Forget wishin to be a prince. Instead, hope to be a frog. This caught my attention this week:
"Frogs are lucky. They eat what bugs them!"
Poignant words from Pope Benedict at Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland today:
"To speak in this place of horror, in this place where unprecedented mass crimes were committed against God and man, is almost impossible -- and it is particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a pope from Germany," he said.
"In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can be only a dread silence," he said, "a silence which itself is a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent?"
"All of them were burnt beyond recognition."
According to TIME magazine these are the words of Abiodun Orebiyi, of the Nigerian Red Cross, on the more than 150 victims who died in the explosion of a fuel pipeline from which people were siphoning gasoline. What a potent reminder to the world of the vast basic needs of the poor that have yet to be met. What are you doing today to meet those needs, no matter how small your gift may seem?
I have been reading the book Alive, which is the extraordinary true story of survivors of a plane crash in the Andes mountains in the early 1970's. I was inspired to read the full story since I read Outside Magazine's May cover story about the incident written by one of the survivors Nando Parrado. Anyway, as they wrestled with their condition and the reality of death author Piers Paul Read writes this of their survival:
"Certainly their quarrels were never serious when compared to the strong bond of their common purpose. Especially when they prayed together at night they felt an almost mystical solidarity, not only amongst themselves but with God. They had called to him in their need and now felt him close at hand. Some had even come to see the avalanche as a miracle which had provided them with more food (page 144)."
This is meaningful in several ways: first, they shared a common purpose; second, in praying together they sensed the "mystical solidarity" with God and one another; third, God is indeed near as we usually learn in the toughest circumstances of our lives; and fourth, even the bad turn of events can be stewarded for our good (Romans 8). This has been a meaningful insight for me.
"The rulers of this world are not bothered when yet another little group invents a new form of private spirituality. What makes Caesar shiver in his shoes is if people start to believe that whereas the Gentile rulers do it one way, God does it a different way, that there is a different way of power, a different form of rulership, and that Jesus has inaugurated and modelled it in his servanthood and suffering, and that the community that hails him as the only true Lord is going out into the world to live that way, and to celebrate it, as we do today, in sacrament and vocation and healing."
These truthful words are taken from Bishop N.T. Wright's sermon "As One Who Serves" (April 13, 2006).
This prayer was part of our Easter Family Eucharist Service this morning. I was drawn specifically to the prayer for God to give us "contsant wills". Daily my will needs conforming to His!
your Son opened for us
a new and living way into your presence.
Give us new hearts and constant wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth:
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Indeed, we are invited to worship Him because HE IS RISEN!
Last Sunday Ling and I arrived at church for the service and these important thoughts jumped off the front page of the bulletin and hit me straight in the heart:
"The devil tempts that he may ruin; God tempts that he may crown.” – St. Ambrose
“Currently, the church risks irrelevancy without its walls and complacency within (page 15 of Reel Spirituality by Robert K. Johnston)." No more accurate statement was made to me this week!
Each week I will post an insight from conversation with another, something I am reading, a thought of my own that grabbed me as particularly insightful (there will be few of these!), a line from a movie or television show, etc. that I found most stimulating. Here is this week's:
"The preaching and teaching of the local church has to be such that it enables members to think out the problems that face them in their secular work in the light of their Christian faith (Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, page 230)." In the margin I wrote, "life goal for MS preaching." MS is me.