Waves on Straddie beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Every summer as the boys were growing up, we tried to go to the ocean, at least for a few days. Going to the beach meant walking the boardwalk, playing the games at the arcade, riding the rides. It meant lunch at the diner on the beach, renting a bike surrey and flying kites at dusk. The boys had favorite shops, favorite restaurants, favorite things to do.
But above all, it meant time at the ocean—digging in the sand, chasing seagulls, playing in the water, jumping waves. If you went during the week, you could take a raft out and just float.
Not long ago, we were talking about our beach trips with our older son, Rob. He recalled lots of fun times, and then he casually mentioned, “I remember the time I was on the raft and almost floated out to sea.”
Wait–what? The time he almost floated out to sea?
Happy Thursday! It’s time once again for Thursday Intermission: when you can sit back, relax and take a break. (I feel like we need a theme song here.)
Have you ever had one of those days when everything you do turns out perfectly, no matter the odds? When everything you tried just worked out flawlessly, and all those around you were in awe of your abilities? Me neither. This guy, though? Whole different story …
This week also brings us some adorable red pandas. I’m pretty sure God created red pandas so all the angels would go “Awww!” It seems to work for humans, anyway.
Hope you’re having a great week! See you tomorrow.
“The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die…What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it…). They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.”
–N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church
“What is this? A video blog entry? But it’s not Thursday!”
Yes, I hear you. I’m intentionally posting this on Friday in hopes that you’ll find 20 minutes over the weekend to watch. Benjamin Zander’s TED talk on classical music consistently makes lists of top TED talks–and for good reason. Whether or not you like classical music (or whether or not you think you do), this is well worth your time. It isn’t just a talk about music; it’s about passion and creativity and igniting those things in others.
This week’s been a bit of a blur, so I decided to slow down and go retro for today’s Intermission.
So what do you want? Comedy? Hmm … Johnny Carson and Jack Webb should do the trick. Here you go:
Or, if you’re in the mood for exuberance, dance and fun, here’s one of Fred Astaire’s most joyous song and dance performances. This clip gives you some context as to why he’s evading the police; Fred’s performance starts at about 1:35. The video is from “A Damsel in Distress,” a fun romp based–loosely–on the book by P.G. Wodehouse.
Sorry for the late post this week. Work’s been busier than usual. I’ve been working on projects related to advertising—TV, online, in-app, event-based … Sometimes it seems as though advertising rivals God in the whole omni-present realm.
Which gives rise to some questions.
- How can we become more aware of Emmanuel—God with us?
- In a world filled with voices screaming for our attention, how are we at focusing on the One Voice we need to hear?
- With our attention being pulled this way and that, how can we be sure we don’t run right past what God has for us to do, to say, to be?
The loudest voice isn’t always the best to follow. Let’s train ourselves to hear the voice of the Shepherd.
[Jesus said] My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.
John 10:27-29, New Living Translation
Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed.
What did John see inside that tomb? What was the “evidence”–the empty tomb itself? No; there were empty tombs scattered throughout the hills in that region. John saw something more. He saw something left by a carpenter.
You see, Jesus came, not as a ruler, not as a king, not as One powerful. He came as a Baby—the reality of who He is was hidden, unrevealed to most.
He came as the Son of a carpenter.
Jesus spoke of shepherds and farmers and fishermen. Why wasn’t He one of these? Or why not an innkeeper, a shopkeeper, a smith?
Did He and the Father discuss these things before He came?
Two videos for you again this week. I hope you enjoy them.
The first is in honor of my two sons, their physics class assignments, and the Rube Goldberg group projects that were put together at our house–and also my wonderful husband, who helped with the inevitable all-nighter to help ensure everything worked as planned.
And this one is all over the Internet this week. But that’s all right, because it’s worth seeing. Part of the Music and Memory project, this video shows a man in a nursing home, and the change it makes when he’s able to listen to the music he loves. When God gave us music, He gave us a wonderful and powerful gift!
Easter is over.
The supply of jelly beans has dwindled; the chocolate bunnies have disappeared.
The Easter hymns have been sung.
We had a wonderful visit with family; but now we’re back home, anticipation replaced with memory.
It was a busy day, filled with church and travel and family.
But after we were back home, in the quietness that sometimes comes when it’s just the two of us, I paused.
I didn’t pray so much as meditate, just thinking about the Crucifixion and the Resurrection; the things Jesus had gone through; all that His friends had experienced.
As I prayed and thanked Jesus for His sacrifice, I felt the tears begin to come; but suddenly that was replaced by something unexpected: Joy.
I know there should be joy at Easter; we are celebrating the Resurrection, not the Crucifixion, after all. Still, it came as a sudden, unexpected gift.
And isn’t that how it came to the disciples? After the Crucifixion, after the mourning, after the death of both their Friend and their dreams … Resurrection. Life. Joy!
My hope for you this week is that you’ll be suddenly overtaken by joy as well.
This Sunday is Easter.
No … Let’s try that again.
This Sunday is Easter!
Easter is the day of resurrection and victory over sin.
It’s the day of Christ doing away with the sacrificial system that people of many religions had used for thousands of years. That was finished. Over. No more sacrifice was needed.
It is the day of reconciliation, of Christ bringing peace between God and man. The day of healing that broken relationship.
It is the day that brought justification by grace through faith in Jesus: Although we are guilty of sin, Christ paid the legal debt for us.
It is the day of redemption, when we who were lost were bought back. He who did not owe the price paid it anyway.
It is the day when Jesus conquered death on behalf of all of us.
Easter is a great day!
But today isn’t Sunday. It’s Friday.