Tag Archives: Christianity

And the Winner Is…

My wife, Jeanine, and I completed our annual quest to view the Best Picture Oscar® nominations before the telecast.  Each year, I have tried to predict who would win with only limited success (currently I am batting .500; 3 right predictions in 6 years).  My prediction will be revealed at the end of this post, but first I want to think about our culture as reflected in these 8 cinematic masterpieces.

This blog is not written by a movie critic; I am a minister of the gospel.  As such, it is unlikely that the Academy is considering my particular demographic in their determination of what is ‘best’.  That being said, I watch these films with the hope that I can gain a glimpse of a deeper truth embedded in these movies.  What I have come to see is that all these films include elements of systemic ‘selectivism’ within our culture:

  • The plot of Black Panther revolves around the divisions our world faces regarding race, asking the audience, in the guise of a superhero blockbuster with spectacular special effects, why wouldn’t the richest nation on the planet use its resources to deliver all the earth from societal injustice;
  • The fact-based Blackkklansman retells the story of a black officer in Colorado Springs who becomes a card-carrying member of the KKK, thwarting the ‘organization’s’ plans for violence, and, in so doing, depicts the hate-filled rhetoric some spewed against those of other races, religions and orientations;
  • The biographical Bohemian Rhapsody is largely the account of Queen front-man Freddie Mercury who feels like an outsider due to his mis-identified ethnic upbringing and his sexual orientation, culminating with him and his bandmates becoming “a group of outcasts making music for other outcasts”;
  • The Favourite, described by one critic as a ‘punk Restoration romp’, is an elaborate depiction of the court and courtesans of Queen Anne in the early 18th century where the women lead and the men waste time and money in hedonistic pursuits;
  • The true story of Green Book tells of an unlikely friendship forged by a black pianist and the white driver/muscle he hires for a road-trip concert tour through the Midwest and South in the early 1960s, enabling segregation, racism and ignorance to cast a dark shadow into the theater;
  • Roma is a slice-of-life account of the interactions between a family and some young domestic workers in Mexico in 1971, telling the movie-goer about the living in a culture of class distinction, male dominance and revolution;
  • The remake A Star is Born is about a self-destructive headlining musician and a young songwriter who fall in love, telling the story of the sacrifices we make (and refuse to make) for those we care about while championing the cause of the ‘unattractive underdog’;
  • Vice, a fact-based and speculation-filled movie about the rise to power of former Vice President Dick Cheney, pulls the curtain back so we can see the machinations and manipulations that those in power are willing to employ when seeking to increase that power.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

To a greater or lesser degree, these films all deal with what may be the greatest issue in our culture: division based on gender, race, wealth or sexual orientation.  Some do it with great skill (Blackkklansman, Green Book and Vice) while others must be on so high an artistic level that simple movie-goers like me cannot fully comprehend (Roma and The Favourite).  There is hope: the cultural zeitgeist inherent in these films seems to be reinforcing what the Bible affirms – that every human being is of equally incredible worth and that we ought to champion those who take up the cause of protecting and preserving the value of every soul.  As I watch the Oscars® on Sunday night, I will celebrate the stories of Queen Anne, the Duchess of Marlborough, Ron Stallworth, Flip Zimmerman, Don Shirley, Tony Vallelonga, and Freddie Mercury – reminders of the intrinsic value of every human being.

And the Oscar® (if I were given a vote) goes to Green Book.

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Conversation Hearts

Yesterday, Valentine’s Day, I missed the small pink boxes of tiny hearts that used to be made by Necco.  The good news is that, although the Revere institution filed for bankruptcy and shuttered the factory last year, Spangler Candy Co. (the company that took over the rights to Necco’s iconic brands) confirmed Conversation Hearts would return in 2020.  While I am not a great fan of the product (they tasted like chalk and were always lagging behind the cultural vernacular), they were a good and inexpensive gift to hand to the kids.  Because these confections are a rarely-consumed tradition in my home (like that bowl of mixed nuts at Thanksgiving or those ‘stocking oranges’ at Christmas) I did buy some second-tier Brach’s© Hearts yesterday.

These little hearts that say “BE MINE” or “TEXT ME” or “PUPPY LOVE” or “DREAM BIG”, which may have little or no taste, are not tasteless.  They are simple expressions of affection, comfort and encouragement.   In a world of incessant honking in the streets and ubiquitous trolling on the internet, a tiny piece of pressed sugar with the words “I (HEART) YOU” might be just what the doctor ordered.  We all have times when we need that short and sweet interaction with someone who cares; at those crucial moments we do not want a poem or a lecture – we want a hug, a call or a smile.

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

Imagine if God produced a box of “Conversation Hearts” for you.  Perhaps you would read “BE STRONG”, “BE COURAGEOUS”, “NO FEAR”, “I’LL GO WITH U”, “NEVER LEAVE U” and “NEVER FORSAKE U” (and those are from just one verse from one book in the Bible).  Imagine you could place the hundreds of promises contained in the Scriptures, condensed to a dozen or so characters, in a pocket-sized box.  Imagine taking one out in those discouraging moments and digesting it – chewing on it, enjoying its sweetness and reflecting on all the sentiment includes – and savoring the moment.

Whatever the date on the calendar, you have someone who loves you more than can be imagined: the God of the universe, as demonstrated in the death of Jesus Christ.  It would take a lifetime to apprehend the incomprehensible fullness of this love, but it all begins with a sentiment that can be contained on one of those little hearts.  “I (HEART) U”.  This expression is something like the emotions contained in those crayon and construction paper cards that mothers keep in a special place.   It is not simply what is said but what said by what is said.

It might be a good idea to swing by the grocery store and pick up a bag of discounted hearts, to open them up and read them as if written by God, and to act on them as if certain they are true.  Then, literally or figuratively, hug, text and encourage the body of Christ…and wait for next year to get a pink box of chalky affection.

In Defense of Discipline

For the twelfth time in the last eighteen years, the team from New England has been crowned the World Champion of a professional sports league.  On Sunday night, the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams (13-3) to win the Super Bowl©, causing great delight in this writer’s household and neighborhood.  I completely understand the animus – the hostility – others in regions outside New England feel for the sports fans of greater Boston (after all, this is the second World Championship our rooting interests have captured in the last 100 days, lest we forget the Red Sox’s World Series performance of October).  These are heady times in the hometown, to be sure!

Many have said that, while the Lombardi Trophy will reside at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots won no style points in victory – some have gone so far as to say that this was the most boring Super Bowl in its fifty-three years.  While I understand my opinion might be skewed, allow be to rebut this claim: I concede that if you are a fan of offense, this game (with a single touchdown scored on a two-yard running play late in the contest) was less than spectacular; but football is not one-sided, and the other two dimensions of the game (defense and special teams) were incredible and, with only a few penalties and no reviewed, challenged or reversed plays, both teams made plays worthy of a world champion.

I am glad that the Patriots won, if for no other reason than the shared camaraderie among the diverse demographic over the celebration of the superiority of Brady and Belichick and the best football team evah!  I am also glad that the season is over: there will be fewer people remaining home or leaving immediately after church each Sunday at noon; there will be a cessation of the idol-worship of great (though mostly morally flawed) athletes; and there will be a few weeks before the perceived superiority expressed by some rabid fans over other parts of the country will resurface (when the Celtics and Bruins look to enter the playoffs).  Perhaps in these intervening weeks we can celebrate a biblical truth witnessed by millions watching the big game from Atlanta.

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.  1 Corinthians 9:27 (NIV)

What would happen if the followers of Christ were willing to engage the opponent with a similar attitude toward discipline that the players in the Super Bowl maintained?  What if we were willing to take the blows, in accordance with the rules, to advance the Gospel that National Football League endure to move the ball toward the goal line?  As the game on Sunday night vividly made evident, much of the gains are hard fought and much of the actions of the opponent are difficult to defend.  Nearly two hundred years ago, a New York Senator, William L. Marcy, said, “To the victor belong the spoils”; I think a better expression might be that, win or lose, the spoils (the goods or benefits taken from one’s competitor) belong to the disciplined.

Happily, that was my home team this year.  In the end, win or lose, they all played a great game, and that is something to celebrate… and emulate.

All Greek to Me

My daughter is currently spending a semester abroad at American College of Thessaloniki in Greece.  In addition to taking a full slate of classes, she will (as part of the abroad program) be travelling through Greece to experience its unique culture and (because of proximity) be travelling throughout the Schengen Area of Europe to see the world.  Already, her mother and I have seen pictures and heard anecdotes of all the beautiful places and the delicious foods our daughter has enjoyed.   We are genuinely happy for her for this incredible opportunity and cannot wait until April to live vicariously through her.

While my wife and I have never been to Europe (we do not even have passports), we have the next best things.  We have access to maps which can inform us of all the geography, roads and boundaries of Europe: we can know where everything is.  We have access to episodes of “Rick Steves’ Europe” on PBS and “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” on Travel Channel, both of which have done multiple programs on Greece: we know can everywhere to go.  We have access to literature like Eleni Gage’s “North of Ithaka” and Nikos Kazantzakis’ “Zorba the Greek”: we can know everything to expect.   But that would only give us knowledge, and no matter how much knowledge we might gain, it would not be the same as living in Greece.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

As a parallel, there are plenty of people who know a great deal about living in Christ – through studying the Bible, attending worship services and reading biographies – but are not experiencing life in Christ.  There is a great deal of difference between reading about God’s grace and experiencing His blessings or between singing of His mercy and experiencing His forgiveness.  Simply because someone can quote Scriptures does not guarantee that they are living them out, just as knowing what is on the menu at Top of the Hub doesn’t mean you’ve eaten there.  Knowledge of the culture of Christ’s kingdom is not the same as being absorbed by that culture, any more than reading about Greece is the same as being there.

So, I challenge all those who are reading this to experience what you know.  Knowledge is important – even essential – in the navigation of life, whether we are referring to life which is physical or spiritual.   But “book learning” is not sufficient.  We need to apply that knowledge experientially, to immerse ourselves (intelligently) in the culture of Christ.  We need to experience the fruit of the Spirit, the virtues of grace and mercy, and the love of God expressed in a billion little ways.  Live out the life of Christ in all its glorious splendor.

The culture of Christ, like every culture, is experienced through community.  If you, or someone you know, are looking for a community with which to experience abundant life in Christ, consider visiting us at Calvary.

Disposable Cups and Dying Embers

Am I the only one who wishes that life would be easier?  Am I alone in longing for simplicity in the workplace – there is a job to do, a way to do it and an absence of obstacles to its completion?  Am I the only one who desires that life was a whole lot less messy? 

These thoughts, no matter how comforting, are not based in reality: all of us, and all we work with and for, are – to some degree – messy.  We all have unrealistic expectations, unresolved insecurities, and inexplicable weaknesses.  We all have times when we think we are worthless and our situation is hopeless.  That is the time when we need someone to come alongside.  Thankfully, we have someone: the one about whom Isaiah prophesied and the one who fulfilled this prophecy: Jesus.  Recorded in the Old and New Testament is a picture representing the heart of God for ministry.

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.  Isaiah 42:3a

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out….  Matthew 12:20a

In the days of Isaiah, reeds and bulrushes were literally a dime a dozen.  They were everywhere and, as such, easily cultivated for a variety of menial tasks.  Therefore, only perfect specimens were used and the bruised (bent, blemished or broken) reeds were discarded.  Ancient reeds were of the same value of a Dixie© cup: I take medication twice daily with the aid of those 3-ounce wax-coated paper cups and (to the consternation of my loving wife) I reuse just one for days upon days.  Christian ministry, according to Jesus, values the people around us that the world sees as replaceable and disposable.

At the same time, fire was essential for existence.  Fire was the only source of heat (for comfort and cooking) and light (through hearth and lantern).  Tending to the home fires was a constant chore.  If one were to neglect the flames or use live or wet wood, it would be easiest to sweep the firebox and start over.  If you have ever camped before, you know the work maintaining a fire demands, especially if one does not have a lighter (invented in 1823) or friction matches (invented in 1826); it would be wiser simply to rebuild and relight dry wood.   Christian ministry, according to Jesus, values the people around us that the world sees as difficult and demanding.

The good news is that God has established the Church to ministry to the bruised reeds and the smoldering wicks.   All around the world this weekend, those who might consider themselves nameless and voiceless cogs in the mechanism of life will gather together to remind one another that they are irreplaceable and valuable.  All across the globe, people who the world would label as difficult and unworthy of the effort will come together and worship the One who equips His people with limitless compassion and patience.

Life is not easy.   Life is not simple.   Life is messy.  But, thank God, we have the Church, the people of God committed to accomplishing His will.  Therefore, there is always a place for disposable cups and dying embers like you and me.

Goodies and Good Choices

Last week, I had a conversation with my doctor as part of a routine follow-up (just one of the perks of surviving another birthday).  I am proud to say that all my numbers are improving, thanks to a nutritional plan that he recommended I follow.  Part of the conversation included my continued craving for the doughnut I had been denying myself.  The doctor then stated, “Don’t think about these things as things that you are denying yourself of enjoying; instead, think of all the things you are providing for yourself by your restraint.”  As I think about what he said, I remember that I would rather enjoy cardiac health and longer life than three minutes of refined sugar and saturated fat, however delightful those three minutes may be.

I am a big proponent of delayed gratification (the practice of foregoing instant, but temporary, pleasure with the hope of receiving a permanent, and greater, blessing).  There is a problem that I see as I exercise discretion through delayed gratification: I tend to focus on what I am refusing and neglect to fix my gaze on what I am gaining.  I know that I am skipping dessert when everyone else is indulging; what I need to know is that these tiny steps of obedience are enabling me to spend time with my theoretical four-year-old granddaughter drinking imaginary tea at her make-believe soiree.   These are the thoughts that make baked goods (even the always delicious hermits) resistible.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23 (NIV)

Yesterday, as I celebrated my birthday, I spent a few moments reflecting on my past 53 years and all the things I wish I had accomplished by now.  I spent time ruing some of the choices of my youth (refusing to limit my spending in order to afford some savings, allowing myself to take shortcuts which lessened both my workload and my stamina) and regretted the nevers of my middle-age (never owning my own home, never travelling to Europe).  These moments of reflection upon my dalliances with instant gratification have not discouraged me; they increase my resolve to engage in the sacrifices I must make to seize the future God desires for me.

So, as get up early to spend some time in Bible reading, I pray that I will not focus on the sleep that I am missing but rather upon the deep well of scripture that I am drilling for the day of spiritual dryness.  As I spend time in concerted prayer, I pray that I will not dwell on the television show I am missing but rather the conversations with God and the concerns for others that I am finding.  As I limit my daily caloric intake, I pray that I will not fixate on the dietary restrictions but rather the increased days that discipline will add to my life.

The only way I can remain ‘on track’ for the long haul is not by thinking about each painful step, but by thinking of the finish line.  May we all finish strong the race set before us through self-denial and seeking the greater joy.

A Daily Advent-ure

I have a simple question for all those reading this: when do we stop celebrating our “Season’s Greetings”?  When the radio and television stations return to their regular programming?  When the last Christmas cookies have been eaten?  When the tree and decorations are taken down?  When the final greeting card, initially misdirected by the Post Office, arrives?  Until the next holiday is celebrated? Until the children return to school after their Winter Break?  Once all the exterior lights have been boxed and stored away?  I suppose we all must move on from all of those special gatherings with family and friends filled with all sorts of special traditions and resume the mundane schedule of everyday life, but when?

But what if I do not want to move on from Christmas?  What if I still want to reflect on the gifts of advent – the hope, peace, joy and love that comes through the appearing of Christ?  What if the remembrance of the 1st advent at Bethlehem, has whet my appetite for the 2nd advent when Christ shall descend from the clouds?  While I can dispense with the carols and the cookies, I would like to retain the warmth of the manger, the worship of the shepherds, the hospitality of the city of David and the generosity of God, the Father.

When [the shepherds] had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child….  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  Luke 2:17-20

I want to be like those shepherds, so impacted by the facts and sensations of Christmas that they were undeniably transformed.  Because of the advent, these blue-collar laborers went from sheep herders shaking in fear to pastors leading lost sheep to verdant fields.  They went back to their ordinary schedules with an understanding of the extraordinary sights and sounds of the Savior born in a Bethlehem manger.  They were changed by Christmas, as is evidenced by their propensity for giving glory and praise to God.  They had no special carols or cards or casseroles – they had the Christ and He was sufficient to sustain them.

I will, in the days ahead, put everything that symbolizes Christmas into boxes or, in the case of our tree, onto the curb – all the external stimuli that reminds me of that blessed event two thousand years ago.  But, like the shepherds, I will continue to carry inside me all the sounds, scents and sights that make Christmas special.  My hope is that the inward prompts of these sensational sensations will stimulate my soul to maintain a spirit of glory and praise every day in every place as I interact with everyone.  Instead of celebrating Christmas throughout the year, perhaps I can communicate the hope, peace, joy and love of Immanuel – God with us – for a while longer.

Lord, help me to remember that on every day that ends with ‘y’ that Christ came to inaugurate “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

O Little Town

On Wednesday night, a group of us from the church walked down the hill to the Ashmont T station and sang carols for the commuters.  While we were there, I could not help but notice that Ashmont station is a hub of activity.  There were people using every form of transportation: cars, cabs, busses, trains, bicycles and walking.  There was a steady stream of busy people, some rushing past our makeshift choir and others lingering for a moment but ultimately moving onto other matters.  And there were so many noises: car alarms, public address announcements, stray musical sounds and digital voices from cell phone speakers. 

Yet, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, there we were, proclaiming the joy, hope, peace and love of the Savior and handing out candy canes to those who would take them.  As Philips Brooks wrote 150 years ago, “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light….”  While the rest of the neighborhood was moving about, accomplishing the things of their “To Do” lists, we were being used by God to provide a gentle reminder of the reason we celebrate.  Above the din of humanity, the soft sounds of the baby born in the manger, the angels and Magi who visited, and the good tidings for all people could be heard.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  Luke 2:1-4

Is our experience at the Ashmont T station a few nights ago what it was like in Bethlehem all those years ago?  While it is unclear how many were living in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth (some scholars suggest as few as 300 or as many as 1,000), the biblical account of the events that occurred in Bethlehem are clear: so many people flooded this small village outside Jerusalem because of a governmentally decreed census that living space was at a premium.  There were travelers, noises and activity aplenty and few, if any, stopped to notice the world changing couple that came to town.   The urgency of the moment overwhelmed the importance of the advent, the appearing, of the Savior of humankind.

We, too, can get wrapped up in all that still needs doing that we overlook what has been done.  We need to purchase gifts, wrap gifts, bake cookies, consume wassail, attend parties, visit family, connect with friends, worship on Christmas Eve, stuff stockings and settle down for a long winter’s nap.  We can, like subway commuters and census participants, lose track of what is important as we engage in the things that are urgent.  I pray that, in the midst of all the people, noise and activity of the next few days, you hear the angels’ song and delight in the birth of our Lord.

Honk If You Love Christmas

For many, the Christmas season means spending a great deal of time traveling: a dozen trips in the car battling the traffic to the mall, the annual airline flight to visit the grandparents, or the 10-hour bus ride home from college.  Time on the road or waiting in a terminal is synonymous with celebrating Christmas.  It makes sense, since travelling has always been a part of Jesus’ birth.   I am thinking about a young couple named Mary and Joseph, who were required to travel roughly ninety miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  To put it in perspective, it would be like walking from Dorchester to Hartford.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.  Luke 2:1-3

Sometimes, we might think that the demands upon us to travel are beyond our control and we chafe at the expectation.  That may have been how Mary and Joseph felt.  Caesar Augustus thought he had a good idea in counting everyone in his realm and raise taxes to increase his kingdom.  Because he was the dictator of the entire Rome world, he could do anything he wanted.  So they went, on foot, despite the fact that Mary was ‘heavy laden with child’.  God had a plan for them, and God often has a plan for us.   

Sometimes, we might think that the destination of our travel plans are outside our comfort zone.  That could have been how Joseph and Mary felt as they awkwardly advanced toward Bethlehem together.  It was an uncomfortable situation: they were pledged to be married but had yet to have the ceremony when it was obvious that they were expecting.  Mary was in an uncomfortable condition:  can you imagine walking 15 miles a day for 6 days while 9 months pregnant?  God was guiding their every step, and God is also guiding ours.

God may be leading us to places out of our control and beyond our comfort because there are people in those places that need the hope, the joy and the love that appeared in its fulness for the first time in Bethlehem.  There are people in parking lots and registers who need a smile and a warm greeting.  There are people frustrated by missed connections or missing luggage that could benefit from an act of kindness and a candy cane.  The roads and airways are filled with inconsiderate and self-centered travelers; perhaps God could use you to offer those around you common courtesy and Christmas cheer.

Wherever God has you travelling this month, whether it be across the room, across the street or across the country, know that God has a purpose in your journey – to bring forth a witness to God’s grace, mercy and love to those who may not experience it otherwise.  We could choose to follow Mary and Joseph’s example and remain faithful to God wherever He may lead us.  We could choose to share the delight of knowing the light that shines in the darkness, the hope of nations, the King of Kings and the prince of peace.

May we go wherever we go with gladness and may the gifts arrive unbroken.

 

Photo by Chris Sowder on Unsplash

Wait. What?

Last Sunday, I spent part of my vacation visiting a church not far from home.  The fact that I went to church on vacation is not my point in this posting.  Where we went is also not my point, nor is my point the fact that it was a wonderful service.  What I felt as I sat there, on the other side of the pulpit, can be summed up in one word: distracted.  I was distracted by the worship leader’s broken guitar string (and how he was going to handle the set-back).  I was distracted by the graphics on the screen (and the exceptional quality of said images that the church projected through two large television screens).  I was distracted by those sitting next to me (my boys have nothing softer than a stage whisper) and those sitting a few rows in front of me (who were shifting in their seats randomly and consistently). 

My point is this: we all, even when we have the best of intentions, get distracted by the things that bombard our senses every Sunday.  Perhaps, like me, you hear the radiator hiss or the bench squeak.  Perhaps, like me, you see the head three rows ahead bob back and forth or the lamp on the platform flicker off and on.  Perhaps, like me, you smell the lip balm of your wife or the phantom aromas of pot-lucks past.  Perhaps, like me, you feel an odd breeze or sense your leg falling asleep.  Before you know it, like me, you are missing what the Spirit is saying.

A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  Luke 7:37

As I think about my distracted mind last Sunday, I think about the Pharisee who invited Jesus to his house for dinner.  In those days, eating a meal with someone was a big deal: it represented the importance of the relationship.  As Jesus and the Pharisee were discussing any number of pressing matters, a woman comes in and proceeds to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears.  The Pharisee (and apparently Luke) are fascinated by this woman, wetting His feet with her weeping, wiping them away with her hair and anointing them with perfume and kisses.  Quite the spectacle.

At some point Jesus, knowing the Pharisee’s thoughts and his distracted condition, breaks through and tells the Pharisee a parable about forgiveness.   This serves as a good reminder to all of us: Jesus knows our thoughts and how we are easily distracted, and He is willing and able to capture (and recapture) our attention to show us what we need to see.  Jesus is faithful to His adopted siblings, pulling us away from our daydreams and off our rabbit trails and redirecting our thoughts toward His counsel.  That is what I needed last Sunday, a nudge to ignore the behavior of that woman in front of me and focus (if only for a moment) on the Lord before me.

We all get distracted at times (even on Sunday mornings at 11:40 in Dorchester).  It is good to know that God not only understands, but assists us in catching what we need to hear even when we are not listening.

Photo by Sarah Noltner on Unsplash