"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Striking Admission

"It is the grimmest of ironies that one of the most savage, barbaric acts of evil in history began in one of the most modernized societies of its time, where so many markers of human progress became tools of human depravity: science that can heal used to kill; education that can enlighten used to rationalize away basic moral impulses; the bureaucracy that sustains modern life used as the machinery of mass death -- a ruthless, chillingly efficient system where many were responsible for the killing, but few got actual blood on their hands."
-President Barack Obama
April 23rd 2009

Well said, Mr. President. Perhaps one day you will see that the only difference between the Holocaust in Europe and the Holocaust in the United States is that one of them has ended.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"The bliss that is eternal is only yours when what you most desire is just out of reach."
The idea that joy is in the wanting, the desiring of something is not my own. Many people have said this in one way or the other.

Once we have what we desire, we are often left with a sense of loss, with the realization that this was not we wanted all along. But this is not necessarily a bad thing, if the thing desired is good and holy, and ordained of God. All things will eventually perish, and the pain of losing something in the future is part of the deal, the exchange, of having joy now.

But what if you never get the good thing you desire? From experience, I think I can say this statement is at least partially true, or there is a ring to it with which I am sympathetic. But the bliss that I had been feeling for some time, has now dissapeared. I wanted it so badly...or at least the joy of knowing how close I was to it! The fact that I have now taken a couple of steps back from this object...what to say!...I wonder if the torture and anguish of seeing something you really wanted slip away is worse than having had that object and lost it?

Would I have really been happy if I had gotten this object? I don't know. But I know now, knowing that I probably never will have it, has left me restless and genuinely hurt. The joy of the possibility truly was great...and the joy of having may well have been greater (if God willed it to be I have no doubt of this). But now that the exciting anticipation has languished, what was possible bliss, has become the strangest pain; a pain I really did not know I could feel.

Don't know if this makes sense...my personal life does not make a lot of sense at all right now.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thoughts on Palm Sunday

Many this weekend will remember the Triumphal Entry of our Lord into Jerusalem and the throngs which gathered who had heard about the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

I was thinking about the Old Testament prophecies of this...certianly Zechariah's...Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (9:9)

But there has been another one that I keep thinking of, which is perhaps not a direct prophecy, but still related. From the 24th Psalm "Lift up your head, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord Strong and Mighty, even the Lord mighty in battle."

As Jesus came through the proverbial gates and doors of the city of Jerusalem, sitting on a donkey, what else could the people have been thinking other than, "who is this King of Glory." Well, some of them knew. They shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David." They knew he was their king.

But things hadn't changed much. Even though they recognized that this was their King coming into them, they did not realize his mightiness in battle would be revealed in his weakest moments. They wanted just as the Hebrews at the beginning wanted, a King who could throw off the oppression of their enemies. The Israelites wanted Saul to ward off the Philistines. They wanted Jesus to cast off the yolk of the Romans.

Who is this King of Glory? The one who would finally liberate us from the tyranny of Rome; the one who would stand toe to toe with Ceasar and that awful governor Pontius Pilate.

But their opinion changed so fast. I suppose it was when they realized that Christ had come to call them to repentance that they no longer desired him as king. This is not what they had envisioned. They didn't want a king who the Roman guard could arrest and crucify.
But in their rejection of the One who became weak in battle...and in our rejection of the One who became weak in battle, the Lord strong and mighty bound and tied our real Foe and destroyed any illusion that there was any King greater than himself.

So this Palm Sunday, let us remember to bow the knee to the King who comes to reclaim this world as his own; to a King who was willing to wear a crown of thorns to save us from the Real Tyrant...the Roaring Lion, Satan.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Reflections on the propers for the fifth Sunday in Lent, Passion Sunday

I would post the entire sermon that I wrote here, but I do not believe that many people read this blog and I do not want to discourage those who do read with too long of a post.
But the propers for this past Sunday are taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews 9:11-15 and the ending of the 8th chapter of John's Gospel.
The basic thrust of Passion Sunday is to prepare us for the events we will now begin commemorating in about a week; the events that would change the course of history and the entire world. Passion means suffering and so this Sunday points us toward the Suffering Servant himself.
The two readings which are appointed teach us different sides of who had to suffer. You see Hebrews makes it very plain that God required as a sacrifice the blood and death of a spotless creature to appease his wrath. And while some animals were perfect, that is unblemished, they were all touched by the Fall. Animal sacrifices were therefore limited in their atoning capabilities. So what then are we to do? If everything is affected by sin but we need a sacrifice of blood and death which is free from sin, where are we to look?
Enter Jesus of Nazareth. The Incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the taking to his divinity a human nature and fusing the two natures to form one Person, allowed for flesh and blood untainted by the Fall to be offered. John 8 is perhaps one of the greatest texts on the divinity of Jesus Christ. The reason it is read on this Sunday is to remind Christians that it took the God-Man to stand in the gap for us. There was no other conceivable possibility. Only God was pure enough to die for man, but before the Incarnation, God had no body.

With the purity of God influencing the human nature of Christ we now had a perfect sacrificial candidate, and he was a willing victim. It was hard, no doubt, "nevertheless, not my will by thy will be done." The answer to Christ's famous prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, is simply put, "no". The will of the Father was for his Son to die, because there was no other way possible for salvation to come into the world.

As we approach Holy Week, keep in mind the nature of the sacrifice that was made for you. Understand it was all that could be done, but that it was done perfectly, "to purge your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God." And as Christ in humility has obeyed his Father, so too should we humbly obey him, who has by his death given us the ability to do so.