Thursday, December 25, 2014


Dear Christa—
Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, clicked the heels of her ruby red slippers and said, “There’s no place like home.”
As I pulled off my boot last night, out tumbled the puzzle piece that Jay and I had searched through 999 puzzle pieces to find.
Often, what we seek most is what we’ve already put our feet into.
As Mark preached on joy yesterday morning, it seemed to me that it really just shakes out to one word—contentment.
Why is it so easy to search for joy in all the wrong places?
We tend to think it lies across the street or in the next county or country. If only we had a different job, a different house, a different body, a different spouse—when all along we are dissatisfied with the choices we have made and the path God has planted us on.
Years ago I read a book titled Happiness is a Choice. I read it at a time that was very difficult. I didn’t have a job; there wasn’t enough money; and relationships were tense. All these years later, I don’t remember the specifics inside the cover, but I’ve always remembered the title.
Joy is not found in jobs, houses, money, or people. Mel has said that the happiest people she has ever known were the orphan children she met in the Dominican Republic on a missions trip with Heidi.
As Mark said yesterday, “When you pursue your own joy, you lose it.” And, “Abiding in Jesus is the restoration of fulfillment and fruitfulness.”
Real joy is found in a Savior who is only a breath away. I’m praying for a specific person to find Him this Christmas season. I’m praying she’ll look at her feet and discover that she has been standing in joy all along.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything

Monday, December 22, 2014

Things Forgotten

Dear Christa—
Chris said we’d been there once. I didn’t remember. I don’t remember seeing that at all. I think there are a lot of things that I intended to remember, but I don’t.
I intended to remember so many things. I wanted most to remember the most important things, but I think the daily things got in the way, and somehow when I was cooking dinner, doing the laundry, and cleaning house, I forgot or downright missed some of the important things.
I wonder if Mary, the mother of Jesus, ever did that. Did she get so busy with the other children, the regular doings of mothers, the interruptions that she laid aside the incarnation. Oh, she would never forget the angel, the wise men, the trip to Egypt; but as they settled in to daily life in Nazareth, did life overshadow the important things?
When he was 12, she didn’t notice his absence as they left Jerusalem. I doubt she was used to his having to be looked out for. When she and Joseph turned back, they found him in the temple, and he reminded her. He reminded her of the important thing—that he was the Son of God. Mary scolded him for not being with the others. She probably wondered what he’d eaten and where he’d slept. Did she notice that he was explaining the Scripture to the leaders?
Submitting, he followed them back to Nazareth, for it wasn’t his time. As she walked the dusty road, did she once again ponder the things of his birth? Did she begin to watch him now, like mothers watch and wonder about the future?
The daily robs us of the significant. There is so much that I didn’t want to forget, but I know that I have. Sometimes, it surprises me.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Spirit

Dear Christa—
Sometimes it’s hard to be in the Christmas spirit. I’ve heard it, I’ve read it on Face Book, I’ve felt it myself. The Christmas spirit—I wonder what that is, exactly…
Angels were singing. Wisemen were gazing at a star. Mary, like most new mothers, searched the face of a newborn child.
But, for most of the world, this day was like any other day. Rulers ruled. Workers worked. Priests—well, they did what priests do. Most people lived totally unaware that this was one of the greatest days in history.
I suppose it does have to do with awareness.
Maybe the Christmas spirit isn’t the clicking of glasses, the elation of music and presents. Maybe it isn’t even the smell of hot chocolate, the cookies, and pie. It isn’t at all what is or what isn’t under the tree. The handmade ornaments of small hands, the memories, or even the calm of late night.
Maybe it isn’t even the face of those you love best, or don’t love at all.
Just maybe the Christmas spirit is pondering the Light of the World and staring—and accepting—the Christ who touched the earth with his holy purpose. And because of his purpose, we have purpose—you and I.
Stare into his face because he’s staring at you—loving you.
Slip your heart in his and walk with him, trust in him.
It might be different from how many think of the Christmas spirit, but you will have it.
To give yourself to Jesus is the greatest day in your history.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Rocky Road

Dear Christa—

The saying in the fortune cookie said, “The road to glory will be rocky but fulfilling.” I laughed out loud, though there wasn’t anyone around to hear me. If there is one thing I’ve noticed as I get older it’s that there are rocky places for each of us. Rare are the days that there aren’t waves to rock our boat.
Now, is the advent season, when we wish we would take time—real serious time—to focus on the incarnation of Jesus, our Savior. So many things keep us distracted, but at least, let’s start out pondering the mysteries and incredulousness of those days so far removed from the here and now.
In a small village, not one to really even notice on the map of the world at that time, lived a man, a carpenter. Trained as a typical Jewish man of his day, I imagine him as an ordinary guy that any of us might know. Engaged to Mary, he probably thought things were looking up for him.
And they were…
Just not in the way he was anticipating.
There’s blessing in not looking too far ahead. Sometimes I think people plan too much today. Seniors, who don’t know what they want to do forever and ever, fret over the approaching graduation that’s a mere semester away. Yet, sometimes, all we need to do is to take the next step.
If Joseph and Mary’s world was going to be rocky, think about Jesus—stuck in human flesh. What happens when the Potter turns to clay? Did 33 years seem long or short for the Creator who’d never experienced time and space limitations? I don’t know.
Mary, bewildered, went to visit Elizabeth. Joseph, heartsick, decided to quietly end the engagement. On the edge of utter spectacular, the two people most affected in all the world probably spent many hours pondering where their road to glory would lead. We know the end of the story. We know that it was often rocky. We doubt they looked too far ahead because no one could imagine what was really going to take place.
The only truly important thing today is to know we’re on the road to Glory. Some days will be rocky. Some will be fulfilling. Today, I want to remember I can be on the road to Glory because Jesus left Glory. God Himself wrapped in a young woman’s womb. 
Amazing, unbelievable—when the Creator became the created.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything

Friday, November 28, 2014

Genesis to Now: Faith or Fear

Dear Christa—
All of Colorado went East this year for Thanksgiving. And, all of them were going fast. I know because they all passed me going across Kansas yesterday. Maybe they had farther to go than I did, or maybe they all got a later start, which is doubtful.
As I cruised at exactly 75 mph, I couldn’t help but think of the post Stefanie had put up of four-year-old Timber as the the boys were trying to retrieve a toy from under the couch: "The hammer was too short, the light saber was too long, and the wrench was too medium to reach it."

Why is life too often preceded by a “too”?
For Lot and Abram in Genesis, their flocks were too large for a land that was too small to handle them. So, Abram brought up the inevitable: they had to separate. He appears so generous when he offers Lot the choice of which way to go. Maybe it didn’t much matter to him where he was headed because he believed that God would be with him regardless where his flocks roamed.
It’s hard to just rest in God when we’re besought by “too.” But, Abram did.
Lot did not. He lifted his eyes and chose what he thought was the best for himself. In reality, he was not choosing the best after all. In the end he lost it all. The last we hear of Lot, he’s hiding in a cave, fearing the God who had saved him from destruction.
Whether we’re traveling too fast, too slow, or the rare occasion of too medium, we face a choice: we can either fear God or trust Him.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

From Genesis to Now: God's Story

One of the things I love about teaching literature is to communicate that the essence of story is a reflection of THE story.
It doesn’t really matter which culture, which historical time period, from what worldview is underlying—the creative elements of story are a reflection of God’s plan—HIS story that He designed in eternity past and through the creation of time, is playing out on the pages of the solar systems.
And, no choice that we make will change that story. In the outcome, there are purpose and design in every smart and stupid thing that we do.
And so, we see that in the lives of Abraham and Sarah.
When Abram lied about Sarai, (Remember, this was before the name changes), Pharaoh rebuked him and sent him on his way.
As for Sarah, when she was 90 years old, God allowed her to conceive and Isaac was born—the child of promise.
Isn’t it a great comfort to know that God is writing this story? —the greatest novel ever penned. We get to be characters in that story—characters who think, decide, and act.
What a crazy, wild way to create!
And, at the end of each chapter, it all turns out just the way the Author had determined. How is that for creativity!
Novels don’t write themselves and neither is this one. That’s a hook you can hang your hat on. That’s a lifeline to carry us through the hard times—and the good.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

From Genesis to Now--Seeing Through God's Eyes

Dear Christa—
It’s easy to put Abraham and Sarah on a pedestal—after all God did call Abraham to be the father of His chosen people. Yet, it was God who set them apart from others. At their core—Abraham and Sarah were regular people with whom God chose to do incredible things.
Then, on the other hand, it’s easy to criticize Abram for going to Egypt during the famine, but really now—it probably seemed like a smart thing to do at the time. I think if I’d been Sarah, it would have seemed like a good plan to me (beats starving) until he got to the part about, “Now, you’re beautiful—so really just tell them you’re my sister, or they might kill me.”
But lest we become too critical of Abram, Sarah too looked to what seemed logical at the time—the only way that it seemed to her she could bear this promised child was to give her servant Hagar to her husband. So she did.
To be honest, these two people approached life in the same way as I most readily do—by what seems logical within the time they lived. Abraham and Sarah approached the difficulties of life through their cultural lens and answers of their time. It comes far to easy for me to take action within what seems to make sense to me—in the here and now—the 21st Century American woman.
How do I make decisions, large or small? Do I prayerfully ask God’s guidance, or do I rely mostly on what seems logical at the time? I was reminded last weekend by an interesting woman of God that I need to “look with God’s eyes.”
I wish I looked with those eyes most often.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Autumn Days

Dear Christa—
Listening to the Sunday night praise service testimonies reminded me of what Dena, fellow teacher and friend since college, said recently regarding testimonies: “Everyone has a story, and every story is broken. We are all broken, and Jesus puts us together.”
It is so true, so universal.
No matter how hard we try to be perfect spouses, parents, parishioners, brokenness will come. We can no more escape the pain of our world any more than we can jump over the moon. The pain for some seems and is harsher than others, but great or small it is there—pushing us into Jesus.
Those five testimonies were so different, yet the thread that ran throughout each one is that in the midst of brokenness, Jesus came. He sought them out, even when some were not looking, to bring healing, peace, and life.
Sometimes we look so good on the outside that people don’t realize that each of us needed a Savior. Sometimes in the moments of goodness, it’s easy to forget just how lost we were.
Then sometimes, in the hard times, it’s easy to forget that we are broken no more. Perfect? …not here, but there is much to be grateful for.
Our neighbor across the street has a tree with blazing autumn red leaves, so rare among all the Colorado yellows. It reminds me of my Midwestern roots and the beauty of fall that leads into Thanksgiving. My childhood Thanksgivings were spent among grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. It was the holiday I missed most when I went to college.
Today these autumn leaves remind me of Thanksgiving—that I am whole and I should be characterized by gratefulness.
Pack in the beauty that autumn brings like storing up can goods for winter. Breathe in clear air that’s not too hot and not too cold. I want to fill my heart with gratefulness, for winter days are just ahead. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Window Washing

Dear Christa—
A lot of things didn’t happen this summer after I broke my patella. So, even though school is pretty all consuming, we decided that we’d try to do one thing we usually do in the summer each weekend this fall. Last week I cleaned most of the windows. I finished up the last four on the back of the house this morning while Jay went to Home Depot to buy stain for the deck.
I never wash windows without thinking about the horrible aluminum windows with the nail-breaking storms that were over them that we had for years and years—and the summer I decided that I was never washing them again.
My parents had come from Illinois and brought their camper. They had taken the kids to a campground in Green Mountain Falls, and Jay and I decided to wash all the windows and storm windows inside and out. We thought it would only take a day and maybe the next morning, and then we’d join them.
So, as my parents watched the kids swim in the pool, I broke fingernails and one window-washing day turned into two. And when two days turned to four, I vowed that I would never wash those windows again—ever. In those years I only saw my parents once a year, and it all made me sad. As I was vowing to never wash windows again, Dad was deciding to never bring the camper to Colorado again. It cost too much to pull it, and his truck wasn’t strong enough to haul it over the mountains, which is why they ended up only in Green Mountain Falls.
It was a vow I kept for years. We never again washed those windows between the storms, not ever. Oh, I’d spray a little Windex on the inside, and Jay would squirt the outside with the hose once a year, but never ever did we really do those windows that I hated.
Years later, after all the kids had graduated from college, we bought new double paned windows. They don’t take very long to wash, and all the upstairs windows can be washed from the inside, both inside and out. So, generally, after the Miller moths migrate though here in June, I wash windows—except this year when I broke my patella.
So, this morning as I finished them up, I was thinking about how I hated those old windows and the visit I’d squandered on them. Dad never did bring the camper back to Colorado, although we met them to camp at other places over the years. And it’s been many years now that I’ve had nice windows, and Dad has gone to Heaven.
Today, the nastiness that Miller moths leave behind is gone—that is until they come through next year. I see more clearly now. And, I didn’t break even one nail.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Reflection

Dear Christa—
Probably for the first time in the history of my life, I was thankful to defrost the freezer this morning—although I know that one day I’m going to turn head over heals into that thing.
I’ve often been relieved and satisfied when it was done, but never grateful to do it. Christopher asked me this summer what blogs I’d write about the lessons I’d learned from breaking my patella this summer. I told him “none” because I didn’t really learn anything other than that I’m easily annoyed—but I knew that already.
I have considered how very difficult it is for people who deal with afflictions on a daily basis, and I became annoyed that I was annoyed with such a petty and temporary inconvenience in light of my friends who deal with real pain and limitations that only do and only will continue to get worse from one year to the next.
I think, at times, those of us who do not deal with continual pain and afflictions make the assumption that those who do “adjust” to the harshness that has been dealt out to them. Yet, acceptance does not negate annoyance. To just wish you could go upstairs fast, like one used to. How could that ever not annoy you?
I received the sad news this week that one of my previous students had succeeded in taking his life. He was smart—perhaps one of the brightest students I’ve ever taught. He lived in constant, unbelievable pain. He was a mature and faithful Christian.
We just assume that in today’s world that doctors can fix anything, but it is not so. And, I’ve found I can neither condone nor condemn his decision. I only know that this world is sadder without him.
I know also that as health can bring forgetfulness, that I will one day forget to be grateful that I can go fast down the stairs. One year I will forget to be thankful to defrost the freezer. But maybe the forgetting will come slowly.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Redo, Please

Dear Christa—
Jokingly, I said to the orthopedic doctor this morning, “I think I’m healed.” And he surprised me when he replied, “I think you’re right. See your x-ray? It looks good…real good.”
At first I was so happy. Happy to unsnap that brace for the last time, knowing I’d never have to pull it up again because it wouldn’t stay in place. Happy I wouldn’t have to start school tugging and yanking on that annoying thing. Happy to finally after 6 weeks to bend my knee…at least as far as it would go.
But later, I felt like I wanted a redo. A redo of summer. My body feels like summer is just beginning, yet my brain reminds me that I start back to work next Thursday.
It’s not the first time I’ve wanted a redo.
I’ve taught classes that I’ve been grateful for another chance at the next year. I’ve visited places I’ve wanted to redo and do better because I love the people I’m with and they love me.
The next time I walk to Pike Market in Seattle, I’m hoping to see more than a park bench and ice on a swollen knee.
But, mostly I’ve wanted to redo relationships.
At times relationships ebb and flow like the tide at the ocean’s shore. Sometimes they’re so close, and the next thing you know they’re distant, and I’m wondering when and how things got that way.
Maybe I was inattentive. Maybe it wasn’t me at all. Maybe I will never know.
But, unlike summer, relationships can have a redo. It isn’t easy. It takes time, and it takes focus. It takes changing priorities. It takes cooperation. And desire. And prayer. And a bunch of other stuff.  
Then, one day, it’s healed. That relationship won’t look the same under an x-ray. In life, things happen we always wish hadn’t. But, it can be strong, and it can be good. Kind of like bending a knee that hasn’t bent in six weeks.
And maybe I can even dance by the first dance of autumn.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Broken Bodies

Dear Christa,
Since breaking my patella a week ago, I’ve gained new insight and appreciation concerning Paul’s comments on the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:14-27. It’s too long to type out here, but you know the passage I’m talking about, the one where all the parts work together. And boy, is it ever true.
When one part of the body isn’t working, it makes all the other parts have to work harder and pick up jobs that aren’t theirs. It really does take 2 legs to hold up the body. Sometimes the muscles in my arms ache worse than the knee that’s fractured from supporting my weight on crutches.
Not only do the other parts have to work harder to compensate, but nothing works as well. The windows remain dirty, the freezer not defrosted, my morning walk not taken. Things I’d planned to do will not get done, not until later. Washing windows and defrosting freezers are not significant, and there will be time to do them once my knee is healed. But, what about the work of the body of Christ? What happens when broken parts hinder the whole?
A body part not working right doesn’t just have the negative effect of how it affects the others. A broken part is a broken part, and it needs to be tended to. I can’t ignore this knee. That’s impossible. It has to be cared for. If not, it won’t get better. We can’t ignore hurting Christians anymore than I could pretend this broken kneecap didn’t exist. When one is hurting, the rest must help. It is only right.
All the people of Christ are so important. There are no insignificant people. When John Donne proclaimed in Meditation 17 that “no man is an island” and that what happens to one happens to all, he was establishing the value and interconnection of every person. 
Perhaps keeping the body of Christ fit and healthy is not mostly an act of being proficient, but more an act of love. I can say that I have gained new appreciation for my knee. When it’s back in service, maybe my feet will pick themselves up a little higher. Maybe my eyes will look where the body is going instead of being distracted.
And, maybe I won’t get frustrated if I have to pick up some extra work for a hurting person. Maybe I’ll pay a little more attention of how to benefit the people around me. I hope so.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Losing Hope

Dear Christa—
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Prov. 13:12
I’ve been reading in Proverbs this summer—So much good advice, so much I haven’t followed. Sometimes I’ve felt guilty—wondered why anyone would want to read these words—wondered how they all fit together to bring us to a loving God Who redeems. Yet they do.
This morning, this verse, resonated with me. In my nearly 60 years, I’ve found it so true. When we have our heart set—when we wish for “it” (whatever that is) so badly, and it vanishes like the mist over the mountains on a Colorado summer morning—it is so discouraging.
It makes me feel isolated and lost—regardless of how much those who love me come along side. Maybe you have or do feel so down this morning. One moment the hope is there—so close you could pull it into your heart. Then—in an instant that epiphany, that phone call, that decision dissolves it before your very eyes.
Hope deferred truly does make the heart sick.
Yet, deferred means “not yet.” It doesn’t mean “not ever.”
Isn’t it wonderful the significance that one word can carry? Deferred means not yet, which gives all the more glory to the second part of the verse: a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
No one can have a longing fulfilled who hasn’t had a hope deferred. 
The very waiting has purpose. 
I have seen it in my own life and others a multitude of times.
I’m learning to rest in the waiting. It’s been a long road—60 years. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the green in winter when all seemed dead and lost. Maybe I’m just numb. Yet, even so, it’s easy to lose hope.
If you’re heartsick today, lift up [your] eyes to the hills no longer covered in mist. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Ps. 121:1-2
I often think of these verses when my heart is sick. They help me to have hope when hope is deferred. And I want to remember them, too, in the day of rejoicing, because a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Monday, May 26, 2014

From Genesis to Now: the Tower of Babel

Dear Christa—

I guess sometimes people can just talk too much. I suppose sometimes we just need to know when to stop.
The second year I taught (nearly 30 years ago), I had vocal nodes. What was crazy about it was that I was teaching a small kindergarten class of 6 exceptionally well behaved and precious little kids. But, the sweet little class was in a rather large room of the church, and the speech therapist decided I was speaking to the room and not the class. (And the fact that I had the “Oh, Holy Night” solo in the Christmas cantata, which was way too high for me surely exacerbated the situation.) She also uncovered an anger issue, but we’ll just let that one go for now.
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there…Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Gen. 7
Seeing the therapist was humiliating for me. Having minored in voice, I felt indignant this had happened. I wanted to do everything that I wanted to do.
Yet, the day before the first performance of the cantata, I awoke totally silent. I had no voice at all.
The result, though, was longer lasting than sessions with a speech therapist I didn’t care for, who in reality was probably quite nice: voice rest for weeks, except during the afternoons that I taught—no singing for six months and a voice that has always been weak all these many long years. So I learned to be quiet. And I learned that I am rather prideful.
So, the descendants of those who were saved in the ark became prideful. They intended to build their city and a tower to the sky. They chose themselves. They wanted to do everything they wanted to do, whether it was good or not.
I no longer teach a handful of little children, and a lingering cough has brought back old sensations in the throat that I don’t want to ignore. School was over last week, and now I really can choose to be quiet. I hope that this will be a summer I choose to listen and not babble.
Sometimes we talk too much, and sometimes we just need to stop.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

From Genesis to Now: Leaving the Boat

Dear Christa—
From Genesis to Now: Leaving the Boat
There’s that problem that never ends—the rift that seems to never heal. Sometimes, it seems that winter will drag on forever.
Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a dark boat on the high tide of a raging sea?
Back in our childhood Sunday school days, we learned that it rained for 40 days and 40 nights after God shut Noah, his family, and all the animals into the ark. But, it’s easy to forget just how long they stayed there—long after the rain stopped.
There must have been times the small band of people felt isolated and forgotten.
But, that was not so.
And, as weeks turned to months and months turned to a year, God was at work.
Likely, Teutonic plates were being shifted, high mountains were uplifted and continents drifted apart. Yet, Noah and his kin sat alone in what surely seemed a dark hole.
I wonder as they heard the timbers creak if they ever looked around and wished they’d taken more care in the building process. They were safe, but I doubt they always felt like it. After all, a year is a long time.
Then, one day—Genesis 8:1 tells us—“God remembered Noah.” It wasn’t that He’d forgotten him; it was just that it was finally time for him to quit sitting around. At first he sent out birds and eventually he took off the cover, and finally they all stepped out onto dry ground.
No wonder they made sacrifices first thing. It’s easy to praise God when He lifts us out of the dark. It also doesn’t take us long to forget.
A couple of days ago it snowed, but on this early Saturday morning, I hear the birds chirping outside. They have returned. Winter is ending and summer approaches.
It’s time to get out of dark and walk toward the Light.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

There Will Be Tulips

 Dear Christa—
Yesterday Jay turned on the sprinkler system. So, tonight as I sat here in quiet for the first time in a long time, the water kicked on. At first it startled me because I didn’t expect it. Then as I watched the droplets of water shower down on grass that’s trying to revive out of winter’s deep sleep, I thought of how satisfying a drink of water can be, and how often the refreshing of the soul is linked to water imagery in Scripture.
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
For all the years that I’ve lived in Colorado, I still miss the spring that never comes. A couple of weeks a go, I pushed back some mulch and scratched around in the dust, looking for a sign of the tulips we’d planted last fall. Disappointed, I figured the bulbs I’d bought on sale just weren’t any good. Then, with a single day of rain last week, suddenly they were there.
There will be tulips. It might be June, but eventually they will bob their little blooms in the air. And suddenly, it will be summer. But before then, when the sky withholds the rain, Jay will help them along in his well-watered garden.
I love flowers and gardens, and I love this verse. I think the hot, dry wind of the Southwest can sometimes suck the very life out of you, and life’s struggles can weigh us down. So, it’s good to hear the voice of the Lord in Isaiah. He will guide; He will satisfy; He will strengthen.
Winter is over, and it’s time to drink deep—deep into the Word of God. Hear Isaiah’s voice once again, settle back, take a deep breath, and find strength in His Word:
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

From Genesis to Now: Judgment

Dear Christa—
From Genesis to Now: Judgment
I wonder when Jesus stopped being Mary’s son and became her Lord. It did happen. There had to have been a change, slow or fast, when Mary no longer looked at Jesus as a child she bore and raised and recognized him for who is was and is—Creator God.
As children grow, we parent less and less in many ways, but this was different. Jesus never was really Mary’s. He was God, and she was just a vessel—a vessel used to bring redemption.
There came a time in history when God brought severe judgment on the earth, not just a nation or region, but the entire earth. Those who peopled the earth were mighty and strong—“heroes of old”—legends that perhaps became myth. Mighty though they were, they were not godly. They should have recognized God for God, but they did not. And then came judgment.
People don’t like to talk about judgment these days. We’d rather view Jesus as Mary’s son, a child. And it is true that Jesus did come as a child, but by the time He agonized in Gethsemane, this was no mere mortal, even in comparison to the heroes of old. This was God, very God. And all those things Mary had pondered in her heart years before surely came back to her again. This was not her son. This was her God.
And even though Jesus brought redemption, He is still a God of judgment. Power and prestige will not remove us from the eyes of God. Redeemer on one hand, judge on the other.
Mary was a vessel—a vessel who recognized her God. We should do no less.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From Genesis to Now: Remaining True

Reading Genesis 5 is like pushing the fast forward button on the DVD where we only see flashes of the sequence. Chapter 5 is a fast forward from Creation to the Flood. Because of the pace, it appears that not much happens and that it moves quickly, but it didn’t. Those people lived hundreds of years.
Chapter 5 portrays an overview of Seth’s line. It stands in stark contrast to Cain’s, which continued to degrade. From the moment that people left the presence of God, they forgot about Him. They became consumed with their own work, their own building, their own talents. And as time marched on for hundreds of years—people worked, took spouses, bore children, and lived for themselves. To live outside the presence of God is to live selfishly, and so they did. And so do we.
Yet, in the midst of large scale degradation, there was one line that remained within God’s presence. It is the line of Adam through Seth. As Seth viewed Adam’s life, so his son viewed his (and his grandfather’s), and his son viewed his, (and his grandfather’s and great grandfather’s), and so on and so on—all through the rising corruption of humanity. All these people made a difference, for good or for bad, for hundreds of years. Adam could have impacted, first hand, family members for 8 generations before he died.
We don’t have 8 generations to pour into. We have one, two, and three at the most. We don’t have hundreds of years to teach and pray. Time was cut short for man’s own good, so that he didn’t have time to bring about his utter demise. But, the time for good is limited as well.
Let’s make every day count—today, tomorrow, and the next. Genesis 5 moves from the beginning to judgment and is as fast-paced as one lifetime. We only get one.