I had so many thoughts and feelings to ponder after first viewing the movie The Passion of the Christ. It was such a vivid and dramatic portrayal of the real events, most all agreed.
What struck me was how our imaginations can’t possibly understand the realities of our Savior’s trial, suffering, and death. There are times when our insight needs help! And the story through visual form serves as a strong instrument for the Church.
Tears and sighing.
“When will this end?”
How will you pray when your heart is broken and you’re unsure of hope?
Let me introduce you to the Lament. To lament is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. Let that roll over your mind awhile.
Russell Moore shares a story of dropping into a lo- cal bookstore and overhearing a man talk about why he hated Christmas music. Moore wrote:
This guy started by lampooning one pop singer’s Christmas album, and I found myself smiling in agreement on how awful it is. But then he went on to say that he hated Christmas music across the board. That’s when I started to feel as though I might be in the presence of the Grinch. But then this man explained why he found the music so bad ... It was boring. “Christmas is boring because there’s no narrative tension,” he said. “It’s like reading a book with no conflict.”
No conflict. Every good story has conflict!
It crept up on me.
No, not Advent. Or Christmas.
How many of you have done some groaning in recent months? Did you know the Bible tells us something about groaning? In Romans, chapter 8 we are reminded that creation is not what it is supposed to be; creation has suffered from the curse of humankind’s sin. And in a real sense, creation “groans” in all kinds of ways for healing.
I was caught by surprise, again! A friend asked if I’d do a bible study on the Book of Revelation. My answer was quick, “No.” Revelation has rarely been of interest for me. But within the week I began to read the Book of Revelation, the final book of the Bible, again.
Have your actions ever left you feeling miserably separated from God? Do you feel like you’ve been trapped by some bad habits that prevent God from ever loving you? If so, I want you to take in the first verse from Psalm 107: O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever! (Psalm 107:1)
I have spent many Independence Days in the heart of one of America’s great colonial capitals, Williamsburg, Virginia. Being there as the Fife and Drum Corps march down the street to the tunes of “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” the air is charged with a great sense of power and mirth as tourists stand shoulder-to-shoulder along the pebbled Duke of Gloucester Street! The drum major at the front with his lavish mace, and each of the young men march lock step in row after row, dressed in period uniforms or in the workaday garb of the time. That experience in Williamsburg concludes with an actor reading the Declaration as though the citizens are hearing it for the first time! And then an awesome fireworks display in the evening!
Thoughtful reflection this month has been stimulated by a couple different studies in which I’m taking part with two different small groups during this pandemic season. We are still meeting, communicating, and seeing one another with new tools, including the popular Zoom gatherings. One study had me listening to God through current events centered in Minneapolis, MN, and the other had me hovering around the Church’s care for one another.
With the kind of start to the next chapter of your life that we’re experiencing right now, you shouldn’t be surprised when the plans you make in the future run into a glitch. We are living within a big glitch! To some of you, it may not seem like a big deal, but this global pandemic is unique from a historical sense in that humankind is fighting for survival. It’s a world-wide threat! History hasn’t seen anything like it!