"Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven." - 1 Corinthians 15:49
We are reminded of promises given, and what it is like to live in anticipation of their fulfillment, even as we wait. This verse in 1 Corinthians 15 is a promise set in a whole chapter full of promises.
It is just what a promise should be. It starts with "Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust..." I hear those words, and they are describing me. They are describing my reality. They are naming the world in which we live. I need that acknowledgement, if I am to trust what follows. I need the verification that the distance between where we are and the fulfillment of the promise is that great. In other words, I need recognition that the promise is just that audacious.
Without it, the great reticence says: "You think we can be taken from A to B, because you don't understand how far we are from A. We will never reach A, must less B. We need the kind of transformation that could take us from A to Z!" But the image of the man of dust? Yes, that is where we are. I bear it every day. We all do. We bear it in our frailty, in all we cannot do, in every way that we wound each other, half-intentionally and half-unintentionally. We bear the image of the man of dust. Yes, you understand.
What's that you say? We are just as sure to bear another image? No longer the man of dust, but the man of heaven? The image of Jesus? Can it be? As we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
One of my projects during our time in the US has been to record a batch of songs written during our time in Burundi thus far. One of them was "Ubuntu bw'Imana", shared a few months ago. So here is the "second-fruits" of the project. Hopefully the album will be done and ready to share around the end of the year.
Man of Dust
(click here for download of mp3)
It wasn’t what I wanted, and maybe you would say the same
But our intentions at the start didn’t survive
For we flung our words like water we felt slipping through our fingers
meant to assuage the thirst that was inside
This is the way of things,
but we’re not satisfied
We have borne the image of the man of dust
in all our sorrows, and in every time we fall,
we have carried it through it all, over and over again -
But as we have borne the image of the man of dust,
so we will bear the image of the man of heaven.
Down through the ages of our fathers before
there is burned into our bones a mark
and the choices that we make and the way we fumble fear
show us all to hold a common heart,
This is the way of things,
here in the dark.
We have borne our tattered garments over hills and over boulders
under a sky that has no mercy shown
and our feet have beat a furrow deep into the sand and clay
an ancient highway worn
Yet there is one who remains and remembers that we are but dust...
And behold, there is a mystery to tell
There is a promise, that when these dusty windows fade
Our eyes will finally see into the finally light of day
and our hearts, all scarred and weathered, will finally love and rejoice...
(22 July 2014 - Kibuye and Greece; 1 Cor 15)