Monday, April 22, 2013
"I walk before the Lord in the land of the living" - Psalm 116
As God's Easter People, we live out our lives in the land of the living.
But the land of the living is not some vacation paradise. It's more like a war zone.
It's dangerous country. A lot goes wrong. There is trouble brewing out there - and in here.
But this is where we have been called to live out the Resurrection.
As Christians we are put in places like this so that we might affirm life over death, give witness to Christ, help our neighbor, and engage in the practice of resurrection.
We do this by gathering for regular worship before our life-creating Father, our death-defeating Savior, and our gift-giving Holy Spirit. We do it by reading, teaching, and preaching the Word of God revealed in Holy Scripture. We do it by baptizing men, women, and children in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and nurturing them into a resurrection life. We do it by receiving the body and blood of Jesus regularly for strength and encouragement in the bread and wine of the Sacrament. We do it by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, visiting the neighbor, praying for others, loving our enemies, raising our children, and doing our everyday work to the glory of God.
May the Risen Christ go with you as you walk in the land of the living.
A Blessed Easter Season to all!
Saturday, April 13, 2013
a little old man named brennan died yesterday. he wasn't much in the eyes of the world, and his passing will barely register a blip on the radar screen in the media. but those of us who came to know him through his writings know better. because we know that in the kingdom of god, the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. so even though brennan knew that he was a great sinner, he also knew that he had a great savior. because of the furious love of god that came to him in jesus christ, because of the fierce mercy and relentless tenderness that the lord showed to him, he was able to have a ruthless trust and an intimate belonging no matter what the situation or circumstance. though he was indeed a ragamuffin, because of jesus, he will always be abba's child. all is grace ...
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Got a case of the winter blues even though it's supposed to be spring? Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), is a mood disorder that some people experience in the winter months of the year. Those who get S.A.D. may sleep too much, have little energy, and sometimes feel depressed.
The best treatment for S.A.D. is massive exposure to light. The medical world often suggests light therapy, which employs a light-box that emits more lumens than a customary incandescent lamp.
The prophet Isaiah used the same strategy in Old Testament times as He joyfully announces, “Arise, shine, for your light has come!” (Isaiah 60).
Our calling to "shine" is not a mere suggestion but a powerful word from God that actually does what it says. We also have this New Testament promise from the Apostle Paul - “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).
The word “light,” appears seven times in Isaiah 60, along with these bright words - “shine”, “brightness”, “radiant”, “splendor”, “beautify”, “glory”, “glorify”, “glorious”, “sun”, and “moon”. What an awesome display of Light!
In Holy Baptism we were called out of the darkness of our sin. With Christ’s true body and blood we are fed and nourished for our journey to heaven. What’s more, “we have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for us” (1 Pet 1). We have “the word of the prophets made more certain” (2 Pet 1). God has again and again delivered us, saved us, and rescued us. And yet many still find themsselves in the darkness. “This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3).
But the Light of Life still shines, always there to shine His truth into our hearts and minds.
Luke writes, “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Lk 2). Simeon sang, “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Lk 2). The magi marveled, “We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Mt 2).
Jesus is the Light of the world who took on flesh so that He might take you into his arms, heal your hurts, forgive your filth, and destroy your darkness. Jesus became a human being to live the life we could not and die the death we need not. As our Risen and Living Lord, He comes into our midst shining bright with His eternal light. And we confess in the Creed that He is “God of God, Light of Light.”
Divine light still shines. It can never be turned off. God still delivers his people from the dominion of darkness and transfers us into the kingdom of his beloved Son (Col 1). Because the baptized have an “inheritance of the saints in light”, we radiate God’s presence, just like Moses did. The church of Jesus Christ is the light of the world, so we let this light shine into the lives of those around us. And when evening comes, the Lord abides with us, so that the night of death will yield to the morning light of an eternal Easter. Then we will forever shine in divine splendor and bask in God’s eternal glory. “God is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” (Ps 27).
And when Christ returns, he promises to take us to the New Jerusalem where “there will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light” (Rev 22).
Isn't it wonderful to be able to see in the dark? “Arise, shine, for your light has come".