Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Small World

I am amazed whenever I look at the “stats” for this blog, specifically where my readership is from. I know I have readers here in the U.S.; but what amazes me is readers from the other side of the globe. I want to make a “shout out” to my international readers, thank you for reading!!!

This past Sunday was Easter and I had the honor of opening the church services at a friend's campground for the summer. What a glorious day, and indeed an honor to lead! I can't tell you the entire sermon, because I got caught up in a variety of thoughts based on some of the points the preacher made and one in particular has come to mind after seeing where my readers are from.

Have you ever felt “small”? I know I have whenever I have met impressive people or stood beneath tall buildings. The minister on Sunday talked about how when you go up a thousand feet in the air people look very small. Or when you fly and look down 12,000 feet you can't distinguish cars, much less people and tall building look like toys. I've heard earth described as a “little blue marble” when viewed from space. If we were to fly to the nearest star, the earth would simply be a point of light on a sheet of black. The scripture that comes to mind for me is “...what is man that Thou art mindful of him...” For our God lives outside the realm of space and time. We are small! And yet God takes notice of each one of us, knows us individually. He knows the length of our life, the number of hairs on our heads, our comings and goings, everything about us God knows and cares about. Standing here on earth, I feel disconnected from others. So many miles separate us and oceans divide the continents, but pull back up into space and we see how small a planet we live on. When I stand at the beach looking out to sea, it is hard for me to imagine someone standing in Europe looking back, it is so far away and yet in God's eyes we are up close and personal.

I guess where I'm going with all of this is first, I am overwhelmed with the thought of the God of the universe taking thought of me personally. I am one of millions living on this small speck in space and yet I am on His heart and mind every day, all the time. If God takes notice of someone so small, who am I not to acknowledge His omnipotence and greatness? Secondly, I want to take a moment to appreciate and acknowledge everyone who takes time to read what I write. It is humbling to know there are readers in Russia, the UK, Latvia, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia, Germany, Poland and France in addition to my readers from the United States. The internet has certainly brought us closer, but not as close as we are to our Heavenly Father's heart. It is good to feel small and loved largely!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Child of the manger

On the church liturgical calendar tonight is Maundy Thursday. The name "Maundy Thursday" is derived from the Latin word “mandatum” meaning "commandment." It is the Thursday before Easter, observed in the Christian Church as a commemoration of the Last Supper. But history lesson aside, while I was driving home I happened to flip on my CD player to see if there was a disc in there. Low and behold the last CD I was listening to was the Simple Truth Christmas CD “Child of the Manger.”  It happened that the song coming on was the title cut, and that got me thinking once again about the angels and their thoughts regarding the next four days.  So here is a summary of my thoughts and reflections, my Easter devotion so to speak.

The Angels, here was the group who sang Messiah’s birth 33 years earlier to a group of lowly shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem, standing powerless as they watched Jesus, Son of God, sorrowful to the point of bleeding sweat in the garden, betrayed by one of his close friends, beaten beyond recognition and hung on a cross to die. “Glory to God in the highest, peace, goodwill toward men” was their song of praise to the God of the Universe, creator of all things, who had become flesh to dwell among his creations, but there was no peace or goodwill at this time; heaven was silent as the angels stood in sorrow, gazing down on Calvary powerless to intervene.  All it would have taken was a word from Jesus and all heaven and earth would have been moved for this one man, but He didn't speak. There is an old hymn, which I want to share the refrain of:

He could have called ten thousand angels.
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
 But He died alone, for you and me. (Ray Overholt, 1958)

However, we all know that was not the end…..

Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, the angel rolled the stone away and then he turned to speak. “Why seek the living out among the dead? For the child of the manger has broken the bonds of hell.” (“Child of the Manger”, Simple Truth)

When Jesus rose from the dead; triumphing over Hell and Death, I imagine the angels once again standing as they did on that winter’s night over Bethlehem, wing tip to wing tip praising GOD. Heaven was no longer silent. This Easter Sunday morning I would hope in the midst of all the chocolate bunnies, colored eggs, and baked ham we would stop and savor the Savior. We would with the angels honestly and with understanding sing “Glory to GOD in the highest, Peace, and Goodwill to men.”  For the child of the manger is the man (the risen, exalted LORD) of Calvary; happy Easter everyone for now and eternity.