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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Flying with Dreadlocks, part 2

The story continues...

Of course, nearly everyone is aware that dreadlocks were brought into the pop culture spotlight by a Mista Bob Marley. There hasn't been a human like him ever before, and there will likely not be 'til the close of time. Bob Marley radiated love, peace, passion, and wisdom. He also have the best dreadlocks ever! Bob dedicated his life to praising God in music, and spreading the message of reform and spiritual growth in the world. Unfortunately, his songs have become frat-boy drinking anthems for many. And his dreads became a fashion choice. But when I heard his music, when I started to really listen - and grow dreadlocks, by the way - I started to hear something deeper, something so much more important. God.

Bob Marley sang almost endlessly about Jah. I began reading the Bible, and was amazed how much of Bob's lyrics are taken right out of Scripture. "The stone that the builder refused shall be the head cornerstone." "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" And so many more. If there is one thing I long to do in my life, it is to be part of something that makes the world a better place. Filled with the knowledge and love of God, encouraging others with the truth. Jah, short for Jehovah, is the Hebrew name for God. In the Old Testament, you will see the term LORD in all caps.

This is where God's name appears in the text. Hebrew is written without vowels, and the name written in Scripture is YHVH. God's name means "I AM", meaning "Was, Is, and Ever will Be". God's name was considered so sacred and holy that ancient Israel would not even speak it, but when reading Scripture aloud they would say Lord where YHVH appeared. When the Bible began being translated into Greek and Latin, and eventually English, they decided to use LORD in the places where God's name appears, though the name Jehovah does appear in the Old Testament about 3 times, I think. Jah means the Eternal God. Many of God's people had dreadlocks through the ages. (Bear in mind ALL people are God's people. Israel was a people set aside, to be the carriers of God's word, and a commonwealth that were to emulate God's ways to the world. Ooops!)

Anyway, God's name indicates His character. Eternal, everlasting. The book of Malachi says "For I am the LORD, I do not change" 3:6. Jah wants a relationship with each individual person. Every living soul is a son and daughter of God, and Jah wants to assure each person that He is trustworthy, that He is kind and loving, that He is more than worthy to be our God and Lord. That is why Jesus was nailed to the cross - He took our place in death, when WE were the ones that should have been put to death for our own screw-ups. Sin wasn't a part of the original plan for this world. Humans were given a choice, and they chose a path of destruction rather than life. The consequences were automatically supposed to be death because evil cannot exist in the presence of God. But His Son stepped in, and because God loves us so much - His creations, His children - He allowed Jesus to pay the price for our bad choices. All we have to do is say 'Thank you, I acknowledge and accept this gift from Jah!" and our slate is wiped clean.