Monday, October 29, 2007

Malfunctioning Earth Suit

Wade Burleson has written posts on the soul here and here. The two posts spurred the following thoughts that I posted as a reply on Wades blog and now here.

Update: I've added an appropriate video to the end of the post.

I've had several opportunities over the last few years to serve as camp pastor for the Young Musicians camps sponsored by my state convention. The kids are 9, 10, and 11 years old. I remember particularly one year when I was trying to find a way to help them understand what a soul is.

I showed video of astronauts walking on the moon in that stiff, bouncy fashion that we late baby boomers are so familiar with seeing on our black and white TV sets when we were kids their age. Switching to a photo of the spacesuit, I talked briefly about how NASA designed it so the moon walking astronauts could best live and work in the moon's environment. Looking at the face mask of the suit, I asked them to describe what the astronaut inside the suit looked like. Because it is so heavily tinted to protect them from the sun's rays, they could not see the astronaut's face to describe him well.

I went on to put up a short, video clip, without audio, of some of them going about their activities at camp that day. As that ran, I talked about how God, like the NASA engineers who designed the moon suits, has design our bodies to best live and work in earth's environment and that, like the moon suit has an astronaut living inside of it, our bodies have a soul living inside.

The soul is that part of us made by God to live inside our bodies while we are on earth. It is that part of us that makes us uniquely and especially who we are and who we will always be. Just like when we look at the astronauts in their moon suits it's hard to recognize and separate the astronaut from the suit, we have a hard time thinking about ourselves separate from what we see when we look in the mirror. But the part of us that makes us who we really are in God's eyes is alive inside our "earth suits".

The soul has been inside us from the minute that God chooses to create it inside the new “earth suits” that grow inside of our mothers. The five senses of our “earth suits” are made for the world, and God makes our souls with special senses made for hearing and understanding God for both while we are in our “earth suits” and for eternity, when we won’t be needing our “earth suits” anymore.

When our bodies, our earth suits, stop working, the soul will continue to live on forever and ever...somewhere...and God gives us a choice where that will be.

This teaching opportunity took place a couple of years before my earth suit started to malfunction. The communication devices started to falter. I started having difficulty with the fine manipulation of the vocal cords required for singing. Ability to see with the left eye failed, and when it returned, it returned only partially. RAM chips in the central computer began to malfunction, too. My short term memory and ability to remember names even of people I’ve known for decades is sometimes unreliable. Battery packs fail. Fatigue is sometime overwhelming. Gyroscopes are unreliable. Balance when walking is iffy some days. Diagnosis: MS.

The challenge to help children understand the soul those years before has been a stronghold for me when days are bad. Despite the fact that the ability to repair my damaged earth suit and delay its further deterioration is limited, there is no limit to the desire or ability to develop the senses that MS cannot touch...the senses of the soul.

1 comment:

Preacher Mom said...

I love this! And in case I haven't told you lately, I love you.