Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2016

comm

As with appreciating nature, feeling in love with ones spouse and desiring a salad over a burger and fries, sometimes we take communion because it is good for us. Sometimes, though it is a practice where we are fully aware of all of the words spoken, the symbolisms, and the great, great sacrifice.

I have gone through the habit and ritual of communion in a robotic fashion, with less connection of my heart to the practise. This past Sunday was not that sort of ritual.

This past Sunday I felt an appreciation, an awareness of the longevity and vast numbers of believers in Christ who have participated in this practise since that Passover night in an upper room some two thousand years ago.

“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you:”

And it has been passed on, and on, and on. Though variations in presentation, in elements (bread, rice crackers, wine, Welch’s grape juice, etc.), in delivery, etc. Yet it is still basically as Jesus himself directed.

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

“My body” … his human flesh, willingly broken, as a debt payment for the sin of all humanity … past, present, future. His body, as sacrifice, was not broken quickly, painlessly but over many hours and torturously. He invites us, to do this as a remembrance of him, of his gift.

In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

“My blood” … Jesus was like the sacrificial lambs that had been slaughtered as atonement (payment) for sins. But the shedding of his blood was once, for all. Like the first Passover, when it was blood on the doorposts that saved the lives of the Israelites, the Passover of the final supper saved us all … for “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

This act of choosing (for he does not force himself on us) to participate in communion is the ongoing public statement of us that we follow the Christ, and that we receive his sacrifice of flesh and blood, as a personal gift from him.

Sometimes we remember what we are receiving with our whole heart, as when we first received.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Read Full Post »

Sometimes I am rendered speechless, breathless …

sky

After a day that was dark and dreary, I awoke to fog illuminated by the sun behind. Soon to follow were skies of cyan blue. This little corner of the world shone as if the heavens, themselves, were smiling down.

Today is about beauty,

about light,

about hope.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the season of the coming of the Christ, the Saviour. As the first Sunday of Advent, it is the day of HOPE.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:5

The coming of the Christ, for the Jews, meant the hope of the fulfillment of the prophets foretelling of the freedom for their people. The second coming of Christ, for all, means an end to death and dying, with the return of Christ comes the rising of the dead.

My son started a job this weekend, at a Christmas tree farm. He awoke to torrential rains which continued all day long. Thankfully, he (and I) had ensured that he had rain gear at the ready, and so he was prepared.

Titus 2:11-15 tells us that we should be preparing for this second coming of Christ:

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.”

As we walk these days, through the Advent season, may our first steps be secure in the hope that shines in this dark world … rendering us speechless, breathless …

 

Read Full Post »

39eb43ee8cb127fbc7865e434605ad22

This coming weekend, many Christian churches will begin to celebrate the season of Advent. It is a season on the Christian calendar which is intended for preparation of the coming celebration of birth of Jesus. Advent, as a word (in the Latin) means ‘coming’ and it is the coming of the Son of God, in human form, that we celebrate.

As with each year, the beginning of Advent follows two other days, familiar to North Americans, American Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Thursday, November 24, Thanksgiving is celebrated by the Americans.
According to Wikipedia, American Thanksgiving “became an official Federal holiday in 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” I believe, though, that it began, unofficially, with a feasting of the pilgrims and native Americans, after the safe arrival in the new land.

Friday, November 25, Black Friday is celebrated by North American shoppers.
Black Friday was a name given to the day following Thanksgiving, in Philadelphia, because of the increased traffic of that day. It has also been associated with the belief that many retailers do not go ‘into the black’ (financially) until that day … personally I refer to it as Black-eye Friday … just sayin’.

Then there is Sunday, December 27, when the celebration of Advent is begun by Christian churches.
The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

All of these celebrations are greatly subscribed to, all are annual events, and none of them have to be negative.

The celebration, known as Thanksgiving, is one filled with food, family and thanks. Though we live best, live healthiest, if we live with thanksgiving in our hearts every day of the year. To be truly thankful is to give thanks to God, even when our outward circumstances do not make us feel thankful.

John 1:1-4 tells us what we can always be thankful for:

“At the beginning of time the Word already was; and God had the Word abiding with him, and the Word was God. He abode, at the beginning of time, with God. It was through him that all things came into being, and without him came nothing that has come to be. In him there was life, and that life was the light of men.

Then there is Black Friday, the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season. Somehow, though, this tradition has gotten dark … very dark. Each year there are stories of violence and aggression in the shopping malls. Greed and selfish ambition seem to extinguish the light that we receive through giving thanks.

And, once again, John (1:5) seems to remind us of the light to come:

“And the light shines in darkness, a darkness which was not able to master it”

Finally we have Sunday … Advent. It is anticipation personified … literally! It begins this coming Sunday, and includes each of the four weeks prior to Christmas Day. This is the season of remembering the waiting that the Jews have done prior to (and since) the birth of the Christ the Messiah.

And, back to John (1:6-9):

“A man appeared, sent from God, whose name was John. He came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, so that through him all men might learn to believe. He was not the Light; he was sent to bear witness to the light. There is one who enlightens every soul born into the world; he was the true Light. 

Jesus is that light, that John (the Baptist) was sent to witness. It is Jesus who gives us reason to be thankful. In our giving of gifts, we should be reminded that the gift of God, himself, was given for the world.

We wait, always on the lookout, for the presence of wonder.

Read Full Post »

perfect

I deeply desire authenticity in my life.

I want to be ‘real’ in how I live, with the hope that no one will ever think that I’ve got it all together … because I don’t, and I have no expectation that I ever will, this side of heaven.

That said, I sometimes hear my kids say things that make me realize that what they have ‘heard’ from myself and their dad (and the Christian community around them) is that they need to be perfect.

Though, this was never the intended message, somehow, this seems to be what they have heard or understood.

I think that we humans tend to look at ourselves as never reaching the mark. We often think that perfection is the ultimate goal, and if we are not perfect, we are not useful or successful.

Sometimes this pursuit of perfection even keeps us from the very means to our success in life.

A few years ago I heard of a response concerning baptism that saddened and troubled me, to this day.

When asked, “have you considered going through baptism” (the outward, public declaration/confirmation of faith that many practise as followers of Christ)? The teen replied, “maybe in a year or so. I don’t really feel like I’ve got it together enough yet.”

I wonder, what does this teen understand to mean having it together? Do they think that to say, publicly, “I follow Christ” is to say, I’ve got it all together? Are they afraid that they will be considered hypocrites if they make that public statement, then do something wrong?

Here’s the reality,

we all do wrong things, have wrong thoughts, make wrong statements,

in short, we all blow it!

Recently, I was part of a conversation in which numerous imperfections and misinterpretations of the Bible by Christians were discussed. It was a heavy and dark discussion. I went home with a heavy heart. In the morning I awoke with a message on my heart:

Who are you going to follow?  Me, or my people? My people are still in process, they have not ‘arrived’  yet. Take your eyes off of them, and follow me.”

To follow Christ, to be baptized or confirmed, does not require having achieved perfection, or having life figured out.

On the contrary, to follow Christ is to accept the fact that we have not arrived, we have not achieved any measure of good, apart from Christ in us.

They following is a portion of a reading shared in a staff devotions time at work. I think it speaks well to this topic of perfection in life, but especially in the Christian church:

“You have some in your churches who are looking for the perfect church. The perfect church does not exist. Never has. There will be no perfect church until you get home. In the meantime, I call you to learn to love one another in your imperfection. I love you in your imperfection and call you to learn to love each other as I love you. You are all people in process: cut one another some slack. On the wall of a restaurant is a sign that reads, “Food cannot not made at microwave speed.” Neither can disciples. Learn to love one another in your imperfection.”
Composed by Darrell Johnson

 

Read Full Post »

image

Before you read too far into this post, I have a disclaimer:

I have been ever so guilty of what You are about to read. In no way do I think I am Teflon, and this problem doesn’t touch my life (or my eye). So please read this knowing that I am humbly aware that I, too, am guilty. 

 

Something that the recent American presidential race has reminded me is that we are very quick to point out flaws in others. Perhaps it is because the candidates themselves did a significant amount of finger pointing, or perhaps it is because it is simply human nature to see, and draw attention to the negatives actions and words of others.

We are all guilty of doing this, in big or less obvious ways.

There are the couch potato sports fans, who argue and complain with the decisions of the refs.

The women sitting at a coffee shop, analyzing another customer in the shop.

The employees rolling their eyes at the new corporate initiative, coming down from on high … the employers rolling their eyes at the lack of buy-in from their employees.

The teens complaining to their peers about their parents … the parents complaining to their peers about their teens.

The Facebook status that complains about corporations destroying the Earth, followed by one of the same person showing her hot beverage in the new ‘seasonal’, and disposable coffee cup.

WE ARE ALL GUILTY!

“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one”
Romans 3:10

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.”
1 John 1:8

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
Romans 3:23

“And why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but not notice the beam in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:3

I am finding myself, lately, to have words barely off my tongue and I can visualize a beam coming out of my eye, all the while prepping for surgery with tweezers to remove the splinter from the eye of another.

Maybe others are feeling the same.

Maybe that’s not such a bad feeling.

I bet that if we became more aware of our own faults we could do more to change the world than any president or prime minister, the world over.

 

 

Read Full Post »

day-10-kintsugi-jpg-pagespeed-ce_-h2da73-dl8I remember so well the beautifully hand made pottery bowl, filled with hot, homemade pasta Alfredo. My family was seated, waiting, at the table, for a favourite meal. As I turned the corner from the kitchen to the dining room, something out odd happened and the bowl left my hands, dropping quickly from my hands, to smash into dozens of pieces of pottery, dozens of pieces of pasta.

Our dining table surrounded by people whose eager and hungry hopes came crashing down to the floor.

To this day, I do not remember what we ended up eating for dinner that night.

I only remember feeling like a loser for dropping the bowl that we had received as a wedding gift.

At the time, I did not know of the Japanese art of using (usually) gold to repair broken pottery, called kintsugi (to patch with gold), otherwise I might have made a D.I.Y. attempt.

This art is borne out of an appreciation for the broken parts of a piece of pottery, and not only aims to mend it, but to feature the brokenness with the purity and preciousness of gold.

If only we could show such honour for broken people.

The difference in pottery and people is that all people have brokenness in their lives. We live in a broken world, alongside other broken people.

Our lives are infused with brokenness, with sin.

We all have dark areas of our lives. Areas where death, sin, hurt, betrayal, failure and disappointment have left indelible marks on our lives.

It is not that we should celebrate the broken in our lives, but, instead, acknowledge that we are where we are, who we are, as much (if not more) because of the brokenness in our lives. We have, in a sense, been refined by the potters fire, made solid (in our faith) by our experience of recovery from the brokenness in our lives.

“The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. Your faith is more precious than gold, and by passing the test, it gives praise, glory, and honor to God. This will happen when Jesus Christ appears again.”
1 Peter 1:7

5b8bf751efbd1f8107591f55da1d0bfe

Read Full Post »

Ok, I admit …

may choose blog post titles simply because they are somewhat risqué (today’s title, for example).

But, as with much in life, there is truth and real marital experience in those words!

W   A   Y   back in the stone ages, when hubby and I said the I dos, we received a book about marriage as a gift. The only thing I remember from that book was one line:

“making love starts in the kitchen, in the morning”

and non-verbal joking about that line continue to this day!

The thing is, like my risqué blog post titles, there is truth and real marital experience in those words!

You see, what that one-liner is communicating is that affection for each other does not start over a candle-lit dinner, but it starts the moment a couple awake, and continues each and every moment of the day.

Just this week, while at work, I look up to see my hubby, at the classroom door, holding a cup of hot goodness (aka a London Fog). He stopped at a coffee shop to pick up my most soothing, favourite hot drink, just to show kindness and affection for me.

Though I loved every sip of my beverage, what I loved more was knowing that, in the middle of the day, hubby’s thoughts were of me.

It is when I know that hubby’s thoughts are of me, whether we are together or apart that I feel loved. Perhaps that is because this sort of mindfulness is the way Christ loves us?

“For husbands, this means love your wives,
just as Christ loved the church.
He gave up his life for her.”
Ephesians 5:25

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Sealed in Christ

An Outreach of Sixth Seal Ministries

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

FisherofMen

Cast The Net To Rescue Those In Need

Following the Son

One man's spiritual journey

Fortnite Fatherhood

A father's digital age journey with his family and his faith

Frijdom

encouraging space to think deeply

His Wings Shadow

Trust ~ Delight ~ Commit ~ Rest

Perfect Chaos

The Blog of Philosopher Steven Colborne

Life- All over the map

A family journey through childhood cancer and around the world

A L!fe Lived

seeking the full life that only Jesus offers

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins

The Mustard Seed Kingdom

A Blog of the Evangelical Anabaptist Partners

Brittany Wheaton

reflections on living intentionality and soulfully in the midst of the grind