Thursday, August 23, 2012

Captivity and Release

As I write this, police in bullet-proof vests are patrolling my neighborhood in hopes of apprehending, taking into custody, and eventually (it must be presumed) putting in captivity a crime suspect. It is disturbing! If this man is eventually taken captive, it is captivity by his own choice. If we break the law, we choose to put ourselves in the position of being captive for the offense.

Breaking the legal law of the land is not unlike breaking other relational agreements- a covenant between two people. We make choices on how we live- to keep or break our relational ‘law’ or relationship agreements. In 1 Kings Chapter 8 we hear Solomon address the people in terms of our needing to have God restore us from our relational trespasses. We all fall short, and are in the captivity of our poor choices. But God offers restoration. And this restoration is available to us by God’s design. In Solomon’s day, it was his request that God do this in the temple which he built to God’s glory. Much later, Jesus tells us that he will build his temple among us- we are the temple, all of us as his body, the relational space and place within which grace and redemption can happen. When we are this body of Christ, we offer a relational space where people are set free by the spirit of Christ that is dwelling among us. God is so ready to make a home among us! His spirit is so able to be the healing and restoration! As I end this blog, the authorities are still chasing our suspect, and resolution does not seem close. But just as I pray for our officers, the suspect, and a safe resolution, I pray for God’s restoration of us all. It’s a process, and as God’s people, may we all see that we all play a role in God’s redemption coming into this world!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Filling The World With A Love Song

Where were you on April Fool’s Day 1976? I remember well a song that was released that day. It was written by Linda and Paul McCartney, and performed by Wings on their album Wings at The Speed of Sound (see Wikipedia.) If you haven’t guessed by now, these lyrics will give it away:
You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs.
But I look around me and I see it isn't so.
Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs.
And what's wrong with that?
Id like to know, cause here I go again
I love you, I love you,
I love you, I love you,

it’s Silly Love Songs.  I remember the first time I heard it. It made me pause and think about how we are stuck on love songs.  According to  wiki.answers, 78% of top songs are love songs. It’s 60% according to a 2007 study by the University of Florida, as published in the May 31, 2007 article in the Gainsville news.
We crave songs about love. Being loved. Loving someone. Finding the words to say I love you. Even some silly, foolish songs about love can be very popular. Justin Beiber is expected to sell over 400,000 copies of his recent Believe album, with a style of music including lyrics such as “Baby, baby, baby; baby baby, baby.’ Not especially imaginative. But oh how we crave a love song.
We are wired to love. To give and receive love. To live with love as our emotional, physical, and spiritual atmosphere. Of all the things that our culture may get wrong, innately sensing the need for love is something that we can get right, even if our society sometimes does not express it in a particularly holy way.
But it is this holy love that will not let us go that we hear in the Psalmist as we ready Psalm 111. We hear of a love that is well deserved. As we ‘sing’ this Psalm, we remember all the good reasons to be in love with the one who loves us best. This is the atmosphere we were meant to live in. This is the kind of song we can sing over and over and never tire of.  Maybe it’s our job, or privilege, those who call on the name of Jesus, to so live in love that our life speaks like the lyrics of a beautiful love song.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

News We Listen To 2009
It’s been an exciting 30th Olympiad in London! To see the Fabulous 5, Mark Phelps, and Missy Franklin win has been welcome news that we love to listen to. But in recent years we haven’t been listening as much to the traditional sources of the news. Newspaper sales are down. Many news agencies have cut back considerably, and fewer reporters are being sent out now to collect the reports. People don’t believe in the accuracy of much reporting. According to people news, people are believing less of the news (see chart.) But there is more talking going on electronically now. People are less willing to listen to ‘experts’ on the news of the day, but want to listen more to people they know and choose. So what? It means that we have more opportunity now than ever in being speakers of good news. And we have the opportunity to tell the good news truthfully. Since the truth of our Lord sets us free from the darkness of life, we have more power now than ever to witness to the light of Christ, to a world that wants, needs, and longs for the healing that Christ brings. So let’s not grow weary in speaking the truth of Christ in love, the world really is listening for some good news!