Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lucky Dogs

According to our guide we were "lucky dogs", because December 14 was a blue sky day in Beijing.   We did not fully appreciate this statement.  Only later we came to realize the rarity of what we take for granted.   After that day, there was a heavy smog festival that lasted the rest of our time in northern and central China.

Today our guide took us to the Forbidden City.  She was dressed in a red coat. Thank goodness, she was easier to spot in the crowds.  She wore the ever popular black leggings and boots.  This time she had orange Ugg-style boots.  She displayed her nod to status symbols by carrying a red Coach purse.  
Today she also wore diamonds, but this time in her hair.  She had a diamond encrusted banana clip.  I haven't seen one of those in years. 

Our high energy guide probably has been to the Forbidden City hundreds of times.  Consequently, she didn't like us to dawdle.  Or in other words, her pace was faster than I preferred.

There is absolutely amazing symbolism between the Forbidden City and the work of Jesus to allow us to enter the Heavenly Forbidden City.   We had no access to Heaven because of our sins separated us from God.  The commoners in China were unworthy to enter the Forbidden City.  There was a center gate in the walls of the Forbidden City which only the emperor could pass through.   Jesus became our gateway.  Through Jesus perfect life on our behalf, he allowed us to be clothed in royalty- princes and princesses in the only kingdom that endures.   We can enter where we were once unpermitted.

  Our guide said the emperors of China had tasted the most sumptuous feasts (daily meals had over 100 platters), had coffers full of jade, pearls, and gold, had wives to satisfy their lusts, had power to exercise their will...but they longed for what they didn't have.  Any human that has "arrived" can understand this.  Possessions, pleasure and power are no substitute for peace. 

Peace as in deep contentment in God, peace as in knowing that without a doubt their souls would be safe, peace as in knowing they are loved more than they can imagine and forgiven more than they deserve. 

The emperors wished for what all humans wish for...the unattainable.  According to the guide, the emperors sought longevity.  Alas, they missed the significance of the Prince turned commoner who unlocked the gates to the true Forbidden City.  Eternal life and right standing before God had become attainable in the death and resurrection of Jesus before their dynasties had ever been established. 

The building placements in the Forbidden City were very reminiscent of the Old Testament (OT) layout of the temple.  Only the emperor could enter the inner sanctum.  Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies.  There were outer courts and a place to burn incense to please the spirits.  What fragrance they wasted on false gods. 

There were huge bronze basins that held water just like in the OT.  To the Chinese, water represents stillness pervading.  In the OT, water was important to cleanse the unclean.  I know from my own life that stillness of conscience pervades only when I grasp that the water that flowed from Christ side is enough to clean the full wickedness of my heart.

Jesus being the High Priest took on new significance through our trip to China.  He entered the inner sanctum so that the Forbidden City is open to me and to you.  Chinese Christians must really love the parallels between Scripture and their culture.


1 comment:

M & M said...

Interesting... hmmm...
If only the opportunity to share with the Chinese.