Sunday, February 5, 2012

Coming Home 2

Some of you have been asking how we are faring in our transition from New Zealand to Canada. It’s a major change, from summer to winter and a twenty-four hour journey door to door, saying goodbye—at least for a time—to loved ones and re-entering a different, if minimally different, culture.

The major change is, or should be the climate. Yet this year, the mild prairie winter is paralleled by a cool New Zealand summer. On arrival, the New Zealand high was 18 degrees, compared with 15 degrees in Southern Alberta. That was almost as much of a shock as temperatures in the 30s would have been.

The things I will miss in Canada, easily obtainable in New Zealand: Good cider at a reasonable price, custard in litre cartons ready for use, and Marmite—staples of my English childhood; er, not the cider! Things I won’t miss: gas at twice the price and reversed driving positions and controls.

The journey, except for security hassles, is not that bad. The longest flight is overnight and we slept; we were fresh for transitions the next day. We appreciated grandchildren in Calgary who ferried us to the airport, looked after our car and met us with it on our return.

Of course, having family all over the world presents these challenges. And all this in our mid-seventies. But really, its a piece of cake! We’re seasoned for it—and more trips, if God and our health wills.

Where do you live? Perhaps we’ll see you there!

The Magic Flute

Last night I attended a live performance of the most popular of Mozart’s operas: The Magic Flute. It is a tale of a princess’s love won by willingly facing death for her. It portrays this risk as the cost of good prevailing over evil.

Most classical composers wrote on biblical themes, extolling the worship of God and His love and salvation for humankind. I believe Mozart never did. Yet this story expresses human longing for an end to evil, exploring the cost of redemption and final union.

This opera, like many classical fantasy tales, is theological. It points to an end of evil and a final state of security. The “once upon a time” points to the present for us. “Happily ever after,” points to a future bliss, the hope of every breast in this sin-ravaged world.

All these stories present one overall lesson. Most of the stories kill, destroy, or banish the source of evil—the big bad wolf, the wicked witch, and so on. If the wolf hadn’t been killed, Red Riding Hood would never be safe.

The Bible tells this story, but it doesn’t depend on human effort or goodness which will never bring about the end of evil. Hope can only be realized when an ultimate power outside ourselves intervenes to defeat evil.

The Christian faith alone places our future on God’s hands, not our efforts or actions. God Himself, in Jesus the Messiah, faced death, and conquered death, to assure our future. Such is the cost for our secure and permanent future.