Category Archives: WORD: The Logos Blog

Peace, Which Transcends All Understanding, Including a Yalie’s

APRIL KOH

TD ’14

Executive Director, Logos

We hear it a lot in the Christian community: “Lord, give us Your peace, which transcends all understanding.”

It’s almost become cliché — like, whenever we say “peace,” we have to tack on that verse from Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

But what on earth does “transcend[ing] all understanding” entail? What does that peace even look like?

Here are some practical pictures of that kind of peace for Yalies:

  • Peace even when you have three mid-terms and a paper due tomorrow
  • Peace even when your roommate sexiles you every weekend
  • Peace even when all the members of your a cappella group/YPU party/section begin to annoy you, extremely
  • Peace even when you’ve realized you’ve gained fifteen pounds and haven’t exercised in three months
  • Peace even when your crush of three years randomly starts dating someone
  • Peace even when a professor at office hours asks you what you want to do with your life, and you fumble to sound intelligent — or at least, respectable

In a Yalie’s understanding, in our understanding, all of the above examples would warrant stressing, emotional froyo-tripping, and anxious grouchiness.

But the peace of Christ, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts against those attacks of despair.

Keep on fighting, Yalies.

Treasure Hidden in a Field

RICHARD LEE
MC ’14
Executive Director, Logos

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buy that field.” –Matthew 13:44, ESV

Parable of the Hidden Treasure by Rembrandt

In this perhaps the shortest parable in the entire Gospel, we see a man who sells his entire possession to buy a field with the hidden treasure. It seems odd at first, for why would he sell everything? I ask this question, in part because I have struggled through many reading comprehension exams, but pause and imagine that you are walking through a field and discover a trove with gold, diamonds, gems and 500,000 shares of Apple stock. You are shocked. You want to claim the treasure, but your conscience tells you not to steal, for it is on another man’s property. If we truly “believe” or “have faith” in this situation, then it is natural that we would sell all that we have to buy the field with the hidden treasure, which is worth infinitely more than anything we have.

The kingdom of heaven is like such. When people hear the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God and believe, they do not merely affirm the Truth, but they have faith in it; they take up their cross and follow Christ. Faith is more than a simple intellectual acquiesce. The man in the parable does not only say “I believe that the treasure is hidden in the field,” but he gives up everything for it. When Felix Baumgartner jumps from 24 miles above, he does not say “I believe in parachute” and never uses it, but he leaps and deploys his parachute that saves him from certain death.

Those who profess to be Christians must examine if they indeed have surrendered their entire self for Christ’s kingdom. Those who are called by God must give up their sinful lives, their idols, and their treasures, for the inheritance of the everlasting treasure that is infinitely more than what we have or what we can imagine.

To do so is faith, because “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

The Elixir

RICHARD LEE
MC ’14
Executive Director, Logos

Have you ever wondered what is “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus?” As a reflection on Colossians 3:17, here is a poem by  George Herbert:

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee.

Not rudely, as a beast,
To run into an action;
But still to make Thee prepossest,
And give it his perfection.

A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or it he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heav’n espy.

All may of Thee partake:
Nothing can be so mean,
Which with his tincture—”for Thy sake”—
Will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and th’ action fine.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.

Golden Fire by Makoto Fujimura

Father or Friend: Take Your Pick

APRIL KOH
TD ’14
Executive Director, Logos

One of my favorite parts of Mass is the “Our Father” prayer.

I love reciting a common, divine prayer, once uttered word for word by Jesus himself, with a large congregation. I love the communal pauses and the unified beats in the rhythm of the words. I also love the content of the prayer. I love the prayer’s simplicity and humility beginning with: “Our Father, who art in Heaven…”

This phrase brings to mind families and in particular, fathers, especially with the social issues in politics these days. You hear “the institution of marriage” or “institution of family” a lot.

It’s true – the concept of the family is an institution. It’s been around for as long as humans existed, according to Genesis. Humans have always had fathers and mothers, and we did not need Freud to tell us that our relationships with our parents greatly impact our lives and how we relate to others.

Having been raised more or less Christian and having been fully steeped in Christian rhetoric and symbolism, I never thought much about the fact that we called God “Our Father.” The connection – perhaps as one conditioned by a patriarchal world – seemed natural and even necessary. Of course God was Father. Of course he was sexed – and of course that sex would be masculine.

Another reason why I found it so natural to call the omnipotent ruler of the universe my “Father” was because of my own relationship with my Dad, whom I fully trusted, fully loved, and fully depended on. If God is like my dad, only better–infinitely better–then all is good in the hood right?

But now – now that I am bombarded with attacks against conventional articulations of the family, now that I more deeply know those who have had estranged or non-existent relationships with their fathers, I question the fact that there is one prevailing metaphor for God in the Bible. “Father” is, after all, a metaphor. God is of course not masculine. Nor do we have a divine mother, whom we extol on an equally raised pedestal.

I think it’s beautiful that Jesus came and shattered this metaphor–which perhaps functioned fluidly in the 150% patriarchal days of the Old T–knowing that the times were a-changin’ and the metaphor wouldn’t work so well anymore. Families would change. Many people would never know their fathers or mothers.

So He came down to us and clarified that there are three beings of the Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And the Son just happens to be our friend, servant, king, brother… (e.g.John 15:9-18:1). “I have called you friends,” Jesus says. Personally, the Father metaphor works just fine for me. But for others, for whom a good, perfect father is an inconceivable concept, listen to Jesus, who calls you His friend. Think of your kindest friend. Think of the most devoted servant. Think of your brother. Whatever works for you.

Welcome to Word: The Logos Blog

APRIL KOH & RICHARD LEE
Co-Executive Directors, Logos

Welcome to WORD: The Logos Blog!

We have deliberately gone from Logos (λόγος), the Biblical, formal, rather complex moniker, to the English and conveniently colloquial WORD for the name of this blog.

The decision reflects our desire to create a forum of casual Christian thought–(more or less) weekly ruminations on anything and everything tangentially Christian. Our official semesterly magazine (which you should eagerly anticipate) is where the hefty editing and careful composing happens; WORD: The Logos Blog is where the casual banter between believers and curious non-believers happens.

The blog will be headed by the Logos Staff, but if you would like to contribute a short post, please email our Blog Managers, Evelyn at evelyn.robertson@yale.edu or Travis at travis.reginal@yale.edu.

Enjoy!