Archive for September, 2018

What the Church Is All About
September 20, 2018

Recently, I finished reading Foolishness to the Greeks, by the British writer, theologian and missionary to India, Leslie Newbigin (1909-1998). The subtitle of the book is “The Gospel and Western Culture.”

The book prompted in me deep thinking about God, philosophy, theology, science, church history, the Enlightenment, missions, and the nature and mission of the church.

Here is one of Newbigin’s statements about the church and the gospel.

“The church is the bearer to all nations of a gospel that announces the kingdom, the reign, and the sovereignty of God. It calls men and women to repent of their false loyalty to other powers, to become believers in the one true sovereignty, and so to become corporately a sign, instrument and foretaste of that sovereignty of the one true and living God over all nature, all nations, and all human lives. It is not meant to call men and women out of the world into a safe religious enclave but to call them out in order to send them back as agents of God’s kingdom.” Page 124.

Think of what this world would be like if every Christian understood and lived out the truth of this biblically accurate description of the church.

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More butterflies
September 5, 2018

Let’s return to the theme of butterflies. When my brother-in-law Glenn visited us, he took some really good photos of butterflies feeding on our zinnnias here in Harrisburg, PA.

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Monarchs, of course.

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A silver-spotted skipper. The skippers flit about very fast and are not true butterflies, but most people consider them butterflies in everyday conversation.

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In our back yard we have an area that is partly natural and partly native wildflowers that I have planted. I refer to it as my little meadow.

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Another silver-spotted skipper, this one feeding on a variety of monarda, or bee balm.

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The meadow has several milkweed plants.

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A monarch caterpillar feeding on milkweed, its only food.

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So many beautiful creatures in our world.

Unusual blessing
September 4, 2018

When we think of a blessing from God, we often think of something peaceful or comforting, but some time ago I came across a different kind of blessing.

It has been making the rounds under the name “A Franciscan Blessing” or “The Four-fold Blessing.” However, from Joshua Hopping’s online blog, “Wild Goose Chase,” you can learn that this blessing or prayer actually has no connection to the Franciscans.

Instead, it was written by the Benedictine Sister Ruth Fox of Sacred Heart Monastery for a Dickinson State University graduation in 1985. Sadly Sister Ruth Fox’s name has been removed from the blessing/prayer as it made the rounds online.

For the record, here is the original blessing:

May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.
May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.

If you have the courage to accept these blessings, then God will also bless you with:
◦ Happiness – because you will know that you have made life better for others.
◦ Inner peace – because you will have worked to secure an outer peace for others.
◦ Laughter – because your heart will be light.
◦ Faithful friends – because they will recognize your worth as a person.

These blessings are yours – not for the asking, but for the giving – from One who wants to be your companion, our God, who lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen

Think about what your life might become if you live in the reality of these four blessings. We would give witness, in big or small ways, to the in-breaking kingdom of God.