Sorry I've been gone so long! Working full-time is a lot of work, ha ha.
I feel that part of my daily ministry is supposed to be to write. I don't know when I am supposed to do this in my life (perhaps in lieu of sleeping, such as now). But acknowledging the call is the first step, right?
I was talking with some "church" ladies tonight, and we were able to have a meaningful spiritual discussion, not always a sure thing when dealing with people who are Christian with a capital "C," if you know what I mean. I was able to share my witness to a couple of these women, that you can't distinguish between people based on what brand of faith they appear to have, if any. Jesus went out in search of people who were lost and needed help. He met them where they were, and his ministry was not to aid Christians. If anything, it was the opposite of that.He wasn't saving people for heaven, he was saving them from everything that was holding them back -- the life situations preventing them from living a full life and sharing that vitality with others. We shouldn't save ourselves for heaven, either.
Here are a few things I brought up for discussion once our ladies' group had dwindled to an intimate threesome tonight. Following God's direction seems to call for sacrifice. How much? Of what? To continue with this thought, does this mean we are supposed to sacrifice our own personal happiness, or simply selfishness -- and how do you let go of selfish desires but remain happy? What is a selfish desire, anyhow? Is my need to exercise daily a selfish desire? I feel the need to call on my friend Buddha to help here.
God seemingly demands so much, but perhaps it's not that hard. Maybe doing God's will means the attempt to have a daily walk side-by-side with God, present in the midst of every moment of life. How amazing it would be, for example, to go through an entire day and show every person compassion!
And now, for something completely different. If you have not seen "Dead Man Walking," I think it was a profoundly spiritual movie about the essence of humanity and deeply moving. It is about a young man who has participated in the brutal murder of a young couple, and who is on death row. Seemingly by chance, he writes to a nun begging for help in his appeals process, and she (Sister Helen Prejean) eventually becomes his spiritual adviser. This role eventually leads her to become one of the foremost advocates to abolish the death penalty, which she continues to this day.
The spiritual aspect of the movie was its resounding message that no act committed by a person bars them from the possibility for redemption, nor can it cast them out from the fellowship of humanity. Put another way, grace remains accessible to everyone, in all circumstances. It is never denied, not even to a person who has committed particularly heinous crimes.
One thing I appreciated about the movie was its relentless attempt to keep all perspectives in view and never to minimize the horror of the crime that this person on death row committed. It often returned to play out the crime in all its horror and inhumanity, so that terrible night was in full view throughout the movie, never to be forgotten. Just as the people who were murdered were dead, forevermore, never to be brought back, and also never to be forgotten.
Here's the band, with my other son front and center just below the stand, playing the marimba. (Austin is somewhere in the background, marching.) I am concerned that I am spelling the name of Andrew's instrument wrong. If so, mea culpa and forgive me.
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