Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Forget June 21, we all know the real first day of summer is Memorial Day. The sales, cookouts, beaches and pools; I'm glad that I took the time to attend a Memorial Day service today. You know, men and women in their uniforms, formal presentation of the flag, patriotic songs, and speeches.

I always have this compelling urge to actually observe a holiday for what it was meant, not just a day off or time to do what I want to do, but when it comes to Memorial Day, I've been a bit ambivalent in the past. I struggle with military ideas and war. I'm somewhat of a pacifist especially in regards to certain recent American endeavors. How do I honor those who represent something that I do not honor?

"Greater love has no one than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) There is the answer. Do they really represent something that I do not honor? I don't think so. The men and women we honor on this day would consider me their friend, they have laid down their life for me. I may not have asked for it, and I may not approve of it, but they have considered me more valuable than themselves. They have served me by giving of themselves in life and in death. I will not be critical of men and women who choose to forgo their own plans, safety, and comfort in the service of others. On this day and all others I will choose to respect and honor those who give themselves through service to their nation.

God bless us all.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Created for the Pleasure of God

Lately I've been quite encouraged by Job 39 and have found new meaning for praise and worship in its words. It begins by God asking "Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?" God goes on to speak of parts of his creation that man would hardly consider-- "who let the wild donkey go free?"-- and when He speaks of this creation I see a smile on his face that says "look at what I have done, it brings me joy to watch my creatures do what they were made to do." Consider the ostrich he says, compared to a stork it doesn't seem very efficient; and wisdom and compassion, well the ostrich is just as likely as not to step on its own eggs and not even care, but HAVE YOU EVER SEEN IT RUN! Oh, I can't even put words on it, it puts the horse to shame, but the horse, have you considered the horse. Check this out....

He goes on and on about how each of His creatures with whatever scorn we cast upon them are made for His pleasure. There is clarity and insight in recognizing in one's self that I am made for God's pleasure. Rather than beating our chest at a lousy lot in life or puffing it up over great success, if all that we do is grounded in the understanding that I live for the pleasure of my God we can find new meaning in the life we live and all that we do. God smiles when I do what I was created to do. When God smiles, I smile with all my soul and the light shines into the darkness.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

U2 in Charlottesville

So I've got my General Admission Tickets for Scott Stadium, now I've got to wait until October 1 and figure out how to get close to the stage. What is it about U2?

I remember when I was a child, looking out at the stars with a sense that this universe somehow made sense. The stars and moons and planets all seem to move in an well planned dance; no struggles no problems, just harmony. But when my gaze found a line on the horizon- and yes, there is still a line on our horizon- and shifted from the heavens to the earth, it all just changed. Children going hungry, women being abused, men slaving for scraps it just wasn't right.

Well, do you ever sing along with the radio? I try my best to keep up with Bono, and every now and again, we'll hit the same note. When we do, my head seems to vibrate as if to say "that's it!" "You're on the same wavelength now." My first U2 song was "Pride" and when I heard "one man betrayed with a kiss" "they took your life, they could not take your pride" "in the name of love" my heart started vibrating in the same way as if to say we're singing from the same book. The feelings of my soul found a voice in these lyrics and melodies.

From Gloria to Magnificent, my heart beats with the conviction that something in this world is not right. Things are broken and something is waiting, perhaps even begun, to fix it. Payback and human justice just haven't cut it and we've somehow dropped the ball on the idea of jubilee. My heart cries out, and when I hear U2 I hear my heart hitting the same notes as this band and I realize that I am not alone. That together we can search for what we haven't found, that we can wait with hope for love to come to town, to claim the victory Jesus won. Love is real and its fruit is faith which gives us hope to face our days. Love, faith, hope. It is all quite...