Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Here was a poem written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer during his days of confinement under the Nazi's during WWII. He would be be hanged a few short weeks before the war ended:Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.
Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.
Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equally, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.
Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were
compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?
Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
In the book in the book of Song of Solomon 8:4 it says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” But what will we do when it awakens? If you are at all familiar with children stories you will now that there are certain consequences for waking up things that have long been sleeping. There is a fearful awe that comes with not knowing exactly what form something will take when it wakes up. What will love look like when it is awakened?
Today you have the opportunity to see the form of love. For you witnessing the wedding you might respond, “I know, aren’t they such a cute couple!” But let me tell you this, if the form of love is just the way your wife or your husband looks, love will look very different in the morning with disheveled hair and morning breath! And yes, they are cute, but cuteness is not the true reality of awakened love. Consider this illustration: imagine you gone to listen to the Seattle symphony. The whole time one particular violin player has caught your attention. At the end of the performance you approach this violinist and complement them on their playing. Without hesitation the violinist points you to the conductor of the orchestra and says, “Thank you for your complement, but it was work of that man that allowed me to perform my best alongside other great musicians.” Walking over to the conductor you praise him for the evening’s performance. Humbly the conductor of the whole orchestra bows and says, “I only carried out what the composer wrote in the original music.”
This is the deep reality of marriage. In marriage we hear the melody of the original music composed by the Creator of the world. From the beginning Mike and Amy have known that a marriage is not defined by dresses and limousines. Whenever things became stressful for the wedding Amy would remind us that she was absolutely content to get married in shorts. The reason we dress up and celebrate is not to keep up with fashion. It is that we are learning to sing the song written by the original composer and learning to express in both word and in action how special that, as Genesis 2 says, “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” In marriage we find a relationship in which two separate people—stubborn, selfish and silly people—submit to each other, out of love for each other, from the love they have been given by God. It is in this act of commitment to faithfully love each other that Mike and Amy strike the tune that first overcame Adam as he watched God walk the first bride, Eve, down the aisle; much like God the Father walked Amy down the aisle today. When you love each other your best you are playing the music of God, the Grand Composer, well.
For Mike to receive Amy in marriage today is to claim with conviction that Amy is a gift from God. And that all the things that God has in store for you, Mike, He also has in store for her. Likewise, Amy today you are declaring God has joined you inseparably to Mike through both the summers and winters of life. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” God is helping each of you complete the good work that he has intended for the other person.
What this practically means is that Mike, you are a gift from God to Amy to help her raise Raven and Christina, to love them and father them as your own. For Amy this means supporting Mike as he learns to be the father and husband in an already busy home. Together you are facing unique challenges entering the first year of marriage; however, today you are taking in the faith the promise that God has given you a unique gift in each other.
Now as part of Mike and Amy’s desire to express their absolute faith in Jesus Christ and His love expressed to them on the cross enabling them to love one another, they are going to share the pour unity sand and take communion together. As you will see, there are three sands being poured together—one symbolizing Mike, one symbolizing Amy, and the third symbolizing Jesus Christ. This shows that though these three lives were once separate they are now united inseparably. Just as it would be impossible to separate the granules of sand from each other, we pray that this marriage, united in Christ, will be inseparable. Likewise, during the last meal Jesus shared with His disciples before He died, Jesus said to them, “This bread represents my body which is for you, this cup represents my blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of your sins”. Mike and Amy will take communion together to remember and hold in their hearts Christ’s love for them. As often as we take may you always say, when you have loved well and lived long, “I have only sung the song that the creator first wrote!”