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Baptism and the Lord’s supper are intimately connected. The former serves to produce unity in the body of Christ, while the latter demonstrates that unity in a concrete way.
So many celebrities have died recently, it reminds one of the death, in 1715, of King Louis XIV of France, after a reign of 72 years.
With the death of Michael Jackson, the media buzzes with details of his popular career and his bizarre life: star of the family group, the Jackson Five, the changes in his music, his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, his financial woes, his three children, all of whom bear both his names, his cosmetic surgeries, the charges of child molestation. Death calls us to remember a life, no matter how wonderful or sordid.
Strength brings choices. It must choose between oppression and justice. The weak are the test of strength, which must either align itself with those who cannot or help those who are helpless. From the school bully to the national dictator, strength brings choices.
Even before our son’s wedding last month, people asked us to send or show them pictures of the ceremony. Both those who were present and those who couldn’t attend wanted to see pictures. For those who are present, pictures are a way of remembering. For those who can’t attend an event or make it home for a holiday, pictures tell what happened.
As I searched through the hymnal for a list of songs to lead, I found almost nothing on the Judgment or on God as Judge. It just wasn’t there. One little phrase from the Psalms. And another from a song written by a brother in Christ about the Lord coming to judge. And that was it. Why, I wonder, is one of the major themes of Scripture absent from our hymns?
Satan is the accuser. His mission is to keep man away from God. His methods are many, his wiles devious. The very word “Devil” means an accuser, a slanderer. While purporting to help and point out a more advantageous way to get through life, the prince of demons is setting a trap.
On Friday a Brazilian Catholic cardinal declared, in jest, to reporters, that the family is “the world’s greatest problem.” This was his throw-away phrase to deflect speculation that doing away with celibacy among the clergy might raise the number of priests in his religion.
When Jesus wants something intensely, it’s worth paying attention. Intensely. He said literally, “With desire I have desired.” Some scholars understand this as a hangover from the Hebrew which intensifies the idea of the verb.