Life Lessons From Altun Ha
As our mission team was leaving Belize last week, we took a short, afternoon trip to a Maya site named Altun Ha. You can see many pictures on this LINK. Much can be said about the site and it is impressive for a number of reasons. But the most important is the connection from this ancient Maya city-state to seeing God – now, before we reach heaven. Intrigued? Doubtful?
Life Lessons – Genesis Image
We are visually oriented and stimulated. What does something look like? On dating sites, what do people post? Pictures (sometimes, even their own!). What is Facebook? A world-wide visual stimulus from everyone else’s life. Genesis tells us Man was created in the image of God. That can be unpacked another time. Adam didn’t have to wonder about seeing his God. Why? Genesis also tells us God came to the Garden and walked with Adam in the cool of the day. Then sin entered the picture. What has Man been doing since that time? Creating ‘god’ in his own image. That’s what we saw in Altun Ha. And it’s just one example of many.The Roman pantheon of ‘gods’ featured characters every bit as flawed as Man. The Greek gods were the same. In the darkness of sin, Man has been trying to recapture what God freely offered in the very beginning: and intimate knowledge of, and relationship with, the Creator God.
Life Lessons – Devotion
The Maya devoted themselves to building these incredible structures. The temples and surrounding grounds were used as sporting arenas. When you stand in the open playing fields between the temples you can almost hear and see the crowds of people in the stands. They played a game on those fields with captured warriors from rival tribes. After the game, the rival warriors would often become human sacrifices. All that work, ingenuity, dedication, and devotion was spent on pleasing a ‘god’ they themselves had developed and depicted on their temple. Man truly was made to worship. We do it all the time. The question is:
What or who are we worshipping?
Life Lessons – Truly Seeing God
Jesus proclaimed many truths when He walked among men. Two of them lead us to being able to see God, now. First, Jesus said:
I know. That doesn’t answer my opening idea. You didn’t live when Jesus was here and you can’t see Him. Therefore, you can’t see the Father (God). But is that the case? I don’t think so.
The second statement of Jesus that connects us to seeing God is this:
Do you see the connection? Jesus was sent from God to be an exact representation of His Father. He did that. That was just one part of His mission on earth. But every part of His mission is included in that second statement from John 20. If Jesus was sent to be the exact representation of God, then that is your job and my job. Want to see God? The mirror should give you that picture. Does it? Let me help just a bit.
I know that is a big, mind-blowing concept. Are we going to succeed as Jesus succeeded? No, we are mirrors that need cleaning. Looking into a clouded mirror is how the Apostle Paul described our earthly efforts at seeing God. He said, Now we see through a glass darkly… Does that lessen our charge to be an exact representation of our Father? No.
I know all the spots on my own mirror that need to be cleaned. It’s a little harder for me to look in the mirror and see God’s face because all I can see is mine. It’s easier to look at my brothers and sisters, believers around me, and those I see in other countries. I very often see the face of God in them. And that encourages me to be even more devoted and dedicated than the folks that built Altan Ha.
So let me leave you with this question: Is your reflection of the face of God encouraging those around you?