Saturday, November 29, 2008

(Adapted from an article in Charles Swindoll’s splendid book, The Finishing Touch)

Christmas comes each year to draw people in from the cold.

Like tiny frightened sparrows, shivering in the winter cold, many live their lives on the barren branches of heartbreak, disappointment, and loneliness, lost in thoughts of shame, self-pity, guilt, or failure.

We try to attract them into the warmth. Week after week Choirs sing. Preachers preach. Lighted churches send out their beacon. But nothing seems to bring in those who need warmth the most.

Then, as the year draws to a close, Christmas offers its wonderful message. Immanuel. God with us. Jesus willingly descended into our world. He felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for our sins. He didn’t come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety.

For many, Christmas is the loneliest or most depressing time of the year. Single parents. The aged. The hospitalized. The dying and those ministering to them. Men and women in the military.

This Christmas season I pray that the warmth of the Savior’s love will spread itself over you as never before. And that whenever and however possible, you will keep reminding yourself that there are still tiny, shivering sparrows who are too terrified to come in from the cold. Maybe, just maybe, this Christmas, because of something you do or say…they will.


Why do we do what we do?

Did you read about the employee who was crushed to death on Black Friday when a wild herd of shoppers ran over him in an effort to get a bargain?

Who says I can’t step on somebody’s neck that is in my way?

No absolutes. No principles. No ethics. No standards. With this kind of thinking, it’s only logical that man has no value.

But man’s value system is not the same as Gods. God believes that man is of great value! He demonstrated that to us went he sent his son to a manger in Bethlehem.

But those people who stomped over the employee on Friday weren’t thinking about the Savior, they were thinking about the stuff.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Well, not really, it looks more like Black Friday. The mall parking lots are all jammed with cars and the stores are packed with people. I know this because I have seen it on television.

Mothers and fathers were up at “the crack of dawn,” rushing from store to store trying to make sure they can prove “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

The sun is shining brightly here in Scottsdale today. I expect it to be shining just like this on December 25. It almost always does. It never really “looks” a lot like Christmas around here.

Today, tomorrow, the next day or the next, we will start decorating our house—inside and out. That will make it look a little more like Christmas. Every year, I say to myself and to Charlotte, “You know, I’m getting too old for all this climbing on ladders, crawling on the floor, packing, unpacking." She agrees. And then we go ahead and do it again!

Our church went through all this busy work a few days ago. The place looks fantastic.

Now we are getting down to the “real thing”:

Christmas in the Park Outreach Event – December 6

From Age to Age Christmas Musical – December 11, 12, 13

Christmas on Main Street Family Festival – December 13

Christmas Eve – Family Celebration, Candlelight and Carols – December 24

Yes, Virginia, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

(A story by Charles Swindoll in his book, The Finishing Touch)

I will never forget that Thanksgiving.

I will never forget standing erect in my classroom, my hand over my heart, as I repeated the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag.Our nation was at war and times were hard.My teacher has lost her husband on the bloodwashed shores of Normandy. After we had saluted the flag, we bowed our heads for prayer. As we did, she began to weep. I did too. All the class joined in. Then she stumbled through one of the most moving expressions of gratitude and praise that I have ever heard emerge from a soul plunged in pain.

At that moment in my young life I fell in love with Thanksgiving.

Lost in sympathy and a boy’s pity for his teacher. I walked home very slowly that afternoon. Although only a child, I had profound feelings of gratitude for my country…my friends…my school…my church…my family. I swore before God that I would fight to the end to keep this land free from foes who would want to take away America’s distinctives and the joys of living in this good land.

Thanksgiving…mark it well. It is a day of eminence, a day of memories, a day of commitment. May it not be eclipsed behind the shadows of our national aches nor beneath the passing pain of personal hardship.

May we all, indeed, give thanks.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Everyday we walked from the dorm to the Bean (cafeteria) several times. As we walked we discussed many things—but always we discussed sports and athletes.

Regardless which athlete we talked about, if he was outstanding, Ray always said, “I think he’s a member of the church”—meaning the Church of Christ. In Ray’s mind THE church and the Church of Christ was the same thing. He loves outstanding athletes and he loves the Church of Christ so he wants every athlete “worth his salt” to be a member of the Church of Christ.

This year it looks like the top two athletes in the country and vying for the Heisman Trophy are both quarterbacks, both are from Texas schools—Texas Tech and Texas University


You guessed it. They both are members of the Church of Christ! And not just in Ray’s mind and hopes—they really are.

I hope one of them wins too and I don’t really care which one. However, it has nothing to do with them being members of the Church of Christ. I just feel that either one of them deserves the Heisman.

Like Ray, I also love the members of the Churches of Christ. They are good people. But unlike Ray, I don’t think they are THE CHURCH. The church is made up of those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour and have become the sheep of his pasture, regardless of which pasture they are in.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Today is my birthday but we have been celebrating for days. At my age you squeeze everything you can out of every special day.

So my wife gave me my first present weeks ago. We were at the Fountain Hills Arts and Craft Festival when I saw this beautiful work of art that I liked but it was entirely too expensive to just be buying. So my dear wife bought it for me for an early birthday present.

The gift is a levitating marble created by Jeff Price. Jeff is a studio-glass blower. He studied for four years under Master Glassblower Rhys Williams. His large, modern studio is in Santa Ana, California. Jeff’s pieces sometimes look like abstract paintings, sometimes like rustic remnants of a by-gone-era, and often like modern interpretations of classical art. My piece of art is his interpretation of the famous “levitating ball” illusion used by the Great Houdini, the master magician of a century ago. It is said he used it to distract his audience while performing some of his most spectacular acts. The illusion is as compelling today as it was then. Each marble is different and each is hand-blown by Jeff.

We can look at my birthday present from our kitchen, breakfast area, family room, up close on the patio and even from our pool. I will be enjoying this gift for years to come.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

He was the riverboat gambler of the patriarchs. Twice he dealt hidden cards to his dull-witted brother Esau in order to climb the family tree. He once pulled the wool over the eyes of his own father. He later conned his father-in-law. Yes, Jacob had a salty reputation. For him the ends always justified the means. His feet were just fast enough to keep him one step ahead of the consequences.

That is, until his own cunning caught up with him. He was finally forced to face up to himself and to God.

Jacob isn’t the only one to wrestle with self and God because of past antics.

All of us at one time or another come face to face with our past. Jacob did, and the way he dealt with it is worthy of imitation. The best way to deal with our past is to hitch up our pants, roll up our sleeves, and face it head on. No more buck-passing or scapegoating. No more games. We need confrontation with our Master.

(Taken and adapted from Max Lucado's splendid book, GOD CAME NEAR)


Friday, November 21, 2008

Billy: The Untold Story of a Young Billy Graham

Billy, written by William Paul McKay and Ken Abraham, is the untold story of a young Billy Graham and the test of faith that almost changed everything.

Charles Templeton, once regarded as the world’s greatest Christian evangelist, said of Billy Graham, “We became friends, but we were more than that. We were like brothers. We traveled together…preached together. It was impossible not to …like Billy.”

Billy’s story is told through the memory of this best friend and famous evangelist who later in life became an atheist. This is a well-written narrative that is easy to read and hard to put down.

Although most people are acquainted with Billy Graham and his crusades, this book tells the story of his early years and most of us do not know about those years of his life.

Charles Templeton and Billy Graham both struggled with their faith. Charles lost his faith, and Billy after a fierce struggle, came away with a stronger faith. He went on to become the best known evangelist in America’s history.

Templeton tells the interesting story of how Graham was “kissed” by William Randolph Hearst. He gives credit to Hearst, who owned several of the nation’s daily newspapers, for building up Billy Graham and helping to make him world famous. Templeton wondered why Hearst chose Graham when he could have chosen him. Many would tell Mr. Templeton it wasn’t Hearst who did the choosing—but God.

Tears came to my eyes more than once while reading this moving story. One meeting between Charles and Billy ended like this: “Billy’s face was downtrodden, his countenance sullen. It was done. His friend was leaving him to travel a different path, a road that would likely take them in radically different directions. Billy continued to hold out his hand…but Charles Templeton did not take it.”

Some will agree with Charles Templeton’s view that Billy Graham, who is now ninety years old, has lived a fairy tale life. Whatever your view of Charles Templeton and atheism or Billy Graham and God, you will love this book and will not want to put it down.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kelly at Cozy Comfort gave me my first and only Blogger Award. I am sincerely grateful for this as I am the only male blogger given this out of the ten she awarded. The rules for this award call for me to nominate 10 other blogs for this award. I need to explain why I, a retired pastor and one who encourages following rules, is not going to do this. I have several male friends who tell me they read my blog but they never comment. My comments all come from females. For example: Last week I received over twenty comments on my Spiritual Sundays post and they were all from ladies. I appreciate all the ladies who comment on my blog and when I visit their blogs I think, "Wow, now this is one cool blog." At this time in my life (I will be 74 Monday) I cannot risk awarding some of these dear friends and leaving others out. So ladies, when you read my blog, take this lovely award home with you. You deserve it.

There are some rules for this award:

1. Put logo on your blog
2. Add link to person who awarded you
3. Nominate 10 other blogs for this award
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave message for your nominees on their blogs
6. Give reason why you think their blog is so cool


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

For years I could sing and mean it, “I left my heart in San Francisco…”

The first time I saw San Francisco, we were on our honeymoon at the beautiful beyond description, little town of Carmel—Carmel by the Sea.

Following that initial visit we went to San Francisco many times. We eventually moved from Southern California to Northern California, only seventy-five miles from San Francisco. We went there often. We loved it. But that was fifty years ago. Things are different now.

Oh yes, the famous golden gate bridge is still there. It’s still exciting to visit fisherman’s wharf, ride the little cable cars up and down the steep hills, and visit China town. But the well dressed people are almost all gone from the streets of the city. They have been replaced by vagrants, prostitutes, drug dealers, and homosexuals. It’s not that these people have no place in the city; it’s just that they are now the overwhelming majority-- not of the total population, just out on the street. The reason for this is because people no longer feel safe walking down the street. What a shame!

I left my heart in San Francisco. The last time I went back to see about it—it was broken!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How big is your God?

Blaise Pascal said, "Lord help me to do great things as though they were little, since I do them with your power; and little things as though they were great, since I do them in your name."

Jesus did what he came to do and went back to heaven. But he is still looking for people who will dare to trust him.

We can do great things when we do them for God and with his power.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sundays at our church are wonderful. I always go away from the assembly feeling uplifted and closer to God.

But there are a couple of things that happen there, that bother me like flies buzzing around a bounty laden picnic table.

One thing is when people talk all the way through the worship service. They talk during the song service, the prayers, communion and while the minister is preaching. Why? Why do they do this?

The other thing that bothers me and not all agree with me on this, is when a worship leader says, “Before you sit down, turn and greet those around you.” To me, this is “forced friendliness.” I smile and speak to people who are close to me without being told to. But the main reason this bothers me—is the hand shaking part. We don’t need to be doing this during the cold and virus season. My hands go up to my eyes several times before I have a chance to wash them.

Some feel that God will keep you healthy if you are shaking hands at church. That’s just silly! God expects us to have a little bit of sense when it comes to trying to stay well. There is a time for hand shaking, hugging and maybe even the “holy kiss,” but not on Sunday morning in a congregation of six thousand surrounded by many people you have never seen and may never see again.

Could it be that I’m just silly? It’s altogether possible. I have been before you know!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

If you want to walk on the water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.

I believe there is something—Someone—inside us who tells us there is more to life than sitting in the boat. You were made for something more than merely avoiding failure. There is something inside you that wants to walk on the water—to leave the comfort of routine existence and abandon yourself to the high adventure of following God.

So let me ask you a very important question: What’s your boat?

Your boat is whatever represents safety and security to you apart from God himself. Your boat is whatever you are tempted to put your trust in, especially when life gets a little stormy.

Want to know what your boat is? Your fear will tell you. For Kathy, it is a relationship, for Doug it is secrecy, for David it is his vocation. Kim’s boat is her dad. Maybe your boat is success.

In what area of your life are you shrinking back from fully and courageously trusting God? Fear will tell you what your boat is. Leaving it will be the hardest thing you ever do.

But if you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.

(Adapted from John Ortberg’s excellent book, If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat)


How do you overcome the inevitable drag on your spirit in times like these?

Change your attitude. Put a smile on your face. In other words, fool yourself.

Act like things are better, or getting better, and they will--at least for you.

Invite some friends in to watch the game with you, go out to dinner, go to church tomorrow, take a nap, do something for somebody else—something that will put a smile on their face, or whatever wild and crazy thing that strikes your fancy at the moment.

You’re a great person. Reward yourself. It’s doubtful anyone else is going to do it.


Friday, November 14, 2008

One of the largest arts and crafts festivals in the United States.

The fountain shoots higher into the sky than any other fountain in the world—or so I’m told.

Thousands of people come from all over the United States.

If it’s an art or a craft and you can’t find it here, you don’t need it.

The weather is fantastic!

My wife bought my birthday present at the festival today. I will post a picture of it in a few days.

We walked more today than we have in a year.

I’m tired now. I have to go lay down. (Uh, oh, my wife just called for me to come downstairs and hang up my birthday present. Lying down will have to wait. Man, I’m tired).


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hey, there’s the Blues Brothers. No wait, that’s them over there. No, no, here they are right here. No, over there. No, right here.

No not at all!

Nope, no Blues Brothers here! Just arrogant, Arizona “high rolling” snobs that came to the ribbon cutting for City North, a new shopping Mecca at Desert Ridge in Phoenix.

Sure, the sun always shines bright in Phoenix—even at 9:00 in the morning. But come on, did they need those sun glasses?

“How about you dear, your glasses have turned dark.” “What?” “I said you are wearing sunglasses now that yours have turned dark.”

“Well yes, but that’s different.”

“Ok, if you say so.”


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chocolate candy and chicken enchiladas. Why this combination? Why me? Why now? I’m not a cook. I rarely, if ever cook.

I don’t know! I found myself at Fry’s Market gathering up the “stuff.”

When I go to the grocery store with my wife I rarely, if ever speak to anyone except the cashier. While I was there by myself I talked to a lot of people—got advice, gave advice.
I’m sure one lady thought I might be “hitting” on her. But at my age, who cares, as long as I don’t get arrested, or worse—picked up!

Made the fudge first. It was quick, easy and delicious.

The enchiladas required a little more work, but not a lot. I wouldn’t say they were delicious—just good. It was better than making a trip to On The Border, Carlos O’ Brian, Three Margaritas, Julio G’s, or some other cantina and grill this side of the Mexican border.

Back to my original questions—why cooking, why me? I think I was driven to the brink of insanity by all that’s going on in our country right now—the election, the economic crisis, and tons of other crud. I don’t drink. I don’t even know how to mix a drink. So I just mixed up some chocolate candy and chicken enchiladas and sat down and ate myself into a stupor!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We are a forgetful people. Christ gave us what we call the Lord’s Supper or communion to help us remember his sacrifice for us. Our nation takes time on this day, Veterans’ Day, to remember those who have fought to keep us safe. Hopefully we will remember!


Help me, O God,

To understand that when objects in the rear-view mirror appear larger than they are, they appear that way not to intimidate me but to get my attention.

Help me to understand that those images looming in my memory are just trying to get me to stop, turn around, and go back to my past, to pick up something that’s back there, something that is essential for the journey I am on, something I need if I am to go on any farther.

Help me to remember the love I have received along the way, and to be remembered for the love I have given.

Help me to understand how short that journey, and slow me down so I don’t pass any of it by.

And if you grant me the grace of a long life, grant me the greater grace to always remember who I am and who it is that loves me…

Prayer by Ken Gire


Monday, November 10, 2008

Read this slowly. Let it sink in. Quietly we go. Sheep to slaughter.
Absolutely The Funniest Joke Ever! . . . ON US.

Does anybody out there have any memory of the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY during the Carter Administration? Anybody? Anything? No? Didn't think so.

Bottom line . . we've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember.


Ah yes, good ole bureaucracy. And now we are going to turn the Banking system over to them? God Help us.

(My good friend, Scott Williams sent this to me. I don’t know where he got it. He may have written it. The reason this is so important is that there are dozens of these same kind of things out there wasting our money. We must be aware and speak out.)


Saturday, November 08, 2008

We all need a few groceries and a little grace. Both seem hard to come by sometimes. I read the following story in Max Lucado’s splendid book, When God Whispers Your Name, and adapted it for this post.

Seems a fellow is doing some shopping at a commissary on a military base. Doesn’t need much, just some coffee and a loaf of bread. Behind him in line at the checkout is a woman with a full cart. Her basket overflows with groceries, clothing, and a VCR.

As he steps up to the register the clerk says, “Draw a piece of paper from the fishbowl. If you pull out the correct slip, then all your groceries are free.” “How many correct slips’ are there?” asks the buyer. “Only one.”

The bowl is full so the chances are slim. He is surprised when he gets the winning ticket! This fellow turns quickly to the lady behind him and proclaims, “Well, what do you know, Honey? We won! We don’t have to pay a penny.” She stares at him. He winks at her. She steps up beside him. Puts her arm in his and smiles. And for a moment they stand side-by-side, wedded by good fortune. In the parking lot she consummates the temporary union with a kiss and a hug and goes on her way with a grand story to tell.

I know, I know. What they did was a bit shady. He shouldn’t have lied and she shouldn’t have pretended. But that taken into account, it’s still a nice story. A story not too distant from our own. We, too, have been graced with a surprise. Even more than that of the lady. For though her debt was high, she could pay it, we can’t begin to pay ours. We, like the woman, have been given a gift. Not just at the checkout stand, but at the judgment seat.

And we, too, have become a bride. Not just for a moment, but for eternity. And not just for groceries, but for the feast.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

SARAH PALIN: Before it got to the other side, I shot the chicken, cleaned and dressed it, and had chicken burgers for lunch.

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn’t about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don’t really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where’s my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken’s intentions. I am not for it now and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken doesn’t realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he’s acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I’m going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he’s guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer’s Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I’ve not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn’t that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart-warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken 2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken 2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never crash or need to be rebooted.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

I borrowed this from A Basket of Berries. She had borrowed it from somebody else.


There is a form of prayer that is sometimes referred to as “constantly casting.”

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Well there it is. Too simple for you? Have you ever really tried it--I mean really tried it—constantly casting?

Why not start right now with that one big burden. Cast it on God.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

I hope I never have to hear John McCain say, “My friends” again.”

If John McCain wanted to talk straight he would have talked about all of Obama’s sorry relationships.

Sarah Palin pulled McCain’s “chestnuts out of the fire” and he knows it, and should say so.

John McCain’s staff may be the worst campaign team ever assembled and now they are picking on Governor Palin because they lost.

Michelle Obama may love America now, but she hated America before her husband started his run to be President.

I’m thankful that I will feel no guilt in showing President Obama the same respect and loyalty he and his Democratic friends showed President Bush.

Does this sound mean spirited? I hope not. I don’t feel mean and I’m not mad. I’m just tired of hearing about straight talk but never getting any!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Guess what? The sun came up this morning in the great state of Arizona.

I opened my eyes and repeated to myself the words from Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

For whatever reason, Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States.

I can accept that but I don’t have to like it. But I do have to live with it.

And live with it I will. I know this world is not my permanent home. As the old song says, “I’m just a passin’ through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue…”.

So until Jesus comes again I will try to heed the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (New International Version)
29What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

What Paul was saying was—live in this world but don’t settle down-- this is not home!


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

John Mccain Myspace Graphics
Get this John Mccain Myspace Graphics from


Monday, November 03, 2008

As Christians we should always want the will of God to be done.

But does this mean we should not ask God to do what we want?

Absolutely not!

We are taught in the Scriptures to ask Him for what we want, even though He already knows what we want and most importantly He knows what we need and what is best for us.

I have gathered around sick beds praying for the ill and dieing when the prayers all seemed so “humble” in saying, “Not my will but thine be done,” that it sounded like we didn’t really believe God would or could heal and we were making a way of escape for Him and for ourselves. This must have been discouraging both to the ill and to God.

We need to go “boldly” to the throne of grace and ask God for what we want-- always and I mean always, wanting His will to be done even if we do not voice those exact words.



Saturday, November 01, 2008

(I did not write the following words. I selected them from Ken Gire’s excellent book, Windows of the Soul. They are his words, not mine, but I so strongly identify with them—they could be mine.)

Perhaps there are no greater windows of the soul than our tears.

Tears…came September 12, 1986, at 4:36 in the morning when the phone rang in the dark and I heard the words, “Dad died.”

Judy Garland singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at the beginning of The Wizard of Oz, and her repeating “There’s no place like home” at the end. One or the other usually brings tears. Sometimes both.

“The Bible was written in tears,” said A.W. Tozer, “and to tears it yields its best treasures.”

My eyes moisten sometimes when I wake up before Judy does, and I see her lying there, and I realize what a joy she is to me, what wonderful memories we have shared, the laughter, the love. And lying there, watching her, I realize that someday I will wake up and she will not be on the other side of my bed, or that she will wake up and I will not be on the other side of hers. And the thought of that is too sad and too lonely to bear without the company of tears.

The closest communion with God comes, I believe, through the sacrament of tears. Just as grapes are crushed to make wine and grain to make bread, so the elements of this sacrament come from the crushing expiences of life.