Thursday, March 28, 2013

They Didn't Love Him Back

Okay, so Jesus was mocked.
And they beat Him up.
And the Father's wrath was poured upon Him.

Bad stuff.  Painful stuff.

But somehow, this morning, listening to Pilate say, "Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me," a different pain appeared. 

Those people scheming to get Him killed, those were His people.  He chose them.  He gave them not only their lives and breath, but their nation and their land.  He sent them prophets to call them back to Himself.  And now for three years He'd been healing them, preaching to them, forgiving them, helping them.

And it annoyed them so much that they wanted Him dead. 

These weren't just some people that a nice God wanted to save because He's full of love and goodness.  These were His very own people. 

What ache is there like the ache of unrequited love, especially when you're pouring yourself out for one who not only doesn't appreciate it, but hates you because you love?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Funny" to Forgive Somebody?

One morning recently, as we were opening at work, somebody inadvertently left out a step.  Beep beep beep.  The alarm sounded. The security company phoned to determine whether the alarm was an accident or something alarming.  My boss answered the phone and jumped through the hoops to verify what needed to be proved.  She concluded with, "I'm sorry.  I forgot to ...." After her brief explanation, she listened for a moment.  And then she started chuckling.

When she got off the phone, she told us that he'd said, "Oh, I forgive you." 

She was amazed by that.  He'd said, "I forgive you."  That was really weird.  WHY would he say, "I forgive you"?  She laughed about that on-and-off for another 15-20 minutes. 

A friend of mine told me that they'd been taught in premarital catechesis not to say, "I'm sorry" and "That's okay."  They'd been told it would be more helpful to say something on the order of "I hurt you" or "I sinned against you" and to respond with "It's forgotten" or "I forgive you for Jesus' sake."

At our house and with my friends, we usually say "I'm sorry" and "That's okay."  Sometimes I feel guilty about that.  It's hard to say "I forgive you" not because the forgiveness is hard.  What's hard is the admission that, yes, what the other person did was just plain wrong and sinful.  It's easier when we act like it's not a big deal, when we sweep it away with "That's okay." 

I know people who are so good about saying "I forgive you."  I want to hear "I forgive you."  But saying it?

What I saw the other day makes me realize that there are two completely different meanings behind "I'm sorry."  One is contrition, and the only response is to forgive.  But most of the time in our country, "I'm sorry" is a polite phrase.  There is no sorrow or grief behind the words.  So "I forgive you" sounds bizarre, funny, maybe even insulting, to those who aren't sorry-from-the-gut when they say "sorry."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Power of Baptism

There's something in Narnia that always confused me.  Always.  In The Last Battle, at the end of the book, one of the Calormenes ends up in Aslan's Country.  (In case you've never read the books, this suggests that devotees of a false god will be saved if they have misunderstood their god and imagined him to be like the true God, so that they were kinda sorta worshiping the true God even though they didn't know Him by His true name.)

What would this say about baptism?

Is what we think about God the important thing, the main thing?  What about baptism, where God places His name upon us?

Can people misunderstand what their religion teaches, believing falsely when the truth is taught, OR believing rightly when falsehoods are taught?  Yes, obviously.  Can people die in the faith prior to receiving the gift of baptism?  Yes, of course.  But what happens in baptism --to be made a child of God-- is no small potatoes.  It makes a difference.  It changes who we are.  It gives us access to God. 

And I can't figure out how that fits with this tiny section of The Last Battle of Narnia.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Couch of Recuperation

When you're sick, where do you head?  To the couch?  Or to your bed?

Maggie asked me once why Beaver Cleaver's mother would send him up to his bedroom when he was sick.  Similarly, watching Downton Abbey, we see people sent to their bedrooms when they are sick. 

But for us, it's the couch. 
When I was a kid, it was the couch. 

I think it's partly because the television is in the living room, where the couch is.  The tv helps keep a sicko entertained and quiet.  But that's not all.  If I had a tv in my bedroom, I'd still prefer to lollygag in the living room when ill. 

I don't want to be alone, tucked off in another room, when I'm sick.  I want to have my loved ones around.  Even if I am snoozing for much of the day.   And when others are sick, I want to go about many of my chores while still keeping an eye on the sick one, available to fetch things or help. 

(This should probably teach me something about the importance of sitting with people who are stuck in the hospital.)