3/6/11 - Dragon Skin

>> Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm reading through Genesis right now, and I got to the part where God makes the covenant with Abraham, and the sign of the covenant is a physical circumcision. I know that it's a bit weird to talk about dangly bits on a girl's blog, but honestly this whole circumcision business just made sense to me and I had to share my thoughts. Anyway, this scripture, Genesis 17:1-14, made me remember this passage in Colossians, because of the HUGE picture of what was to come with Jesus and the New covenant: a circumcision of the heart.
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Colossians 2:11-15
Whenever I read this part, I think of dragons. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace gets turned into a dragon because of his greed, and he is obviously in mourning, longing to be made human again. Finally, he has had enough, so he cries huge dragon tears. Aslan comes and says "follow me," and then leads Eustace to a pool and tells him to undress. Eustace claws at his own body and peels off his skin. But when he looks down at himself, nothing has changed. He tries to rip off his own knobbly scaly skin several times, but each time, he looks down, and nothing has changed.
Then the lion said - but I don't know if it spoke - 'You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.
So Aslan peels off the skin, just like the other times that Eustace had tried, but those hadn't hurt. And Eustace is left pink and naked and tender, and Aslan picks him up and throws him into a well of water, and it smarts for just a little bit and then becomes delicious because Eustace has been turned back into a boy. Aslan takes him from the water and dresses him. Eustace has been made new.

This is a great picture of what God has done for us through Jesus. Eustace being turned into a dragon is like us realizing that we're sinners. We feel pain and alienation, and go into mourning because we realize we're not good enough for the Kingdom of God. And then Jesus comes into the picture, and he wakes us up and tells us to follow. If we try to get rid of our sin and our problems, we don't do much, just like when Eustace tried to peel off his own skin so many times. But, when we trust our lives to Jesus, when we ask him to heal us, he really does! He digs deep, and it hurts, but it's worth it, because when he digs so deep, that's him circumcising our hearts, tearing off the old self, and replacing it with the new. We're no longer in bondage to our dragon skin, our sin, but we're given a new nature, and are clothed.

What this means to me is kind of what happened at the moment of Jesus' death. Remember, the veil in the temple (the one that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies) was torn in two, symbolizing the communion we can have with God through Jesus. Abraham's circumcision was a picture of this, because it's kind of like removing a veil. And when Aslan ripped off Eustace's dragon skin, that was like removing a veil. The circumcision of the heart is the process of making us right with God, which was symbolized at Jesus' death by the tearing of the veil.

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