Friday, April 23, 2010

This Was Grace.

As someone who works in a church, I am always amazed at how deeply our culture has penetrated the family of God with its worldview that human life, if less than perfect, is not worth living. And while my coworkers would claim a "pro-life" stance, their attitudes towards disabled babies, and the horror of having more than three kids, speaks loud and clear of their paradoxical stance regarding the value of human life.

I believe that we, as Christians, have to speak up for the rights of the unborn. I believe that we have to educate Christians on the difference between God's values and the world's values. I believe that rampant abortion is a judgment on society; that we have been allowed to kill innocent human beings for so long now, without consequence, seems to signify (to me anyway) that God has withdrawn his hand of mercy from us.

Thankfully, some Christians are fighting for people with disabilities, like this family, who share their story in this video. What a beautiful testimony...

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Ah Holy Jesus

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty- Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
'Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thine incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life's oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For our atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

music and story here.

Not My Deserving

I meant to post this yesterday for Good Friday, but obviously I didn't. Here are my reflections from this week:

Another year, another Holy Week, another time to reflect and ponder the story of atonement and redemption. Last year I journaled my way through Lent, writing my thoughts, poetry, and certain hymns or Bible verses that impressed me during that time. This year I prepared for Easter week by beginning a fast on Ash Wednesday, seeking to abstain from a pleasure in order to exercise self-control and to prove that there is nothing earthly that I can't give up for my Savior, or that can give me greater pleasure than He, His divine and Holy Being.

Being reflective during Easter time (or Christmas, or anytime, for that matter) is difficult in our culture. We like noise, we like being busy, we like saying that we don't have time for anything, all the while being busy with the things we want to be busy with. In this way, we distract ourselves from disturbing thoughts, like our part in the story of the cross, and so manage to sanitize the Easter story not just for children, but for ourselves as well. The fact is, the story is not sanitary; it is full of wickedness, depravity, and rebellion against a Holy God. Yes, it's about you and me. That's our part in the story. It is so easy to think that because we haven't murdered, or stolen, or insert-bad-thing-here, that we are good people. I have never known anyone to actually admit that, yet how often is that inner thought exhibited in our lackadaisical approach to Easter, or to worship anytime throughout the year? I am grateful that in my church, a large emphasis is placed on reminding us that we were dead people - dead. I need that reminder. I forget all too easily my desperate need for a Savior. I need my pastor telling me that I was lost in sin but Christ, in His mercy and love, offers redemption through his atoning work on the cross. I believe that we cannot fully understand grace unless we first understand the depths of our sin. If we think that God didn't save us from much, then His grace will only mean that to you. If you understand that your sin nailed Him to that cross, that you cried out with the scoffers that day, that your voice called for His crucifixion when He had done no wrong, then His mercy will mean the world to you, and you will be forever transformed.

If you didn't this year, make next year's season of Lent an opportunity to be still, to put away something that distracts you from reflecting on God's mercy and grace, and His love unswerving - not our deserving.