Friday, September 30, 2016

Ten Years Ago, Part 2

It was a beautiful early Fall day, and my dad and I had travelled down to the Charleston, SC area to watch his grandson, my nephew, play soccer. My mom had passed away thirty-three days earlier. I didn't really want to be gone from home that day but drove him down because he really wanted to go.

I'm glad I went, because that day would be the last time I would see my father in this life. During halftime of the soccer game, while my niece and I were coming back from the concession stand, my dad suffered a massive heart attack and died. Paramedics tried to revive him, but he was gone and suddenly I was without both of my parents. I truly believe that Dad died of a broken heart.

Here it is, ten years later, and so much of that day and the ones immediately following are still pretty fresh in my memory. I had lost my hero, the one I looked up to even when I was angry with him. Even though there were things we didn't see eye-to-eye on, I still loved him and knew that he loved me. I see a great deal of my dad in me and even though I didn't get the handyman gene,(that skipped me and went straight to Josh) I did inherit enough stubbornness to at least try. Sometimes I'm successful!

Over the past ten years, I've become more and more comfortable in my own skin, as my father was comfortable in his. I look back with satisfaction at the ways I am like him. It's in those ways, now that I understand better, that I saw Jesus in my dad. Hopefully the same is true with me.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

This is the fourth in the series.

The fourth fruit of the Spirit is patience. Depending on the translation, it is rendered patience, forbearance, or long suffering. I think any of those work, depending on our situation.

Patience is the idea of bearing up under some type of load, whether it's waiting for something, bearing with another person, or staying strong in the midst of trials. As we live in community with others, there are plenty of opportunities to show forbearance in our dealings with one another.

We also need patience as we wait for something we are praying for. As hard as it may be we must remember that God's timing is not like ours. As Aslan told Lucy, "I call all times soon." When we take the long view, we can see that our Father is never late.

As we walk in step with the Spirit, we become more patient with others, with ourselves, and with God.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Weekend Wanderings

Today we commemorate a day of tragedy. Fifteen years ago, our country came under attack as planes flew into the twin towers in NY, the Pentagon in DC, and a field in PA. Where were you when you heard the news?

Here are the links of the week:

One of those days we've all had.
An epidemic we don't often think about.
Something for the introverts.
Ten tastiest fast foods.

Good question.
A free bowl of oatmeal.
This is a great story.
This is not surprising.
This looks like a great idea!

Bob Edwards on justice.
Ten observations.
It's okay to be wrong.
Scot McKnight on charity.
The life God is in.

Frank Viola on faith.
Letters from the front.
5 smartphone myths.
Good post from Tiffany Childs.

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sad, Angry, and Hopeful

Today, I lied to one of my bus passengers. She told me she had been diagnosed with ALS and asked me if I knew anything about it. After stating a couple of generalities, I told her that I couldn't think of anything else because I didn't want to be the one to tell her that the disease is fatal. Two days ago, our next door neighbor died from pancreatic cancer, just a few days after coming home from the hospital. A week and a half ago, friends of ours lost their twenty one year old only son in a tragic accident. I see and hear of families and friendships being torn asunder because of pride and selfishness.

I am saddened by all these things. It is heartbreaking to see parents grieving a son that is supposed to outlive them. It grieves me to know that I will no longer speak to my neighbor across the fence between our houses. I am sad to hear of someone contracting a deadly disease. My heart aches to see relationships broken and people I know in pain.

I am angry because none of these things are the way it is supposed to be, the way creation was made to be. I am angry at evil, at sin, at the things that happen to us, and at the things we do to each other. I am angry because I feel helpless much of the time, knowing that so much is out of my control.

I am sad and I am angry. Yet, at the same time I am hopeful. I believe that the Creator of the universe has stepped into this world, taking on humanity. Entering death, on the cross, the King came through the other side and defeated death. His kingdom was inaugurated through this death and has been coming to fruition in small ways ever since. This King will return and set all things to right. I don't understand everything that happens in this life and there are many things I don't like. But, I do believe that one day there will be no cancer, no ALS, no death. I believe that all broken relationships will be reconciled and there will be wholeness and peace.

Even so come, Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

This is the third post in a series.

Another part of the fruit that the Spirit produces in us is peace. Peace is usually thought of as the absence of conflict or hostility. That is true. Christ brought peace and reconciliation between us and the Father and we are called to be peacemakers and agents of reconciliation. I think in this case it goes deeper.

The Hebrew word Shalom, which is usually translated peace, carries the idea of wholeness and flourishing. We can have an absence of conflict or hostility and still not have wholeness. The culture around us tells us that the way to flourish is to drive this, wear that. Drink this, use this toothpaste. Accumulate things and buy a bigger house to put them in, get that perfect job. Marry that person.

Those things are not wrong in themselves. They become an issue when we think that those things will make our lives complete and bring us wholeness. Nothing in or of this world will ever bring us real peace. True peace only comes when the beauty of Jesus captivates us and our love for him grows and makes all other loves and all other narratives of flourishing fade. As that happens, the peace that the Spirit produces fills us whether we have much or have little. Then we can say with Paul that we have learned to be content in all circumstances.

May the beauty of Jesus become the all-surpassing story of our lives and may his peace fill us to overflowing.

Part 1
Part 2

Moving On

It's been a while since I've written here. Life has been happening the past few months. I have decided to start fresh, so I'm mo...