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I don’t know about you, but there are times that I really get tired of this worlds cares, frustrations and disappointments!  I know why this is so… I also know that we have a hope for eternity that so many in this world just don’t understand.  Still, I am in the here and now and at times this world weighs heavy!

Just weeks ago my brother Tim had the biggest scare of his life…and scared the rest of us.  It was just a routine colonoscopy, but the word that they found a mass came, followed by an emergency surgery…and yes, it was cancer!  Fortunately, they believe they were able to get all of it and he won’t need any chemo or radiation treatments!  What a blessing and relief!

A little over a year ago my mother was taken home after a short but courageous battle with brain cancer.  She was spared suffering and we were spared having to watch her linger.  She is in a so much better place!  And yet, it wasn’t much over a year that our family was reminded of just how precarious and temporary this life is!  We are so very grateful that Tim came through colon cancer so well, and from what the doctors tell us he will be with us for many years to come!

The first half of 2012 has been a challenge for all of my family as we have worked together to come up with an acceptable plan for my aging, widowed dad, who is no longer able to live by himself.  I am happy to say that, although Dad is not quite as sharp mentally as he once was, he is doing very well living in a long-term nursing care facility.  But I know that his heart is no longer in this world.  He often talks of “end-times” books and is looking more toward the “not yet” of eternity…he’s think of “home!”

I fight the urge, the temptation to get caught up in this world as if it will last forever, often it seems to be a losing battle…. “wide is the path that leads to destruction.”  I want to be comfortable here, complacent, satisfied; but lately I’m being reminded of just how temporary this world is!  But, the truth is lately, I’ve been looking forward to someday going home!

As often is the case, I find myself going to songs that remind me of where home really is:

When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be,
When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!

This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through….

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is to come!

And just in case you’re wondering why I included that last verse, that’s from Revelation 4.  Praising God eternally is what we will be doing when we finally are…home!

Remember

Some time ago, I did a study on the word “remembrance” as it is used in Luke 22:19, I Corinthians  11:24-25 and Hebrews 10:3.  In each of these passages the same Greek word is used:  “anamnesis.”  I am no Greek scholar but it doesn’t take much digging to see that this word has some weighty significance!

If you look at this word you might see a similarity to an English word that is used to describe a state of forgetting.  That word, of course, is amnesia.  When someone has lost their memory from a blow to the head or some traumatic experience we say that person is suffering from amnesia.  In the Greek if you take that basic word and add the “ana” on the front, it negates its original meaning, which in this case makes the definition of the word change from  “forgetting” to “not forgetting” or Remembrance.  Kind of neat how that works isn’t it!  We do the same thing (sort of) in English.  Take the word “typical,” for example.  This word means normal or predictable.  If we were to change the word to “atypical” we have changed the word to mean abnormal or unpredictable.  It is a process of creating an opposite.

When the word “anamnesis” is used in these passages there is still a deeper meaning and intent, especially in the Luke passage that records the actual words of Jesus.  Think of the context surrounding this passage.  It is the time of Passover, which is the celebration of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and how the Angel of Death passed over the homes marked with lamb’s blood.  The idea of remembering was nothing new to the Jewish people.  Remembering was what this whole Passover meal is about.  But it is more than remembering, it is “reenacting.”

In other words when the Jewish people celebrated the Passover, they were reenacting what had taken place so many years before them.  This tradition had been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds years.  I’m sure you can see the wisdom in this practice; it is much easier to remember what you act out than what you simply think about.

So, we find Jesus and his disciples together in an upper room, celebrating the Passover and Jesus does something that must have completely blown his disciples away!  

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

He is saying that from now on the His sacrifice must be “remembered” in this meal.  This is the meal that for centuries the Jewish people observed to remember God sparing them from the Angel of Death.  This is the meal that included a perfect lamb that had been sacrificed and it’s blood spread on the doorframes of their homes to signify that they were to be passed over!  You bet the disciples were blown away!

Another interesting thought:  In Old Testament covenant agreements a sacrifice was made and a meal was eaten to “seal” the covenant…that could be significant….

The next time you are partaking of the Lord’s Supper, don’t just remember, but reenact the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross to seal the “New Covenant” that we have in Him.  Perhaps by doing this you can bring more significance to a time in our worship that all too often is neglected or…forgotten.

Have Mercy

Confession time…I cry at movies!  You can ask my wife!  She will attest to the validity of my confession.  I cry at movies, I cry as I read books, I cry at musicals, even high school or community versions (and no, it’s not tears of torment!).  I believe I am blessed (or cursed) with a particularly sensitive connection between my emotions and my visual and auditory processors in my brain.  I have no real proof of this… It’s just my opinion.

I was recently reminded of a particularly moving story in the Bible with which I’m sure you are familiar:  The story of David spiral into sin as he lusts after Bathsheba, acts upon that lust and eventually commits murder in order to cover that sin.  He is eventually found out and repents of his sin.  In his deepest, darkest moment of guilt he pens the psalm we know as Psalm 51.  Here are a few excerpts:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions. 

Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge. 

 

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

I have heard several songs that are based on this Psalm (my favorite being Charlie Peacock’s) and, true to form; it’s not uncommon for me to become emotional as I hear/sing them!  Sometimes I am moved because of a beautiful story or melody.  In this case I am confronted with the reality of my own sinful nature.  David was “a man after God’s own heart.”  No one else in the entire Bible was described that way!  And he sinned….and repented!  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.”  I cry tears of sorrow at hearing these words, because I know I too, am sinful and I need to hear them!  But I cry tears of joy also, knowing that just like David, I have experienced redemption through Jesus Christ!

Welcome

I want to offer a brief welcome to you.  If you are reading this post, you are probably among the first to come to my blog site!  Congratulations!  Unfortunately, there are no special prizes…just the satisfaction of knowing that you were here at the beginning will have to do!

You may be wondering what you should expect to see in this blog.  The answer is quite simple.  Most of my blog posts will be taken directly from a weekly church newsletter column that I write concerning various aspects of worship in the church and, more important, outside of the church.  Worship should take place as an everyday part of our lives.  Hopefully, some of my thoughts and meanderings will help you as you live a life of worshiping our God and Creator.

You can expect me to post two to three times each week:  Generally, Monday morning will be what is currently on my mind (it also happens to be my deadline for turning in my weekly article!).   Any other posts during the week will be articles that I have previously written.  I hope to enhance the content in all of my posts with images and links that I cannot include in the hard copy version of my articles.  Also, as I become more familiar with the tools at WordPress, I will begin including external links to some of my preferred web and blog sites.

Once again, welcome to my blog!