Good morning. It is Monday, again. Monday, August 3, 2015.
Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is doppelganger. I love this word for several reasons. But first, the meaning. It is a noun, meaning, “a ghostly counterpart of a living person,” ” a person who closely resembles another living person,” “the opposite side of a personality : alter ego,” or, “a person who has the same name as another.” So why do I love this word so much? The first reason is that it is the name of the second album of The Alarma! Chronicles, by Daniel Amos.
Second, it is part of the name of one of my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, from season three. The episode is called “Doppelgangland,” in which a vampire version of Willow has been magically transported to Sunnydale.
Today’s holiday is Watermelon Day. Actually any day in the summer could be Watermelon Day. But this brings back really good memories of my cousins and me eating a watermelon outside my Grandmother’s house. We would get a half of a watermelon, put it on the picnic table (on a newspaper to catch the drippings) and go after it with our spoons. Good times.
Yesterday was an okay day. I was in a strange mood for half of the day, one of those times that makes me wonder if I’m bipolar. I know it stresses Christi out when this happens, but at least we are both becoming more aware of it, and how to deal with it. It got better around the time we were delivering the groceries to Christi’s mom’s apartment. We picked up a couple of Redbox movies at the store, though, and when we got home, we watched Into the Woods. Now I was not aware, yet, that this was a Sondheim musical. At some point, when the “Jack” character was singing a solo (I also didn’t know it was a musical at all), I found myself thinking, “Hey, this sounds a lot like one of the songs that the boy in Sweeney Todd sang.” I looked it up, and, sure enough, Into the Woods was written by Sondheim, just like Sweeney Todd! I really enjoyed the movie, and, just when I thought it was about to be over, it took a very dark turn and went on for a while longer. The ending was actually bittersweet. Christi liked it okay, but wishes it had ended when we thought it was going to.
While that movie was going, Christi was baking potatoes, and we had bone-in rib-eyes and baked potatoes for dinner while we watched our second movie, St. Vincent. This one had Bill Murray, Naomi Watts, Melissa McCarthy and some kid. It was a wonderful movie! It was, in some ways, deeply disturbing, but also quite moving. In fact, I was in tears at the end.
Tonight, the Southlake Community Band begins rehearsing again, at 7:00 PM. So I will be home late, but I’ll be glad to be playing again. Unfortunately, I cannot make our next concert, due to a scheduling conflict. But I’ll keep going to rehearsals, and will hopefully not have any more conflicts like that.
Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 32-33, Matthew 11, and Psalm 131. Due to the time, I will have to read these selections later in the day.
Today’s Psalm reading from Heart Aflame is Psalm 89:46-47.
46 How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in his name. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16) In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:23-24) D.A. Carson says, “Prayers in his name are prayers . . . in recognition that the only approach to God . . . the only way to God is Jesus himself.”
Keller relates a story that shows how this is about access. When he was a student, he approached a well-known speaker after a lecture. The speaker was distractedly greeting other students “with perfunctory pleasantries.” However, when Keller mentioned that he knew a friend of his, and actually spoke the friend’s name, he had the full attention of the speaker. “When I said the name, he immediately snapped to attention and spoke to me with warmth and interest.” So he got access to the speaker, not in his own name, but in the name of a friend. “Because we know Jesus, because we are ‘in Christ,’ God focuses his almighty love and attention on us when we pray.”
In Ephesians 2:18, we get a sort of formula from Paul that is “deeply Trinitarian.” For through him [Christ} we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. “The word access was commonly used when an ancient king granted someone an audience.” One does not simply walk into the presence of a powerful king.
The consequences could be dire. But consider that the difference between a king and a commoner is infinitely smaller than the difference between man and God. God is holy; man is sinful; the gulf between us is immeasurable. Yet, through Christ, by the Spirit, we have access to God. How astonishing is this? “We always have an audience because of what Jesus Christ has done.
Father, help me to remember this truth as I pray. This will give me confidence, to know that I always have access to you because of Jesus. Let not that confidence become arrogance and cockiness, however. Let me always remain humble when approaching you, knowing full well that, were it not for Christ, I would have no access to you at all. May I truly pray in Jesus’s name, because I am in Christ.
I pray for the day ahead. May we have safe passage to and from work today. I pray for a good work day for Christi, as they continue getting things working for the new season. I pray for drama levels to be low today. I also pray for a good work day for the team at my job. And may the rehearsal time tonight be enjoyable as we begin to play together again. Help me to develop some relationships in this band, as well as share your Kingdom with people there. I pray that you show your great love to Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and Mama, today.
Your grace is sufficient.
For those of us in Christ, we always have access to our Father in heaven. We don’t even have to wait for him to invite us in. We are adopted as sons and daughters, and are welcomed with open arms. All because of Jesus.
Grace and peace, friends.