Hope inside

He sat in his car for over ten minutes struggling to enter. His story is familiar although he might have felt as though he was unique.

The scenario plays out in that surreal colorless shadowlands where shame, fragility, hopelessness, fear, guilt, feelings of failure and confusion reign. And yet, from within a car or from the motionless stance on a sidewalk the possibility that hope dwells within urges taking the first step.  Continue reading “Hope inside”

On rewards, punishments, and our journey to them

“How we travel to someplace determines how we feel about that place.”

The above quote comes from writer Eric Weiner on Travel with Rick Steves. During his interview, Mr. Weiner also commented upon the connection between traveling and travailing. “To travel is to travail,” he said. He was speaking in the context of taking a long train ride and feeling differently about his destination as a result of his journey. But my thoughts went to much more consequential things.

As followers of the Way and sojourners upon earth, we are all travelers. It is certain that how we travel determines our destination. If we walk “in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), “in the light” (1 John 1:7), “in the truth” (2 John 1:4), and “in love” (Ephesians 5:2), by God’s grace we will dwell with him for eternity. Peace, joy, rest, and utter amazement will be ours forever. Continue reading “On rewards, punishments, and our journey to them”

Opportunities lost, opportunities found

“Make hay while the sun shines,” says the old farming adage. Farmers cannot cut and bale hay when it’s raining, for sure. 

While my little slice of heaven that I call “garden” is no farm by any means, the rule still applies. That yard sale I wanted to go to will have to be forfeited in favor of getting those tomato plants in before the rain comes, and the housework has often (too often) been put on hold until one or another time-sensitive garden task is done. 

Last spring I came across some forgotten daffodil bulbs under my potting table, trying with their last ounce of rootless strength to bloom in spite of my neglect. It is true that the neglect was caused by my attending to a human emergency, and for that I am not sorry. Continue reading “Opportunities lost, opportunities found”

Is evil universal?

There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one. Their throats are open graves, they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips, their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18, NET).

During decades of travel in many parts of the world, I have frequently been shocked at the amount and intensity of corruption and violence which prevails in places I have visited. I have been tempted to rate locations as to which was most corrupt, or most dangerous. However I have come to the realization that those qualities exist everywhere I have been, and am now convinced that they are truly universal. Wherever people live there are bad people with evil intent. Continue reading “Is evil universal?”

Rejection by his own

In Luke’s record of Jesus’ life, the Lord’s visit to his hometown of Nazareth would seem to take place just after his immersion and temptation. When we compare this with John’s account it would seem that around a year had passed. During this year were the events recorded in the first few chapters of John: the wedding at Cana, the visit to Jerusalem, and the visit in Samaria. Continue reading “Rejection by his own”

An indomitable human spirit: good, bad or neutral?

The television screen displayed a would be narcissistic tyrant berating his listeners while demanding their obeisance.  Throughout the movie this villain, who viewed himself a god, now proclaimed people are born to serve.

The heroes, filled with an indomitable human spirit, save the day because they refuse subjugation. One of the heroes smacks the tyrant around before muttering, “puny god.”

While exploring the producer’s intent behind this scene would be interesting, a more intriguing question is: Is an indomitable human spirit good, bad, or neutral? Such a question deserves a context to avoid over-simplification.  Continue reading “An indomitable human spirit: good, bad or neutral?”

He left the scars

Each Lord’s day Christians have the privilege and the duty of remembering our Lord’s death. We take our minds back to his sacrificial suffering. In observing the memorial feast which reminds us of his body and his blood we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).

Perhaps you feel compelled to limit your thoughts to the suffering and sorrow of the cross during this sacred time. If so, when was the last time you contemplated our Lord’s scars? Have you thought about the link between our sin and his scars? Have you reflected upon what Jesus’ scars mean for your own? Continue reading “He left the scars”

The joy of the peacemaker

If Jesus says it, and if the word he uses appears only one time in all the New Testament, it catches our attention. So the verse in Matthew 5.9, coming as it does as a part of the Beatitudes, at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, especially brings our head up:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.

Here go some sundry thoughts on the verse. Continue reading “The joy of the peacemaker”