Sunday at Tapestry I spoke about the songs of Mary and Zechariah (Luke 1:46-80) and considered what we could learn from them in light of the hatred that was shown in Charlottesville over the weekend.
Specifically I said that the beauty of the songs of the Christian faith is that they often do two things very well:
Remind us of Who God is (i.e. the One who does great thing for and through His people)
Remind us os who we are (i.e. the ones for whom God has done great things and through whom He wants to do more)
When we remember Who He is and who we are we do a great job of standing against evil. When we forget those two things we don’t do such a good job. So we sing and when we sing we remind each other and remember.
Tonight people at UVA are showing that the songs of true Christian faith are powerful in combating evil. Sing, remember, and act in love.
This past Sunday I encouraged those that make up Tapestry to join me in a modified “liturgy of the hours“. The hours (or Divine Office, Divine Hours, or any number of other names) are prayers and scripture readings that are said every three hours in certain Christian traditions. They start at midnight and then happen every three hours after. Their purpose is to continually direct our attention toward God. For as Methodist missionary E. Stanley Jones wrote:
Whatever we focus on determines what we become.
So the hours help us to focus on Christ and hopefully become more like Jesus. I encouraged everyone to pick some moments during their day to stop and recognize that God is near. For me those times are 9 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 9 pm. I have various alarms set to remind me of the time. When I feel the alarm (I have my phone set to vibrate for these alarms), I take a moment out of whatever I am doing, or whoever I am with, and simply pray “Father, help me to see and know that you are here. In my circumstances right now you are here. Help me to see where you are.” That’s it.
It has been great and difficult at the same time. It has definitely redirected my thoughts a few times. I wasn’t thinking the best at a few moments and I had to change that because I was reminded that God was there. I have also discovered that if I am not focused on the hours happening it becomes easy for me to float right on through them. I have become aware of the time and how close the next hour is.
I’m trying this for a couple of weeks to see what happens. I’ve encouraged “threads” to join me and we’ll talk about it one Sunday.
SIDE NOTE – I took Montana out for her first ride with the top down in Buddy the Mustang today. She was pretty thrilled. Here’s a picture of my old gal of a basset hound to brighten your day.
I didn’t take this photo while driving. We had just stopped at Belt’s for Montana to get a pup cup with Pamela, who was already there.
I can’t really say why but around 5 years ago I developed a fascination with Volvo 240 wagons, quite possibly the most stereotyped suburban vehicle ever. Take the stereotype of a minivan and turn it into a wagon and you will have a Volvo 240. They aren’t flashy. They aren’t fast1 . They are just boringly awesome. I think they are spiffy as all get out.
I want one as my winter beater. I picture driving around with my fishing equipment and duck hunting gear in the back. My canoe on the top. Ah, that’s living.
One day I will have one of these fine automobiles and drive it during the Winter when I am scared of the salt on the roads hurting Buddy the Mustang. Pam will be by my side, Montana in the back seat, and a Diet Coke in my hand. We’ll leave the cat at home. It will be a wonderful day.
SIDE NOTE – Since the Point area is a small area there is a decent chance that someone i know actually knows the person that owns the 240. If you do please pass on to them my respect. Whoever it is has a wonderful vehicle.
I heard someone describe the take off speed of a 240 wagon as “zero to sixty eventually ↩
Though i will readily admit that my writing is often crappy I wouldn’t normally post a video of a toilet on my blog. I ran across this toilet today and was surprised by how long the flush takes. Whatever the opposite of a low-flow toilet is called (I assume a high-flow toilet) is what this toilet is. If you care to
Also this has got to be the first toilet I have ever seen where the inside of the basin is a gray color.
When Jürgen Moltmann wrote “The Crucified God” he had a copy of Gauguin‘s “Yellow Christ” behind his desk. I can’t remember where I read or heard this but I believe he placed it there because it reminded him of the viciousness of the death of God in a world that pretends to be so pastoral and bucolic. It’s calm, beautiful, and life continues going on in a painting that is depicting the most tragic and meaningful event in history. It is a huge contrast.
I now have a post of the “Yellow Christ” behind me with the addition of a signed poster from Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil. This should be even better, right?So if I don’t write a ground breaking work of theology in the next 5 years I’m blaming Taylor. Pull your weight Steve!
To understand the nature of gospel preaching, we need to understand the nature of the Scripture itself. There is a fundamental syntactical distinction between saying “we question the Bible” and “the Bible questions us.” It is common, in congregations, to hear of subjects like “Using the Bible in Small Groups.” But we do not “use” the Bible; if we attempt to do so, it will slip away from us, leaving something opaque and very much less dynamic in its place. Contrary to the story line in many “spiritual” journals, the biblical narrative does not tell of our journey toward God; it is the other way around. The right approach is not “What questions do I have to ask of the Bible?” but “What questions does the Bible have to ask of me?” God does not wait for Adam to start looking for him; it is God who comes looking with the question, “Adam where are you?” – the first words spoken to fallen humanity. God says to Job, “Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you will answer me.” God is the one who says, “i will shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jer. 33:3 KJV)
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion, pp. 19-20
I remember Boo Helfin1 , my Old Testament professor at Southwestern Seminary, stewing when he heard someone say “I teach the Bible.” He was far to kind to call someone out in public for such an unintentional slip, but he would definitely rant to us, his students, so that we would learn that the Bible doesn’t need us to teach it anything, instead it is we who need to be taught by the scripture.
Dr. Heflin was also one of the toughest and most amazing teachers I have ever experienced. I made two Bs during my Masters of Divinity and OT 2 was one of those Bs. He is also the reason that I love the book of Amos ↩
Just a quick note. If you normally want an unnamed person to eat leftovers during the work week then you can’t also be upset when that unnamed person eats leftovers that you decided to have for supper that night when the unnamed person had to leave early for training in Raleigh. It just can’t work that way.
Watching Stranger Things with Pam and one thing I have noticed is that apparently everyone else’s house is easier to climb into and much more soundproof than any that I have ever lived in. These people can have very loud conversations in their basement and nobody on the floor above them can hear a single word. Also apparently anybody can climb onto the roof of a house and sneak into a bedroom without anyone noticing. Apparently these people have some very well insulated houses. I’m not sure who built them but movie houses are either high quality work or everyone in Hollywood is deaf.