Friday, March 18, 2011

Lent Poetry

I have a book called "Kneeling in Jerusalem" by Ann Weems one of my favorite poets. 

Here is her poem called                        "LENT"

Lent is a time to take the time
To let thepower of our faith story take hold of us,
a time to let the events 
get up and walke around in us,
a time to intensify,
our living unto Christ,
a time to hover over
the thoughts of our hearts,
a time to place our feet in the streets of Jerusalem
or to walk along the sea and listen to his word,
a time to touch his robe
and feel the healing surge through us,
a time to ponder and a time to wonder...
Lent is a time to allow a fresh new taste of God!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Other Words

Last Wednesday night at the Ash Wednesday service a group did a dramatic reading of a modern translation of the Sermon on the Mount. The reading was lively and really caught people’s attention. Two things happened after the service that brought to mind how little most people understand scripture.

The first incident happened right after worship was over. One young woman who had been reading from the script asked my wife, “That was good who wrote it?” She replied, “Saint Matthew.”

The second incident happened in the pastor’s office a bit later. Three people, who should have known better, took exception to the part in the reading about divorce. They were told to get their bible and read the Sermon on the Mount for themselves. The next morning the pastor received an apology. It seems if Jesus said it they couldn’t complain.

For a church that prides itself on being a people of the book we still have a lot of biblical education to do. I guess that dramatic reading accomplished some of that education. I better keep teaching my Basic Bible Study.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Emotional Gifts

All of our emotions are a gift of God. Sometimes you're going to feel
angry. Other times you will feel sad. There will be times when you feel lonely, or any of the wide array of natural human emotions which are nowhere near being happy. You're a human being; you're supposed to feel those things when life takes a wrong turn.

In fact, the desire to be happy all the time, to avoid feeling those "unpleasant" or "unwanted" emotions, is what leads many people to use drugs to change how they feel. As a healthy human being, you know that it is okay to not feel happy sometimes. These feelings help you examine the circumstances so that your can work out a new plan of action and make a change. You do not need to change how you feel at that moment your feelings will change as your circumstances change.

In fact when you feel unhappy, accept how you feel, make your peace with it, and know that this too shall pass. Your unhappy state of mind is neither your identity nor your permanent state of being. This is simply how you feel in this moment and you know that brighter feelings will come eventually.

Use your gift of the natural medicine of humor to ease your way through rough moments of life. You'll be amazed when you go back to review your journal to see that it all starts with a simple smile of knowing that the sun will return to your life.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Scam Alert

I received an email asking me about the following message:

“URGENT WARNING & MESSAGE - Sometime In April May 2011 A Major Event Off The West Coast Of United States Is Going To Trigger A Set Of Cascading Events That Will Collapse The Federal Government, Most State Governments, And Will Set In Motion National Bank Failures, Food Shortages, And Will Be Trigger Event That Will Start The Second American Revolution.

It was a youtube video that was removed for good reason. It was a scam using the recent disaster in Japan and playing on the fears of those living on the west coast.

Can there be an undersea major earthquake and resulting giant wave? Of course it is possible and most people living in the northwest know it. There is an undersea subduction zone of the coast of Seattle that could do the same thing that happened in Japan last Friday. Is it likely to happen in April or May? NO!

There are always evil people who will work scams on the clueless and fearful. Sadly these people will fall for it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Our Four Witnesses

All four Gospels have differences and no one has to decide on which is correct.

What we have to remember is that these are the memories and testimonies  of three witnesses and one historian who talked to witnesses. I worked for 14 years as a police chaplain and know that when four people see the same event you have four different descriptions of that same event.

People will see something from different perspectives and also notices different things than the others. Most of their story is the same so police have to sort out the whole story from the combined reports. The same holds true for the Gospels.

Mark was likely giving what  he heard Peter say in his preaching and only wrote notes on what he thought was important. Notice how short it is.

Matthew the Tax collector had a view of Jesus of a sinner converted.

Luke was a convert of Paul's missions and was a historian who went with Paul to Jerusalem and talked to people who knew Jesus and compiled a history of the Life of Jesus as a second  hand account. He states this in his opening remarks.

John, who wrote later in life to a church that already knew the historical gospel, wanted to give us the spiritual side of the story. His point was that God loves us so much that he went to great lengths to let us know it and call us back to belief. John also did not seem to care about chronology.

It is also important for us to remember that even all four of them together did not tell us everything Jesus said and did.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Who is Greatest?

It is a natural human mental occupation to compare our own accomplishments to those of others. We often lament that we have done little in our lives by comparison. We humans keep all kinds of records like, who is fastest, strongest, or smartest. Those kinds of comparisons can result in hurt feelings, rivalry, or envy.

A father asked his son, “Do you know what Lincoln was doing at your age?” The boy looked up at him and said, “No but I know what he was doing at your age!”

Thankfully God does not measure our success using human standards.  It is not for us to compare our achievements with others or to judge another’s calling against our own. To some God gives great works to perform and to others work that may seem unimportant. Our calling is to faithfully do our best at what ever work God has given us. When we give our best to God then we have success.