I am thankful for color! I have been so elated with the fall colors this year. I have seen so many gorgeous colors changed in sunlight and cloud. Even the browns are spectacular. I have seen brass and copper and gold. Yellow has been bold and intense. Reds, oranges, salmon etc.etc. Wonderful! The lateness of the change of color seems to have offered many multicolored trees. This takes my breath away. God, the Artist, painting an extraordinary canvas. It reminds me of the line from How Great Thou Art – “I scarce can take it in.”
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” – Jude 17-18
Godlessness. At the time when the Letter of Jude was written the people were being led astray by those “who will follow their own ungodly desires.” In our own times there are so many things that appear to be ungodly. Greed is rampant, there is a loss of concern about others and a self-centered disregard for the effects of one’s actions on others. We are bombarded with images of violence, exploitation of persons’ bodies, and denigrating language — all in the name of entertainment.
In the season of Advent we are particularly vulnerable to being drawn into greed with the commercialization of a most holy time in the church year. How can we remain true to God in a climate such as this?
Perhaps the words of Jude’s letter ring true today as we face a world at odds with our understanding of the kingdom of God. When we regard one another as children of God and care for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, we catch a glimpse of the world as God intended it to be.
The Jude text offers hope. “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love…”
There are always choices to be made. We can allow ourselves to be swept up in the craziness of the season or we can remember that we have been given an amazing gift. If we can remain true to our belief that Jesus is the Christ and he is the lens through which we can focus our lives on God then we can combat the negatives in our lives that try to keep us from staying on the right path.
It is in this season of Advent as we await the coming of Jesus once again, that we, too, can be born anew in him and build ourselves in holy faith.
Godless world? No, we are in a God-filled world. We just have to be open to the many wonders of our God and turn to God in spite of all those things that pull us in other directions.
There is hope in Christ. We are called to that hope. We pray that we will find it as we await the coming of Christ anew. Amen.
This fall colors in the American Midwest have been especially beautiful this year. I have been drawn to the yellows but I have seen so many shades of green, red, yellow, brown, and orange. This month I have talked about the senses on my webpage and the experiences I’ve had with color this past few weeks have put me in a place of peace and holiness. With so much chaos in the world and in our country I welcome the joy and comfort these fall colors bring. I find myself understanding the word “breathtaking”. At times my breath is taken away in a simple gasp as I am amazed at the absolute splendor of these glimpses of God’s creative spirit. As the wind blows and the sun dances on the leaves the colors change and what I see leaves me in awe. It soothes my soul and for a while I can bathe in the beauty surrounding me and forget the pain and sorrow and ugliness that beat me down. I am inspired, I feel renewed, I feel creative and nourished. Perhaps it is the enjoyment of such beauty that strengthens us to do our part in the work of making the world a better place. I am grateful for this.
We were moving along nicely minding our own business feeling great when out of the blue things happened reminding us of our fragile nature, of our mortality. My son got sick, I got into a car accident. He could have died, I could have died. But we didn’t. I took notice and started to feel the reality of humanity. We are born, we die. In between we live. It is so easy to take that life for granted – Until you think you about the possibility of losing it. I’ve read many accounts of people’s brushes with death but until now it was not an experience I have had.
My life has been relatively easy. I’ve had my ups and downs but overall it has been good. I often marvel at the wonder of life. The amazing human body, the birth of a child, the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Look to the heavens and they tell the story of the creator who made the universe in all its splendor and yet loves each one of us and truly each little piece of the creation. Yes, life is precious and each moment holds possibilities for experiencing the wonder of God who is manifest in all there is. We just need to pay attention. I am grateful for this life.
I was privileged to attend the Spring Convocation at Eden Theological Seminary this week. The topic of the Brueggemann and Kulenkamp Lectures was Music: an essential element of the progressive Christian movement. Three inspiring and gifted speakers, Paul Vasile, Minister of Music at Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City, Rev. Cynthia Wilson, Dean of Students at Garrett Evangelical Seminary in Chicago, and Dr. Christopher Grundy, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship at Eden shared their experience and passion for music as a means of spreading the message of Love in the world.
I was moved by the singing of music, by the presentation of what this progressive movement is and what is can mean to the church as a whole. Music is and always has been a passion of mine. It struck me that music is sacred and is part of the whole creation. I was thinking how wonderful that musicians share their experience of the sacred in notes and rhythms and was then struck with the idea that all creation does that very same thing.
Consider the rhythm of the ocean, the sound of the birds or insects, the pulsing of the blood through the body which calms a child at her mother’s breast. Even the ticking of a clock or sirens marking the care of one in need can produce emotion in us. Music serves that purpose – an awakening of emotion in the human. It stands to reason that music is essential for any movement that involves the seeking for and encountering the holy.
Then I thought about how silence plays an important role in any music. The rest, the pause, the time to breathe is filled with Spirit! What a lovely couple of days and the joy of sharing that with people who care about sacred music. It is my prayer that the awakening in the soul connects each so intimately with God that the only outcome is love outpouring to serve, to care, to reach higher awareness of others’ needs so that all may be in harmony.