Another of our church members and friend was called home to Heaven yesterday. Bill was in his one hundredth year and would have completed it in five months.
I happened to read Hebrews 9:15 this morning, For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—
It made me question who are the called and suddenly the thought of Bill came to mind. I’m sure the scripture has another meaning but I am comforted that my immediate reaction was that he was called home.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Rev. 21:4
To those of us who know about him, or better still, know him, just seeing these two words is a blessing. They fill us with hope, faith, peace, happiness, awe, expectation…
But to others, these two words are used as a curse. Why? Because they don’t know any better. They don’t realize that he was an actual man who walked the face of this earth over two thousand years ago; who was a born leader, a teacher, a philosopher, a son, a brother, a friend, miracle worker…
I prefer to believe this rather than think that people know of him and still use his name as a curse. That would not only be disrespectful, cruel, cutting, but blasphemous.
So why not use anyone’s name as a curse? There are plenty of historical names that could be used, names of people who were known as destroyers of humanity by their evil deeds. Or why not just any ordinary person’s name. Why not yours or mine?
The fact is Jesus Christ did once inhabit a place on this planet as do we today. The fact is that he does not deserve to have his name “dragged through the mud”. The fact is that he obviously has a place in our consciousness or we would not be using his name in any way.
Whether or not we believe that this man was also the Son of God, it is incumbent upon us to rethink how we utter his name.
Blessing or curse?
Now that you know…choose…
Today is Maundy Thursday, the last Thursday before Easter, wherein the Last Supper of Christ and his disciples is celebrated throughout Christianity.
At our church, we celebrate with a pot luck supper, communion, and a program performed by our children’s ministry. Although it is typically a solemn occasion, the camaraderie is comforting in preparation of Good Friday, the day of Christ’s death, which will be commemorated by a service in the morning at 10 a.m.
And finally, Easter Sunday…He Is Risen!
These three days are typically Holy days, with Saturday being a day of preparation for Sunday’s celebrations.
Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, aside from Christmas are the holiest days of the year in Christianity.
God Bless and Happy Easter.
The reason…and there are many of them…that we celebrate Christmas on December 25th is secondary. Celebrating the birthday of Jesus every year is really what Christmas is all about. It is remembering that he was born, lived an exemplary life, for approximately thirty-three years, and died an agonizing death. It is remembering not that he lived and died, but that he died and lives…lives in the hearts of those of us who believe, lives to reach out to those who do not believe, and lives to give real meaning to the event that is the most widely celebrated on our planet…Christmas. Let me share a poem I wrote in 1995 while pondering the idea that Santa Claus seemed to be the the reason for the season in many minds.
THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS
The wonder of Christmas,
The birth of a Child,
The angels are singing His praises,
The people rejoice
At the sound of His voice
Echoing down through the ages.
Hope, love and laughter,
Peace and goodwill,
The message resounds loud and clear,
The birth of God’s Son,
His gift to us all,
This is the wonder of Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good life.