In a sense the whole of our Christian year points toward Easter. It seems like a long an arduous journey for only one day that emerges as a whole liturgical or worship season. However, as we might ask a mountain climber “Why do you climb mountains anyway?” they would no doubt respond when asked— “Because it is there!”
Several years ago, on television I watched a National Geographic program about the climbing of Mount Everest. [As an aside, Neil and I heard several lectures while on our ship from the first woman to scale the peak! She was British.] What struck me most about the television program was that the expeditions had a lot in common with the building of God’s realm through the ministries of the church. Leaders make mistakes and the followers get both tired and discouraged. Yet, the result is worth the price. We participate in the Kingdom or Realm of God because that is why God created us.
The Easter may we sing and praise God for the gift of Easter—and the resurrection!
Sincerely, your friend,
An older movie I like is Out of Africa. It is based on the writings of Baroness Karen von Bliksen-Finecke (under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen) and her life in Africa. In the film, Meryl Streep as Karen, says “when the gods want to punish you, they answer your prayers.” Funny thing is until the COVID-19 outbreak I had heard many people say things like: “I sure wish I did not have to go to . . . school, work, etc.” The inference was “I would just like to stay home today!” Read more
Sometimes as I go back and read random notes, I discover something that was especially delectable as a slice of human behavior. Recently I ran across one such note.
Lloyd Steffen wrote in The Christian Century how when King Frederick II, an eighteenth-century King of Prussia, visited a prison in Berlin, the inmates tried to prove to him how they had been unjustly imprisoned. All except one. That one inmate sat quietly in a corner, while all the rest of the prisoners protested their innocence.
Seeing him sitting there oblivious to the commotion, the king asked him what he was there for. “Armed robbery, Your Honor.”
The king asked, “Were you guilty?”
“Yes, Sir,” he answered. “I entirely deserve my punishment.”
The king then gave an order to the guard: “Release this guilty man. I don’t want him corrupting all these innocent people.”
Every now and then, one understands the truth and the truth will set that person free.
Doris Mortman once wrote, “Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” I can’t say as I have ever heard of Doris, but I think I would enjoy visiting with her. When Paul was writing out of deep gratitude to the church at Philippi, this is one of the things he wrote:
“I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have
little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I
have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having
plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens
me. In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress” (Philippians 4:11-14).
It takes integrity to finally be able to say who we are. Of course, that does not mean we stop trying to grow or do what Wesley urged when he wrote and spoke of “going on to perfection”—that is “being made perfect in love in this life.” The integrity comes by finally and simply making a stake in life that says “I stand for these things.”
In this vein, and as we begin a new year striving to be what God created us to be, Socrates’ words have a ring of helpful truth about them: “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
As a continuation of last week’s blog message share that I once asked a twenty-something year old what I could write about in my blog. The twenty-something said: “Anything but religion!”
This was an interesting way to frame the content or anti-content of a blog— “Anything but religion!” I was somewhat vexed by the response as the question was absolutely in earnest. Yet the more I thought about it and looked around, listened to people, and read things in the newspaper, I realized that many of the issues that hang up “religious people” have little or no interest for college age students. Read more...
On Monday, 20 January 2020 we as a nation will observe Martin Luther King’s birthday, although he was in fact born at noon on 15 January 1929. Many folks deeply appreciate this day and how it shapes our best inclinations as human beings. Of course, when we celebrate the civil rights struggle that Dr. King led America through in the 1960s, it also brings to mind Jesus’ words in the first century. In Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount we read: ….read more
As many of you know, I will leave with my son Neil on 9 January 2020 to travel by ship from Southampton, England. We are sailing basically to Australia and back—with many stops along the way. Some of you have asked where exactly we are going and what follows is a rundown. To be painfully detailed, and among other locales, we will go to Malaysia, Jordan, Vietnam, Egypt, Mauritius, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Australia, Italy, Singapore, Indonesia, Spain, Namibia, South Africa, Hong Kong, and England—not in that order, of course.
It is a journey, no doubt, and we are using some of my vacation time unused from the 1980s and 90s, believe it or not. Thank you for your prayers.—dnm