes look very nice, though. They are somewhat new.

-Justin

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