Monthly Archives: December 2012

Multiply Justice

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

CC NCLoner.

Don’t we see that word every time a troubled young man turns a gun on a room full of innocent souls? The clueless media erupt in a handwringing frenzy, confused that evil would rear its ugly head in their post-Christian utopia. Distraught family and friends are forced into the center ring of a media circus, unable to grieve in peace. Psychiatrists stream out of green rooms to lecture news anchors on the various psychological disorders that might be to blame. Nanny Staters, always eager to treat symptoms instead of the festering wound, flood public venues with calls for gun control. Enlightened Ones, who ordinarily deny the reality of God, take to the Internet to demand God’s people explain why he allows evil in his world.

Meanwhile, devastated souls — alone in their grief — want nothing more than the comfort of a friend’s…

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Breathe

“This is the air I breathe… Your Holy Presence living in me ” Michael W. Smith sings a worship song that starts with those words.

This morning I picked up Abingdon Press’s Wesley Study Bible: NRSV (2009) and it literally fell open to an article on John Wesley’s understanding of “Spiritual Respiration.” I immediately thought of Smith’s song and began hearing it in my mind as I read these words:

Our need for God can be compared to our need for air. We must breathe air in order to live physically, and we must breathe God in order to live spiritually. John Wesley uses this image of ‘spiritual respiration’ to help us think about the closeness we ought to have with God — constant and intimate connection. When God fills our lives the way that air fills our lungs, we are refreshed, alert, and energized for God’s work. The image also helps us to see what happens when we do not pay attention to that relationship. If we stop breathing God, we will lose the connection that is essential to our spiritual lives. Our relationship with God is not automatic the way our physical breathing is, so we have to concentrate on it through prayer, Bible study, worship, and other practices that help us cultivate our spiritual lives.

(from the Wesley Study Bible p. 753. It also refers to two of John Wesley’s sermons with this article: Sermon 45 “The New Birth” and Sermon 19 “The Great Privilege of Those Born of God.”)

No wonder Smith’s little song repeats, in and out like breathing, “I’m desperate for You” and “I’m lost without You.”

Oh God, I need you even MORE than I need to physically breathe air… and I get busy, even as a pastor, and sometimes get to doing things in ministry by habit or by necessity without seeking You first! Forgive me… and help me remember to BREATHE!

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Finding Comfort After Sandy Hook

Twas’ the Night Before Christmas – A song for Sandy Hook Elementary

  Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38,
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say…….
They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“This is heaven.” declared a small boy.
“We’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring.
Those children all flew into the arms of their King.
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had,
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“May this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
Then He and the children stood up without a sound;
“Come now my children, let me show you around.”
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran;
All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”
Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

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