Monday, August 31, 2009

Traditions

We have many traditions in this country—each of the ethnic groups that make up this wonderful country we call America bring a wealth of diversity that makes up the great quilt that we have stitched together. This is the very “fiber” (sorry!) that makes this country such a great land.

And I believe that the most important and sought after tradition within this land we call the United States of America is the protected right of equality.

As written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776 in our Declaration of Independence are these words:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…”

Now we all agree that our founding fathers based our country's ideals, laws, and form of government on a Judeo-Christian world view.

But according to the traditions of 1776, who were created “equal”?

The answer is literate, well educated, white men.

Now—as we live in the beginning of the 21st century—how do we now interpret the words written in 1776?

Every human being on this earth is created equal in the eyes of God.

So our “traditions” have changed and not the words of the Declaration of Independence.

But we now have a more complete understanding of the intent of the wording used by Thomas Jefferson.

Now, let us shift to the Bible…

If Jesus set us free from the curse of the law—why do we insist with in the body of Christ to continue with “dead” traditions? Why are we not walking in the fullness of Galatians 3:28 which says:

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Jesus when speaking to the Pharisees and scribes had this to say:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: Justice and mercy and faithfulness but these are the things you should have done with out neglected the other. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:23-24)

Are we holding to the traditions or do we look to the nature of God which is:

“…Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

So in the body of Christ, are we going to continue what we think is “traditional” within the church, or will we bravely walk in the love of Christ?

Remember the last line of our Pledge of Allegiance states:

“…WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.”

And Jesus said “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine: and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32, 36)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What Brings an Artist the Most Joy?


What brings an artist the most joy?

To have a vision of a complete work of art,
and to savor the process
of completing the vision,
and then sharing the vision
with others.

In the creation of the universe
God is the Master Artist;
He had a vision-

He said "Let there be Light"

In the full spectrum. (visible and invisible)

A wondrous universe;

in all its form, color
and variety,

The utter extravagance of it all.

I believe He could have created everything in an instant;
but because He Loves the Artistic process of creating—

Molding

Shaping

Crafting

Painting

He is savoring the process

knowing that it IS good.

He started it,
He is guiding it,
He is a part of it.

God can see the completed Vision.

So with Love and great Joy,
He is trying to share
the completed Vision
with us,
His most wonderful creation!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mosaics

In my meditation with the Lord this morning, I began to see my self-- you know my real self. I was horrified. All I could see was a network of horrendous scars, some shinny white and ropey, some jagged and purplish red…but hundreds and hundreds of them. I cried out, “Lord, I am so hideous, I am so ugly.” “This is awful, Lord I can’t stand it--please help me--take them away.” “Oh Jesus help.”

Then Jesus said, “No, Lisa you are beautiful--you need those scars.” And He asked me, “How do you make a mosaic?”

“Well,” I said, “you take hundreds of glass pieces and place them in a way that it creates a picture.”

“And what holds them together?”

“Grout” I said.

Then the Lord said to me “So I took all the shattered pieces of your life, and used the scars to hold them together, so step back and look again; do you see the picture or the grout lines?”

Truthfully, I don’t yet see the “picture” yet…but in time I believe I will.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Electric Chimes or Rams' Horns

From the book Grace Confounding; a poem by Amos Niven Wilder (1972)

The following advertisement in support of church attendance was published in Reader’s Digest, vol.77, no. 459 (July 1960)

“Sure you vote, pay taxes, work hard, make money, and have made out a will. But you must do something more to become a first-class citizen. You must experience the benefits that come from going to church regularly. Your children will respect you more. Your neighbor will look up not just across to you. Your community will recognize you as a participant, not just a passer-by. Your country will be stronger, for you will enforce that spiritual fabric so essential to its continuing welfare. But the person who will benefit most is you. You will get the stimulation and reward of understanding the brotherhood of man, this dignity that the individual can derive from worship. You will equip yourself to cope with all the complications that eternally face us all. You will make the other167 hours each week truly worth living. See for yourself—next Sunday.”


Yes, go to church next Sunday,
take time out on Vanity Fair,
enter into the hurricane eye
while the winds blow outside.
But don’t leave the world behind you,
take it in with you:
after all, it was here with God’s word
that it was all set in motion.

“Take your family to church next Sunday.”
(Compel them to come in” Luke 14:23)
No, better just tell them where you are going,
remember that generation gap.
Join the parade on Fifth Avenue or Main Street.
Rather, join the ancient procession through the
wilderness,
the trek as old as Abraham.
Fall in with the tribes that moved through the desert
and knew the scorpions and the manna.
Elbow the shadows in the catacombs
and those who gathered in the Cevennes,
The proscribed and the harried of all lands,
With the stigma of the Cross or the star of David,
or the armband of the resistance.
Company with the pilgrims of all times.
Hear the sound not of the new electric chimes
But of the ancient rams’ horns.

Yes, “go to church on Sunday,”
But why not also on some other day when there is
no one there?
Or on some week night when there is a church
meeting:
perhaps you can help change the hymn book
or get rid of that chromo by Hofmann,
or help vote the church into a merger and out of
existence into a larger life.
And don’t think too much of that dignity
or sink too far into the foam-rubber seats or the organ tremolo.

Go up to Zion: hear the angels sing and look through
the trapdoor into Abaddon.
Go through the door not only with the Smiths
and the Jones,
with the garage man and the banker,
but with David and Isaiah, Peter and Thomas,
Mary and Martha.
Kneel not only with your neighbors, benign
or distracted,
but with Hagar and Job, Anna and Stephen;
yes, with Jephthah’s daughter, immolated for a vow
(she is still with us),
and with Rizpah whose sons were impaled as an
expiation (she may be sitting next to you),
with the Magdalen and Ananias and Judas.

Look on the Seven Lamps of the Apocalypse
and consider the guttering torches of time.
See where the flickering candle flares and drips,
Fly the immense eclipse.
Go not to be tranquillized
but to be exorcised.

Yes, go to church and to Mt. Zion,
To the assembly of the first-born
And in innumerable company of angles,
keeping holiday with songs—but with fear
and trembling.
Draw near to the holy mountain
as to Sinai enveloped in smoke
with its tremors and flowing lava.
Behind the familiar eleven o’clock exercises
are ancient congregations and glories,
voices and paeans and chariots of fire,
And a great white throne.

To draw near is to take your life in your hand.
Going to church is like approaching an open volcano
where the world is molten
and hearts are sifted.
The altar is like a third rail that spatter sparks,
the sanctuary is like the chamber next the
atomic oven:
there are invisible rays and you leave your
watch outside.

Go, therefore, not to be tranquillized
but to be exorcised.
Follow the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud
with exultation and abandon,
with fear and trembling,
for the zeal of the Lord of Hosts
whether in the streets or the council chamber,
whether in the school or the sanctuary
waits not on the circumspect
and the flames of love
both bless and consume.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Heart of Love


Lord God in heaven;


-You have opened my eyes,

To see the glory of your creation.


-You have given me ears,

To hear Your praises sung all around me.


-You have set me free,

To live life for all it’s worth.


Please give me the understanding of your heart of love,

So I can put it all together

And give it all back to you.