Touring the Holy Land lives up to the cliche, 'the Bible will come alive in new ways coming here.' Indeed it has. Events which used to transpire in different space on different pages now unfold before my mind's eye in the same crowded villages within sight of numerous other noteworthy events from the gospels. This land is thick with history and heavy with the presence of God. It is easy to see why so many churches have been built to commemorate the memories of our Messiah. They are so beautiful and intricately woven with symbols and art from centuries of the faithful expressing their adoration to their creator.
Come & See
Hakha, Chin State, Myanmar - a people shaped by geography
This is the first of my reflections on the trip Mark Ritchie and I took to Myanmar. As time passes the play-by-play of what we did seems less vital than overall impressions. So I am beginning with those.
The character of the Chin people is inseparable from the geography of the mountainous Chin State. I commented to one owner of a modest home on the spectacular view from his living area, "In the US, this is what we would call a million dollar view." He responded that it would hardly be worth that much in the Chin State since everyone has a mountain view. Lol
When we arrive in Florida for the winter, the first thing I notice is the sounds of birds singing and chirping. After several months of the quiet solitude of early winter in Indiana it is the most pleasant sound, and I listen attentively for their song. I feel the joy that comes with early spring, the warm sun and the return of everything alive. Not only do I enjoy their music but also the fact birds in Florida look so very different.
Recently we had the pleasure of visiting Hammock State Park. It is lovely and has many different walking paths that lead you into the natural hammock created by the trees. Along the walk ways it is easy to find many unusual species native to this area. I saw a little gray bird sitting on a fence post and I exclaimed at it, "Oh look at you, aren't you just the cutest thing! I wonder what you are?" I did not have a bird book and so his identify was lost to me. As I pondered this little guy I began to think of all of God's amazingly different creatures which live in this area.
Many years ago, I remember the first time I heard the poem “Footprints” (or “Footprints in the Sand”) and how I was struck by the imagery and by the message of the verses.
The gist of the poem is the author is reflecting on the journey of his or her life, and sees paths of footprints in the sand. At times, there are two sets of footprints. But during the lowest or most difficult parts of the journey, there is but a single set of footprints.
This space has its roots in the history of how this congregation came to be - a group of Jesus followers inviting others to come and see Christ and live faith out together. Once a month, we will bring forth a devotional from years gone by. Today we re-member (put together again in our minds) from thirty-five years ago in the Lenten Devotional of 1982 - March 26th to be precise.
Just as Christ's resurrection came after His crucifixion, so does the message of Easter bring us new hope for greater peace and happiness in a world now suffering from death, disaster and confusion. As Christ came forth victorious from the grave, we must believe that ultimately we shall conquer the problems of the world through His living presence. Even in the face of conditions which prevail today Christ still manifests Himself in the lives of those who are passing from their Garden of Gethsemane into the darkness of death. Men of all nations are defending their homes and countries against destruction. Whether they be following wise or false prophets, civilization is still reaching out in hope and faith that there shall be a more abundant life in days to come. Faith, hope, sacrifice and love are but the evidence of the spirit of Christ, who prayed that we be taught to dwell in the world but be spared from its evils.