Thursday, May 30, 2013

Seeing God's purpose through the Son (Colossians 1:15)

SCRIPTURE: Colossians 1:15 (TM)
We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created.

STORY written by Gregory of Nazianzus:
He began his ministry by being hungry, yet He is the Bread of Life.
Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet He is the Living Water.
Jesus was weary, yet He is our rest.
Jesus paid tribute, yet He is the King.
Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet He cast out demons.
Jesus wept, yet He wipes away our tears.
Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeemed the world.
Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd.
Jesus died, yet by His death He destroyed the power of death.

Each of us sees Jesus differently. We see him based on our needs, our likes, our wishes... we see him for what we need to see in him. Often our eyes are shaded by our hearts desires. In so doing we often miss him for whom he is.

We read into the Gospel our own political and social leanings and begin to re-create Jesus in the image that best suits our particular situation. Paul directs us to look at Jesus, the Son, and see the father, God, who cannot be seen, Jesus sets forth the purpose of the Almighty and in so doing he sets forth our agenda and our purpose.

If we have eyes for Jesus then we see the Holy Father and thus, our lives should be open to God’s direction and guidance. God sets our purpose and our reason for living. It is God that shapes us. It is God who molds us. It is God who breathes life into us. Our praise goes to God and we live to his glory.

Help us to give you the praise and the glory Holy Father. And help us to live our lives by your divine purpose and design. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day Blog #6 - Memorial Day by Joyce Kilmer

Memorial Day by Joyce Kilmer
The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.

In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace...Who brought a sword.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Blog #5 - Excerpt from George Rothwell Brown's reflections on the Unknown Soldier

An excerpt from The Post of November 12, 1921: By George Rothwell Brown

Wrapped in the brooding silences of eternity in the nation's Valhalla, where the white marble temple to its war gods on the wooded hills of Arlington stands guard above the Capitol, the well-loved son of the republic sleeps at last shrouded in his immortality.
A hundred millions of people have called him "son," and given to him a name that for all time to come in every heart shall be a synonym for sacrifice and loyalty.
In honoring him with solemn rite and ritual the mighty country for which he gladly gave his life touched a new and loftier height of majesty and dignity, as though the very government itself took on resplendent luster from the simple nobility of its humble dead.
A vibrant note of hope and joy ran like the music of a silver bell through all of yesterday's solemn services in the beautiful amphitheater of valor on the arbored crest of the radiant autumnal slopes, where the heads of his own and many foreign states, and a great multitude of his fellow countrymen, gathered to restore to earth the splendid product it had borne. The grief that filled each breast and dimmed each eye, the sorrow that bowed each 
head in tribute to the nameless soldier who had died for his flag, unknown, unsung, 3,000 miles away from home, was tempered by a promise which was exalting and uplifting. Never before perhaps did hero have so wonderful a burial, so inspiring in its symbolism. Never had Americans found in such a symbolism such depths of spiritual meaning. 
A tender beauty marked each passing moment of the day which saw the nation's final tribute to its unknown boy, home from the strife and hell of war, back in the arms of those who loved him dearly. The President of the United States walked through the silent streets of the hushed city, in the early morning haze, content to be a simple private citizen at the bier of the man who in his haunting mystery, typifies the spirit of America's dead. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Blog #4 - Honoring the Dead - a little history

Honoring The Dead
As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said in his Memorial Day address in 1884 at Keene, Memorial Day 'celebrates and solemnly reaffirms from year to year a national act of enthusiasm and faith.' With changing times, Memorial Day is more celebrated as a holiday than the glum occasion it was meant for. We must remember that the day means to honor of America's defense personnel who lost their lives in various wars. Though, people used to honor the graves of the war dead even before the Civil War, the National Memorial Day holiday, originally known as 'Decoration Day' was first observed on May 30, 1868.

The concept originated in the mind of General John Alexander Logan, who dedicated this day to decorate the graves of the American Civil War dead. Later, it encompassed all those who sacrificed their lives for their nation, from the Revolutionary War to the present. May 30th every year was celebrated as the Memorial Day until 1971. Later, the federal government issued the orders of holding the Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. Alabama celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the fourth Monday in April while the states of Mississippi and Georgia celebrate it on the last Monday of April.

Seeing the Memorial Day losing its importance in the minds of younger generations, the concept of the National Moment of Remembrance was hatched by a national humanitarian organizations known as the 'No Greater Love, based in Washington, D.C. It was introduced in 1997 and is recognized by the President and Members of Congress. Since then, 'Taps' is at 3 p.m. throughout America to honor the contributions of our dead soldiers. All Americans are encouraged to pay respect to them by keeping silent for one minute in their memory at 3:00 p.m.-

Day is done...
Gone the sun
From the lake...
From the hills...
From the sky.
All is well...
Safely rest
God is nigh.

Fading light....
Dims the sight
And a star....
Gems the sky....
Gleaming bright
From afar....
Drawing nigh
Falls the night.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Blog #3 - Freedom is Not Free by Kelly Strong

Freedom Is Not Free by Kelly Strong
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.