Muscular Christianity

     The title sounds a bit jingoistic; doesn’t it?  I mean, the last thing that we or the world needs is another act of religious aggressiveness.  Surely we don’t want another round of the Crusades!  Certainly we have gotten beyond such travesties of body and spirit.

Be assured:  This is decidedly not what is meant by the title.  The “muscular” Christianity to which the following thoughts will be directed is in directly inverse proportion to the other, more-worldly, more-destructive enterprise.  Thank God!

Maternal Musings

     Our gracious God has given to the world our beloved Savior and our beautiful mothers; all else is either dross or, if lovely, derivative of the One or the other.  It is an assertion devoutly to be proposed, devoutly to be considered and ardently to be embraced. 

God blessed me with an exquisitely beautiful mother.  I loved her dearly, and always knew implicitly and explicitly how dearly she loved me.  How blessed I was!  The hand that rocked my cradle was as lovely as was ever made.

I wish to live my life in such a way that would in no way dishonor to her; more positively, I wish to conduct myself in such a way that proves worthy of her.  God’s Word tells me to honor her, an instruction by no means difficult to fulfill.

He Blesses the Small and Great Alike

  Americans have this notion that things have to be bigger in order to be better.  One can hypothesize as to why this is; let it suffice here to say that it simply is.  We like bigger cars, grander homes, larger companies - that is, if you own one; not if you don’t!

This conceptual vein has begun to play out within evangelical Christianity.  The advent and rise of the so-called mega-church carries with it the implicit assumption that such churches are inherently blessed by God, their expanse being indicative of divine favor.

Wisps of Wisdom

I asked God for it in 1975.  I was a troubled youth, very much in need of several commodities, one of which was wisdom.  I knew that wisdom would be the means by which I would transcend, or at least manage, my problems.

The Bible is quite specific in its promise of such provision:  “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

I am not even sure that I was aware of that particular verse at the time, but I was certain that I could trust my God and that He would provide.  He did and over time I was given the wisdom to reckon with the things that beset me.

Of Palms, Pageants and Parallels

  I ordered three crown of palms for Palm Sunday service.  That’s 75 palms for anyone who’s counting.  We always have a handful left over, but that’s alright, especially as someone is always looking for extra.  It’s a sweet tradition, no more and no less.

Sweetness had nothing to do with the original Palm Sunday, if we may so describe it; truthfully, we don’t even know whether it took place on a Sunday, but it’s as good a day as any to offer annual commemoration, especially as so many gather weekly for God’s purpose. 

Lit by Memory, Lit by Fire, Lit by Love

A Jewish man used to visit the Jewish cemetery adjacent to my childhood home.  He came every day, equipped with his lounge chair, the shade of the tree overhanging his beloved wife’s grave, and the memory of the lady who now shadowed his life if not any longer filling it.

It was simultaneously endearing and pathetic.  The poor man remained faithful to his wife well after her demise.  One day he stopped coming and we assumed that he had stopped living; truth be told, his life had ended when his wife expired.

Are You Well-Pleased with Jesus?

It is a question that persistently and progressively assails me:  Am I well-pleased with Jesus?  Are you, for that matter, well-pleased with Jesus?  God the Father certainly was; He said as much at Jesus’ baptism when He affirmed Him in His love:

“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.  And as He was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven:  ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well-pleased” (Luke 3:21, 22).

A Regimen of Relationship

What does the Bible say about relationships?  I have found three principles that I believe will make for healthy and fruitful relationships, the lack (or antithesis) of which will do nothing but cause damage and debilitation to those who love one another.

It is really quite simple in conception, though in execution it becomes a more formidable challenge, whatever the nature of the relationship, whether relating to our spouses and families, to our neighborhoods and places of work, or to our church community.  Here are the three:

1. Submit to one another;
2. Honor one another;
3. Love one another more and more.

History’s Right-Side

 One hears talk amongst our contemporaries of the need to be on the “right-side” of history.  It is a decidedly western concept, one that is marinated in the notion that human history is progressing, both linearly in destiny and qualitatively in value.

The idea that human affairs are moving in a particular and positive direction actually stems from the core teachings (i.e. biblical) of the Judeo-Christian heritage; I am not certain that it is anything other than a novel concept comparative to other world-views of historical import.

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

    We sing a song in our church entitled, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.”  It is a beautiful, slowly-paced reflective song that speaks to our beloved Lord’s sovereignty over history and of His love for each of us.  The lyrics are as follows:

“… And history itself belongs to you/ Alpha and Omega, You have loved me, and I will share eternity with you/ It’s all about you, Jesus, It’s not about me/ As if you should do things my way, You alone are God, and I surrender to your way.”

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