Monday, June 29, 2009

Is your life a spiral or helix?

A spiral is an interesting line. When flat it can be referred to as a whirl, when three dimensional it becomes a helix. It is common in both nature and human design, being a symbol for sun, starlight, and even hypnotism. It is a strong and efficient design as found in staircases and it is easy to doodle when one is bored with a lecture. My favorite spirals when I was young were those made by my Spirograph toy. I could sit for hours watching my pen create layers of colors and lines. Perhaps I was unknowingly practicing self-hypnotism.

A spiral could be a good metaphor for our lives. We often feel like we are traveling in a circle with the illusion that we are getting somewhere cruelly dashed as the same sight comes into view, once again. We try to venture into new territory but part of us wants to remain tethered so we simply travel in circles. I believe this describes my journey with sin, quite nicely.

I am losing my love for spirals.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7: 15-20

I think I am getting a little bit dizzy.

Now with a helix, the story is a bit different. A helix is a spiral with the center pulled up, like the curved edges on a screw. With a helix you are still traveling in a circle, you are still tethered to the center, but you are making progress by moving in space. If you draw a spiral on a piece of paper, then take a scissors and cut along your line, you can attach a string to the center and hang your helix from the ceiling. It will spin and twirl with the air in the room.

A helix is a more apt metaphor for what our life in Christ can be. We move about our world with our faith tethered to God's word and as we move about we progress ever closer to Him. It is a slow process. It is a careful process. And, in this process we are moved by the breath of the Spirit.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 'For in Him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17: 24-28

In a helix we still struggle with our tribulations and our sins. In a helix we remain tethered to the Word of God. As we move about the world, the faith God has given us will keep us from wandering away. But, in a helix we don't just travel in circles; we make progress. We live and move and have our being; as the Spirit moves us ever closer to Him.

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