Good morning. It is Friday, October 31, 2014. Today is Halloween! (In case you didn’t know that.)
Today is also Justin and Rachel’s fifth “Hallo-versary.” We wish them a very happy day, and hope that they have a great weekend, as well!
And, finally, today is Frankenstein Day.
No, not that one!!
That one! Apparently, today is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s birthday, and, since she wrote Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, this day has been designated “Frankenstein Day.” Appropriate, I think.
Tonight, instead of staying home and handing out candy to people, we will be going to our pastor’s mother’s house to have chili! Yum! Should be fun!
(From The Divine Hours)
But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah. because they do not change and do not fear God.
Psalm 55:16, 19
Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest.
For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love!
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name. May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Today’s Gospel Reading
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”
It is important to remember that Jesus is still railing against the Pharisees, at this point, who have accused him of casting out demons by the power of the devil (a rather ridiculous accusation, if you really think about it). Jesus had just cast out a demon. If this demon had been “cast out” by any power other than Christ’s, it would have returned with more than double power. He is speaking to a generation that is determined to stay under the influence of Satan. This is noted by Jesus’s final statement in this passage, “So also will it be with this evil generation.”
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Understanding the Indefinable.”
The concept of trying to define God reminds me of a Daniel Amos album from many years back, called “Darn Floor, Big Bite.” The title of the album was demonstrating the difficulty of trying to describe God with human words. It represented a gorilla trying to describe an earthquake. Included in the lyrics of the title song were the words, “You are beautiful; a terrible, terrible sight!” That, to me, is a great description of Almighty God. (These were all my words; now on to Brennan’s.)
“You cannot apply human logic or justice to Yahweh.” Our logic is based on our own experiences and our human nature. God does not conform to this. “If Israel is unfaithful, God remains faithful. This Being of Revelation remains faithful against all logics and all limits of justice because He Is and is unchanging.” God’s love is irrational. Love does tend to be irrational, doesn’t it? “It pursues despite infidelity; it blossoms into envy, jelousy, anger–frantic anger, which betrays keen interest.” This idea of love helps us understand the “divine nature,” which blossoms “into other notions of passion, wrath, and eagerness.”
“The more complex and emotional the image of God becomes in the Bible, the bigger he grows and, paradoxically, the more we approach the mystery of his indefinability.”
God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
Father, help me to comprehend what is incomprehensible! My love for you cannot even begin to compare to your love for me and the rest of us. Help me to understand the passion, wrath, and eagerness that blossoms out of the irrational quality that we call love. I can’t get it right. I try to consider you, and I am baffled. I can’t comprehend how you continue to love when I am so fickle. To me, I am unpredictable, but you know my every move before I make it, my every word before it comes out of my mouth. You somehow combine sovereignty and complete control over humanity with this thing that we call “free will” (I still don’t understand this, and never hope to). The best I can hope for is to follow you with all of my being, loving you and growing more and more into a state of being where I can deny my flesh and its passions, that I might follow you more closely and completely. These sound like the words of a raving lunatic, and if that is the case, I would gladly be a raving lunatic for you.
I pray for this day. Give us safe travel to and from work. I pray for smooth work day, and that we might be able to get off work on time, that we might have good fellowship with some of our church family this evening. I pray for Stephanie, that you would give her wisdom and understanding, and that you would help her to understand your love in whatever way she can.
I pray, this morning, for the people of Burkina Faso, who seem to be undergoing some kind of political uprising, along with the violence this brings. We have missionaries in that country, among them Bart and Jane Anne Gibbs, who are reported to be very close to the violence. Please protect them, along with the others, during this violence, and bring peace to this country.
Your grace is sufficient.
The instance of Koko the gorilla, who has been trained in American Sign Language, is a true story. She apparently, when asked to describe an earthquake, signed, “Darn darn floor bad bite. Trouble trouble.”
Here’s the song inspired by that answer.
Grace and peace, friends.