Friday, October 24, 2008

What we lost

Fred took me to Lancaster for my birthday. We saw In the Beginning at the Sight and Sound Theatre. ( Our family loves these musical productions! This one was about Creation and the first few books of Genesis. On the incredible set we saw a glimpse of what the Garden of Eden might have been like: the richness of the colors, the diverse plants and animals, the only time there has truly been peace on earth. We were drawn into the beautiful scenery and the unity and love between husband and wife. Most incredible was the first humans' interactions with God and their intimate connection to him. At the end of Act I came the deceit of the serpent and man and woman's disobedience. The joyous Garden was replaced by a gray landscape, howling wind, and prowling animals. Adam and Eve argued with each other and had to scavenge for food, clothing, and shelter. The entrance to the Garden was guarded by angels with flaming swords. Then, intermission. Thankfully, that isn't the end of the story! But at that point in time, people headed to the restrooms with heavy hearts at the impact of what was lost when sin entered the world.

We returned to our seats and saw that the angels were still on stage with their flaming swords. Photographs are not allowed in the theatre, but I guess because it was intermission, they made an exception. Fred took the camera to the front and one of the ushers took his picture with the angels. Seeing my silly husband up there sure broke the sad spell cast by Act 1!

Of course we find out in Act 2 that we will not be forever banned from the Garden because Jesus came to lift the curse and give us eternal life. Yes, we will die once in this life on earth, but we are not without hope. All of creation, the way God meant it to be, will be restored.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth...the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. One each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of the lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. The angel said to me, 'These words are trustworthy and true'..." (Revelation 21:1, 22:1-6.)

Every now and then we need a reminder of the future! In the meantime, God does not leave us alone to fend for ourselves. "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid." (Hebrews 13:5,6.) God will carry us through our sojourn in this world.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Light the Night

My dear friend June out in Kansas is my guest writer today. She participated in a very special event last month. I am grateful to her for honoring my sister who died in April.

Light the Night sounds like the subject line of an undesirable email, but it isn’t. Light the Night is a national fund-raising event for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In its ninth year, the evening walk event raises money for patient care and research for all blood cancers. Participants raise funds and carry lighted balloons through a 2 or 3 mile walk – red for supporters, white for survivors, and gold for memories of those lost.

I remember first hearing about the walks last fall and decided to do the walk in 08. How could this worthy cause have escaped me all those years before? I’m sure it had news coverage. The answer -it wasn’t personal. That changed two years ago when I lost a dear friend, Pat, to complications of treatment for leukemia.

So, when I heard about the walk this year I signed up, struggled with a fund raising letter and tried to brace myself for an emotional walk. And then I learned my long-time friend, Debbie, had lost her much loved sister, Deanah, also to leukemia. I remember Deanah as a sweet, shy young girl.

The walk here in Kansas City was scheduled to be held on 9/12, but it was not to be. Tornado warnings cancelled the walks that night. Two weeks later on 9/27 my husband and I drove to nearby Lawrence, KS (home of the KU Jayhawks!) to join their walk. I took pictures of Pat and Deanah and a red rose for each of them to leave in the memory garden.

Streets of this small college town were blocked off and we boldly walked the downtown area carrying our lighted balloons. It was a small walk by some standards, only about 700 walkers. There were walkers of all ages, though most were much younger than I. Well, it is a college town after all! People who were on the sidewalks stopped whatever they were doing to watch us march by. Kent and I were toward the front of the walk. I turned around to see what bystanders must be looking at. It was awe inspiring to see all those lighted balloons.

I think I was expecting something different than what I found at the walk. I was expecting an air of grief and sadness, but what I found was hope and inspiration. Hope that a cure will be found soon and the inspiration to continue to be involved in the walks until there is a cure. With that in mind, next year I will be doing two things. First I’ll be putting together a team of walkers here in Kansas City to walk in Pat’s memory. And second, if I’m able I’m going to be flying to Philadelphia to walk Light the Night with my friend Debbie in memory of her sister Deanah.

I know we’ve all hit hard times with the economy the way it is, but I want to challenge everyone to save your pennies to make donations to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society next fall. See you then.

Love to you.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New pastor

We have a new pastor coming to our church next month. I can't wait. We have been without a pastor for two years. He is from the Midwest and spoke just once at our church. It was enough for me to vote yes for his appointment. I later found out he had a "controversial" blog. I guess it is controversial if you don't agree with him. And many will not. I find the blog fascinating. This man is intelligent, well-read, and dynamic. Check him out. For lack of a better space, I copied some of his quotes that I found interesting. Each on an entirely different topic.

"God will take you where you do not want to go, in order to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own." Paul Tripp.

B.B Warfield the great 19th century theologian and champion of inerrancy captured the right approach to the spirituality of the Bible when he wrote:
“You must taste of its preciousness for yourselves, before you can apply it to others’ needs. You must assimilate the Bible and make it your own, in that intimate sense which will fix its words fast in your hearts, if you would have those words rise spontaneously to your lips in your times of need, or in times of the needs of others. Read, study, meditate…until the Bible is in you. Then the Bible will well up in you and come out from you in every season of need.”

There is a clip on the blog of U.S. Congressman Cohen comparing Obama to Jesus. Todd writes about politicians who use Jesus, "Nothing against them but Jesus was NOT a community organizer (whatever that is). He is Messiah, King, Lord, Servant, Sacrifice, and Savior. He did not come to make bad men good or good men better. He came to make dead men live.I wish that politicians would stop dragging the name of Jesus through the political sewer. It is fine for a politician to profess faith in Christ (if it's genuine) but beyond that they should give expression to their faith by how they lead and serve. Their dalliances into theology are embarrassing at best, blasphemous at worst.I am convinced that if Jesus walked the earth today He would refuse to associate himself with any political party. He would not campaign for Democrats or Republicans. It's quite possible that Jesus would prepare a whip just in case any of these yo yo's came into a church spouting their sentimental and self-aggrandizing platitudes."