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Posts Tagged ‘Alive’

It didn’t start with a picture …

This time it started years ago, while listening to a radio broadcast. What I heard did not make any sense to me … “today we will be speaking with an abortion survivor …”

That one sentence intrigued me enough to keep listening, to buy the guest speaker’s book, and to encourage my hubby (then a youth pastor) to find her.

The result of that one sentence, heard in passing, was the meeting of this courageous woman, a fantastic youth retreat, and the understanding of another view on the subject of unwanted pregnancies.

I do not pretend to know or to understand all of the details pertaining to all unwanted pregnancies. There are many reasons for a pregnancy to be unwanted. Still, I do believe that there are two individuals involved, and for this reason, I do believe that both individuals need to be considered in the decisions for the futures of both.

I remember seeing the heartbeat, just the heartbeat, of one of our unborn babies … beating so beautifully, so perfectly. Having seen ultrasounds of empty or unresponsive sacs, that heartbeat was the most beautiful image to me, to us. Unfortunately it was beating in a fallopian tube, and both the tube, and the heartbeat, had to be taken.

Abortion is a complex issue.

I know and understand the decision that I made, and I know the consequences … all of them, of that decision. I do not believe that most women make their decisions knowing all that is being decided, or all of the consequences. Two heartbeats, one is that of the mother, the other is that of her child. Both are lives of value.

Here is a link to the story of Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor …

Abortion Survivor

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I miss the thunder and lightening storms that I grew up with on the East Coast.

I miss them from our life in Ottawa as well.

Where I live, on the west coast, we do not get many thunder and lightening storms, and when they happen, they are short lived, and not terribly dramatic.

For many, there would be no ‘missing’ of thunder and lightening storms, but I truly do.

I miss how they made my heart pound.

I miss how they made the house shake. I miss the rumbling of the Earth, the shaking of the pictures on the walls, as the lightening hit nearby.

I miss counting from one clap of thunder until the next … counting how close it might be.

I miss the power going out, and darkness only being distinguished by the eye-blinding flashes of unpredictable lightening.

I miss the way such a storm would draw the whole family together in one room, as if we were together to play a game, or watch a flick, or share a meal.

I miss the story-telling that would come of the togetherness. Stories of storms past. Stories of how we, how other responded to the storms. Stories of those we knew, stories of those we had only heard of. Stories of fear, of bravery, of loss and of delight.

I miss the air cleansing rains that come after the storm. The rains that push the heaviness in the air away, far away. And replace it with a newness that breathing is intentional, so as to cleanse our lungs as well. All that was heavy, all that was life-hindering, all that was suffocating, was changed by the ear-pounding thunder, the earth shaking lightening that scared us to the point of alertness.

And the rains came, and washed all evidence of all that had been stealing our breath, so that we could take joy in the gift of living, the gift of every breath.

I miss it, I miss them, because the shock and fear that they produced reminded me that I am alive.

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In our world of political correctness and legal actions it is sometimes difficult to know what is appropriate anymore.

If a child in kindergarten skins their knee is it appropriate for their teacher to give them a reassuring hug? If a co-worker has just discovered they have a terminal illness, is enveloping them into your arms acceptable? If a resident of a nursing home is sobbing through the stages of dementia, is it okay for the cleaning person who takes a few minutes to talk with them each day to offer a comforting embrace, and a shoulder for their tears to fall?

We all have social norms as well as written and unwritten rules. In the time of Jesus, one of those rules (Numbers 19:11, “Whoever touches the dead body of anyone will be unclean for seven days.”) was about touching dead bodies. To be ‘unclean’ in the Jewish tradition meant that a rabbi or priest (or anyone from their family) should not come in contact with a dead body, or else they would be ceremonially unclean. If they were unclean, they could not enter the temple to worship God. That meant that they could not come into the place of God, the presence of God.

There is a story in the book of Luke that fascinates me in regards to social expectations and inappropriate touching.

Jesus is heading into a town with his disciples, and followed by a big crowd of people. Coming out of the town’s gates was a funeral procession, for the only son of a widow woman. Jesus saw the mother and said … “don’t cry.” (more on this tomorrow).

He then pushed the social boundaries when he touched the coffin (the hearse, the stretcher) that her dead son’s body was lying on. He, who claimed to be the Son of Man (Luke 6:3), who taught as a religious teacher (rabbi), who healed as a spiritual man, who spoke of God as Father, had intentionally made himself, unclean. He broke the rules that were the foundation of Jewish society, of the society that he was born into. This was a big faux pas, and one that would not encourage a following from the religious leaders of the day.

Then he said, “young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.  They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” (v. 14-16)

Seriously, can you imagine a response other than being filled with awe and praising God? This guy was … dead! His body was being paraded through the town to where it would be buried or laid, and ‘he’, his soul, was no longer a part of his body. But, this stranger from another town (that would make many locals suspicious) tells him to get up, and all of a sudden he is awake and talking. So, of course they would be praising God. They knew that only the living God could do such a miraculous thing.

From the other miracles that Jesus performed, it would seem obvious that his touch was not necessary for the man to come back to life. Jesus did miracles where healing came from his touch, but in other instances, it was the faith of the one needing healing, or their touch to him, or mud. So there was no ‘magic’ in his touch.

It would seem that Jesus is trying to make a point (or teach a new lesson) with his touch. I am not sure exactly what his point might be, but maybe it had to do with the laws and societal expectations. Maybe this was his way of saying, “the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Maybe Jesus felt it was necessary to teach a new lesson on what was unclean (dirty, contaminated, dead), and how only He could make it clean (whole, alive) again.

Jesus came to erase the political correctness of His day, and I think, that with His ‘inappropriate’ touch on our hearts and souls and lives, we too might be clean and whole and alive again.


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