Tuesday, February 21, 2006

God Is In My Radio

All that you touch
And all that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
And all that you love
And all that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
And all that you give
And all that you deal
And all that you buy
beg, borrow or steal
And all you create
And all you destroy
And all that you do
And all that you say
And all that you eat
And everyone you meet
And all that you slight
And everyone you fight
And all that is now
And all that is gone
And all that’s to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

By Pink Floyd
Dark Side of the Moon

Now that my daughter is twelve I am doing my best to pass Pink Floyd on to a new generation. I feel it is my duty. If you are somewhere near my age you will understand what I am saying. But it’s not just Pink Floyd. It’s many others as well. Like Deep Purple (can you say Smoke on the Water?) and Focus (remember that crazy song called Hocus Pocus? I bet you’d know it if you heard it again!). And, of course, I’ll need to get to Lynryd Skynyrd (Freebird). And Jethro Tull. And…

There are two problems with this task. First of all, now that I’ve started thinking about all the songs she just has to hear, I can’t stop. The list is endless. How do I know where to start and where to end?

The second problem is that I started listening to some of these classic songs from a parent’s point of view and I’ve discovered things in the songs that I just don’t remember as being so, um, well, so difficult to explain or justify to a twelve-year-old. So I guess I need to edit my list. For now.

I’m sure you’ll also see that there is a third problem with my plan. For some inexplicable reason, my daughter just isn’t interested in some of these songs. I try to tell her that her music just doesn’t match up to these classics. “Yeah, right Dad. Whatever”.

Is it possible that I had the same reaction to my mother when she told me that my music didn’t match up to her classics? I don’t remember. I refuse to remember. That just can’t be true. I’m sure it was different back then!

What I do remember clearly is finding God in my radio. I thought it was amazing that the loud rock music, which I kept hearing was such a bad influence on the youth of the day, could also be delivering a positive message; a message of the presence of God in my life.

That was what I always heard when I listened to Eclipse by Pink Floyd. Yes, the sun can be eclipsed by the moon, but God eclipses it all. Everything under the sun is in tune with God even when the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

All that is now and all that is gone and that’s to come… That’s the power of God.

Has God been in your radio?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Feeling God's Presence in Our Lives

I never really thought much about having God near me. Life is what it is -- whether or not I felt a presence with me. But things change when you have kids, right?

Shortly after my daughter was born she developed a bad case of baby acne. She couldn't tolerate anything I ate; it only made the acne worse. Chocolate was taboo! Can you imagine?! There was no newborn "glow" in her cheeks. I had touched her newborn skin in the hospital and remarked that I'd never felt anything so soft in my life. But that was gone now, replaced by bumps.

It came time for the baptism, arranged during a house hunting trip out east when we would be near most of our family. We could count on one hand the number of times we'd been to church since being married. But we also knew we wanted our daughter to be baptized. It felt right. And that's when it happened.

I saw the most amazing sign that I wasn't alone, that my daughter was being watched over, that a presence can envelop and support us. The priest poured the baptismal water over her forehead and instantly our daughter's face cleared up, glowing with little pink cheeks. A smile. Content. I like to think that her little white dressed looked a little whiter, though I'm sure it wasn't.

I didn't say anything until later that evening while talking to my best friend, one of my daughter's godmothers. I was afraid that maybe my eyes had gotten the best of me. But once my friend said, "Did you see that too," I knew we had experienced something unique.

Recently the same godmother has been very ill. I think of her often and pray for her recovery. And each time I pray I ask God to envelop her, like he did that day with my daughter.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What would Jesus I M?

Last week, colleagues and I were brainstorming as we planned for clergy continuing education event.
Someone said, "Lexa, what do you need to learn?"
I quickly said, "Computers. Power point. Mail merge. That stuff."
And I guess I wasn’t alone.
It seems there is lots of fear of being left behind as a techno - peasant going around. The energy built.
And I admit, we got a little silly.

Someone asked how this all related to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
And I thought of those bracelets. The WWJD ones. (What Would Jesus Do?)
And in the midst of the blogging and podcasting, I threw out,
What would Jesus IM?
WWJIM [instant message]

The woman next to me picked it up and answered...
Jesus would I M

I am the light of the world

I am living water
I am the bread that came down from heaven
I am the Good Shepherd
I am the gate for the sheep
I am the Way, the truth and the life
I am resurrection and life
Those seven "I AM" statements made by Jesus, about himself, are all in the Gospel of John. Showing and telling people who he was was the work of Jesus. His mission was to make God’s love perfectly known in this world.

Indeed, the first "I AM" statement is made in the Old Testament when Moses is being called by God to go lead the Israelites who are enslaved under the Pharaoh. Moses asks, "When the people want to know which God sent me to them, what shall I say?" At this time, the people believed in many gods. Is this the god of war or earth or sky or sea? God answers from the burning bush, "Tell them I AM sent you."

What kind of a name is that?

I AM. I exist.

I AM with you.

I AM God and people cannot use my name like magic, so this is enough to know...just...

Then God fleshes this out.
I AM the God of your ancestors...of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
... of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachael.

Then God fleshes this out.
I AM the God who heard the cries of the my people in slavery and I AM moved to deliver them from the hand of Pharaoh and to bring them to the land of milk and honey.

Then God fleshes this out by sending the only begotten, beloved son– Jesus- so that all who believe in him may be saved and have eternal life.

A Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. AMEN.