Saturday, March 23, 2013

At Eighteen

There are two sets of dynamics that take place when our children turn eighteen.

The first is that they become legally adults able to make their own decisions and vote. The age use to be 21 and for some things like drinking alcohol it still is the legal age. It is a heady new experience for the new young adult able to move out on his or her own and do what ever they want within the law. Sometimes they discover the truth that not every thing is legal. The important thing for them is that now they have the “CHOICE” to make and mom and dad have nothing to say about it.

The second dynamic is for the parents who suddenly see this child in a new light being able to do what ever they want with out parental controls. This is a little scary since humans do not develop the powers of discerning cause and effect until about twenty-two. The child now eighteen goes to collage, military or gets married and you can do nothing to stop them. Parents can only hope that in eighteen years of love, guidance and teachings that morals and belief in God will have taken hold.

I think about this fact and about the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God looked at His creation and loved them and said you have the right to choose for yourself. I guess they had turned eighteen. Like our children today they did not always choose the right path and had to discover cause and effect on their own. Free will brings lessons learned the hard way. The message in the bible for us all is that like a good parent God loves us anyway and always welcomes wayward children home.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Resurrection Faith


A resurrection faith is the result of a personal encounter with the risen Christ.  Finding reality in your relationship with Jesus begins with your study of the Bible and your personal devotion time. No matter what time is best for you, morning, noon or night, you must at all cost make quite time for your relationship with God. Personal prayer time alone with our Lord is vital to a growing faith.

It begins with the Bible, read it through and get something you can use. Search it until a verse grips you and the clarity of it become your focus for the day. Then pray the verse and about what God is leading you to see. Remember that God is a made known to us in infinite variety and God will make use of our diverse personalities to express His will.

As I write this I am reminded that the Christian faith is not about a dead prophet or martyr. Our faith is in a risen Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is alive. The heart of the matter is that we are witnesses to the resurrection every time we take communion, every time we share our faith with another and by the way we love one another. Live out your resurrection faith and be a witness to others today and every day.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Acid Within

Some people can hold on to a perceived hurt and anger for their whole lives. They refuse to reconcile or forgive another person or people and develop their pain into full blown hate. This is an acid that eats the one who has it from within. It destroys not the object of the hate but the person hating. It is a great sadness that does not have to rule your life. Jesus showed us the way to freedom from this self-destructive living. It is the transforming power of complete forgiveness.

In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus taught us about forgiveness when Peter asked him how many times he should forgive someone. The Law of Moses said to forgive four times so Peter who knew that Jesus always went beyond the law ask if the number should be seven. Thinking that he would be praised for more than doubling what the law said, Peter must have been shocked when Jesus said seventy times seven.

Four Steps to Forgiveness:
1.     Recognize the underserved HURT for what it is and own it. Understanding the nature of what happened is important. Was the hurt intentional or unintentional? Was it personal or general? For example a slap in the face is personal while the 9/11 attack was general.

2.     Recognize your ANGER/HATE as the result of the hurt and know that holding on to anger and or hate is an acid that destroys the vessel that contains it. It will eat away at your soul unless you deal with it soon.

3.     Seek in prayer your SPIRITUAL INETRNAL HEALING. Remembering that Jesus taught us to pray “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. You goal is spiritual peace and wholeness as a child of God and a Disciple of Jesus.

4.     Proclaim your FREEDOM and RELEASE from your hurt, pain, anger and hate. The one who caused the hurt may not know that they hurt you and it may NOT have been on purpose. What ever it is forgiving that person will release you from your bondage to the hate. It may even restore  a relationship.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Resurrection Sunday

Some people have noticed that I tend to use the term Resurrection Sunday instead of Easter Sunday. This is because of an internal struggle that I have been dealing with for any years. For most of my younger life I was content to celebrate Easter with all of our western traditions such as the easter bunny, colored eggs in baskets filled with cellophane grass. O yes there was also the religious thing at church. I was indeed happy with that annual celebration of spring and new life.  Then in seminary I was given an assignment to write a paper on the word “Easter” not the day but the word. That school paper changed the way that I think about our annual celebration.

I discover that for almost the first four hundred years of the Christian Church the Christians referred to the day as “Resurrection Day” and not Easter. That was because back then, when pagans ruled the Roman Empire Easter referred to the European fertility goddess “Easotor” or in English “Easter.” Her symbols were the bunny and eggs, which were colored and rolled in the grass.  Until 325 AD it was illegal in the Roman Empire to be Christian so the celebration of the Resurrection Day was a quiet congregational remembrance of the Resurrection of  Jesus the Christ. Then came the day when the emperor became a Christian and all that changed when he made the Christian religion the official religion of the Roman Empire.

The celebration of the pagan fertility goddess Easter came at the spring equinox, which happens to be the same time as the Jewish Passover. Because the Resurrection happened on the Sunday after Passover the two religious celebrations happened at the same time. At first the Christian Church in Rome tried to destroy the pagan religions turning most of the pagan temples in to churches. The Roman church discovered that though they stopped the official pagan worship the people kept the Easter pagan traditions, as traditions die a slow hard death. The Roman church then decided to simply change the meaning of the eggs from fertility to new life in Christ. It worked very well as the common people over several generations forgot that Easter referred to a pagan goddess. Through there are still some pagans who worship “Eastor” with the old pagan traditions.

I was shocked and appalled to discover this information and began a slow personal reformation of my own Resurrection theology and traditions. Our Church has prided itself on being a “New Testament” church that uses Bible names for Bible things so I have began referring to Resurrection Sunday. I think that it is time that the Christian Church began to reclaim that reference to our celebration of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dorrie / Westy

My darling daughters were both on a blogging site called journalspace and I enjoyed reading their creative writings. I also became interested in posting my thoughts and signed up on the site myself. What I did not know at the time was that I signed up not only as a place to write but became part of a unique community.

I made a lot of friends fast and one of the first to respond to me was a woman whose pen name was “Westy” who is Dorrie Van Cleef. She lives in Germany and is such an interesting writer with a creative talent for blog designs. She offered to design two for me this one and my archaeology site called “Digging in the Dirt.”

Dorrie was the heart of the journalspace community always encouraging and inventing thing like the JS secret santa and the ledgen of the furries. She kept a log of  everyone on JS and encourage us. When the journalspace site crashed and could not be reborn it was Dorrie who kept us all in contact even though we were now blogging on different sites. When I set up this site my blog design was ho hum and Dorrie said she still had my JS designs on file and reset them on blogger. I love these “Westy Designs” and think of her every time I post here.

Today our JS friend Westy/Dorrie is recovering from an airplane crash and is in a coma in a German hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with her as she heals  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Power of Hymns

Some of the great hymns we sing in church bring out a lot of emotion in me. Many of them I can sing by heart and every time I hear them I join right in automatically. Hymns have evoked that kind of power for a very long time. It was that way in the days of Jesus too.

For the Jews then and today what we cal the book of Psalms was the hymn book. Harps and symbols played and people sang with gusto. Psalm 22 was just such a hymn even though it began with a feeling of depression and loss it ended with power and victory. Our hymn “How Great Thou Art” reminds of that type of psalm. Psalm 22 was quoted by Jesus in the New Testament when he spoke the first line from the cross. “My God My God why have you forsaken me.”  I think he was telling his followers below that this would end in victory and it did.

Think about how hymns move your spirit.