Good morning. It is Thursday, October 9, 2014. I am not on my way to work!! 😀
Today is World Sight Day. Having been one who spent most of my life being “legally blind” (20/400+ vision), I can get behind a day designed to promote vision and help for those who are blind or vision-impaired. I had Lasik surgery in 2004, and can still see quite well. I only need glasses for reading, and not always for that.
We are SO ready for our trip! Okay, maybe not literally, as we have not packed yet. But mentally, I started relaxing before I got home from work, last night. We took Stephanie to Fogata’s last night, for dinner, and I recall just breathing a huge sigh of relief at one point during the evening. Just knowing that we have the next two days off, and within hours, we will be at our favorite place in the world!
Since we will be computerless for a few days, there will likely not be another blog post until Monday. I will be having my morning devotionals on the front porch of our cabin, listening to the sounds of nature (and the occasional car out on Hwy 67), and drinking my coffee. Ahhhhhh . . .
Okay, I’ll stop gloating.
(Source: Christian History Institute)
On this date in 1747, David Brainerd passed away from tuberculosis, at the age of 29. He was a missionary to Native Americans in New England. His journal was later published by Jonathan Edwards, and inspired many people to become missionaries.
Today’s birthdays include John Lennon, Sharon Osbourne, Tony Shalhoub, Jackson Browne, Brian Blessed, John Entwistle, Guillermo del Toro, Camille Saint-Saens, PJ Harvey, Rube Marquard, Joe Pepitone, Mike Peters, and Jeannie C Riley.
There are several people that I’m fond of in this list. Guillermo del Toro is a movie director that has made some (in my opinion) really good movies, one of which is Pan’s Labyrinth.
Jackson Browne is a musician that is probably more well known for his work in the seventies. He was part of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in the sixties. He co-wrote “Take It Easy” with Eagles member Glenn Frey. His biggest success was probably the album Running On Empty, which combined live and studio recordings. My favorite song of his is on that album.
(From The Divine Hours)
But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the LORD!
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah.
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
Today’s Gospel Reading
As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”
There are no recorded words of Jesus in this passage, just an act of deliverance and healing. Note that Matthew does not choose to included Jesus’s response to the accusation of the Pharisees. Other Gospels record his response. The people, however, realize that they are experiencing something that is brand new.
Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Being Authentic.”
“The inner child is capable of a spontaneous breakthrough of emotions, but the Pharisee within represses them.” In my experience, it is not always the Pharisee within that is doing the repressing. When I was in seminary, emotional expressions of faith were frowned upon. I was puzzled by that stance, myself, and never bought into that idea. The question, here, however, is not that of being emotional or subdued. “The issue is, Do I express or repress my authentic feelings?” Brennan quotes John Powell, who commented that, had he been asked to write an epitaph for the tombstone of his parents, he would have written, “Here lie two people who never knew one another.” Here was a father, who never shared his feelings, so his mother never truly got to know him. In the defense of fathers from an era gone by, there was an underlying belief that a “real man” never expressed his feelings. Valid or not, it was just the way it was. I am fortunate that my parents didn’t raise me that way. In fact, if anything, it is possibly a bit too easy for me to express my feelings. Shoot, I cried when E.T. was alive. At the end of Titanic, I couldn’t get up to leave the theater for at least five minutes. Yeah, I’m a bit of a sap. But how open am I to others? Pretty much, I’d say, but it depends on the group. When I’m with my church family, I’m pretty transparent.
“To open yourself to another person, to stop lying about your loneliness, to stop lying about your fears and hurts, to be open about your affection, and to tell others how much they mean to you – this is the triumph of the child over the Pharisee and the dynamic presence of the Holy Spirit at work.”
For neither circumcision counts for anything,
nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
Father, I pray for more transparency within your Church. I pray that we would take the masks off and allow ourselves to be emotionally free in community with each other. There is nothing innately “masculine” about hiding feelings. In fact, I think it takes more of a “real man” to admit that he has feelings and to express them. More than anything, I pray that we, your Church, would be “authentic” with each other. Too often, we answer, “Fine,” when someone asks, “How are you?” The problem is, when we ask, “How are you?” we don’t really want to know. We’re just exchanging pleasantries. I pray that we would stop that, and be sincerely inquiring as to the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Remind me of this, the next time I am in community with my church people. Help me to be sincerely interested in their state of being. This is integral to the ministry of intercessory prayer, anyway, so I should already be doing that. May your Spirit’s presence be dynamic in my life, Father. Keep my “inner child” visible and alive, and help me repress my “Pharisee.”
I pray for this day. May our travel to Glen Rose (along with our morning activities) be safe. I pray for a wonderfully relaxing time this weekend, as we celebrate 29 years of marriage. Wow. That’s a long time. I love Christi, Lord, with all my heart, and I pray that you help me show it more often. There go those emotions, again! I pray for Stephanie, this weekend, Lord, that you will be especially close to here and remind her how much you love her.
I pray for missionaries in India, Brandon and Beth Graham, that they will be safe in the approaching cyclone, HudHud, that is due to make landfall on October 12. Not just their safety, but all the people in the path of this storm.
Your grace is sufficient.
So which piece of you makes more appearances? Your “inner child,” or your “Pharisee?”
Grace and peace, friends.