Sunday, December 20, 2015
It seems that my friend was lamenting the fact that when holidays come around her daughter and husband are insulted when she offers to help out in the kitchen. "What's that about?" she wailed.
Evidently her younger generation takes offense, believing that Mom is implying that she can't cook!
Another friend joined the conversation and we talked it out (about 30 minutes worth) until we arrived at a conclusion.
Here's the summary:
We concluded that there must be a "kitchen generational gap" in existence now and WE (the moms and the grand moms alive today) are on the upper end of the age span.
WE remember great fun times of preparation of holiday dinners of years long ago. At that time families lived near each other and when family gatherings happened there were MANY mouths to feed and help in the kitchen was greatly appreciated. I recall my own experiences of peeling potatoes, dicing cheese, stirring up the dressing, and setting tables right along side several aunts, moms, grandmothers and girl cousins. It was a social event that everyone anticipated. It just wouldn't be Christmas without flour strewn everywhere, laughter, jokes, recipes shared, gossip, spilled pickle juice, dishtowel slaps and dishpan hands. The whole "women only" ordeal was anticipated as much as tree-trimming, shopping, singing carols and tucking the babies in for the night.
The men of the family were delegated outside to smoke or into the tiny living room to visit and be envious of what all was going on in the kitchen! If a male happened to sneak in for a bite of turkey fresh out of the oven or a finger-full of icing from the coconut cake, he was quickly reprimanded and sent back to his corner to wait!
We (my age group) are now learning that this culinary celebration no longer exists and sadly we must adjust to the new-fangled way of doing things. Today some young whippersnappers that have never experienced the frolicking holiday meal preparations of days gone by like to "do it themselves." To offer to help NOW is interpreted as an accusation of ineptitude.
What to do? We came up with a plan.
Relish those past memories, but ENJOY this new freedom. When the cooking starts, go find a grandchild and dream up some silly fun with them. They're always ready for adventure. It's a new day, go make a new tradition that doesn't involve kitchen WORK!
As M. Stewart would say, it's a GOOD THING!
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Watching the hub-bub at the mall, the endless commercials, the stress and frustration in peoples faces, one might come to the conclusion that YES, the celebration of the arrival of the Prince of Peace has taken a back-seat.
But, I can't read the minds of those harried shoppers and crazy drivers. I don't know what is going on in their heart, but I DO know what's going on in mine. And to that I can speak!
Christmas, it's meaning and ways I've celebrated has evolved over the years. But, even as a child I was VERY aware of the STORY. I spent hours practicing on our old upright piano so I could get "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night" just perfect. There was no performance as I recall, but a deep sense of worship even as a youngster as I pounded out the tune while singing like a wolf howling at the moon. The WORDS were planted deep within me and I could easily envision the stable, the star and the savior. My extended family ALWAYS gathered on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts and eat Granny's pies. The love present in that little five room block house was thick and wonderful. There was certainly something magical about those evenings. Family was an important element of the celebration.
An ugly old prickly cedar tree set up in the tiny living room became the focal point of joy. And there was always a "Christmas Program" put on by the cousins as the adults laughed and clapped.
As time passed and we grew up, married and moved away from that little block house, we made new traditions, but the STORY always held a prominent place. One year our eldest at age 3 recited Luke 2 from memory at our church service. We'd practiced for months with pictures of stick figures and barely recognizable prompts to learn the words. Church at Christmas time was not an option and the story was discussed and re-enacted year after year.
As the boys grew and married and started making traditions of their own, we continue to celebrate with the same amount of awe and wonder. Gifts are always given as a outpouring of love, a small symbol of the love out poured by God in Bethlehem long ago. Church services, cantatas, orchestras and solos again bring all the words to those beautiful Christmas songs back to my mind. They are O Little Town, Hark the Herald Angels Sings, While Shepherds Watch, O Holy Night, Silent Night, Joy to the World, O Come All Ye Faithful, The Hallelujah Chorus and now my new favorite Mary Did You Know? The story is repeated vividly and clearly in song and in reading and hearing Luke 2, again and again. I NEVER tire of it.
Family traditions change, new people are added by marriage and birth, and older loved ones pass away. As important as family is to the celebration, people and circumstances change, BUT the story never does.
The main person of the story is unchangeable, reliable, forever faithful, kind, forgiving and eternally present with me.
As I study our present day culture, perhaps our nation as a whole has forgotten the STORY. I wonder how many children have never heard it, how many parents don't bother teaching it, how many young adults are wondering around looking for love and forgiveness and unconditional acceptance in drugs, relationships, endless entertainment, financial pursuits, and constant busyness.
Yet I marvel at the outlandish ways CHRISTIANS celebrate all December, hoping that those that need HIM will stop and question all the over-the-top events and realize HE'S available for them, too.
He IS known and remembered and celebrated by many. Many folks I know personally are very aware of HIS peace that passes all understanding regardless of their circumstances.
He's come once to show us the way and He's coming again one day as the righteous judge. (Soon, I hope!) Then ALL wrongs will be made right, evil will have it's final fling and there will be NO DOUBT of His identity. He will no longer be ignored by any individual or culture, everyone will see HIM and everyone will kneel, either in worship or regret.
Perhaps THEN the question will be answered once and for all.
Sunday, November 1, 2015
On Halloween night Honeybuns and I dressed accordingly and spent the evening with the Dallas grands. We had NO trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood last year and were not about to make the mistake of eating ALL that left over candy alone AGAIN!
As Honeybuns, aka ROBIN, raced door to door on the candy run with BATMAN, aka Thompson, I set up my chair on Philip and Nancy's front porch. My job for the night was to greet and feed candy to the hundreds of kids that lined their street as the rest of the family wore themselves out canvasing the neighborhood for the best loot! A big party atmosphere filled the area, children squealed, parents made sure they said, "thank you" and I was enjoying all the delightful costumes parading by.
All was going swimmingly until late in the evening the kid traffic died down, the grand kids were home counting out their stash, ROBIN was tired and it was getting a little chilly. We decided to call it a night.
The conversation went like this.
ME: "Nancy, shall we just leave this bowl of candy here on the porch in case a few more kiddos drop by? They can help themselves to sweet treats."
NANCY: "No, the last time I did that someone STOLE my nice bowl, took the candy BOWL and ALL."
ME: "You're kidding! I'll just sit it down here by this plastic ghost and surely it'll be ok, the kids can help themselves."
We stepped through the front door into the living room.
30 SECONDS later, out of the corner of my right eye, I saw some movement on the porch and opened the door. THE BOWL AND IT'S CONTENTS WERE GONE! GONE!
I ran out the door and into the yard screaming at the top of my lungs...."HEY, HEY YOU...DON'T TAKE THAT BOWL, YOU CAN HAVE THE CANDY BUT DON'T STEAL THAT BOWL."
Nancy was right behind me yelling, "STOP! STOP! STOP TAKING MY BOWL."
About then a young woman, perhaps a mom out with her children, came around a corner and handed me the bowl before turning and running away. We both returned to the living room, STUNNED at what had just occurred. UNBELIEVABLE!!
We shared our story with ROBIN and JOHN WAYNE (Dennis and Philip) and decided that this was the best memory of the night. And that in years to come we will retell this tale repeatedly.
Each year the story will grow, if you know what I mean!
I've already got a new version for next year It goes like this.
"When we were aware of the dastardly deed, we ran after her and I (the grandma) tackled her to the ground. As she was flailing through the air the bowl flew out of her hands as Nancy caught it, candy and all. I sat on the crook until the police arrived. Upon their investigation 20 such bowls were found in her car parked at the end of the street. All the neighbors rejoiced at getting their property back and we became Halloween legends. The woman was a recent escapee from prison and she was returned to serve out 25 Halloween years."
Yep, it's not just the young whippersnappers that can PRETEND to be a superhero one night a year!
Friday, August 21, 2015
Have you seen this commercial? I LOVE IT!! The young couple is standing on a porch with their wedding party and it is POURING rain. They've planned a ceremony on a picture perfect mountaintop and it looks like it's NOT going to happen.
She is in despair and he is thinking! (He is determined to marry the love of his life on this day.) Suddenly he grabs her hand and runs out into the deluge, the wedding party packs into the Land Rover and they drive up the perilous mountain path. On top of the mountain they are married in spite of the wind and rain, mud and soggy clothes. He kisses his bride and she looks at him adoringly and laughs. IT IS GREAT!!
So...you ask, what's so great about a wedding day disaster???
I love this groom for taking charge! I love this bride for letting him!
I talk to MANY, MANY young and old couples, married and those just thinking about it. And folks, we have a trend. (It's not new, it's not a fad, it's very obvious to those who watch such things, and it is extremely worrisome.)
It goes like this: We women KNOW what we WANT, KNOW when we want it, KNOW how to make it happen and will settle for NOTHING LESS. And BUDDY, you better sit down and watch it work. AND you best be happy about it or you'll hear from us as well.
We women insist on BEING in charge because we are RIGHT! About pretty much....well, everything.
You know I'm right...I AM WOMAN!
And here it is......the wedding plans did NOT materialize because of bad weather. ( Oops! The weather IS something we cannot control!)
At this point the bride (and we would commiserate with her) would have every right to fall in a heap of tears, call off the wedding, cuss at her groom, her mother and the caterer.
At this point the groom would (and we would ADMIRE him for this) sympathize with his bride, hold her tight, BEG her to marry him ANOTHER day, stand there and TAKE all the verbal abuse she spits out.
BUT, alas the Land Rover bride and groom react in NONE of the usual ways.
HE TAKES CHARGE AND SHE LETS HIM. And they have a wonderful wedding day memory.
It makes me smile.
I see in this commercial the perfect picture of marital bliss. A man being a man and a woman loving him for it. (I almost want to cry here!)
There are SO many things in our every day lives that would go much smoother if we could follow their example. Think about all the minor household decisions that are made. Must we women always need to tell the men exactly what to do, when to do it and how? Must men always need to follow along like a puppy in order to be considered a good husband?
We've been doing this marriage thing backwards since the Garden of Eden....and if I read it correctly (Hebrew translation) God predicted that is exactly what would happen. It is the result of sin.
Yep, that's it ...SIN! Time to repent folks. Just look at that smiling, deliriously happy bride before you try to defend yourself.
Ladies, let him take charge, even if it will cost more or take more time. Laugh it off, most things we get so uptight about aren't going to matter a hill of beans in view of eternity or next year!
Men, take charge once in a while, she'll love you for it. In fact, that is REALLY what she wants. When she gets used to it she'll recognize the relief and freedom it gives her.
Everybody ends up SMILING.
Now...I'm going to go out and buy a LAND ROVER!
Sunday, June 28, 2015
It's been a pretty bad week for Christians. Just as I was being inspired by the strength, love, and forgiveness on display in Charleston, S.C. last week after that horrible tragedy....the Supreme Court made a decision just in time for Gay Pride Day across the globe.
My beloved FRIENDS that are NOT connected with a church/synagogue/mosque/temple of any kind are completely stunned by the response of Christians to the Supreme Courts ruling that declared homosexual marriage legal in all states. What's the problem? Why not join in the celebration with parades and rainbow flags?
They are puzzled as we struggle to explain and find ourselves absolutely speechless to remarks, such as: "What does it matter? This ruling is not going to affect you in any way! Get over it and get your nose out of everybody's business, live and let people live however they want"
And then there is the reminder to "Judge Not!" (Which is the MOST misused, misunderstood, and misquoted verse in the entire Bible.) That's a topic for another day.
Today I want to attempt to explain the reaction of Christians across the land. (I've been asked by several to write down my thoughts.)
I could list numerous scriptures to prove and explain a point but most folks simply dismiss those "ancient words" with a flip of the wrist. (At this point I must encourage you to forego the idea, "that book was written by men, not God, it is irrelevant." Instead, do some research and discover that the whole book was written by eyewitnesses over hundreds of years that had NOTHING to gain and their very life to lose by writing the words.) And the Christians I know that have studied for years, believe EVERY WORD OF IT, front to back, including the maps!
So....I'll draw your attention to just one section Christians believe down deep in the very marrow of their bones. It is Romans, Chapter 1, starting with verse 18. If you have a Bible, please turn there now, I'll wait.
When you make your way through those words you will quickly become aware that homosexuality is taken very seriously, but forge ahead anyway. Some very disturbing behaviors are listed as a result of depraved minds: every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, deceit and malice. People are described as gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, boastful and they even invent ways of doing evil. They disobey parents, they are senseless, faithless, heartless and ruthless.
They know better but they continue AND ALSO APPROVE OF THOSE WHO PRACTICE THEM.
Now if you review that list you'll probably be able to name a few folks that are described there. I can and in fact, I AM ONE! I am very aware that I am capable of any and every evil known to man given the right set of circumstances. In Christian lingo we call it sin. And we know that ALL have that tendency, no one is off the hook and no sin is worse than any other! Equal opportunity. We are ALL guilty.
So let's just list them all....make a list. There are several other items we could included as well, found elsewhere in the scriptures. We could add adultery, pride, haughty eyes, worry, etc... And then beside that list with a red marker write:
APPROVED! LEGAL! IN EVERY STATE!
And therein lies the source of DEEP, IMMEASUREABLE GRIEF for the Christian. You see, we KNOW that when elements of that list are accepted and embraced as a lifestyle, there is extreme pain for the individual. CHRISTIANS ARE grieving over the approval of inevitable pain, multiplied by millions that will accept the Courts ruling as OK! LEGAL! THE NEW NORMAL! OPEN-MINDED, & MODERN.
Unfair you cry! Where is the love and compassion for the individual that has decided he/she is homosexual?
It's where it's always been! In the heart of God AND in the people that love Him and desire to love others as He does. Have homosexuals been hurt, persecuted, and denied respect and dignity? You bet they have! BUT not by God! HE is the source of comfort, wholeness and unmeasurable love! For everyone!
Do Christians hate homosexuals? NO! NO! A thousand times NO! Not the true believers anyway!
If you believe that you've swallowed a pack of lies! (Maybe pretend Christians who are filled with hatred do!)
Do homosexuals deserve every right of every citizen? ABSOLUTELY! (Businesses, insurance companies have for years jumped through hoops to make sure domestic partners and civil unions are recognized and awarded all benefits available.)
Do Christians deny people the right to love whomever they choose? NO! Love is wonderful and good and holy. But, we understand the Biblical definition of sexuality to be far better than the raunchy display on TV, movies, pornographic films, and novels. Anything less is counterfeit.
Do Christians have a different definition of marriage? YES! The book that we believe tells us that it is the picture of the mysterious relationship between Christ and the Church. And NO, we will not back down, get over it, or change our views on this issue. We believe it is a holy covenant reserved for one man, one women for life.
Have some Christian marriages failed? YES! ( See list above!)
Do ALL Christians believe as I do? NO! Reliable polls tell us that most pew warmers don't bother reading the book for themselves and have no idea what it says. How can they possibly form an Biblically intelligent opinion? (No malicious judgment here, just fact.)
Are Christians judging people? NO! Not my friends, anyway. But we do take the responsibility of teaching the scriptures seriously. How else can the next generation know what it says? Is that judging?
We are weeping. We weep for any and everyone that is hurting because of their own choices or the choices of others. We weep as God weeps.
I've been doing a lot of weeping this week. I am weeping over the courts stamp of approval to what I believe will bring untold suffering to many lovely people.
I am weeping because this declaration will no doubt lull many to believe that there really is no NEED of a Savior.
Friday, June 19, 2015
I had a dear, dear co-worker once that complimented my handicap beautifully. I shared with her that I could only SEE the FOREST, she declared she could only SEE the LEAVES. We worked together fabulously. She took care of the details of the project and I spent time on the vision. It was a match made in heaven. Our time together was nothing but a well-oiled machine of productivity!
Because of the horrible murder of nine beautiful folks in Charleston, SC this week I'm finding myself in a daze, bumping into walls, and tripping over my feet as I try to see the big picture and process this heartbreaking event. An insane, drug addicted, racist, hateful young man committed a terrible murderous act. He's in jail and will be held accountable and his motives and actions will be studied by experts for a long time. Answers may or may not be found.
Charleston and the nation and I are reeling. There are SO many questions and confusion. Conclusions and resolves will be made for the future.
I want to write about the BIG picture that I see happening NOW.
I'm seeing something totally different than what we all witnessed just a few weeks ago in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD. And right or wrong, my brain is making a comparison.
Charleston is a beautiful city, steeped in history, beauty and spirituality. Many OLD, beautiful and revered churches can be spotted on the city tour. If you live in or move to Savannah, the first question you will be asked is, "Who is your family?" If you live in or move to Charleston, the first question you will need to answer is, "Where do you go to church?" Every southerner knows this about these two cities!
Charleston Southern Culture demands church attendance, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and any other time of the week when the doors are open. Church membership and attendance are as necessary as breathing! It's a given. One reporter on the scene this week declared that having lived there she could attest to the fact that, when growing up "it didn't matter what you did on Sat. night, on SUNDAY morning you were in church."
EVERYONE goes to their choice of church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. And it is there that deep relationships are made through the years. Ministers, priests, rabbi's, bishops and brothers have baptized, confirmed, married, and buried whole families. History, tradition and stability are found within those walls.
It doesn't surprise me, but evidently it is surprising our nation, that when tragedy occurs the people of Charleston run to their churches. Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Methodists and Church of Christ folks ALL ran to comfort their "sisters and brothers" of the AME church where 9 members of their "family" were gunned down. I can only imagine the flowers, casseroles, hugs and tears that were shared. The color of their skin, the amount in their bank accounts, where their church membership was, or the name of their granddaddy did not keep them away. We are watching the "church united." You know, "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world."
These folks are the real deal. They KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that this week they are on this earth to "mourn with those who mourn." They are praying, weeping, and hugging together!
Are they perfect? Is Charleston a Christian Utopia? Absolutely not! They're all sinners just like the rest of us. They've just lived their faith together for a long time in the humdrums of life and are comfortable to call upon it when crisis hits. Those folks are going to rise above the hatred that took their friends lives. They are going to love each other into strength and future purpose. They are broken right now, but they will heal.
So....why didn't we see that response in Ferguson or Baltimore? (I'm positive it DID take place on a smaller scale by some and the media just didn't report it! Racial slurs, looting, burning and hatred made the headlines.)
Here comes my speculation.
Church IS critically important in Charleston, both kinds: the "big C" involving believers everywhere and the "little C," the local congregation. When nothing makes sense, God is our only hope. His plan to reveal Himself today is through the church, whether we like it or not, in spite of it's failings and struggles. It is there children and adults are taught the truth of God, where He is honored,and where great theology is infused through music and liturgy.
The church is the great equalizer. Somehow, by some miracle of God's grace the people of Charleston "got it." They're not going to burn down businesses, overturn cars or shoot at policemen even though racism was no doubt the cause of all the pain.
I'm reminded of the reaction of the Amish community a few years back when their precious little girls were murdered in their school house. The nation was in a panic, and those parents and friends quietly grieved with supernatural dignity and then bulldozed the school in the wee hours of the night. One parent visited the family of the murderer to make sure they knew they were forgiven. How did they do that?
They relied on God and leaned upon each other, helping each other cry, helping each other put one foot in front of the other. We were all amazed. They could do that because they'd spent hours getting to know Him obeying Him, loving Him during the peaceful times of life, when their hearts were NOT breaking. Running to Him was a natural response....just like breathing.
Little girls murdered, church members killed at their prayer meeting? Is it fair? Absolutely NOT?
It is horrendous and grievous. And Jesus said, "in this world, you will have trouble. But fear not, for I have overcome the world."
Should we attempt to help the mentally ill, work at dispelling racism, review gun laws? Absolutely, in any and every way possible.
BUT...when trouble comes....AND IT WILL....IN FACT IT IS PROMISED.....
I know where I'll be, surrounded by friends and family that know God and that know me, warts and all. We'll find strength together, just like those hurting folks in Charleston are doing today.
Without intending to and with no motive, The "big C" Church of Charleston is modeling for the nation a Godly, peaceful, loving, grace-filled response to unspeakable pain.
I'm hoping many will see it.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Yesterday I called my insurance company to locate a dr. in the area that would take my insurance plan. No big deal, right???
I was pleasantly surprised to get a young "whippersnapper" on the phone who was no doubt sitting at his desk, bored, frustrated, discouraged, ready to go home!
The conversation went like this: (AFTER I pushed all the right buttons to divulge my ID number, my SS number, my husbands SS number, my phone number, my drivers license number, my house number and my birthweight!)
Me: I'm calling to locate a dr. in my area that is "in network," just to make sure payment will be covered by my insurance plan.
Him: What is the name of the dr?
Me: I don't have a dr. yet...I'm calling to find one that participates in my plan.
Him: (Annoyed) I can't look up the dr. if you don't have the name of the dr.
Me: I'm calling to FIND the name of a dr. in my plan.
At this point everything changed!!
Him: (In a very slow and loud voice) I'm sorry MAMAM, DO. YOU. HAVE. ACCESS. TO. A. COMPUTER?
Me: (In my very high pitched, 95 year old voice) I sure do, sonny. Let me see if I can get that contraption turned on.
Him: (In a very slow and loud and condescending voice) YOU. TURN. IT. ON....I'LL. WALK. YOU. THROUGH. THE PROCESS.
After SEVERAL minutes of this back and forth, after several computer clicks, I (with the help of my young friend) located the list of drs.
Me: (In my very high pitched, 95 year old voice) Why, thank you sonny. You have been a tremendous help to me today. Why, if I were near, I'd bring you my famous chocolate chip cookies, just my way to say thanks.
Him: (In a very slow and loud voice) YOU. ARE. VERY. WELCOME. MADAM. IS. THERE. ANYTHING. ELSE. I. CAN. HELP. YOU. WITH. TODAY?
Me: (In my very high pitched, 95 year old voice) Not today sonny. I'm going back to bed now, it's naptime here at the home, you know.
Him: (In a very slow and loud voice) YOU. HAVE. A. GOOD. DAY. NOW.......GOOD-BY!
Me: (to myself) How did he think I got to his extension in the first place....positive thinking? voodoo? prayer??
Conclusion: I'm going to do this more often! It's fun...AND...I get what I want. No pride here.
He can tell his co-workers how he helped the 95 yr old Granny and feel good about himself.
(It is not beneath me to play the role of the helpless little old woman in need of a knight in shining armor. You can call it sexist, I'll call it WISDOM. AND it's entertaining!)
Thursday, March 5, 2015
The campaign ads have begun and no one, except maybe the people profiting from the ad, is thrilled about that! As much as I try to stay out of the political conversation, I am drawn back in by a comment, question or striking picture. (Somewhere in my DNA is a political gene!)
This morning a candidate asked, "Don't you WANT to have a woman President?" Cheers abounded.
And so I answer. (When I'm alone I talk back to the TV or write a blog post!)
I do NOT want a woman President, a male President, a purple President, black, white, yellow, pink or lime green President. Why does a persons outward appearance rank so high among, "we the people?"
I want a President that is a proven leader, smart, qualified, fearless and capable of governing!
Why have we reduced the position of the most powerful person IN THE WORLD....to their color, gender, or political savvy? Why would we cheer for such foolish statement?
(I've given this a lot of thought!)
It seems that the Presidential vote has been reduced to a popularity contest based on appearance, brief sound bites, glowing words and TONS OF MONEY, regardless of where that money originated.
Hollywood influence has to be inserted here as well. Our pop culture says our leader should be young, strikingly beautiful, wear designer clothes and, of course, be a certain weight. Our leader must be witty, with beautiful teeth, and a lovely family. He or she must be a reflection of how WE want to be!
Wouldn't it be refreshing if the issues became important once again or a person's history of legal and moral accomplishments were displayed without bias?
There are folks out there crying out for such a change. I don't know if this will be the cycle that citizens demand integrity, experience, common sense, and pure motives. I don't know if they are the majority.
If the people interviewed by Jesse Watters is any indication, then probably not! (Those folks have a hard time remembering their own name or where they left their car, let alone the name of their governor or state representative.)
No doubt there will be people that vote for a woman JUST because she is a woman and somehow that will improve the state of the nation.
We've learned nothing. After all, it's a chance to make history, right?
I'm turning off the TV and not answering the political calls to my phone. For now.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
How many times have I read the great "Sermon on the Mount?" I have taught it, studied it, prayed over it and actually read it aloud on that sloping hill where Jesus is thought to have delivered it.
And every time I open the book of Matthew, something new appears.
Today it was verse 4.
"Blessed are they that mourn...." Matthew 5:4
All my life I've heard that the mourning here meant the sadness a person feels when they've realized the depth and depravity of their own dark heart. No doubt that is important and included.
But today, Pastor Chuck Swindoll of Stonebriar Community Church gave some added depth to the word.
He explained that this type of mourning was more accurately defined as "passionate lamenting." It means lamenting over the "WRONG that swirls around us and the WRONG that lies within us."
WRONG brings mourning to the believers spirit.
WOW! Somehow that helps. (Because I ALWAYS have to understand!)
That statement explains the terrible sadness I feel when researching the issue of Human Trafficking, when I see children bruised and crying, or young women struggling at the Planned Parenthood centers.
It explains the physical pain that develops in me when friends tell me their divorce is imminent, the cancer has returned, or their child has runaway to join some foolish cult.
It explains my tears when a child has died at the hands of his/her parent, when a person of any religion is beheaded, when complete strangers are captured by thugs on the other side of the world, or when a veteran is abandoned on the streets of America.
It explains the deep sorrow that washes over me when I hear an adult tell me of the abuse they suffered as a child and kept it a secret for 30 years, or when I become aware of family members that refuse to even speak to one another because of some ancient and now forgotten offense.
It explains why the lies, deceit, backstabbing and greed of our politicians are so offensive.
The definition explains why the foolish philosophies, racism, pride and ignorance that permeate the national conversations are so sickening and cause such grief.
WRONG....What a simple word!
Then there is the mourning for "what could have been" and of course the lamenting that occurs when a loved one leaves us here to grapple with their physical absence.
(I won't even begin to discuss here the wrong that lies within me! That's another article!)
Who mourns? "Believers that care intensely."
Who does NOT mourn? I'm sure there are people who do not care what happens beyond the end of their own noses or the noses of their immediate family members.
The good news? Matthew 5:4b "They shall be comforted." BY GOD! How supernatural is that?
Mourning over WRONG should be a part of life and Jesus says they that participate in it are BLESSED and filled with JOY.
Our world & our culture has lost it's way. Only GOD can provide LASTING JOY
and TRUE CONTENTMENT. The God of ALL COMFORT shows up AS we mourn!
CARING--to--MOURNING---to--JOY. Who knew?? This chapter goes against the world's philosophy of "how to be happy." (Aren't we told to look out for only #1, brush off what doesn't affect us personally, take a pill or a jog or a swig to deaden the view, buy a new car or some other toy, or just look the other way?)
The BOOK says it is God's plan for His people to genuinely and deeply CARE (even to the point of lamenting) about others and situations that are WRONG, experience HIS comfort and then do something to help relieve the suffering!
The benefits are out of this world!