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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Chains Shall He Break

"O Holy Night" owns me. By far, it's my favorite Christmas song. Not bad for an apostate and a Jew, eh? (If the stories of its provenance are true.) It's so powerful, it need not even be performed with distinction to move the spirit. If you have followed the blog at all, you may have noticed that I choose a phrase from this song every year at this time.

If faith, hope, and love we have in any measure, we confess that He alone is Lord, and there is no other. No state of affairs, no injustice stands, when and where He is king. The next time you are invited to open your heart to Jesus, realize what it means: it's a coup d'etat. The cross is the shape of His love, and being found in the likeness of human flesh--as a baby, no less--is the shape of His empathy.

I doubt a conquered people have ever been so dignified, in the history of mankind. This is what Jesus wants to do. The question comes to us, "Will you surrender?" Yet in this surrender is victory. The only death is to self and sin. Indeed, even itself.

Some folks worry about a "Social gospel." They say we should concern ourselves with the spiritual. Then again, if it doesn't potentially change everything, it's not the gospel. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Chair Lives!

There just happened to be a guy, working with another mobility company, who just happened to have the cable I needed. At this point, I'm not even surprised. The worse it looks, the more certain it will be an expression of the Lord's faithfulness.

You can take it to the bank.

How many times would I worry, trying to control things out of my control? We can get in a bad way spiritually really fast, when we are anxious. That's why God says not to be anxious about 500 times. Learning to trust Him is the hardest lesson.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Broken Wheelchair

My power wheelchair broke last night. The joystick. That seems important.

I guess I lose track of how many little things God providentially holds together. I'm not much, humanly speaking, without my wheelchair. Well, make the best of it, and give thanks for those friends that hold me up.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Worries

You can hear and read "Do not be anxious about anything..." any number of times, and still not possess what you are looking for. It's not about knowing St. Paul's letter to the Philippians, or any number of other texts. Instead, the question is whether I believe God is bigger than whatever troubles me.

So, when I pray, I should ask God to increase my trust in His goodness and wisdom. I may or may not be relieved of any burden, but I will see its lightness, in comparison with God.

I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Side-Bar: Yes, Muslims and Christians worship the same God. As I understand the explanations of the philosophers, if Christians and Muslims agree that the Creator is the God who revealed Himself to Abraham, then the referent is the same. The two groups do not agree on what He revealed subsequently, nor on the import of that content, but there were not two separate gods who spoke to Abraham. At the least, we have a basis for discussion, since the referent is the same. As someone pointed out, if we deny that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, owing to the fact that Muslims deny the Trinity, we would have to say that Jews and Christians worship different gods. The consequences of that conclusion are inadmissible for the Christian.

He Blows Where He Wills

The Holy Spirit. I'm continually surprised by what he does, and to whom he bestows his gifts. Well, at least the measure of the gifts.

Sometimes we forget He is a Person of the Blessed Trinity. We forget he loves us, as does the Father, and the Lord Jesus. There is a lot of stuff in the theology of the Church, in our myriad devotions, and countless other things.

Let us never forget, however, that this is a love story between God and his people. God and us. I realize the great gift of the practice of pastoral theology: I get to tell the story as many different ways as possible.