Thursday, January 22, 2009

Worship Lurking

A woman who's visited our church recently told me I may see her slip into our worship now and then. She is active in local church of another flavor so I told her to make herself at home with us as much as she desires. She told me that for a period of time she would leave her church after the "song service," drive to a nearby park, and finish worship by listening to our service on the radio. I wasn't sure what to do with that bit of information.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A GRAN Movie

On this MLK Day with its emphasis on human relations, the best I can offer is to encourage everyone to see the Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino. A warning: the language is strong and the racial slurs are frequent. The language however is not gratuitous. It fits with the bigoted character Eastwood plays, a man of stubborn pain who despises the Asians who have “taken over” his neighborhood. Yet the movie is a story of grace at work and the gospel is present in the outcome.

Another delight of the movie is the way the priest is portrayed. In so many movies and TV programs today ministers are shown as ineffective, out-of-touch, or unsavory characters. The young priest in Gran Torino grows in his role, but is honest, persistent and real, and the faith he offers makes a difference.

The movie is a poignant glimpse that in a harsh world there is hope in the power of love.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Instant Companions

As you would expect, this morning the NBC Today show had survivors of the Jan 15 US Airways flight 1549 crash to interview. This was the plane Capt "Sully" Sullenberger landed in the Hudson River after birds shut down both engines right after take-off.

One of the survivors, Denise Lockie, said she was in seat 2C, right beside a flight attendant. When Capt Sully said over the intercom, "Brace for impact." she looked at the attendant and asked/stated, "We're going to crash?" The attendant nodded.

Then she looked at the man seated to her left, a man she did not know. Immediately they held hands, readied themselves for the impact, and began to pray together.

Why? Why did two perfect strangers join hands and pray? Maybe because instinctively people know we are not to face this world alone. Yet it takes a crisis to shatter the barriers that isolate us from one another.

With death such a real possibility, they needed one another. Just like you and me, as we go through whatever fills our days.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's All About Us

"Jesus knows me, this I love." The person who put this on this church sign probably just thought it was a cute turn about of a well-known lyric, good for catching attention. If so it worked. It caught mine - enough for me to take a picture.

Maybe I'm seeing too much in it, but doesn't it reflect also the sad turn about of religion today? We've gone from revelation (Jesus loves me...the Bible tells me so) to,

Monday, January 12, 2009

A New Kind of Resolution

Have you ever moved and a few weeks later gone crazy looking for something? Sure you have. You know. You remember seeing it. You’re sure you knew where it was. But when you go to get it, well, nothing.

That’s basically how it’s been inside my brain these past two weeks. I sit down to write and that idea I just remember seeing cannot be found. I kinda poke around in the clutter and just as I start to get interested in something, another “task” calls me away.

This time however, I’ve got one by the hind legs. It’s just a simple thought, but I’m not letting it go. It will be written, given an amateur taxidermist treatment and mounted on this blog.

It has to do with resolutions. This is the time to write about that, isn’t it? Well, ever notice that nearly all resolutions are self-directed? We resolve in one way or another to improve ourselves. Lot of good in that, even if they’re only kept for a short while. But, what if you’re tired of working on yourself and you want to try something new?

This year, my resolutions are not designed to improve myself at all. This year I’m going to improve others! Yep. It’s time to put my energy where it will make a difference. I figure if I make those around me a little better, I’ll enjoy my world a whole lot more. It’s like the saying, “the rising tide raises all the ships.”

The benefits of re-directing your resolutions are amazing. It doesn’t take nearly as much personal effort, so you’re less likely to give up on it. And, if the improvements don’t show up as you expect, well, you really can’t lay the blame on yourself. After all, you’ve done what you could with what you had to work with.

There’s only one glitch. If my friends really do improve themselves, they might want a new friend, maybe even one who isn’t a pain in the resolutions. Oh well.