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Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Crossing the Bar — Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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This post in memory of Richard Nash, Oct. 19, 1927-Apr. 6, 2013, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great and godly man. Rest in peace, Pop-pop, until Jesus comes again!

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merry_christmas_everyone

On the eve of Christmas

hatred will vanish

On the eve of Christmas

the earth will flourish

On the eve of Christmas

Love will be born

When we offer a glass of water to a thirsty person

It is Christmas

When we wipe the tears from weeping eyes

It is Christmas

When the spirit of revenge dies in me

It is Christmas

When I am buried in the being of God

It is Christmas

–Sabeel, Liberation Theology Centre

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No matter what holiday you celebrate at this time, or if you celebrate none, take some time to think about what you can do to bring peace to those around you — family, friends, and even strangers.  Reach out and bring joy to others.

And have a very merry Christmas.

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wrap them in peace and shroud them in snow

let pine boughs and windsong whisper of rest

blinding tears freeze on twenty small mounds

so leave them in quiet in a black silent night

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grief is the darkness fallen at Christmas

our season of joy is heartsick and pain

where is the light of Bethlehem’s star?

where is the song of the angels this night?

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wrap Him in cloths and lay Him in hay

angels and shepherds whisper of glory

Light of all heaven to shine in our darkness

death touched the Child on that silent night

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darkness and grief have fallen at Christmas

a Babe took our sorrows and carries our hearts

a cross is the light shining into our darkness

we cling to His peace for our dark, silent night

 

for the children, teachers, and parents of Sandy Hook Elementary

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Peace

 

“peace”

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war on Christmas

The above was posted on Facebook on Friday.  I have to admit, I didn’t read it carefully the first time, and saw “no war on Christians”.  I thought about it more as I went through the day.  When I checked back to reply, I realized it was “no war on Christmas”.  I actually agree with the sentiments there, for the most part.  I don’t actually agree that wishing someone a “merry Christmas” is a bad thing — to me, “happy holidays” is fairly meaningless to the point of being vapid.  Sort of like the phrase “best wishes” — what does that even mean?  But I do realize that many people don’t celebrate Christmas but some other holiday at this time (some do both!), and people may not have the same expectations of the Christmas season that I do, since they aren’t Christian.  I don’t have a problem with that, and if anyone wants to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, fine!  All we’re saying is, “I’m happy right now because it’s a holiday season and I want you to be happy too!”  Everyone can stop having a fit — now!

But what I was thinking about as a result of misreading the post is actually a valid point.  Christianity (as a major religion in America) is becoming the minor majority.  Let me explain how Christianity is in danger.   There are a lot of other religions and cultures in the world, and in this country, each with their own customs, standards, expectations, and — yes — holidays.  In this age of global awareness and ethnic diversity, I agree with the idea that we need to be cognizant of, and respectful to, other cultures.  This same respect needs to be extended to Christians.  It is not.

Christianity is in danger when people who usually preach open-mindedness feel free to say and spread mocking things about Christians and their beliefs.  I usually see this as Facebook posts (such as the above), with a comment about how silly, or stupid, or backward, or ________ (fill in the blank) Christians are to be thinking or saying XYZ (usually to do with something political).  If statements in the same vein (mocking Christians’ belief in literal creation rather than the theory of evolution, for a recent example) were made about the Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu religion, there would be an uproar against that person.  See what happened when the Danish cartoonist lampooned Muslims!  If a Christian mocked Muslims for wearing hijab, Hindus for drinking Ganges water, or Buddhists for looking within themselves to gain enlightenment, there might be a few who agreed, but mostly that person would have unleashed a storm upon his head.  But many people, whether they style themselves, pagans, atheists, agnostics, or just plain nothing, feel free to mock, satirize, and ridicule Christian beliefs that may seem just as odd to outsiders as the non-Christian beliefs I listed.  It has become popular to ridicule Christians.  And no one raises a fuss.    That is why many Christians feel their religion is in danger — the ‘minor majority’, if you will.

That isn’t the real reason, however, why I feel Christianity is in danger.  Christianity is in danger right now partly because it is being attacked from within.

  • Christianity is in danger when those who call themselves Christians use their religion as a front for bigotry, hatred, and power playing
  • Christianity is in danger when people use Christian beliefs as a stick to beat others with (who may not believe the same way)
  • Christianity is in danger when people who call themselves Christians (part of that 243,186,000, actually) refuse to adhere to basic principles of integrity, mercy, justice, humility, and service.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians blindly accept the unbiblical teachings of leaders who counsel them to follow tradition and an easier, more acceptable path, rather than pointing them to truth as clearly stated in the Bible (no matter how personally inconvenient it might be).
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians look for a “feel-good” religion rather than conviction of their sins and their personal, constant need of a Savior.
  • Christianity is in danger when Christians focus on the trappings of food, decorations, rituals, and gifts that surround the holidays (Easter too!) and lose the real point of the holidays we celebrate in memory of the work God can do in our lives.
  • Christianity is in danger when we would rather give money, or even time, to people in need and neglect to tell them about God and His saving grace. “These things you ought to have done, and not left the other undone” (Luke 11:42).
  • Christianity is in danger when we are more worried about offending people by sharing our faith than offending God, who has commanded us to “go into all the world”.  Think about it.  In a world of nearly 7 billion, just over 2 billion (2.18) are Christian.  That’s a drop in the bucket of what God has asked of us!

My Facebook friend is right.  No one is making war on Christmas.  Not overtly.  Our greed does that just fine.  No one is deliberately making war on Christians, not really.  Not in the physical sense.  Not in America.  We are allowing our natural, unsanctified human tendencies to take charge — as if we had no Savior to help us deal with our sinful nature — and showing the world what an un-surrendered heart really looks like. No one is hindering the spread of Christianity.  Not really.  We are allowing our fears of embarrassment and social criticism to dissuade us from sharing what should be an unpopular message to most, if it is truly spread.  Truth is always unpopular, and no more so than truth that requires the person receiving it to change.  And the best example of that is every single Christian (including me!) who has not opened their heart and asked God to sweep it clean and dwell in it.

So as we begin December — let’s begin the Christmas season not with greed, aggression, busy-ness, or desire for control.  Let’s surrender that stubborn self to God.  Ask Him to save Christianity, not from others, but from you.  And start Christmas with a peace treaty — with the Prince of Peace.

https://i2.wp.com/1.bp.blogspot.com/_ZgL6TE5BZfc/RqSJDbq9J5I/AAAAAAAAABQ/QMZ1ldwXHRk/s320/Broken_Heart_by_Tortured_Raven.jpg

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we’ve passed the threshold now

my passport has been updated

we’ve done the ten-year anniversary

the Islamophobia’s died down

and bin Laden’s dead as well

I can listen to the second movement of Schumann’s

piano concerto and not hear

screeching metal and crumbling masonry

all the paper has been recycled

and a memorial has been built

people have had more children

or gotten remarried

and each September brings more thoughts of

apples, pumpkins, leaves, and

golden days

than flags, blood, smoke, and tears

but I will still wear black today

and my neighbor will put his flag at half-mast

I will play Barber’s Agnus Dei at quarter to nine

and my students will not understand why

but we who are old enough will pray and remember

because they are never gone

until we forget

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In memory of Francisco Bourdier and the other 2,995 victims of 9-11, in conjunction with Project 2,996.

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