The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

LIGHT A CANDLE!

LIGHT A CANDLE or curse the darkness? Halloween; whether you see it an inconsequential day of kids dressing up and eating too much candy, or you see it as a day that celebrates all things dark and sinister, we should not let it overshadow the truth of the day that follows.

All Saints Day is a day that celebrates the communion of saints, both those we know and those we don’t. It remembers those with whom we still communion and those who are in serving in the presence of the Lord. In it’s present form we can go back to Pope Gregory III (c741AD), but the church has been remembering its martyrs since its most early days. (Since about the 2nd century). Its purpose was not to venerate the dead, but rather to remember and honor those who gave their lives for the sake of Jesus Christ. It came to be a time of feasting as the church recalled that the Body of Christ, the church, is made up of people from every walk of life, in plethora of geographic locations, and even comprised those who had died.

In Hebrews chapter 12 we are reminded that, “… since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Those witnesses we discover from chapter 11 are the saints which have gone before us. Those who paved the way of faith through their often sacrificial giving. But, the saints are not just those who have died, but those alive around us as well for we are all called saints. (Ephesians 1:1, et al)

Therefore, instead of cursing the darkness, we should light the candle of faith. I call us to celebrate the truth of the Body of Christ, that Christ, the One who is the Light of world is alive and well and living forth in and through the communion of saints, of which we are a part. Let us celebrate by thanking God for those who have gone before, who ran well the race set before them. Let us celebrate by giving thanks to God for those with whom we are blessed to run alongside today. Let us celebrate the church, the Body of Christ, the gathering of the saints, and let us do so to the glory of God, our Savior!

Let us light the candle!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SET FREE!

"WELCOME TO LIFE,” were the words spoken to Victor Segovia, as he was the 15th miner to be set free from the collapsed mine that had been his tomb for the past 69 days. Victor and his 32 fellow miners were in many ways brought into a new world: A world of light, life and freedom. The world has watched with rapt attention as the rescue effort unfolded and I dare say that all of us can say that this unprecedented deliverance was one of might, mind, and miracle.

Now that the 33 miners have been set free and reunited with their families a new work begins, a work of readjusting to life lived in the light. There are questions being asked regarding the long-term affects of being trapped for so long 2000 feet below the surface of the earth. Only time will tell. One thing is certain; those who have strong ties to family and community and who actively seek help will adjust quicker than those who become recluse. The community will play a vital role.

As I contemplated the role of the community my mind quickly went to how vital the community of the church is for each of us who have been set free from captivity and darkness and brought into the freedom and light which is found in Jesus Christ. Consider:

Living in community is vital to living in the light.

Living in community is vital to living in freedom.

Living in community is vital to healing of deep hurts

Living in community is vital to living in Christ.

As followers of Jesus, those brought out of the pit of darkness and sin and placed in the kingdom of light, it is imperative that we too live within the Community, that Community called the Body of Christ. To seek to live on our own is neither healthy nor safe.

To live in freedom is to live in community.

So let us live!

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AN ORIGINAL "UNCLE REGGIE"

MY UNCLE REGGIE WAS AN AMAZING GUY. Though Uncle Reggie was not a blood relative, he was more family to us than most. Uncle Reggie was full of life, until cancer took his life from him. But during his days here he was a man of great love and energy and fun.

One of Uncle Reggie’s greatest “gifts” was the ability to rile up my two daughters, Trinity and Krista. In the early days of raising our first two, Linda and I were blessed to get a night out alone while leaving our two little ones in the care of Uncle Reggie and his equally loving wife Auntie Laurie. The only problem being that when Linda and I would return to pick up the girls Uncle Reggie would inevitably have them bouncing off the walls. Rather than picking up two little sleepy-eyed children, we would find ourselves bundling up two wound-up bundles of energy. Yet, try as we might, we could never fault Uncle Reggie for the way he expressed love and joy to our family.

Uncle Reggie was a lot of things, husband, father, engineer, Christian, and as we would find out quite the artist as well. One day Uncle Reggie got involved in oil painting and low and behold, this man had a talent. We are honored to have a couple of his paintings gracing the walls in our home. I would have never imagined, and I think even Uncle Reggie would have never imagined, the gift that resided within him. It was not until he gave it a try did he discovery this gift and this joy that was his to share. It was not until he took a little step of faith, and sought a little instruction, did he discover this new place in which he could grow, excel, and give evidence of God’s gifts.

I wonder what new adventures would await each of us if we would give in to the desires of our heart and find a new niche in life?

NOT GETTING CAUGHT

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF, you knew you would not get caught? When I poised that question to a group of young men once it was scary how they answered. Stealing, sexual affairs, cheating and acts of anger were among some of the answers. It seems what kept most of them from implementing these behaviors was the fear of getting caught, not the “wrongness” of the activity. It’s the fact that the teacher might catch a student cheating on a test that keeps that student eyes on their own paper, not that it is simply wrong to cheat.

Many of us have been told, since childhood, that cheaters do not prosper, yet in much of what we see in life it seems the opposite is true. From Wall Street power-brokers to the participants on Survivor, we see that those who cheat, lie, and steal seem to be the real winners. They are the ones who get the money, the fame, and even the pats-on-the-back for their ability to survive. Sadly, this way of life has a way to sinking into our psyche and we can start to believe that these little sins are acceptable, even dare I say, necessary if we are to make it in this life.

This thinking is dangerous because it has a way of compounding upon itself. Cheat once and not get caught leads us to believe that we can cheat again and again; only to find that our sins will eventually find us. It’s much like the lie that Satan told Eve, eat the fruit, surely you will not die, in fact you will be better for it. (Genesis 3:4-5) The reality is we shall all get caught somewhere down the line, and there is always a price to pay.

As followers of Jesus Christ we should be living is such a way so as to not be worried about getting caught when He appears. It is as the Apostle John writes, “And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” (1 John 2:28) So, if we’re going to get caught, let’s get caught for doing good for the Kingdom of God, and let us live to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

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