Wednesday, April 29, 2009

God helps those who... others!

Turn the world's wisdom on it's ear and remake yourself. Use your self and resources to help others; lay down your life that another might live, and find God as your partner.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

If I am an island, you're the sea

Oh God, my God, surround me

Oh God, my God, surround me
With earth and fire and sky,
And raise me on your spirit like the wind.
And carry me to heaven,
Wherever that may be.
For if I am an island, you're the sea.


Iain Whyte, from the poem/song, "I wrap my thoughts around me."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life lessons from children

To My Unborn Child

Jane Tyson Clement

I carry life or death within me;
this little stirring, blind and pushing creature
is the sweet paradox
weighing me down with either joy
or sorrow.
Teach me, my little one, the slow acceptance,
whether death or life is born within me.
I am in God’s hands, and you
in God’s hands
through me—
all of it God’s: the light, the dark,
the winter,
and this wild, petal-drifting,
sun-dazed May.


Jane Tyson Clement, No One Can Stem the Tide

At the Lamb's high feast we sing

At the Lamb's high feast we sing

Words: Ad regias Agni dapes -- Anonymous Latin, Robert Campbell (1814-1868)
Tune: Salzburg

At the Lamb's high feast we sing
praise to our victorious King,
who hath washed us in the tide
flowing from his piercèd side;
praise we him, whose love divine
gives his sacred blood for wine,
gives his body for the feast,
Christ the victim, Christ the priest.

Where the paschal blood is poured,
death's dark angel sheathes his sword;
Israel's hosts triumphant go
through the wave that drowns the foe.
Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed,
paschal victim, paschal bread;
with sincerity and love
eat we manna from above.

Mighty victim from the sky,
hell's fierce powers beneath thee lie;
thou hast conquered in the fight,
thou has brought us life and light.
Now no more can death appall,
now no more the grave enthrall:
thou has opened Paradise,
and in thee thy saints shall rise.

Easter triumph, Easter joy,
sin alone can this destroy;
from sin's power do thou set free
souls new-born, O Lord, in thee.
Hymns of glory and of praise,
risen Lord, to thee we raise;
holy Father, praise to thee,
with the Spirit, ever be.


Monday, April 20, 2009

A faithtful look at recovery

Recovery or renewal?

Brian McLaren raises a serious point: in all our discussions of 'economic recovery,' just what are we trying to recover? Are we merely trying to go back to an unconstrained, greedy mentality? If so, recovery is idolatry. And it will not succeed long term.

For many people, economic recovery means getting back to where we were a few months or years ago. That means recovering our consumptive, greedy, unrestrained, undisciplined, irresponsible, and ecologically and socially unsustainable way of life. I'd like to suggest another kind of recovery, drawing from the world of addiction. When an addict gets into recovery, he doesn't want to go back and recover the "high" he had before, or even to recover the conditions he had before he began using drugs and alcohol. Instead, he wants to move forward to a new way of life---a wiser way of life that takes into account his experience of addiction. He realizes that his addiction to drugs was a symptom of other deeper issues and diseases in his life---unresolved pain or anger, the need to anesthetize painful emotions, lack of creativity in finding ways to feel happy and alive, unaddressed relational and spiritual deficits, lack of self-awareness, and so on.

Similarly, I'd like to suggest whenever we hear the word "recovery," we as a nation see it not as a call to get back our old addictive high, but rather as a call to face our corporate and personal addictions...

Important words.

A believing person has an obligation to stand up and be counted whenever s/he sees agendas and actions that will destroy the nation -- whether economics or politics or metaphysics --; however, believers also have an obligation not to accept terms of 'recovery' that refuse to acknowledge the responsibility of life before God.

All of life is spiritual if God exists.

Therefore all our answers must be spiritual in nature, giving clear account before God, never allowing ourselves to say, 'Oh, this is just politics,' or 'this is just economics.'


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's bad all over

It's bad all over [but cats are still so dramatic! :-)].

Friday, April 10, 2009

Acuerdate oh Señor -- Holy Week

I'll share this video with you all, created for use in our special Tenebrae service. Part of my ordination vows say to serve the people with "intelligence, imagination, creativity and love." Well, this service [including video slideshow] took every ounce of that! Lots of effort and imagination, finding, creating, choosing pictures and then choosing the right song: my first attempt at creating multi-media for worship. But I absolutely couldn't have done this without integral help from Patrick. He was the technical brain behind this video. He worked so hard to make the Tenebrae service a success: thanks, Patrick! Way above the call of duty -- heavenly.

So, friends, enjoy this prayer song and video.

Make sure to click the full screen version, second button from the right.

God bless you this Easter season!

p.s. Translation of Acuerdate oh Señor

Acuerdate oh Señor

Acuerdate oh Señor
De las naciones de la tierra acuerdate
Que tu favor y tu amor
Sean derramados sobre el mundo oh Señor
En tu bondad acuerdate
En tu bondad acuerdate

Remember, oh Sir!

Remember, oh Sir!
For the nations of the earth remember
That your favor and your love
Are spilled out on the world, oh Sir!
In your kindness remember…
In your kindness remember…


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Jesus laughing with Mary in the carpenter shop

Jesus had the best sense of humor ever: it was perfect, loving life, seeing irony without cynicism, bringing others into the fair dance of Life.

If you know Him, you just have to love Him. If you don't know Him, what better time of year to make His acquaintance? He's smiling and laughing, beckoning you onward and home!


Monday, April 06, 2009

The One who brings prisoners out of darkness

Servant of Yhwh, the Chosen One

Isaiah 42:1-7

Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.


Grace is free but not easy

God in Christ: teleology and theodicy

There was an occasion when Christ was asked a question of theological curiosity—if the goal of salvation would include few or many. And His answer, nationally viewed, was disappointing—as if for Him such an inquiry was academic, or only inquisitive. He convened it at once into a religious occasion. He turned it into the central and primary theology, where we are not merely curious but concerned. He said that such inquiries could only be solved practically only if a greater question were first settled for our own soul; that eschatology was a matter of soteriology, and soteriology a matter of personal salvation; that we had no key to the eternal future of others except what we had for our own; that our interest in the saving of the world might be perverted to submerge our own salvation; that, in the desire to know, or even in our haste to effect, the destiny of the race, we might miss in our soul the certainty which was the root of all other.

‘Are the saved few?’ ‘Few enough to make you afraid you may not be there. See to your entry. The religious inquisitives may be eternal failures. So may the religious bustlers. You must taste salvation to discuss it. You must experience the world’s salvation to deal with the saving of the world’ (Luke xiii. 23). As if He should say: ‘Acquaint yourself with what God has done. Immerse yourself in it. The consummation will not come by man’s gradual organization under a law of love, but by the consummating Act and Gift of God in His Kingdom and its righteousness—by that and each man’s part in it.’

But that Act it was far from easy to take home. Grace is free but not easy. It was not in the growth of man’s delectable breadth and charity that Christ found the way to heaven; He cast His inquirers upon a narrow way ending in a strait gate. It was not to a wider knowledge or a larger vision that He looked for the central and final theodicy. The only final theodicy He knew was God’s saving Act, in which He Himself grew more and more straitened till it was accomplished. To know and taste that was everything. The world’s history did not make for Him the world’s final judgment; it worked up to such a judgment, where He is Himself on the bench. Love’s straightening for a tangled world was a cure for its sin – it was propitiation, the mercy of the Cross. ‘Herein is love—that He gave His Son as propitiation.’

Love that meets need finds that to be the chief need. Its first and last gift to man is the Cross. This Cross became not only a rescue from a strait but the principle and measure of the whole world. The Lord of the Cross is the final trustee of universal judgment. The whole purpose of history, if we are to believe Christ, was something more than the disentangling of a moral muddle, the evolution of a moral order, or even the growth of a moral personality; it was the redemption of that personality. Its final ethic is that involved in faith with its justifying, regenerating power. It was to bring every man to deal with Him as Savior, to plant every man at last before the judgment-seat of His Cross and Grace, to work in every man the supreme conviction of belonging to Him, and finding in Him his own new soul—new, yet his own. So that no man comes to himself till he come to Him, and the world does not’ arrive’ till it settle to rest in Him.

That is the Christian teleology of history, whether we accept it or do not. Christ, judge and justifier, is the one theodicy. The whole race says, ‘for me to live is Christ.’ Everything exists for Him—love, culture, war, tragedy, glory. He is the one moral touchstone of God and man for ever, the crucial point of the eternal and immutable morality of the Holy.


P.T. Forsyth, The Justification of God, 54-44.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Blackout: A metaphor of spiritual darkness

A parable for Lent

A prophetic word by Emil Brunner

During wartime blackout practices we noticed what life would be like without light, how weird everything was, how one took uncertain steps, how quickly one lost his way, how easily one collided. The blackout is said to have cost more lives in England than the war.

That may be a parable for us of what darkness in the spiritual sense means in the individual life of man and in the life of nations. You know, indeed, how it is when it is simply dark in us and around us, when we do not know in and out, when it is like a devilish darkening over our mind, and we ourselves think, feel, and do what the light shuns. That the Bible calls 'wandering in darkness.' But it can happen that one becomes accustomed to this darkness so that he does not notice how terrible, how inhuman, how contrary to sense all life then becomes. And as in individuals, so in the life of nations. Now is a blackout time in the whole world of nations, as perhaps never at all before.

For earlier one still knew that there is a God, that there is a righteousness, that finally a retribution comes, that there are holy laws and orders. But today there are millions and millions of Europeans – about the others I do not wish to speak – now who no longer know all that, who have radically struck God from their hearts and lives and who therefore live entirely in darkness and who do the works of darkness.

We see today and thank God; many who did not see it are now finally beginning to see it that one cannot live without God. But perhaps it is already too late; perhaps the darkness of godlessness must first give vent to its fury before better times can come. The power of darkness seems today to have received a free night from God that it may crush to pieces what it wills so that the nations realize to what place one comes when he abolishes God.


Emil Brunner, I Believe in the Living God, 43-44.