I’m writing this article while sitting at home on the 4th of July. Unfortunately, this summer holiday is being rained out in my part of the world. The cool temps, clouds, and rain make today feel more like autumn than mid-summer. So, while sitting here, I am thinking about freedom and how freedom applies to my life and not just a country. Do I have freedom? Am I truly free? Yes, we all have the potential to be free! Let’s find out how.
Have you ever thought of how minuscule our place is in the universe? I do. Try it now for a moment. In reference to the vastness of the millions of galaxies, and the large size of our planet, focusing now on my exact location, where do I really fit in? Am I just a cog in the gears of the universe, or do I have freedom?
A few weeks ago I attended a symposium focused on the current heroin epidemic in the US. The conference room was filled with…Write comment (1 Comment)
Recently, a storm came through my area bringing with it gusty winds and heavy rain. Where I live storms are commonplace especially in the spring. That period immediately following a rainstorm is one of my favorite times to go outside. If you have never experienced nature immediately following a rainstorm I strongly suggest you give it a try. Personally, the air seems clearer and fresher, and there is a distinct smell of cleanliness permeating the air. It’s nature's way of cleansing the Earth. When you do venture outside you will most probably notice debris on the ground consisting of dead twigs, branches and anything else that has fallen from the trees. Cleaning up after a strong storm is not typically a favorite pastime of mine, but recently when I was mowing the yard I noticed this pile of dead twigs which had fallen over the course of many storms. I took this picture as the positioning of the twigs gave me pause and a moment of reflection.
I wasn't planning to reflect upon fallen tree limbs and twigs, but after noticing those branches and taking the picture I couldn't help but to reflect on them as I continued to mow…Write comment (0 Comments)
I use the above quote with my college students trying to challenge them to look at life, from a different perspective. In challenging our perspectives, and even our definitions, I am not merely playing semantics as I firmly believe that words actually do hold meaning. If you aren't sure about the validity of that statement, think of the last time someone's words either caused you joy or caused you pain. Words do have the power to affect our emotions, therefore, by challenging ourselves to look at our own definitions from a new perspective can change how we feel.
How I define success, or how success is defined for me, influences how I feel about myself. Many of us have culturally learned that success is defined by tangible goods and/or wealth. We hear expressions such as “If I have more things than someone else, I am successful”; or, “if I have a title or initials after my name, I am successful”. These cultural statements aside, I hope that people who have worked hard to accomplish what they feel is a level of success take pride in themselves. Yet, the question remains, does…Write comment (4 Comments)
He is risen! He is not in the tomb! Can this be true? Could Jesus rise from the dead!? This morning is the beginning of a new chapter for the apostles and for those who put faith in the person of Jesus. The person whom they thought was dead is no longer in the tomb! What does this all mean?!
Can you even imagine the feelings of the apostles? Just a week ago the twelve apostles, with Jesus, triumphantly entered Jerusalem. All was right with the world! What could go wrong? Then, on Thursday, one of their own, Judas, hands Jesus over to the Romans who then kill him the next day! But just a few days ago, scared and confused, the apostles are in hiding. What do we do when we are scared? Can you understand why the apostles fled and hid? I'm not trying to justify their actions, but trying to understand them.
Sunday morning, while the apostles are in hiding, some of the women followers excitedly enter their hiding spot screaming that the body of Jesus is missing from the tomb! Wait, that's not all; they saw an angel who told them Jesus was alive! What?!
In a matter of days the apostles go from excitement to fear, to despair, to questioning their beliefs, to confusion to cautious optimism. Wow! Later,…Write comment (0 Comments)
Holy Saturday, the day after the death of Jesus, Christians await, in hope and in faith, for God to show us a sign that Jesus is truly His son. When we think of the emotions of the followers of Jesus, so sure that He was the savior, to experience His death, their heartbreak and confusion must've been unbearable! Were they duped? How were they so wrong to think that Jesus was God? Yet, because of everything that they experienced while with Jesus, there still exists a sense of hope in their hearts. They don't yet understand, and they are questioning, but they haven't yet fully rejected the belief that Jesus is the son of God.
Taken from the Christian prayer-book "The Liturgy of the Hours", here is an ancient sermon attributed to Easter yet prayed on Holy Saturday. What does this sermon says to you in your life's journey: