Monthly Archives: April, 2014

moving day, comfy chair and grief

My parents-in-law are moving into a retirement home today. One of the challenges for them is to chose carefully what items to take with them to the new place.  They are moving from a full-sized house, and the challenge could be overwhelming.

If I could only take one thing with me to a new home, what would I take?  perhaps I would just refuse to go, like Granny of the Beverley Hillbillies…

My Mother in law is thinking of choosing a comfy chair.  That makes sense, having a good place to sit and read, and think and remember…

This reminded me of something by Mike Mason:

Brokenness

Psalm 51:8
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Do you have a favorite chair, a place where you feel most at home and comfortable? So does joy.  Joy’s favorite chair is your sadness, your weakness, your grief.  Wherever your wounds are most tender, joy finds a soft place to settle.  A lighthearted person may rejoice, but no one has greater capacity for joy than one who is, like our Saviour, “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). Joy loves our brokenness best.

in Lent, it can be helpful to connect with our hurting places and examine them with the Man of Sorrows. He is acquainted with grief.

Champagne for the Soul _ Mason Page 5

http://mikemasonbooks.com/nonfiction/

Hope – you are a mist

I woke up this morning thinking about the futility of life.

In a group of men meeting at the church, last night, out of about ten, approximately all of us were dealing with serious, major or life-changing events in our close families:

death of parent / parent-in law, terminal illness, serious cancer, mental health challenges, Alzheimer’s, alienation from family member

I cycled through Mountain View Cemetery (in the City of Vancouver,) this week and remembered how quickly even stone monuments crumble.  (These pictures were taken a few years ago) A turn through the cemetery is a good memento mori. When I am gone, how much will the earth remember me?

This week, I feel that James has much to tell me about life:

James 4:13-17 (ESV)

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Where is the hope in “you are a mist”? I was thinking – what remains once the mist has vanished? We get foggy days, here on the coast.  The mist obscures everything so that you could easily lose your way, and hardly find your hand in front of your face.  When the mist burns off with the warmth of the sun, you can see your path, the mountains the sky, the sun.

What we see of life seems so very real, and it is, but let us never forget that this life is not the final reality.  The mist clears someday. Then we will see God face to face.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (ESV)

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

Sept_22_2007 Cemetary Death BoundDSC00212Sept_22_2007 Cemetary BrokenDSC00189

when faith needs to go beyond me getting my own way

Faith in Jesus is easiest when I can see that miracles are happening; Lazarus being raised, walking on water, lepers being cleansed – when I see God’s hand moving and rescuing people near me.  Then it is easy to say “it is well with my soul.”

When Jesus sets his face to Jerusalem, where people want him dead, when he chooses the path of suffering, when a friend’s cancer returns with vengeance, when I remember that young people die and mental illness abounds – that is when I need deep strong faith that goes immeasurably beyond me getting my own way.

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/It_Is_Well_with_My_Soul/

What part of “and he will be raised on the third day” do I not understand?

If only Jesus would speak clearly and directly to me, then I would understand. Oh really?

Matthew 20: 17-19 ESV

And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them,

“See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

Jesus clearly stated his agenda, and still they didn’t comprehend.

What part of “and he will be raised on the third day.” did I miss?

I hear what I am ready and able to hear. Later on I might be able to hear and remember: “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:6

“No returns” policy / Vendor remorse

Judas, when he saw that Jesus was condemned – changed his mind – repented of betraying innocent blood, but was unable to undo the evil in which he had participated.

Was his sin that he had “betrayed innocent blood” or more like our sin: rejecting the way of the Messiah – thinking ourselves wiser than God and taking things into our hands?

Judas responds with despair.

God grant us hope, and true repentence.

 

Matthew 27:3-4 (ESV)

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”