Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The God who Forgets

Some time ago, my dad asked me if I could remember the times when he was angry with me. After a silent moment or two, I think I said something like; “maybe, but probably not.” I think the reason for my memory lapse is because we desire to remember the good things about our parents, friends, and colleagues.
Though Jesus’ closest friends performed some outrageous and hurtful acts against Him, He chose to forget them (John 21) so their relationship may remain strong. This is just one of the things God chose to do when He took on skin and bone and moved into the neighborhood.

As we prepare for the coming of Christmas, can we welcome a God like this?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Turning Disabilities into Diffabilities

It is not surprising that a husband does things differently than his wife. But their unique work is equally required to raise a family. As I think about my parents, mom has long been responsible for managing the money, whereas dad’s job is to earn it. In the kitchen, mom’s role is to make most of the meals and dad’s is to clean up afterwards. Diffabilities is my term for confidently completing an action differently rather than feeling a need to do things the same way as those you admire. As a visually impaired person (V.I.P.) I have needed to learn different ways of completing routine tasks. For instance, the driver of a car in the H.O.V. lane is no more important than the passenger sitting in the next seat over. If I need to know, or not, I am learning to ask more questions so that new insight might be realized. And, whether it is for visual reasons or otherwise, I finish tasks slowly so they may be done well, once. If mom and dad did not have these diffabilities, and passed them on to their kids, delicious meals would not be made, dirty dishes might just remain in the sink and it might take an extra long time to get to work.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It Isn’t You

This Friday, many of us will remember Jesus, as he led his disciples in the first Communion, the night before he would be crucified. If we can believe this, I think Jesus was more compassionate to them than we often make him out to be.
Many of us, myself included, have celebrated communion knowing that we are sinners and need forgiveness. That’s right, we are, and we need to eat the Lord’s Supper for our cleansing and sustenance. But it was a regular Passover meal and the disciples believed that this Passover would be no different. They knew what they would be celebrating.
Because Jesus was never condemning of anyone who had true faith, his followers believed that his words this evening would be no different. Because they all had true faith, right?
Just as Jesus acted among his disciples and the crowd, he criticized no one except for the self-righteous who ‘knew’ that they did not need communion to be cleansed. And there was no one like that here, right?
But according to Matthew 26, after they reclined at the table, and had already drunk a few glasses of wine and eaten a few loaves of bread, Jesus said, “one of you will betray me.” The disciples’ mouths fell open, and some of them must have thought, “Is Jesus drunk?”
Jesus continued, “One who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:23-24)
As they realized that their teacher was serious, but did not condemn any of them, a silence fell and the finger pointing stopped.
As we might expect, “[the disciples] were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, ‘Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?’” (Matthew 26:22) I encourage you, for just a minute, ask the Lord that question.
--------------------------------30 seconds or so-------------------------------------------------------
As the disciples, each in turn, asked Jesus weather they were the one, I believe Jesus answered each of them individually, “No, Peter it isn’t you.” “No, Thomas, it isn’t you.” “No, Matthew, it isn’t you.”
As you partake of our Lord’s generosity, insert your name here “No, David, it’s not you.” “No, Mike, it’s not you.” “No, Kim, it’s not you.” “No, ______, it isn’t you.” Satan had picked Judas to do the dirty deed, and only one person was and ever will be needed.
Weather you remember the death of our Lord Jesus by yourself, in pairs, or a group, come, receive the gift of God. Tare off some bread and dip it in the grape juice. Pass the bread and wine down the aisles. Or as I did by myself as an elementary student, eat your peanut butter and jam sandwich with a juice box, and remember. Then, as the lunch bell rings, you may leave knowing that as far as Jesus is concerned, it isn’t you, and it never will be.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Heaviest Emotion

When I was at university, I would hear well-intentioned, married staff members talk about how singleness is a gift. But at the same time, you could hear a tinge of ‘poor you’ in their voices as they empathically looked at us, hoping that we would not remain this way for much longer. I was not impressed. “Sure,” I thought, “maybe singleness is a gift. But if this is true, then loneliness must be a gift as well.”
At around this time I concluded that I was satisfied with the single life … 360 days a year. Except for days like February 14, December 31, December 24 and one’s birthday, I was alright with my marital status.
This is not a blog to solve the problems of single men and women, because we have no problems. We just need encouragement, someone to change the subject now and then and a helping hand because loneliness is the heaviest emotion. And at one point or another, everyone needs to carry it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What are we for?

Recently, children have begun the pains-taking wait for Santa, opening the doors of their advent calendars one agonizing day after another. Adults may be waiting for that elusive job they have been hoping for. Personally, I am anticipating renovations to my apartment after a kitchen fire. Others might be waiting to be asked by that special someone, and my sister waited just a little bit longer than she intended to give birth to her second child. But what does waiting mean, and what does it involve? Besides the dictionary’s definition “to remain inactive or in a state of repose,” which we usually do not like, I have a few ideas of how to do it.
Watching – Though it is normal to become lackadaisical when we are left in suspense for a long time, keeping our eyes open is essential if we are to see what we have been waiting for. You never know when you might just see it.
Active – Being active is different than being anxious. Just as we might be waiting with frustration for the NHL strike to end, we do not need to be anxious about what we do not have. Instead, I want to be anticipatory of seeing my Canucks win the Stanley Cup. Who knows how long I will have to wait for that!
Initiate – As a fan of the NHL, though I cannot ask Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr to kiss and make up, I can initiate an act that might effect how my appreciation of the game will continue when the strike finally ends. So, let’s ‘intercede’!
Thoughtful – But however active or tolerant we are as we wait for a response, may we do it thoughtfully and with tact. Then, maybe our state of repose won‘t last so long and our waiting may end well.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Monk-eying Around

Recently, I visited Westminster Abby in Mission and spent a week trying to live the life of a monk, reading and attempting to follow St. Benedict’s order. The brothers’ objective is to understand God better by disciplining themselves, focusing their eyes on Him and away from distractions that might capture their attention. If you have read the children’s book “You are Special” by Max Lucado, the character Lucia is very much like a modern-day nun.

Like what criticisms and blessings do to our spirits, the Wemmicks of Lucado’s story gave each other dots and stars depending upon what they were able or unable to do. Though Lucado’s clumsy main character, Punchinello, is damaged greatly by his dots, he later learns a great deal from Lucia, a Wemmick who is not impacted by the stickers she gets. Her reason for this is that she regularly visits Eli, who created the Wemmick race from his workshop overlooking their village. She encourages Punchinello to do the same and everything begins to change for him.
As I practiced being a monk, I learned that Lucia’s quality of humility seems to be Benedict’s highest priority. As he writes in chapter 7 of his rule, “Without a doubt, we understand . . . that we descend by pride and ascend by humility.” Together with the monks of Westminster Abby, Lucia ascended by humility and encouraged her friend to do the same.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Proverbs 31 Woman

Earlier this month, a friend of mine posted a list on my pastor’s Facebook page. It wasn’t just any list: shopping, school supplies needed or invitees to a party. No, instead of changing one’s day, this list could, in fact, change ones life. This was because she was not looking for something she could buy; she was looking for someone she could love.
In response to my friends’ predicament, her pastor, who happens to be mine as well, responded: “Make me a list, and I’ll find you your man.’” My friend “laughed it off, partly out of embarrassment, and partly because, well frankly, I gave up on my list about fifteen years ago.”
Though I had sometimes thought about making such a list, instead of giving it the time of day that it needed, I would usually think about it as I tried to reach dreamland late at night. It wasn’t until after I read Kirsty’s list that I took it seriously. So, right after lunch one Saturday afternoon, I sat down at my computer and thought about the attributes my Proverbs 31 woman should have.

1) She must love Jesus. She must challenge me in my relationship with Him and be willing to be challenged in hers.
2) She must be a pray-er. Both of us want to grow closer to each other, but if we both grow closer to God, a closer relationship between us will soon follow.
3) She must think I’m the coolest person she’s ever met and not feel bashful about it.
4) She needs to be someone who doesn’t need me, but wants me more than anything.
5) She doesn’t need to be a sports fan, but she needs to humour my interest.
6) She needs to laugh at my attempt at being funny and be my reason to smile.
7) She must be able to care for herself on her own so we can care for each other together.
8) On that note, she needs to want to be cared for, and be patient with me as I learn how.
9) She could be a giver (generous) but she needs to be a forgiver.
10) She enjoys physical contact. Not aggression, just good, long hugs, holding hands etc.
11) She needs to be open with herself i.e. be willing to give what she sees I need and be willing to receive the things I have to give.
12) She must not be a controller. Instead, she must be willing to give and take.
13) She must put my needs and the needs of our family first and help me to do the same.
14) We need to accept and slowly enjoy the differences between our families. Then we would look forward to visiting the in-laws rather than simply tolerating them.
15) Though my creative side comes out when I get excited about someone, she needs to be the creative queen. This is because . . .
16) Though monetary gifts are nice, I prefer gifts that have a lot of thought put into them.
17) She needs to enjoy music and my attempts to play it. If she can play an instrument, that’s even better!
18) Her dwelling must be clean enough to be healthy and cluttered enough to be homey, and help me to do the same.
19) She must be ambitious and passionate. This means that she has dreams and pushes the envelope to make them happen.
20) She will be a “yes, let’s try it!” kind of woman. She may show anxiety about new things, but is willing to try them anyway.
21) She has to be able to challenge me, and gently tell me when I’m wrong.
22) Though I might say this word more often, when she messes up, she has to be able to say “Sorry” and mean it.
23) She has to be good tempered, have an even keel and teach me how to react when things are not.
24) Though I may have a few ideas, I need her to show me how I can be her best man.
25) She has to know everything about and accept my past, loving me not in spite of my weaknesses, but because of them.
26) She has to be able to say “No,” even when she doesn’t want to, because she has my best interest at heart.
27) She needs to be patient, because these things need to be learned slowly.

A list like this might look kind of odd on a blog which is supposed to be about enhancing one’s relationship with God. But over the years, though they are not exact, I have learned that the desires we have in a mate are similar to the desires we have for God.
  • What are your expectations in a mate?
  • How can God meet these expectations?