Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ahaz-ardous Choice (Ugh)

2 Kings 16:10-18
Scott and I are shoppers, collectors.  We love antiques; we love uniques.  One of the shops on South Street makes use of tree branches in such a way we thought it would be an interesting "canopy" in one of our rooms.  A little tulle and some ornamentation later, and Viola!

(This is the original from Mineralistic.)
My thinking is Ahaz was a bit of a collector as well.  He seemed to enjoy collecting bits and pieces of what suited him, and moulding his life around them.  Fine for the family room, but when it comes to worship, God cannot be replaced!  Ahaz was visiting Damascus, saw an altar he really liked, and sent back the specs; it was built by the time he returned home.  As with all new treasures, it assumed a place of prominence in Ahaz's kingdom.  Problem is, Ahaz just eased God's altar right outta there.  God gave specific instructions for how, where, when and on what His people were to worship him.  Ahaz preferred -- well, what Ahaz preferred.  Interestingly enough, while sacrifices were made morning and evening on the new altar, Ahaz chose God's altar as the one on which he preferred to seek guidance.  "There are no atheists in foxholes," they say.  I suppose Ahaz was no different.  When it came down to what really worked, it seems he knew God was the real deal.  Problem was, Ahaz had abandoned God.  The occasional sacrifice on "the right altar" for the sole purpose of gaining the desires of your heart isn't quite the way God has it planned.  God is a jealous God.  He demands an all or nothing kind of relationship.  Wouldn't Ahaz have been so much better off if he'd understood, when you give God your all, nothing can overpower you?  Wouldn't we all?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May I Have Seconds, Please?

Scott and I dropped into “our” pew Sunday morning, and as we settled in and I opened the bulletin, the Communion Offering envelope dropped to the floor. “Communion, really?” I thought, and not in a good way; as I looked to the altar at the elements I think I actually sighed. Even bit back the urge to suck my teeth. I was in “spectator” mode this day; in fact, I really hadn’t felt like going to church at all. I wanted to get in, “do my thing,” and get out. Yeah, I know, it sounds terrible. But how many times have we walked into church as less than eager participants, sat in the pew like drones going through the motions. Other times, we are spiritually “high;” singing with relish, raising our hands, glowing with adoration and fiercely scribbling every word as quickly as possible – devouring the Word. Jeremiah 15:16 says, “When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.” On this Sunday, I was not even in the mood to nibble. And joy? Heart’s delight? Not even close. 

But as I looked up once again to the wine and the bread sitting on the altar, I began to meditate on what a privilege it is to be asked to commune with the King of All Kings. What if Christ had not shared His body and His blood with us? What if there’d been some other ransom? What if God had said, “Fine, your off the hook; have a great life.” This relationship we have been given is just that – a relationship. God desired a relationship with each one of us. He not only designed a way to save us from hell; He not only offered us His very own Son – He restored us to perfection, made us pure enough that He can look upon us, whole enough that we can enjoy relationship with Him. And He wants us to enjoy that relationship, to partake of what He gives us, to use Him for all He has, to become like Him through the power that He possesses. His gifts are ours. His wisdom is ours. His strength is ours. His righteousness is ours. All for the asking. And He wants us to ask – anytime, anywhere. He does not leave us in the lurch. He does not ignore or forget us. He hears our every concern, complaint, plea or cry; He hears when we praise Him and when we deny Him. He loves us that much. And if the God of the Universe is going to ask me to sit down at His table, and dine with Him, absorb his Spirit, partake of His very being and devour His words – call me anything you like, just don’t call me late for supper!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mission Accomplished

I really wanted to stay away from the whole Osama bin Laden thing; I get sick of hearing about the same thing day after day.  I really do.  There are just a few things, however, that I'd like to point out:

1)  Coverage of the royal wedding was at least a full two weeks long.  Would it have been so terrible of the Navy to have given a heads-up on the bin Laden takedown so the news media could provide proper coverage?  "So, Elton, will you be present at the assault?  And Becks, something in black with a plunging neckline?"  T-shirts could have been printed beforehand, Oprah could have had an audience member as a guest correspondent... "Well Oprah, it's a carnival-like atmosphere here today.  The crowd has started singing, 'Come out, come out, wherever you are.'  We think that any minute Osama bin Laden will appear from inside his compound.  Oh, and by the way Oprah, this compound was listed at one million dollars.  It has a salt water pool, high tech security system..."  (And why is it a house or a ranch or an estate, until someone is holed up there?  Then it's a "compound.")

2)  Have you ever noticed, even on COPS and The First 48, that the bad guys never make their beds?  Mother knows what she's talking about, kids.  If you expect to grow up and become a decent, contributing member of polite society, you must make your bed.  And Moms, if little Billy Bob's not making his or her bed I hate to tell you, but...  (And did you notice that list in some of the pictures of bin Laden's hideout?  See, you thought the creators of Batman came up with that one.  Unh-unh.  "Bad Guys 101."  Check it out in the SEALs handbook.)

3)  OK, and spontaneous celebrations in the streets?  I'm glad a deadly enemy of humanity has been eradicated -- whether that means arrested, killed (if necessary), dead of natural causes, whatever.  But is there something wrong with me that I did not take down the flag from the front porch, drape it over my shoulders and run through the library chanting, "USA, USA!"?  Not to be pessimistic, but I don't care what kind of evil it is, there's always enough to go around.  Does anyone really believe this is the end of terrorism, or hatred, or greed?  There need be only one sympathizer for radical ideology to germinate -- and trust me, when it comes to al-Qaeda there are plenty of degenerate sympathizers ready to assume bin Laden's role.  Besides, I think I'd be somewhat of a jerk, too, if I was surrounded by all that sand, had to wear bed sheets, and the best chips available were Magic Masala.  What's wrong with plain old Doritos?

4)  Lastly, major props to President Obama.  Just hours before taking out one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted, he took out Donald trump as well -- ridiculing him with a challenge to prove the moon landing was faked, and to find Biggie and Tupac.  Not only can he finish the job of less popular former Presidents, but he can host the Tonight Show once he's out of office -- or tour with Charlie Sheen!  If Sheen starts to go all "Tiger Blood" on him, Obama can terminate him.  They can call it the "Barak and the Warlock Tour." 

Obama White House Correspondents Dinner

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Moments That Leave You Speechless (or perhaps, should)

On the road...
...the person directing traffic at a construction site directs you into those bright orange cones!

...the person in the left lane with his left turn signal blinking, makes a right. (and flips you off!)

At the store...
...the bill comes to $9.02, you give the cashier $10, fumble around for the extra 2 cents to make her life easier, and she hands you $1.98 change (?!)

...the item that went on sale yesterday is nowhere to be found; as the cashier hands you the raincheck you requested: "Here you go, but you can't use it at this store -- we don't even carry that product."

At work...
Me: "Feeders, Judi."
Caller: "Is there a management person there to help me, or is it just you?"
(I am management, by the way.  Can't imagine which of the two words I said was a sure indicator I was not.)

...your boorish co-worker tells you how rude and obnoxious the lady in the cafeteria is.

Me: "Car number 5-1-1-3-0-4?"
Driver: "No, 5-11-3-0-4."

Co-worker, with at least one degree: "How do you spell 'allegiance?'"
Me, the common haus frau: "A-L-L-E-G-I-A-N-C-E"
Co-worker: "Are you sure?"

At the library...
...your eight year old asks, "Why is he wearing a girl's sweater?" (and she's not using her library voice) :-{

At the bowling alley...
Cashier: "How many?'
Me: "Four games, three rentals."
Cashier: "Wait, wait, wait.  How many are bowling today?"
Me: "Four."
Cashier: "Do they all need shoes?"
Me: "No, three shoe rentals."
Cashier:  "So, four games, three rentals?"

At home...
Scott: "Babe, how do you spell 'straight?'"
Before I can answer, Madison: "Duh, S-T-R-I-A-T.  You don't even know how to spell straight?!"