Monday, January 31, 2005

Communion and Elections

The Iraq elections have taken place and as of yet there is no stated winner. I've spent some time thinking about that whole situation. I have cousins who are in the service and they mean a lot to the family. I have no idea how a person says good bye to their spouse like that not really knowing what may come. That is sacrifice.

Yesterday my pastor and I shared the teaching time. I also lead in the communion time. We take communion every Sunday morning. We form two lines down the center isle and come toward the front. We have a baked round loaf of multi-grain bread held by someone standing in the middle. That person has a person holding a cup of juice on either side of them. We break a piece of the bread and dip it in the cup and consume it and then return. I have always liked how Hillside has communion. Before we come up someone leads in a reflection or a few thoughts about communion and then leads the congregation in prayer. That was my job yesterday and I would like to include that here.

"The Iraqi elections are going on right now. All the world is watching. It is times like these that we pray that God would raise up strong and mighty men and women, people who are brave and wise. We pray that God would open the eys of the hearts of those who have nothing but hatred toward those who think differently than them. We pray that the blood on teh streets of Iraq will give birth to a beautiful nation of hope. Let us not forget how strange it is in these times to change leaders of a nation without bloodshed or civil war. We live in a special place.

"As we come to a time of taking the Lord's Supper we are reminded of the bread and the cup. Jesus, in Matthew chapter 5, said that those who hunger and thirst for what is right and just will be satisfied. When I see that verse and I look at the world and what has happened at the watch of every generation I realize that our satisfaction might not be gained while we are still breathing. That it might actually be when we stop breathing and see our Savior and Creator face to face that we are satisfied.

"Bow with me, please. God, much is wrong in our world and we need your help. Please guide the leaders of our country as they change the future for each one of us. Bring stability to Iraq. I have a cousing, Steve, who is there. He means a lot to his wife and his two kids, as do those who have lost their lives in this epic struggle. Let us not fail to realize that hte Iraqis have the same feelings of hurt and concern that we do as 14,000 of them have lost their lives. We understand that democracy is not the cure for the world. It is a gift, but it is not a cure. For you yourself, Jesus, were not born under a democratic and free government, but under a pluralistic and persecuting Roman Empire, but you changed it. The cure is a right relationship with you, God, through Jesus, who is reconciling the world to you through his resurrection from the dead. Amen."

PR for 2

Hey, I just want to dedicate this short space to two friends of mine who have some pretty good thoughts.


Her choice of words astound me and they way that she can formulate thoughts and interweave life with emotion is unmistakebly genius.


He is a dedicated and hardworking guy. He loves to think about things in subtle ways. He can tell a good story. He is one of the best musicians I know.

I'll try to include these on the border of this page as I figure the format I want.


Friday, January 21, 2005

Of Laughing Clowns and Smiling Saints

I have been captivated of late by the very notion that the Most High God is interested in every aspect of my life. I think that at times I have seen God as a serious problem solver kind of person because I only go to him because of my troubles. Over Christmas I was able to spend time with Barb's family. We all get along really well together. Bev, her sister, and Kurt, Bev's husband, are really easy to talk to and I really feel that they are a huge support to our lives here in California. Bev and Kurt's two children, Lillian and Conrad, are so much fun to be around. Making up games with the kids and laughing into the late night with Bev and Kurt, while thinking about God being interested in every aspect of my life, really made me see that God is not just interested in my stepping through the church doors or cracking open my maroon covered Bible. He delights in me. He has this outrageous fascination with me. And when I put all of this in the first person it has much more of an effect than saying, "God loves the world. God loves all of us." No, I must say to myself, "Jason, God loves you. And when I say 'love' I mean with the same fun and dangerous love that you share for your family."

My pastor and friend, G. Prince Altom, gave me a few books to look at as we are planning a mid-week night of ministry of the Word and Prayer. One of those books is "Prayers for the Domestic Church," which exalts the place of the home as a major influence of the life of the church-goer. After reading in Scripture I took up the book and browsed again the table of contents. I came upon one that captivated me. It is in poetry style but I'll include it here in prose.

"Father and God of Fools, Lord of Clowns and Smiling Saints, we rejoice that You are a God of laughter and tears. Blessed are You, for You have rooted within us the gifts of humor, lightheartedness and mirth. With jokes and comedy, You cause our hearts to sing as laughter rolls out from us.

"We are grateful that Your Son, Jesus, the master of wit, daily invites us to be fools for Your sake, to embrace the madness of Your prophets, holy people and saints. We delight in that holy madness which becomes medicine to heal the chaos of the cosmos since it calls each of us from the humdrumness of daily life into joy, adventure and, most of all, into freedom.

"We, who so easily barter our freedom for illusions of honor and power, are filled with gratitude that Your Son, by His life, has reminded us to seek only love, the communion with each other and with You, and to balance honor with humor..."

So, I say this as I type, "Blessed are You, Lord our God, who invites us to become holy fools."

The Lord be with you.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Good novels and good stories start in the middle. Every story, like every person, has it's own history. Mine is not unlike anyone else's as I've tried to get a clearer understanding of who I am, how God created Jason to be and how I am to live that out. I live it out not so that I can show the triumphal spirit of man, but to show that God is beautiful and just and is madly interested in me. Those early days can sometimes be romanticised or even idolized, but I must not kid myself--those days were hard and those were the days of my slavery. God has come to me and his has delivered me. He has delivered me from more than hell and he is giving me more than heaven.
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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Sordid Romantic Literature

Ah, yes, romantic literature. It has never quite caught on in my mind. I always pass them up at Wal-Mart and Target and every other book spot I go. I just don't get a thrill out of seeing a cartoonish half-shirted male holding a gumby like damsel as if they are in the dip part of a Salsa dance. However, today I decided to read Song of Solomon in the Bible. Wow! Now that's inspired Scripture! I've been asking myself lately, "Do I believe that God is in love with me?" I must say that most of the time I am quite disinterested in my life, so why should God be any different, but I think that the fact that he is God makes him different. Anyway, there is much to say about this but my computer screen is fogging up. Read it and see.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

365 more days to go

Happy New Year's to you and yours.

I know that right about now we are all learning more and more about the tsunami in south east Asia. We are all caught by the destruction, which I will not mention here for I know that we have seen it on video tape over and over. NASA provided some interesting photos from space, which makes we wonder why NASA was watching Indonesia anyway and who else are they watching. I'm not a conspiracy guy, but I just wonder.

It's confusing at times watching television. I can do from seeing the tsunami to a football bowl game to a cartoon to a cooking show to a shop-at-home program in just 5 seconds. That's a wide range of emotion to cover, yet we do it again. With everyday life we don't get that flux of emotion. If someone pisses us off in our family or at work we have to deal with it and wouldn't necessarily go play a board game, yet we do that with television. I wonder if that makes us less likely to believe that what we see is actually real. I don't know.