Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

In the Lilacs

This reminds me of Janey Moffat.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Father's Voice

During this past Epiphany season, Pastor frequently mentioned how this part of the church year is bookended with "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." The Father said it at Jesus' baptism. He said it again at the transfiguration. When Jesus suffered in His passion, when God's wrath was poured out on Him, when He was abandoned by the Father because He had become the sinner on behalf of the whole world, He still clung to that word of God: "This is My beloved Son."

This is important because sometimes it seems to us as if God has abandoned us. Our experience may tell us that God no longer loves us, but we need to hang on to the clear and certain word of God that declares: "I forgive you all your sins" and "Take, eat; drink of it all of you ... shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." But how often do we pay more attention to our feelings and experience than we do to God's word!

So it is comforting to read in John 12 how the Father's voice thunders from heaven yet again, this time promising to glorify His name. It's grand to know that God is willing to repeat Himself so often, that we might have a word to which we might cling. And if He does it for Jesus, the man of perfect faith, how much more will He reiterate His promises to those of us full of doubts and misgivings, who need constant renewal of faith.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Non-Negotiable Hymns

There are certain hymns we sing every year on a certain day. For example, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" is every Easter. Not Saturday night at Easter Vigil, not the next week for Thomas Sunday. But Easter morning. Same thing for "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today."

Every Christmas Eve we get "Silent Night" whether we want it or not, because some people really really want it. Every Christmas is "Joy to the World"; I betcha most people would be upset if they came to church and didn't sing that one. I had thought "To Shepherds As They Watched by Night" was one of those non-negotiable Christmas-morning hymns here, but it shockingly went missing this year. It's probably nigh onto impossible to celebrate All Saints without "Behold a Host" and "For All the Saints," but some of the other top-choices might be skipped every now and then. And what's the likelihood that a Lutheran congregation would celebrate Reformation without singing "A Mighty Fortress"?

So what are the non-negotiables at your church? I'm not asking what your favorites are, but what hymns seem to be part of the Easter service or Christmas service without the pastor deciding to include them (because their spot on the hymn-board is already a foregone conclusion).

The Law as a Curb

We recently watched "Beyond the Gates of Splendor," a documentary that came out several years ago, around the same time as the movie "The End of the Spear" (which I haven't seen). It is the story of the missionaries in the 1950's who were killed by violent tribesmen in Ecuador. But the families of the missionaries stuck around.

At the end of the movie, Gary commented that there really wasn't anything about the Gospel. We couldn't tell from the documentary if these five men (and their wives) were missionaries who preached the forgiveness of sins, or if they were primarily trying to bring morals and Western culture to these tribes. Either way, though, the violence of the tribe was greatly diminished after they received the missionaries' wives into their community.

I never really understood that whole thing about the law serving as a "curb, mirror, and guide." I understand that God's law shows us our sin. I understand that God's law shows us what holiness looks like. But I struggled to understand the "curb." How can the law curb society's immoral behavior if society doesn't want to listen to God's word in the first place? But the movie showed Mincayani talking about how their spearing-to-death would have wiped out the whole tribe. He tells about how people were angry and easily resorted to killing. He talked about the self-destruction of acting for yourself instead of acting for the good of the community. Self-sacrifice and self-control is objectively good for society and her members ... even for those who have no love for God's word and His ways. And I suspect that this may be what "the law as curb" is getting at.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crankifying a Mommy

Instructions on building a crankier mom:

Step 1. Choose a day when she's tired.

Step 2. Do not do your chores.

Step 3. Be sure to amuse yourself while she is making your lunch, washing your dishes, mopping up your spill, and laundering your clothes.

Step 4. When she is quite behind on her list of tasks, with absolutely no progress having been made on your list of tasks, start asking if she will spend some time playing with you.

Step 5. Ask her to play a game, read a story, or take you someplace fun. Then ask 17 more times.

Mission accomplished!

Today's Laugh

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Today's Laugh

More cartoons at