The Dragon of Monroe County

The Dragon of Monroe County

Tellico Plains is a charming village at the bottom of Tellico Mountain. And in this village there lives a dragon. I’ve seen it. It lives, breathes, grows, and waits for unsuspecting motorcyclists to pass its home on the Cherohala Skyway. The dragon’s identity depends on us. It depends on our ability to perceive its “dragoness.” We use all that we know about dragons to see this creature.

Jesus calls us to our true identities.

Dr. Brene’ Brown has led profound research on shame, vulnerability, and resiliency. (Watch her TED talks.) She recommends that we make two lists. The first is a list of identities you would like to have, and the second lists identities you would not like to have.

3-5 Ideal Identities                         3-5 Unwanted Identities
_________________                        _________________
_________________                        _________________
_________________                        _________________
_________________                        _________________
_________________                        _________________

My first list was hard enough to make. I do want to be a good mother. I do not want to be a self indulgent gossip. I do want to be an organized homemaker. I do not want to be a lazy bum.

But I had to make my list again. Listen to these words:

“He has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1:22a NLT)

I do want to follow Jesus. I do not want to waste time in petty arguments about how to do that. I just want to figure out who Jesus is to me, and follow those paths. Faithfully. So all I have to do is discover whom I believe Jesus to be, and turn my heart to that direction. Simple.

Was Jesus a zealot?

Was Jesus the Jewish Messiah?

Was Christ the Savior of the World?

Was He an end of times mystic or a political rebel?
Was He the Prince of Peace, the Suffering Servant, the long awaited Messiah? Was He the guest at the wedding, turning water into wine? Was he the traveler who ate with sinners and prostitutes? Was he the teacher who told stories that held mysterious lessons for us? Was he the rabbi who suffered little children and forbade them not?

Which of these identities am I willing to list? (I saw the word, suffering up there.) My own identity rests in the answers to these questions. And it also rests in you. I need my church family to reflect the face of the Risen Lord to me. I need your help when I am tired of trying to follow a Savior who is mysterious and, to my weak mind, incomprehensible. I need your fellowship. I need to commune with the saints. (That’s you. You are the saints.)

Back to the Dragon of Tellico Plains. As I drive toward the library on the Cherohala Skyway. I might see an interesting bundle of twigs and leaves, but if I open my heart to the possibility, I see that there is a lovely dragon.

The artist, Joe Kyte, better known as Topiary Joe, looked at the vines and twigs and foliage, and shaped them into a dragon. If the vines had fought him, and it’s likely they did, it would be difficult to see the neck, the eyes, the teeth, the wings. But eventually, the vines yielded, and the dragon came forth in all its glory. Topiary Joe loves the vines, the sinews, the stubborn thorns. The artist saw the true identity of the raw material and brought it forth.

“He has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1:22a NLT)

Stop listening to what others say about you. Stop reading your own resume. Listen to the Artist. Yield your vines. You belong to Jesus. He loves you. He sees you as a work of art, and wants to polish your rough edges. Gently. Grace, Gentleness, and Peace be with you.

 

More about Topiary Joe and his creations at http://www.topiaryjoe.com/

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *