A Review: Akron ArtWalk, September 5, 2015
2 years ago
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around. -- Love Actually
I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"
So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?
You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.... Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth's expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things--the beauty, the memory of our own past--are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. -- C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
There is a fundamental schism in American cultural, political, and economic life. Theres the quicker-growing, economically vibrant morally relativist, urban-oriented, culturally adventuresome, sexually polymorphous, and ethnically diverse nation and there is the small town, nuclear-family, religiously-oriented, white-centric other America [with] its diminishing cultural and economic force [T]wo nations New York, Feb 26 2001, p. 19
Traveling in Mixed Groups
David Ellis - Pastor, Astoria Community Church, Astoria, NY
Once in the late 1980's, I traveled with a group of church workers from New York City to attend a Christian conference in Detroit. The route we followed, after crowding into an old Ford van, took us across the U.S. border into Canada, along a highway through southern Ontario, and back across the border into Michigan.
At the border crossing into Michigan we ran into a problem. The guard looked into our van and immediately sensed that something was wrong. When he asked for our passports, his suspicions were confirmed. In the van were two Dominicans, two Puerto Ricans, four white Americans and one Honduran. Some were men; some were women. Some were older; some were rather young. Our skin colors ranged from beautiful brown to milky white. With years of experience observing truck drivers and vacationing families, the border guard knew that something just wasn't right. Groups this diverse don't usually travel together. What was going on? The suspicious look on his face told us we were in for a long, humiliating inspection.
Then our driver mentioned, "We are going to Detroit to attend a church meeting." Instantly the guards expression changed, and he waved us on with a smile.
I have no idea whether or not that inspector was a Christian. But he seems to have been aware of something that Christians should never forget. Followers of Jesus are supposed to be traveling in mixed groups. It is to be expected. It is not unusual at all.
When Christ established his church, it was never his intention for everyone in it to look, think and sound the same. He sent us to "make disciples of all nations." He told us that if we "greet only [our] brothers," the gospel hasn't really changed our lives. His word informs us that in his kingdom, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for [we] are all one in Christ." It warns us not to design worship services that cater to the rich and educated yet make the poor feel left out. It promises us that one day we will stand around his throne "in a great multitude that no one [can] count from every nation, from all tribes and peoples an languages." (Matt. 28:19; Matt. 5:47; Gal 3:28; James 2:1-7; Rev. 7:9).
In the eyes of the world, if all the passengers in a van don't look the same, something may not be right. But in the eyes of the Lord, if all the worshipers in a pew do look the same, something is horribly wrong. It is to our Savior's glory for his church to include people of different generations, diverse ethnicities, distinct accents, wide-ranging socio-economic backgrounds and opposing political groups. Anything short of this fails to demonstrate the power of the gospel to transform human lives.
Of course traveling in a mixed group requires some sacrifice on our part. It means sharing the front seat with fellow passengers and taking our turn in the back. It means pulling over when someone else needs a rest stop, even though we would prefer to drive on. It means that we don't always get to choose what's playing on the radio. In other words, it requires us to put the interests of others ahead of our own. It requires us to love. But for those who know Jesus, loving is not a burden. For, as he has shown us, love is the glory of Christ.