Balance in all things

When i enlisted in the Army National Guard back in 1986, i had joined the 29th Infantry Division (Light). A division with a proud history that traces back to circa WWI, and the regiments that make up the division can be traced back much farther. At least one Maryland regiment had found itself fighting for both sides during the American Civil War, and on at least one occasion actually facing one another on the battlefield. That is how the division came to have a blue and gray ying yang symbol (pictured above-right). In a way this is what my blog is about today. Now, there may be some of the handful of people who come by this blog who might wonder, "what is a 'samurai' doing talking about a Chinese symbol"? A far enough question, but it has more to do with the concepts behind it - and in a round about way, a tie in to yesterday's blog entry. While there is a well known eastern philosophy based on opposing forces in constant conflict, and yet making the whole, there is at lease some Biblical agreement to it.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, ESV)

Yesterday i broached the subject of how i liked the background of Elves. I seemed to focus on how these mythical creatures live in harmony with the environment, but that had not been my sole intent. What i wanted to illustrate is that the concept of the Elven race is that they truly try to live in harmony not just with the environment, but within the world in which they find themselves. They pursue whatever they are trying to learn about and understand, not just at face value but in how the particular subject interacts with the things around it. In an ideal world i feel that is how we Christians should be living as well. Before i go much farther i also want to say that in a fallen, sin filled, world - it is impossible to live at peace with everyone and everything. There are some people, and some things, that just don't want to live at peace unless it is on their terms. Christians are not innocent of my accusations here either (the Crusades and the Inquisition come to mind). As i read through the Bible there are several things that speak to me about searching out balance in my walk with Christ. I am completely forgiven (i.e. fully justified), and yet i am to work out my salvation (i.e sanctification). While the husband has been made the head of the wife, they are equals in the sight of the Lord and the husband is to serve his wife. There are many other examples of how "bad things" are turned on its head and result in God glorifying things. I am in no way trying to twist the Bible to make it conform to a form of eastern philosophy. Nor am i attempting to make my understanding of the Bible filter through such a philosophy. But what i am trying to say is that - i am a finite being. I do not have insight to things that i am not directly involved with, and when i am directly involved - even then my point of view is skewed because it is strictly from my own. Even Paul talks about trying to live in balance with those around us:
For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23, ESV)
While Paul is illustrating from the point of view of personal relationships, and i am sure that is the way he intends it, i feel that it lends it self to other areas of our lives as well. Because people interact with things and situations, our focus of being 'all things' needs to be more than just the 'thing' in front of us. How does this impact the things and people around it. Will we ever be able to do that perfectly? No. It is impossible to be "all things, to all people" because we are truly finite, but that does not mean we shouldn't try. That is what peaks my interest in the folklore of the elves... at least as they are portrayed in the world of Tolkien (and subsequent 'universes' based where he first trod). Ultimately we find our balance in Christ. He is our ultimate source of the balance that we need to seek out. Why? Because we are finite and it is not possible for us to be all things to all people, but He is. That does not prevent us from trying to adjust as God leads. Can we be what we need to be? Yes, because as we put ourselves in position to be used of God it is He who makes the changes, it is He who speaks through us, it is He who is at work in/through us, it is He who is putting us in balance. So, i guess in a way, not only do i try and live my life as a samurai in the service to my Lord Jesus Christ, i also try and live out my life as an elf would in regards to how i try and interact with my surroundings.

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