Good morning. It is Tuesday, April 28, 2015.
Today’s Word of the Day is portmanteau. I’ve heard this word before. It is a noun, meaning, “a large suitcase,” or, “a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms.” A “mash-up” in other words. For example, ginormous is a portmanteau of gigantic and enormous. Remember “Brangelina?” Yep. Portmanteau.
Today is Cubicle Day, a day to celebrate those horrific (another portmanteau?) office prisons with walls that are only four feet high. The web site suggests individualizing your cubicle, which is all well and good, unless you work at a place like my job, where they want every desk and workstation to look exactly the same! Gotta love 5S.
Well, it turns out I didn’t go to work, after all, yesterday. I was about halfway there when the traffic came to a dead halt, due to (as I would find out later) an overturned vehicle on the 121 at the edge of Coppell and Grapevine. As I got off of the freeway, thanks to wise instructions from my Waze GPS app, I texted my shift lead to let her know I would be running a few minutes late, because of the traffic. She immediately called me to say, “I didn’t expect to see you today!” It turns out, we are allowed five days of bereavement for the death of immediate family. After a brief discussion, during which I considered going ahead and making it in, since I was already halfway there, I finally asked her if she would be upset if I turned around and went home. She said no, so I did exactly that.
I spent the morning playing baseball on the Xbox, after which Stephanie and I went bowling. Then we picked up lunch at Lee’s Grilled Cheese, and brought it back home with us. I watched an old movie (Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, from the seventies), and a few episodes of the SyFy series, Lost Girl. It was a nice, relaxing day.
So I guess I’ll go to work today, finally. And, I should make it to Huddle tonight, after missing something like four weeks in a row.
Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.
As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die, and his name perish?”
And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him; he will not rise again from where he lies.”
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
But you, O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!
By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.
“. . . it is an error which is by far too common among men, to look upon those who are oppressed with afflictions as condemned and reprobate. The Scriptures in many places plainly and distinctly declare, that God, for various reasons, tries the faithful by adversities, at one time to train them to patience, at another to subdue the sinful affections of the flesh, at another to cleanse, and, as it were, purify them from the remaining desires of the flesh, which still dwell within them; sometimes to humble them, sometimes to make them an example to others, and at other times to stir them up to the contemplation of the divine life.” (John Calvin, from A Heart Aflame)
(From Knowing Jesus)
In Luke 7:1-17, we find two rather astounding accounts in the life of Jesus. They may or may not have happened on the same day, we really aren’t sure. The first event happens when a Roman centurion sends a delegation of Jewish elders to Jesus, asking him to come and heal a servant who is ill, even to the point of death. There may be an implication that Jesus hesitated, as Luke says that they pleaded with him. These are Jewish elders here, some of whom, just a chapter earlier, were plotting how they might kill Jesus! But he went with them. Somewhere along the way, the centurion sent friends to meet Jesus, telling him that he said he was not worthy to have Jesus enter into his house, but that if he would just say the word, his servant would be healed. Such faith!! How it must have rankled those Jewish elders when Jesus said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” (v. 9) Do we have such faith as this? When the friends returned, “they found the servant well.” (v. 10)
The second event occurs “soon afterward.” (v. 11) Jesus traveled to a town called Nain. We really aren’t sure why he went there, unless, of course, it was for the very purpose of what happened while he was there. As he approached the town, a funeral procession was coming out, carrying the only son of a woman who was a widow. The was a “considerable crowd” with her. She made no attempt to draw Jesus’s attention to herself or her mourning. But Jesus, seeing her sorrow, approached her and said, “Do not weep.” (v. 13) After this, he approached the bier, touched it, and said, “Young man, I say to you arise.” (v. 14) The man sat up and began to speak! Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” (v. 16)
“We are awestruck. God cares for his people, whether a Gentile Roman army man or an insignificant grieving widow who did not even cry out for help. Jesus’s compassion wins every time. He could have refused the centurion’s case. He could have allowed the widow’s funeral to go by, but he didn’t
“Hurting people require the same compassion from us. We must be willing to see people through Jesus’s eyes and be willing to be inconvenienced so that we can help them. This is what he has called us to do.”
Father, teach me. Teach me to love the way Jesus loved. Teach me his compassion. These past three weeks have shown me how your people can rise up and be the Church when people are hurting. Christi and I have realized how far short we fall when similar situations occur around us. We need to care more about people when they are hurting. Help us, Father, to do this. Help us to, like Jesus, turn aside from our path when we see someone mourning or hurting, as this widow of Nain was doing. We may not be able to physical raise someone from the dead, but we can have compassion that comforts and encourages people. Give us wisdom in every situation that comes our way, that we might do some good for people, and be your Church in this world. Help us to share your Kingdom and to display the righteousness of Christ in our world.
I pray for this day. Thank you for Christi’s safe arrival in Omaha yesterday. I pray that she will have a good day at the convention today. I don’t know exactly what she is doing, but I pray that you will give her whatever she needs to do it to the best of her ability. I pray for safety for everyone involved in this event. Give Stephanie your great love today and help her to know you more. I pray for continued strength for my mother, as she keeps working through things that need to be done in the aftermath of my father’s passing. I pray for her Bible study group that meets this morning. These ladies have been such a stronghold of faith and comfort for her (and all of us) during this time. May your blessings fall on them like rain! I pray for safe passage to work and back for myself today, and that I will have a good and productive day at work.
Your grace is sufficient.
May we have the compassion of Christ when we encounter people and their needs. May we not be too busy or afraid of being inconvenienced.
Grace and peace, friends.