Showing posts from December, 2013

Silent Night

Perhaps it is just a time of introspection or the cold of winter but something makes the nights around Christmas seem that much darker and quieter.  It is at this time of year that I also notice this nagging sense of being out of place, an emotional or spiritual orphan even. I am sure it is the emptiness of my nest, despite the husband and the hunting dogs. My mother and sister do not live near and my son has gone on creating his own family. An awkward sadness arrives around Thanksgiving and doesn't part until after New Year. 
In those dark, quiet days when carols ring hollow and Christmas cheer appears staged, I listen to Handel's Messiah. Not only is the music breathtaking, but the words proclaim truth in a way that my tired soul appreciates.

It is then that I inhale deeply of the mystery of God and glimpse my small walk on part of His story. It is then that I hear angels calling to each other, crying out how amazing is God, that God has plans that we couldn't dream up no …

Ducking Samaritans

Samaritans. Yeah, we know the story about the good one, right? That was the only time they were placed in a positive light in the Bible. They were seen as people who misunderstood God's law. They worshipped in places other than the Temple. They were squatters from Assyrian times. They were sort of spiritual and racial mutts. And good people, good Jews, took pains to avoid them.
Until Jesus told his students to share the goodness of God's presence and care with them. "All of Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth."
So today, as followers of Jesus' message, we have no Samaritans to avoid, right? In light of this week, I would have to say, of course we do.
Modern day Samaritans are the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) community and as good Christians, we have no problem telling them how they live wrongly. We avoid them because we find their lifestyle revolting or maybe because we are worried we will catch the gayness. But what…

Messy life, messy prayers

This was my Facebook status the other morning.
I woke to some nice Christian, I suppose since I don't know him, asking what my burdens were and asking me to take them to Jesus, or email them to him and he would be kind enough to intercede for me.
Yeah, if you know me, that is not a first date sort of message. Like not even dating. We need to be at least engaged before you try getting that intimate and I won't be honest about any requests unless I am married. Just a thing about me.
So I go outside and the truck is dead. It just seems to be pouring lately in my life. Nothing is easily accomplished. My twisted spine makes walking more difficult. Christmas is complicated by the need for the security of a new job. Both the holidays and the job and the truck and the pain strain my relationships. 
Going back into the house to wake the poor husband to jump my car, I scribbled that prayer as my status. 
Fortunately the church saw my prayer and overlooked any irreverence. And so Jesus, both …

Tis the season, right?

I have a confession to make but please cover the ears of your elf on the shelf first.
I hate Christmas.
Before you think I am just a grinch whose heart is 2 sizes too small, it isn't what Christmas is that bothers me.
I love the fact that my God came to earth born a fragile baby with a lusty cry whose first visitors were stable animals. There is something earthy and real in that God. But that isn't the Christmas I hate.
I hate carols that are so trite and sung mindlessly. I hate the shopping that turns usually nice individuals into maniacal monsters as they go into debt, buy things no one will really care for just to be thought well of, or knock down other shoppers for $59 off their flat screen TV. I hate the unspoken competition to be a Martha Stewart and have a beautifully appointed home with all the right holiday touches, bake 17 dozen cookies of assorted varieties, send out cards with a poignant and comical newsletter enclosed in envelopes with holiday stamps. Family gathering…

Who is God?

I need a new job. Like last week. Or maybe last month. 
I have been hanging on, barely, but not sure how much longer I can hang. So, I pray. Especially about this one that sounds just right and I already have lots of ideas for them...
And it is then that I begin to struggle: is God a magician or Santa? 
When I really need something, I feel awkward praying about it. I want to surrender the outcome, but I can't. I go back to my childhood when someone taught me to end my prayers with "in Jesus name" if it was really serious as well as acknowledging his power and "thanking him in advance" as a show of faith. Magician Jesus...abracadabra, in your name, I thank you for letting me win the lottery-of course I will tithe it too!
But, alas, I know there are no magic words, no hidden code, no phrase to unlock the power to fulfill my desires or needs.
Which is where Santa Jesus steps in. Maybe I have been good enough? Maybe God will bless me with it if I wish really hard and am…

Have you heard about Pastor Saeed?

When I was a child, I would hear of missionaries dying, literally, to bring Jesus to people.  There was something romantic about being that serious about one's faith, and even about being chosen by God for those trials.  In my child's mind anyway.  It was the most fascinating thing to me, their faith, and I prayed that I would be able to do something that great for God. 

I still have a heart for the persecuted church and our brothers and sisters who struggle to bring Jesus to places where it can be deadly.  But as an adult, the situation is not nearly as romantic.

One individual in the news today is Pastor Saeed Abedini.  Pastor Saeed is an Iranian American who converted from Islam to Christianity.  That in itself is dangerous, but he also was a pastor of an underground church of thousands and sought to bring others to faith.  Iran, being a Muslim country, tolerates a Christian minority, but has distinct disdain for converts. 

Pastor Saeed has been detained since 2012 becau…