Felicity Elizabeth Sumpter
Felicity was born at 7am this morning. 7lbs and 20.5 inches long. She and mom are doing very well. God is very good.
Reformed Liturgical Institute
A friend of mine is in the process of starting the Reformed Liturgical Institute. While the work is still in its infancy, the idea is to begin building a website for discussion and resources to later include conferences and the like. The Institute is under the authority of Christ Church in Cary, North Carolina, the mother church of Holy Trinity. You’ll notice that I’m listed as one of the “contributors” but I’m still trying to get my act together to post something worthwhile.
But check out the site and tell all your friends.
Crunchy Cons or what we might call Granola Conservatives looks interesting.
From the Amazon.com page, The Publishers Weekly says:
What do you call people who vote for Bush but shop at Whole Foods? Crunchy cons. And according to Dreher, an editor at the Dallas Morning News, they’re forming a thriving counterculture within the contemporary conservative movement. United by a “cultural sensibility, not an ideology,” crunchy conservatives, he says, have some habits and beliefs often identified with cultural liberals, like shopping at agriculture co-ops and rejecting suburban sprawl. Yet crunchy cons stand apart from both the Republican “Party of Greed” and the Democratic “Party of Lust,” he says, by focusing on living according to conservative values, what the author calls “sacramental” living. Dreher makes no secret of his own faith in Christianity, and his book will resonate most with fellow Christians. His conversations with other crunchy conservatives—e.g., the policy director of Republicans for Environmental Protection, a Manhattan home-schooler, the author’s wife—are illuminating, but the book fails to offer any empirical evidence to connect these individuals to a wider “movement.” Instead, it works best as an indictment of consumerism and the spiritual havoc it can wreak. While his complaints about consumer culture are similar to those advanced by liberals, Dreher frames his criticism of corporate America in explicitly conservative terms, painting rampant consumerism as antithetical to true conservatism. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Ewww, that’s so lefty,” Dreher’s editor at his old National Review job sneered when Dreher said he was picking up some locally grown organic produce. And what’s with the sandals I’m wearing, he then thought; am I going liberal? Not a bit, he concluded, though if associating with liberals could help him have healthy, flavorful food and a beautiful, durable home; be involved in his children’s education; protect and nurture the environment and other species; and live with religious integrity, then associate, befriend, and work with liberals he would. That made him a crunchy con(servative), and since leaving NR and NY for Dallas, he has just become crunchier–and met scads of comrades, including literary patron saints G. K. Chesterton, Russell Kirk, E. F. Schumacher, and Wendell Berry and articulate representatives of the types recorded in his book’s expansive subtitle. His engrossing report on his encounters and his own motivations and endeavors stresses that crunchy cons follow principles more than formulate policies; their most cherished hope is to overthrow the consumerist mentality that has made the Democrats the party of lust and the Republicans the party of greed. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
I’m highly suspicious but also intrigued. I’m not a Republican, and apart from the general honor due our leaders, I have no special love for Bush. But some of the general themes described in these reviews do resonate with me. I often feel that I share many social concerns that would have me labeled as a liberal even though I wouldn’t have many friends on that side of the aisle because I’m fully committed to the ethical and moral standards of Holy Scripture. I’m not an agrarian, but I appreciate some of the urban renewal emphases that seek to bring a kind of agrarian consciousness and appreciation back to cities and communities.
Green Grow the Rushes, O
Mark Reagan taught this song to the boys at Atlas this year. Every week beginning around Easter until near the end of the school year, he began his music class with this popular English carol. Similar in concept to “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, the song builds a verse at a time up to the number twelve and repeats all the previous verses all the way down to one. Wikipedia says that this song was first recorded in Hebrew in the sixteenth century which I find very fascinating. There are a number of verses that are quite enigmatic while others seem fairly straight forward. The tune is very catchy, and I wish I had some way of playing a sample for you, but alas, I’m not sure it’s possible. But for whatever it’s worth, here is the last verse with all of the prior verses built in.
I’ll sing of twelve, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your twelve, O?
Twelve for the twelve Apostles,
Eleven for the eleven who went to heaven,
Ten for the ten commandments,
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the April rainers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, the lily-white boys,
All dressed up in green, O
One for the one that stood alone
And evermore shall be so.
Well, my cyber friends, we are down to the final days. My lovely wife is due to give birth to our second child today, tomorrow or Sunday depending on which date you believe. Things are beginning to happen, but we’re not running out the door to the hospital or anything yet. Lots of walking interspersed with lots of movies and resting. And lots of praying.
My wife pointed out last night that the birth of a child is always a significant story. We know it is an episode in a greater story that will surely be recalled and retold. And it’s strange to suddenly “emerge” for a moment and realize that you’re in a story, and well, you don’t quite now how it ends yet. Does that make me “emergent”?
Last time, when River was born, God answered a number of very particular prayers about when and how River would be born. Those answered prayers are fixed quite firmly in our minds as we think and pray about this time. God is good.
I listened to an excellent sermon this week by Douglas Jones which can be found here. It’s the one entitled “Praying like Royalty”. I heartily commend it to you. Jones explores how God uses the prayers of His people to direct the course history. It’s an excellent challenge to both pray specifically and broadly for matters both near and far.
Liturgy and Starbucks
Quinn Fox suggests that part of the genius of Starbucks is the refusal to be “seeker sensitive.” A friend gave me this artical, and I found it online here.
The cross is without question the most prevalent symbol in the Christian Church. Flying high above steeples and domes, it is the banner that proclaims the triumph and victory of Jesus Christ. It adorns our sanctuaries, often holding a place of prominence at the center of our view. It decorates the table of the Eucharist, it sets the lectern apart, and it may appear on the covers of our Bibles, hymnals, and bulletins. It is worn on jewelry, displayed on logos, and it decorates homes and schools. This is a glorious testimony to the Cross of our Lord, where the salvation of the world was accomplished, where sin and death were defeated. The cross sets these things apart, adorning and claiming their use for King Jesus.
Thus St. Paul declares, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14) Paul nor we for a moment believe that our boasting is in any way disconnected from the reality of what happened on a particular cross in a Roman province a little less than two thousand years ago. It is the Cross of Christ that gives all crosses their meaning, their beauty, and their power.
But to say that crosses have power, isn’t that superstitious? Superstition in its usual sense means putting faith in something which is not worth putting faith into or acting out of fear towards something or someone which ought not be feared. But depending on what you believe and who you believe, there are many things which rightly deserve our faith and fear because God has given them to us. In regards to the symbol of the cross, we believe that Jesus Christ has unalterably changed the world. In fact, His death and resurrection were the beginnings of the New World, the new heavens and new earth. In this new world, the cross is worthy of faith and fear for what Christ accomplished on it. It is foolishness and terror to those who are perishing; those who hate Christ are enemies of the cross (1 Cor. 1:18, Phil. 3:18). This does not mean that wood or gold work in any way independent of the Triune God. Those who believe this are truly superstitious. But Jesus has altered the state of the world dramatically, ascending into heaven and sitting on the throne of God ruling and reigning until all of his enemies are his footstool. The victory and reign of Jesus Christ is a fact which is true apart from all the sin and lawlessness of man. “Let God be true, and every man a liar…” St. Paul says in the letter to the Romans, speaking particularly about the difference between inward and outward faithfulness and unfaithfulness. But the cross is a symbol of this reign, of His victory over sin, and therefore of our reign and victory over sin with Him. This is just what St. Athanasius says, “A very strong proof of this destruction of death and its conquest by the cross is supplied by a present fact, namely this. All the disciples of Christ despise death; they take the offensive against it and, instead of fearing it, by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ trample on it as on something dead.” And again he states, “By the sign of the cross, on the contrary, all magic is stayed, all sorcery confounded, all the idols are abandoned and deserted, and all senseless pleasure ceases, as the eye of faith looks up from earth to heaven.” For these brothers and sisters in Christ, many of whom gave their lives for the Faith, the cross signified their faith but also enacted their faith, and by faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit, it delivered many from the “spiritual forces of evil” that contended with them.
While we may not face the same battles as St. Athanasius, we are still engaged in the same great struggle against sin and the world. Just as we are called to trust the words of God in Scripture and its proclamation, we are also called to trust the pictures of God, such as the bread and wine in the Eucharist and the water of Holy Baptism. These sacraments are the central pictures by which God displays and bestows His grace in physical ways in this world. But these pictures, these memorials, are also prayers and signs that we perform and enact before the face of God, as a testimony back to God, crying out to Him for justice and mercy, pleading for salvation. We do not pretend to make the cross a sacrament, but it too is a lesser picture of God’s victory and therefore may and ought to be displayed in faith, trusting and praying that all of God’s promises to us in Christ have been and will be fulfilled.
Lastly, all of this being true, it follows in a rather straight forward way that the cross may not only adorn our churches, schools, and homes, but it may also adorn our bodies through the sign of the cross. From ancient times, as St. Athanasius records, Christians made the cross over their bodies reminding themselves of the crucifixion, joining with all Christians everywhere trusting that in Christ we have all been crucified together with Him, symbolically taking up our cross to follow Him, and confessing together that He is now alive reigning and ruling and working in the world on our behalf. The great arguments raised against this practice are basically two fold. First, it is argued that this practice is Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. And this is certainly true. But this is no reason to reject anything outright. Athanasius, Augustine, Ambrose, and Gregory the Great were all Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox! The catholic church preserved for us the true faith, the Holy Scriptures, and did battle with the great enemies of Christ, throwing down the pagan temples and statuaries, and proclaiming Christ as King of all. The reason we are Christians today is because of the Catholic and Orthodox Church of the first thousand years of the faith. That Church is our Church, and while this certainly doesn’t mean we must or ought to imitate every last thing they do, it does mean that if we turn away from their practices we ought to have a good reason for doing so, namely that they are in conflict with Holy Scripture. A number of witnesses can be called to testify to the antiquity of the practice as well as its orthodoxy. Tertullian (d. ca. 250) said: “In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross” (De corona, 30). Later, St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386) exhorted in his Catechetical Lectures, “Let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in our goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are traveling, and when we are at rest” (Catecheses, 13). Even St. Augustine speaks of the sign of the cross as a sign or seal of Christ. Furthermore, Martin Luther, who is remembered in history for his great conflict with the Church of Rome and the origination of the Protestant Reformation encouraged the use of the sign: “In the morning, when you rise, you shall make the sign of the holy cross, and you shall say: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Then, kneeling or standing, you shall say the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer… In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall make the sign of the holy cross, and you shall say: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Then, kneeling or standing, you shall say the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. (“Prayers for Daily Use,” The Small Catechism, An Explanation of Dr. Martin Luther’s Small Catechism [Mankato, Minnesota: Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 2001], p. 26) In another place, Luther is recorded: “…how do I approach this Savior and Redeemer? By means of cowls or monastic orders and rules? No! Just cling to the Son in faith. He conquered death and the devil, and He slit the devil’s belly open. He will reign and rule again, even though He was crucified under Annas and Caiaphas. Therefore attach yourself to Him, and you will tear through death and devil; for this text [John 3:15] assures us: “Whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.” Accept the truth of this miracle of God’s love for the world, and say: “I believe in the Son of God and of Mary, who was lifted up and nailed to the cross.” Then you will experience the new birth; for death and sin will no longer accuse, harm, and injure you. Whoever believes in the Son will have eternal life. Cling to His neck or to His garment; that is, believe that He became man and suffered for you. Cross yourself and say: “I am a Christian and will conquer.” And you will find that death is vanquished. In Acts 2:24 St. Peter says that death was not able to hold Christ, since deity and humanity were united in one Person. In the same way we, too, shall not remain in death; we shall destroy death, but only if we remain steadfast in faith and cling to death’s Destroyer. (“Sermons on the Gospel of St. John,” Luther’s Works, Vol. 22 [Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1957], p. 356)
Secondly, it is argued that making the sign of the cross is done by many people superstitiously or flippantly. Making the cross of Christ in vain is akin to taking the name of the Lord in vain. But the fact that people do it wrongly, flippantly, or superstitiously is no argument against using the name of God. In fact, it is more reason than ever to use God’s name correctly and with reverence, fear, and faith. Likewise, to display a cross or to make it upon one’s body in true faith, believing and resting upon Christ and His gospel is in no way superstitious, and it is the greatest remedy for its abuse.
As a final caveat, I would hasten to add that wisdom is needed in all reformation. Reformation is not hard headed, demanding or divisive. Reformation is full of love for the Triune God and love for one’s neighbor. In short, true reformation is always catholic, however strange that may sound. Included in this must be respect and obedience to those in authority. Particularly when it comes to matters of adiaphora, matters of indifference. As we have seen, a case can be made both biblically and historically for the symbol and sign of the cross. However, we are not required to do this by anything in Scripture and therefore this is a matter of wisdom and freedom before God.
The sign of the cross is no incantation or fairy charm. Rather, when a man, woman, or child touches their forehead, abdomen, and crosses their chest, it is an incarnation of the gospel. It is prayer with our bodies. Historically, the name of the Trinity is spoken while the sign is made, dedicating our bodies, our thoughts, our words, our actions, all that we are to the service of the Trinity. We must use our bodies; we always use our bodies. The only question is: how will we use our bodies? Will our hands merely hang at our sides? Will we salute or put our hand over our breast? Will we shake hands or hug? Will we kiss or gesture? Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. If crosses are right and proper on our buildings, surely they are proper upon our bodies. Our bodies are sacred to God and set apart for His purposes in ways far beyond even the most beautiful cathedrals. They will one day be rubble, but our bodies will be glorified in the resurrection of the dead. This is who we are; this is our identity as Christians. Therefore it is right and proper that our words, thoughts, and gestures be cruciform, displaying the gospel with faith in all that we do, think, and say. Truly this is something to glory in, that death is swallowed up in victory. May our entire lives boast in nothing less than the victory of the cross, won by Christ Jesus our Lord.
I can’t remember where I heard this story or who told it to me. So perhaps it’s simply best to consider this in the same category as legend or lore. Perhaps you may add this tale to your (no doubt) growing collection of stories and legends from New St. Andrews College Mythology. Additionally, I should add, that if you remember this event or perhaps you are the victim of this story, I would beg your apologies for factual errors, rhetorical hyperbole, and all other manner of exaggeration and distortion of what really happened. I remember laughing very hard about this story–to the point of abdominal pain, and even when I don’t laugh about it anymore, I still smile quite fondly and remember that little soft spot in my belly.
At any rate, all first year New St. Andrews College students normally take Rhetoric as Freshmen. This course was taught by Mr. Chris Schlect back in the day when I was a student at NSA, and I believe Mr. Douglas Wilson taught the class for a year or two and now finally, it has become something of Mr. Nathan Wilson’s bailiwick. This course covers numerous areas of public speaking, creative writing, logic, classical rhetoric, and all manner of angles on coherent discourse and carefully tuned wordsmithing. Now that’s the idea at least.
During the course of this year of rhetorical study impromptu speeches and debates are occasionally held. Thus, a topic is assigned and without further ado, you or one of your hapless compatriots may find him or herself hauled to the lists.
The story, of which I made mention several paragraphs ago, took place on one of these occasions. I am told that on this occasion Mr. Douglas Wilson was mercilessly attending to the proper “breaking in” of the newbies, engaging in impromptu debates with them on a whole host of issues. I’m not sure if he was the teacher of the class or if he had been invited in to the class for the afternoon to cultivate a greater din of rhetorical bonhomie. In either case, the story goes that some young Andy found himself blinking bashfully in the limelight of some hallowed NSA classroom standing directly across from Mr. Wilson. The assigned debating topic was something to do with “working hard vs. laziness/relaxation”. I don’t know exactly because, as I mentioned previously, I wasn’t there. But as it seemed, the gods favored the lad granting him what seemed to be the easier case, a defense of the goodness of hard work and diligent labor.
The terms were set, the topic assigned and the poor little brute went about it, hacking and walloping with all of his rhetorical might, seeking to lay his axe of wit and wisdom to the tree of all things lackadaisical. Having championed his cause for the stated amount of time and beaming with satisfaction at the apparent results, the young Demosthenes rested his case and yielded the floor up for a cross examination, like an ox to the slaughter, like the little ants fleeing under my son’s stomping feet. I’m not sure how the cross examination began, and I really do not know how long it lasted. But I’m told that the critical climax of debate was reached when Mr. Wilson reached into his vast repository of Bible verses and flung Proverbs 24:33 at the poor, unsuspecting fool, leaving him wide eyed, stunned, and eventually speechless. Proverbs 24:33, for those of you who don’t remember, is that pointed, breathtaking champion of all verses anti-laborious. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest.”
The world froze. Comets missed their turns. Galaxies hiccupped. Several freshman girls fainted. It appeared that Mr. Wilson had proven beyond a shadow of doubt that while work might be fine and dandy, sleep and slumber were far more desirous, and as it turned out, far more Biblical. The young man stammered and stuttered, feverishly racking his memory for some come back, some logical fallacy, or just some Latin word that meant “nuh-uh” to make all the world right again. But it was not to be. The young man relented, recanted and sheepishly yielded the floor.
I do not think that it was too long after that our bold and fearless Andy read Proverbs 24:33. And growing in his great mastery of rhetorical insight, he dared to push the limits, expanding his horizons, boldly going where he at least, had never gone before, reading Proverbs 24:34: “So shall poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.”
“Then He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be give her to eat.” (Mk. 5:41-43)
This is a resurrection meal. This meal is part of what the writer of Hebrews describes as tasting of “the powers of the age to come” (Heb. 6:5) In this meal, we are invited into the resurrection of the dead, into the life everlasting. And this is fitting. Paul says in Romans “that as many of us that have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death… We were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:3-4) And Jesus raises us up hungry. Like the little girl whom Jesus raised in our passage, Jesus says that something should be given to us to eat. And thus you are here. One thing we know about heaven, about the world of the resurrection, about the New Heavens and New Earth in their fullness is that we will eat. Jesus ate after his resurrection, he has food given to this little girl upon her resurrection, the glories of the New Jerusalem are described as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and of course we have this meal here, the Eucharist, a feast which we confess is occurring in heaven with all the saints before the throne of God. So come. Believe that you have been raised, because you have. And fear nothing, for though you face the mysteries and pains of life, you are already claimed by the Resurrection. Because you are in Jesus and He is the Resurrection and the Life. You are in the Life, and therefore this food is for you. This is the Bread of Life.
Mark 5: The God of Tension
The last chapter ended revealing Jesus as the One who tames storms, the One who speaks to the wind and commands obedience. In this chapter this same Jesus is revealed as the One who continues to tame the untamable but does so on His own terms, in His own timing, through His own means.
Lord of the Greeks
Jesus encounters another unclean spirit, this time in the region of the Garasenes or Gadarenes (5:1) near a Hellenized area of Palestine called “Decapolis” (5:20). The assumption then is that we are dealing with gentiles or at least gentile sympathizers in this episode. The name “legion” is also a Roman term associated with their primary military unit (5:9). This unit usually consisted of between five and six thousand soldiers. Jesus is doing battle with Rome, with Hellenization but perhaps not as some people hoped. Finally, there near the beach, where Jesus has landed is a herd of swine, an unclean animal for faithful Jews and a sacred animal to Hellenistic culture. The demons entering the pigs (there were about two thousand) and then rushing down to drown in the sea is highly fitting given the association of the sea with the unclean gentile nations (5:13). Also notice the Exodus motif here: the enemy armies (“legion”) drowning in the sea. One would think that the local crazy man, sitting and clothed in his right mind, would be a cause for thankfulness. But the reality is otherwise (5:15-17). One commentator points out the parallels between this story and the previous one (4:35-41). Both the storm and the demon-possessed man are untamable. Both are wild and dangerous, and both by a spoken word are reduced to calm. The results are the same as well: fear. Having read the beginning of Mark, we know that Jesus’ ministry is one of grace and healing, but these people from Decapolis don’t have the same information. The loss of an enormous herd of pigs is also probably a significant economic blow to the community. They think that Jesus is a threat to their culture, their society, their way of life. And in one sense, he is. The calming of their storm presents an unknown, a tension, a mystery they are not willing to face.
The following interpolation or “sandwich” story relates two healings with a number of similarities. Both are daughters (5:23, 34). The woman with the flow of blood is ceremonially unclean and therefore ceremonially like a corpse (Lev. 15:25-27, 11:39-40). The girl lies at the point of death and then dies. Both are in some sense dead. Both afflictions are kinds of barrenness as well. The girl has just come into womanhood and the ability to bear children; the woman, having a flow of blood, is obviously afflicted in her reproductive system. Neither can bear children because of their “death”. Both are also associated with the number twelve. The woman has had the affliction for 12 years and the girl was 12 years old. The parallels make it obvious that Mark would have us see the episodes as almost a single event. The method of story telling also emphasizes this. The number twelve points to the house of Israel, and as has been indicated previously, Israel is afflicted, unclean, barren and dead. Israel has suffered many things at the hands of many physicians; she has spent all that she has and is still no better (5:26). Israel needs the healing and resurrection of Jesus.
The entire chapter is concerned with “uncleanness” of various sorts. The man from the tombs (place of death) had an unclean spirit, the spirit “Legion” is cast into the unclean swine, a woman with a flow of blood is ceremonially unclean, and the daughter of Jairus is an unclean corpse (grave). Part of the lesson is to point out the similarities between the “faithful” (Jairus is a ruler of the synagogue, v. 22) and the “compromisers” (Decapolis is a compromised region). They all need cleansing. Both are unclean; both are afflicted by death in various forms. And Jesus touches them both. But we also need to remember the trajectory of Mark. We first ran into uncleanness in the synagogue and now it’s everywhere. But the whole point of ceremonial cleanliness laws was to make distinctions. God wanted Israel to know that she was to be a holy, priestly nation; and even within that priestly nation, Israelites were to recognize when they themselves were “unclean” and could not come before God. The concept of “uncleanness” was a divine institution to create tension, to create awareness of obstacles and challenges.
Conclusion: Tension and the Gospel
One of the things that Christians need to come to grips with is the fact that our God loves tension. He loves to tell stories where the odds are against the hero. He prefers not to explain everything even when he could. Why doesn’t Jesus allow the demons to say who He is? Why does He not explain to the people of Decapolis who he is? Why does he send the newly healed town crazy as his ambassador only five minutes after his healing? Why does he take so long to get to Jairus’ house? Why doesn’t he just say the word and send Jairus on his way? Why does he stall with the woman with the flow of blood? Why does he confront her and draw attention to her in the middle of throng of people? Isn’t this insensitive? Isn’t that a “private” sort of thing? Why does Jesus say that the girl is only “sleeping”? Why does he say confusing things like that? Why does he warn Jairus not to tell anyone? Why does God erect seemingly arbitrary cleanliness ceremonial laws, etc?
Our God is a God who loves tensions, a God who loves suspense and mystery. And we need to love it too. Without loving sin or evil, we nevertheless need to come to love what God does with these things. God starts reformations with martyrs. He sanctifies his children with cancer and tumors. He sends famines and barrenness to us because he likes what they do to us. He likes how he can see His glory in us BETTER afterwards. He loves to keep us in the dark to see if we will trust him. He loves to send the under qualified, the novice, the weak to do jobs that many others are far more qualified to do. He prefers to send Davids to face giants and John the Baptists to face the Herods. He prefers to use the inarticulate expressions of toddlers to proclaim his truth. He loves the catacombs because he knows that’s the only way to get to cathedrals. He loves pain because he knows that’s the way of peace and comfort. He loves the cross because He overcomes it and turns it into resurrection. He loves death because He destroys it and turns it into life.
And so Jesus continues to say the same thing to us today that he said to Jairus some 2000 years ago: “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!