I can remember times when my hopes were… dashed against a stone. Something I really wanted to happen, didn’t. Something I was really counting on, fell through. Or worse, times when something did happen that changed all my hopes and dreams. This kind of disappointment comes to us in a wide variety of ways:
A high school senior has applied to her favorite college, but she doesn’t get accepted.
You’re in line for that promotion, but it doesn’t come your way.
After years of working, you reach retirement, only to receive a diagnosis that’s not good.
Last Saturday Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day. Around the league, players, managers, even umpires wore Robinson’s retired number 42 to commemorate his career and accomplishments. April 15, 1947 was Opening Day and the day Robinson broke the Major leagues racial barrier as the first Black baseball player in the modern era. Jackie Robinson changed the playing field!
Pastor David was expecting a great day! Tomorrow would be his first Easter since graduating from seminary. Primed with the latest in theology he was called to Maple Street Community Church. He made the final touches to his sermon that morning and shared it with his wife. He told her about Paul Tillich and his theology of “new being.” He spoke about the resurrection as a symbol that the estrangement from our authentic self was over. He didn’t seem to notice his wife shaking her head.
Our era has moved from sound bites to 140 character twitter comments. Do you recognize any of the following: #dog-eat-dog world; #assertyourself; #standyourground; #killthecompetition; #makeyourpresenceknown.
These are just some of today’s popular expressions for encouraging people to get ahead, achieve goals and be successful in life. Such philosophy of life is ingrained from an early age because we know, deep down, that Leo Durocher was right, “Nice guys finish last!”
Fifth Sunday in Lent
My friend Mark often wore a T-Shirt that succinctly stated one of our culture’s famous dictums: “I don’t get mad, I get even!” It’s one of our great temptations, isn’t it? To keep score in life, always fighting for balance in life on that basis.
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Five-year old Johnny burst out crying when his beloved dog died. Scooter had been his constant companion, even sleeping at the foot of Johnny’s bed. Now the dog is gone, and little Johnny is a basket case. Johnny’s dad stammers a bit and says, “Uh, don’t feel bad, Johnny, we’ll get you a new dog.”
That’s Lesson 1 of Grief Management 101 in our culture; bury your feelings; replace your losses. Once you have a new dog, you won’t think about the old one anymore.
Second Sunday in Lent
When I make a visit to Chippenham hospital, exiting the parkway at Jahnke Rd. or head to the Presbytery office at the boulevard off-ramp of I-64, I often see someone sitting by the side of the road with a cardboard sign.
Will work for food
Kids at home
Disabled, Homeless Veteran
Anything you can do to help…God bless…
First Sunday in Lent
My all time favorite novel is Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. In recent years it has had great popularity based on the musical versions, I adore them as well. Yet to sit and read the original novel is to uncover layers of richness to characters and story that don’t fit into the stage versions.
When he was ten years old, Dwight Eisenhower wanted to go trick-or-treating with his older brothers. His parents said he was too young. As he watched his brothers head out, he pleaded with his parents. They remained firm, he was too young. At that, he was engulfed by uncontrolled rage. He turned red. His hair bristled. Weeping and screaming he rushed into the front yard and began pounding his fists into the trunk of an apple tree. He pounded so hard he scraped the skin off, leaving his hands bloody and torn.
Seventy years ago, a Philadelphia congregation watched as three nine-year old boys were baptized and joined the church. No long after, the church sold the building and disbanded.
One of those boys was Tony Campolo, now a Baptist minister and professor of sociology. Dr. Campolo notes, “Years later when I was doing research in the archives of our denomination I decided to look up the church report for the year of my baptism. There was my name and Dick White’s — he is now a missionary — and Bert Newman is a professor of theology at an African seminary.”
Chaim Potok was an intensely religious man; a Jew who explored the dimensions of faith in our lives. As a boy he read Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and from that moment on knew he wanted to be a writer. His mother, on the other hand wasn’t so sure. When he went away to college she said, “Son, now I know you want to be a writer. But I want you to think about brain surgery. You’ll keep a lot of people from dying. And you’ll make a lot of money.” To which Potok responded, “No, Mama, I want to be a writer.”
First Sunday after Christmas
Well today is the day for all those resolutions we make attempting to improve ourselves in the year to come. New Year’s is a natural restart. It offers a symbolic point in time to redirect ourselves.
This new year also heralds an opportunity for Christians to witness a better way than division. To witness to the world the love and care Jesus offered the world. To witness to the peace of Christ.