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Archive for April, 2014

You were faithful. Your country was not.

April 30th, 2014 No comments

On this day in 1975 the Vietnam War officially came to an end with the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese.

“So much was lost with you, so much talent and intelligence and decency. You were the first from our class of 1964 to die. There were others, but you were the first and more: you embodied the best that was in us. You were a part of us, and a part of us died with you, the small part that was still young, that had not yet grown cynical, grown bitter and old with death. Your courage was an example to us, and whatever the rights and wrongs of the war, nothing can diminish the rightness of what you tried to do. Yours was the greater love. You died for the man you tried to save, and you died pro patria. It was not altogether sweet and fitting, your death, but I’m sure you died believing it was pro patria. You were faithful. Your country was not. As I write this, eleven years after your death, the country for which you died wishes to forget the war in which you died. Its very name is a curse. There are no monuments to its heroes, no statues in small-town squares and city parks, no plaques nor public wreaths, nor memorials. For plaques and wreaths and memorials are reminders, and they would make it harder for your country to sink into the amnesia for which it longs. It wishes to forget and it has forgotten. But there are a few of us who do remember because of the small things that made us love you — your gestures, the words you spoke, and the way you looked. We loved you for what you were and what you stood for.” Philip Caputo A Rumor of War 300

I tasted, and now I hunger and thirst.

April 24th, 2014 No comments

“Belatedly I loved thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new, belatedly I loved thee. For see, thou wast within and I was without, and I sought thee out there. Unlovely, I rushed heedlessly among the lovely things thou hast made. Thou wast with me, but I was not with thee. These things kept me far from thee; even though they were not at all unless they were in thee. Thou didst call and cry aloud, and didst force open my deafness. Thou didst gleam and shine, and didst chase away my blindness. Thou didst breathe fragrant odors and I drew in my breath; and now I pant for thee. I tasted, and now I hunger and thirst. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for thy peace.” 
― Augustine of HippoConfessions

He is standing beside us

April 20th, 2014 No comments

“The resurrection of Jesus was simply God’s unwillingness to take our ‘no’ for an answer. He raised Jesus, not as an invitation for us to come to heaven when we die, but as a declaration that he himself has now established permanent, eternal residence here on earth. He is standing beside us, strengthening us in this life. The good news of the resurrection of Jesus is not that we shall die and go home to be with him, but that he has risen and comes home with us, bringing all his hungry, naked, thirsty, sick prisoner brothers with him.” – Clarence Jordan

Death is Swallowed up in Victory

April 20th, 2014 No comments

open tomb

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55  “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:51–55 ESV)

A Holy Nation

April 18th, 2014 No comments

We are called to be a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9). Holy means, among other things, “set apart” and recognizably different. God’s covenant with Israel was to set Israel apart as a light for the nations to draw all back to God (Is. 49:6). In Christ we are called to be that light, which means that Christians are called to be visibly and recognizably different from the people around us. But not just recognizable; recognizable in a way that draws people to God. We are to be recognizable like Mother Teresa, not like Westboro Baptist Church.

Commandment Thursday

April 17th, 2014 No comments

In the context of Holy Week [Maundy (as in Maundy Thursday)] refers to the commandment Jesus gave to his disciples while washing their feet, as recorded in John 13. Specifically, the commandment in John 13:34-35:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

(John 13:34-35 ESV)

Saving the World

April 17th, 2014 No comments

“When we struggle for human rights, for freedom, for dignity, when we feel that it is a ministry of the church to concern itself for those who are hungry, for those who have no schools, for those who are deprived, we are not departing from God’s promise. He comes to free us from sin, and the church knows that sin’s consequences are all such injustices and abuses. The church knows it is saving the world when it undertakes to speak also of such things.” ― Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love

“I have given up trying to be a hipster atheist.”

April 17th, 2014 No comments

I think there is a stage of faith that seeks comfort in holding a rigid position. Like, for example, ‘God said it, I believe it, that settles it.’ A person can stand solidly on this ground. But this position will not hold up against even the most cursory scrutiny. When it is questioned the holder of this belief will be led either to mindless militancy or despair. A mature faith will be nuanced and questioning.

The same is true in the case of, for lack of a better term, “anti-faith.” The secularist builds a foundation of blind unquestioning certainty on the uncertain ground of reason. But in the end that too is a faith proposition. It is no more reasonable to believe unquestioningly in reason than it is to believe in anything else. Like the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. All of which is to say that the assumption that people of faith are unsophisticated and unintelligent is untenable. Like the author of this article eloquently points out.

How God Became Jesus—and How I Came to Faith in Him

 

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

April 16th, 2014 No comments

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

(Isaiah 61:1 ESV)

Easter Week Meditation: An Eternal Debt

April 16th, 2014 No comments

Because we experience time in a linear fashion, when we consider the crucifixion we think of it as an event that happened long ago over a relatively minuscule period of time, maybe three hours. I think many people may have an idea that although the agony that Jesus experienced on the cross may have been incredibly painful it was over pretty quick so we don’t really get what the big deal is. He was God. Surely he can take three hours of discomfort.

But here’s something to think about: it is more likely than not that God does not experience time in a linear fashion as we do. God created everything out of nothing which means that God must have existence outside of creation. Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58 ESV), which indicates that his existence is not bound by time but is eternal. If that is true, then Jesus’ agony on the cross, the terror of which far exceeds physical discomfort and consists of the experience of the wrath of God, is eternal. The experience of God’s wrath, the letting go of his care (Ro. 1:24, 26, 28), for eternity. So we often refer to our salvation in terms that assume that a debt has been paid by the crucifixion. But I think the more correct way to say it is being paid. Forever. That is the price God is willing to pay to bring us back into relationship with him. That’s something to consider as we enter the Easter celebration.

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