My professor had me write a devotional for one of my last graduate classes specifically for this week in light of the events in Boston — I thought it was worth while to share it here.
I often don’t know how to respond and react when tragedy befalls us. And whether we choose to recognize it or not, tragedy has befallen us this week. It is okay to call the horrific events in Boston, evil. However, for those faithful who entrust the well-being of eternity to God, this is not the final word on the matter.
One of my favorite theologians and writers is Frederick Buechner. One of his most commonly cited quotes from Wishful Thinking is this:
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don’t be afraid. I am with you.”
I could be accused as well as any of living in a dream world, and it is truly shattering when horrible things happen with no logical explanation. But we know hope. We have a Savior who experienced death, suffering, pain, and tragedy. Isaiah 53:3 says:
“He was despised and forsaken of men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
Our God knows pain and hurt and confusion. But through it all He assures us that we always have hope. More often than not, I forget that we are the Light of the World (Matt. 5:14-16), and we are the hope on earth. Which means in moments of affliction, disaster and calamity; we the Light of the World, are called to action.
Practically, this is a difficult challenge. That is where our creativity and biblical community should rise to the occasion. Whether it be prayer, support, money, giving food, water, or even donating blood, we are called to be there and help meet people’s needs. It could be as simple as holding someone’s hand when they are confused and hurting, or simply listening to their flustered words.
I love this quote, also from Buechner, taken from his commencement address at Union Seminary:
“The world is full of dark shadows, to be sure both the world without and the world within … But praise and trust Him too for the knowledge that what’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and that all the dark there ever was, set next to light, would scarcely fill a cup.”
Those last words, the underlined ones, are our hope. Regardless of the evil, the hurt and the pain in the world, when all the darkness is measured up next to the light, it is of very little consequence. The light is of such great magnitude the darkness pales in comparison.
For those Lord of the Rings fans out there, this is a memorable moment. However for those who think it’s bizarre, I would encourage you at some point to either read or watch the films. The deep beautiful images of the Gospel are very apparent in the words of Tolkien throughout the trilogy; and often paint more vivid images than I could ever conjure up in conversation. Either way, this is the imagery I want to leave you with. I pray it’s encouraging.
In The Two Towers, the second book in the series, the King of Rohan, King Théoden, has lost hope at the evil surrounding them. When it appears all hope is gone, he asks the question, “So, much death… what can men do against such reckless hate?” — Aragorn responds with “Ride out with me. Ride out and meet them”. This moment gets me every time. I must ask myself the question too. What can men do against such reckless hate? We must ride out and meet it. I firmly believe God gives us the strength to stare evil face first and hold fast to what is good, pure, holy and true. That is our hope. We are the hope on earth.
This is the clip of that scene in the film –
Filed under: living
The Holy Land <– Click this link for the pictures! There will probably be more soon.
I wanted to show you all some of my photos from the Holy Land. It was amazing, I’ll write a post about it too. I tried hard to keep a journal while I was there of everything that was going on, and what God was teaching me. There are too many memories to wade through them all too fast. I literally cannot wait to re-read through the Bible again. It will change everything this time around. Having been there, seen where Jesus was teaching, resting and living life. The whole experience was incredibly eye opening.
It added to the whole experience that we were able to meet with all kinds of missionaries, and really learn what God is doing in the Holy Land. It’s not this war torn place we hear about on the news. God is moving in the Holy Land, people are experiencing Him and people are looking for Jesus. It’s amazing. I’m excited to tell you more about it soon.
Filed under: living
Over the last year, I’ve become a very big fan of Fixed Hour Prayer. Oddly, I just realized, it has been almost exactly a year since I discovered “The Divine Hours” by Phyllis Tickle, whom I refer to as Ms. Tickle, because it’s clever
Ms. Tickle reworked a lot of the ancient prayer, and reintroduced the concept of a “Book of Hours”, and the idea of disciplined daily prayer. In some Christian denominations there is an importance attributed to the “Divine Offices” of prayer, but it’s less common than it used to be. I was thinking about it, and so often in the Bible, the disciples, or Jesus were ‘on their way’ to the Synagogue to pray. From my understanding, the early Christian church continued this habit, they didn’t cease because of the new covenant.
Anyway, all to say, I have really enjoyed learning more about all of this. I really love how Ms. Tickle at one point, describes the Fixed-Hour Prayer as ‘little-chapels’ throughout our days. That it gives us a break from the chaos, that our little retreats, our chapels if you will, aren’t restricted to actual physical buildings. But that they are spiritual chapels in our lives that allow time to commune with the Father. I really really love that.
However… that was random backstory to the picture I wanted to post from my Midday Prayers today. Enjoy!
Filed under: living
A new video to give you a brief glimpse into the world of St. Louis K-Life
Filed under: thoughts | Tags: Andrew Peterson, concert, hooray, music, songs to play, St. Louis
Since Andrew Peterson is coming to St. Louis this weekend, and I spend time listening to more of his music than anyone else’s music, it seems fitting I should compile a list of songs I’d love to hear Andrew and the Captains Courageous play! I also enjoyed writing that lovely run-on sentence!
Since the chances of Andrew Peterson actually reading this (after also tweeting this link to him…), are probably very slim, I’m gonna dream big. What’s life without a little whimsy after all?
Songs I am hoping to hear Sunday!
No More Faith (original version)
Steady As She Goes
Calling Out Your Name (by RM)
All the Way Home
Nothing to Say
Sun on the Moon
For the Love of God
Have Your Way
The Good Confession
All Things New
Holy is the Lord
In the Night
Long Long Ago
Filed under: living
I had to write up a little post for my Financial Management Class about my favorite verse, or one that guided me, or spoke to me specifically. This is what I wrote. It’s not eloquent, but it’s true!
Discussion Question #4
Despite it taking me an eternity to get to write this weeks post, I am really excited by the challenge of this weeks topic.
It’s difficult to narrow down one passage to specifically nail down, but there were a few that really come to mind always. I finally settled on the one I felt like has been consistent on my heart for a few years now. Psalm 16:11 is the verse! Really I wanted Psalm 16:7-11, but had to narrow it down.
“You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
To explain my deep love of this verse deserves some background. One of my favorite books in the world in “Abide in Christ” by Andrew Murray. I truly cannot explain how much I love this book. The topic is obviously that of Abiding in Christ, or making our home in Christ, finding peace in Him, letting Him be our redeemer and to truly live our lives Abiding in Him. I love this topic because it’s so simple, but so challenging. God promises us absolute peace, total joy and completeness with Him. That’s incredible. It definitely transcends any happiness or goodness we can find outside of God. So as a result, I love Psalm 16, partially 11b (the bolded part). “In HIS presence is fullness of joy”! Wow, not just is there goodness, or peace, or comfort, or love, or redemption in abiding with God, there is fullness, completeness promised. In no one else am I promised, nor can I be, truly satisfied. In no one else can I really find joy, much less FULL joy.
For me, that simple Psalm of David (the man God Himself said was a man after His own heart); that Psalm reminds me of the truth God promises us. That He will make our home, and it will be with Him. And when we are at home with our Father, our joy will be full. In Him we are complete. I like that promise. A lot. Even when I don’t believe it.
Filed under: living
Oh Lord, that I may rejoice when the night comes.