lions and lambs

My family was in town this weekend, and we went to the glorious Riverbanks Zoo on Saturday.  I love that kind of stuff so much, and I learned quite a bit…

Animals teach me about the complexity, the creativity, and the imagination of God.  How big must our God be to think up some of this stuff?  A hippopotamus?  A giraffe?  A funny-looking bird with a long neck and spiked hair?  I just stood there in awe of these magnificent creatures while each one told me more about how creative and passionate our God is.

When an elephant pees, it looks like a 55 gallon drum is being turned upside down at once.  It’s pretty ridiculous.  I

I heard a while back that zookeepers have learned that animals can only be left out in public view for six days in a row.  If they “work” longer than that they begin having very negative side effects on their health.  Even the animal world works on a “work six days, rest one” rotation!  How crazy is that?  I wondered whether the animals I saw were getting their Sabbath, and I also decided that if rest is that important for animals, its even more vital for me.  I need to start taking the Sabbath more seriously.

My favorite animal by far at the zoo is the lion.  I just have this incredible sense of awe from his glowing face and red mane, his incredibly toned legs walking almost majestically.  I know that he is king of the zoo just as he is king of the jungle–that no other animal there would want to mess with him.  And yet there is this peace about him that strikes me.  I really just want him to turn into Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia, for him to roar so loud that it shakes the ground I stand on.  The lion is my favorite because when I look at Him I think about Jesus.  Jesus is referred to as the “Lion of Judah” in Scripture, and I love the similarities I see when I see a real lion in person.  Unrivaled power.  Terror.  Majesty.  Unmatched beauty.  Overwhelming peace.  I imagine Him as a Lion sprinting out to lead in battle, striking fear in the eyes of His enemies.  And then I find more beauty when I think about Revelation 5, when the Lion becomes the Lamb to take away the sins of the world.  I think it is silly that such an unrivaled predator could turn into a meek lamb.  How scandalous is that?  But this is the good news–this is the Gospel–that a Lion has become a Lamb, that God has become man in order to atone for our bloody rebellion.  The beauty of this simply does not convey itself through mere words.

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