Bet you didn’t know that Black Friday was originally named by law enforcement officers in Philadelphia, PA as it described their experiences with crazy shoppers. At least this is what my wife, the trivia queen tells me. It was nice not to see so many people shooting, looting and generally acting like animals at the stores. I know there was some but at least the 24 hour news cycle had time to make fun of both political parties, pontificate on things they know nothing about and generally provide an uneventful weekend, sans the continuing issues in Ferguson, MO.
It seems everywhere I hear media folks and elected officials and other “experts” bemoan the loss of common courtesy and statesmanship. Might I say that I think that (pardon to Shakespeare), me thinks thou dost protest too much.
It is not uncommon that those who cause the most damage are the ones doing most of the complaining, Much like a child watching their parent, the citizenry of this country are imitating their public officials. By public, I include elected, appointed, celebrities, sports figures and media. I watched the events of Ferguson, Missouri unfold on Monday night, Every tine a fire was lit, ten cameras ran to document the event. I wonder what would have happened if no media representatives had been in Ferguson and news outlets refused to report on the violence?
Senator Ted Cruz from Texas said that since the President acted alone on immigration, he was pushing to refuse to confirm any of Obama’s appointees. Kind of reminds me of the kid who takes his football home because he doesn’t like the rules of the game. Come on Senator, how about working in the system and show some statesmanship? Partisanship has a place in our society for checks and balances, not for personal gain for further political advancement. Why do our kids isolate themselves, cheat and put themselves first? Because they have watched our public officials do so for at least a decade now.
With public exposure comes civic responsibility. Athletes may decry the fact they didn’t ask to be a role model….too bad, you are and if you don’t have the honor to show respect for your position, quit.
We can make a difference. Let’s stop the media amnesia and short term forgiveness for the sake of our team’s success or for some sort of personal satisfaction watching someone getting crucified in the public arena. Let’s decry the public spectacle of “killing Christians” by lions with media bashing of individuals. Respect for one another goes beyond skin color and to the heart of the human soul.
Somebody killed a policeman today,
and a part of America died.
A piece of our country he swore to protect,
will be buried with him at his side.
The suspect that shot him will stand up in court,
with counsel demanding his rights.
While a young widowed mother must work for her kids,
and spend many long, lonely nights.
The beat that he walked was a battle field too,
just as if he’d gone off to war.
Though the flag of our nation won’t fly at half mast,
to his name they will add a gold star.
Yes, somebody killed a policeman today,
in your town or mine.
While we slept in comfort behind our locked doors,
a cop put his life on the line.
Now his ghost walks a beat on a dark city street,
and he stands at each new rookie’s side.
He answered the call, of himself gave his all,
and a part of America died.
I’m getting a head start and wishing everyone a prosperous and happy new year!
I pray that the happiness of the season bring you blessings of great joy, for this is the time we remember the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. May the Spirit be with you during this time of celebration.
Here is an interesting article from the Washington Post. It shall be interesting in the next five years to see what impact the testing has had on critical thinking skills of our students.,
The link to the article in Christianity Today
Discusses the concern over “In Christ Alone” a song that has been sung in a number of Presbyterian churches that I have attended is not “theologically sound” because of the words “wrath of God.” I’m of the mind that God is a god of compassion and love but God also abhors evil and sin. When Christ died on the cross, he gained victory over sin and that includes evil. God’s wrath as portrayed in the song is not so much directed at our salvation, rather it is that through Christ, we have been redeemed.
I’m not sure why the committee at the GA PCUSA doesn’t understand that. I got it out of their own Book of Confessions.
Watching the news has become a real chore: what with all the confrontations, opposition and polarization to just about anything. It appears to this writer that there is more effort expended to challenge and oppose everything in the name of partisanship than there is to collaborate and try to work together. I am reminded of one of the many encounters Jesus had with the Pharisees. The Pharisees were the ruling politicians in social circles at the time, the powerful elite, and they always made a big deal of wearing their spirituality on their sleeve and later, they would hide out in the temple at night to play the 5th Century version of playing poker at the country club on Friday nights, stealing from the temple treasury of which they were entrusted, taking care of their own interests and those of their good friends …and the homeless, the needy and those spiritually lost were left with nothing. Not much has changed in the last 2000 years. I would suggest that the Pharisees’ tactics of isolating and polarizing the masses was to their benefit to maintain their status as leaders of the church and the community and subsequently, to keep themselves rich, fat and happy.
Into this good ‘ole boys’ club entered Jesus. In Luke, Chapter 13, we find Jesus being confronted with a question involving the slaughter of a group of Galileans because they messed up a sacrifice. The question was this: Were those killed worse sinners than others? Jesus, according to the Scripture responded by “strongly repudiating common belief” of the idea that God controls every event. Those asking the question thought anyone who was reverent and presented an outward appearance of “holiness” was protected by God. No harm could come to them. Jesus rebuked them saying God allows us free will and anyone can die. The difference, Jesus said, is that those who repent and truly believe in God will not perish but have everlasting life.
“Perish” or “Death” what’s the difference? So much meaning is built into the syntax of these words. Death is the end of all life for a non-believer. For a believer, it is only an earthly departure to a joyful reunion with God. The blood of Jesus Christ washed away the sins of the world. What those pompous Pharisees could not see through their own self-absorbed power fixation was that no intermediary is needed in our relationship with God. Jesus is our guide to our redemption and our eternal life. Through Christ, we will never perish so long as we repent and believe in Him.
Redemption may not protect one from death but it ensures eternal life with God. The Pharisees might as well find something else to do– maybe they can sell the Brooklyn Bridge or some swamp land in Florida. Their gig was up. The distressing truth is that those annoying Pharisees are still around. We don’t call them Pharisees anymore but their self-serving, power-grabbing legacy still exists. One need only attend a public meeting, watch the news or other program on TV or watch the actions of some of our public officials to see that Jesus’ words still fall on deaf ears. At a time when we should be helping those who have nothing, they are brushed aside for icons and façades memorializing the importance of the Pharisees. But out of the dismal ashes of despair there is hope!
This writer believes there is an inherent desire to seek God. One can deny, one can try to run away or one can curse God but God’s love is so much greater than any earthly power. At a time when it seems like the world is not a very nice place to live, we can share the story of redemption and eternal life. Psalm 63:1-8 (ESV) says: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Take time to reflect on the sacrifice that God made for us. Rejoice that all we need do is ask forgiveness and believe in Jesus Christ. Renew your promise to be part of Christ’s ministry and through the help of the Holy Spirit, live a life pleasing to God.
Ruth and I spent the better part of the evening with the vacation Bible school folks today (Sunday). We had a great time and the adult session provided some stimulating discussion and good fellowship.
I certainly appreciate all the folks from the four churches who have volunteered to make the VBS a great success.