Sep 30, 2010

Dibs on Certain Times

Many of us can remember that Sunday morning and Wednesday evening were times set aside as “church times.” This meant that no one else—not schools or the Elks or Kiwanis or Girl Scouts or music lessons or “anything else in all creation” could separate us from the time of prayer and worship that we need as human beings.

Today we live in a hectic time and everyone needs a space of quiet tranquility for reflection. But the world now schedules Sunday morning and Wednesday evening as if sacred time is of no importance and of little consequence to our life as human beings. When church folk complain, the world says “who cares in the free market of ideas—you need to carry your own water!”

You can imagine how amused I was when I read what Jennifer Floyd Engel wrote as she was outraged by TCU and SMU daring to play football on Friday night. Her commentary was in Saturday’s Fort Worth Star Telegram (22 September 2010) and in part suggested:

DALLAS -- Let us begin this a.m. with this tiny little rant because it needs saying: Friday's TCU-SMU game was covered under protest, at least by me.

College football should not be played under The Friday Night Lights, not anywhere and certainly not in Texas and certainly not by two coaches who rely heavily on the hard work of the Friday guys to load their teams . . . .

Her point was, of course, that Friday night is sacred to high school football and no one—even SMU-TCU—should infringe on this hollowed time for football under “The Friday Night Lights.” When the church protested this kind of state of affairs with respect to people infringing on “church time” years ago, no one then or now seemed to raise much more than an eyebrow.

Perhaps we should contend for Sabbath on at least Sunday morning. Sabbath keeping achieves two vital outcomes for God’s people. First, God tells God’s people that “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy Sabbath of solemn rest to the Lord.” Sabbath is a day to rest. If we fail to respect the Hebrew seriousness of this injunction hear the rest of this verse: “Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death” (Exodus 35:2). We can thank God we today are not this severe!

Second, Sabbath is a day of remembrance. On the Sabbath we have time and occasion to ponder about what God has done for us. Deuteronomy 5:15 puts it this way, “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.” Thus, Sabbath is a day of rest and a day of remembrance. We all need this time. When God completes creation, then God rests. God also invites us to rest as well.

Many things are up for grabs in our world today. Perhaps we should protect our Sabbath time like Jennifer Engel wants to protect Friday night high school football. Each is important, I suppose, in its own way.

Sep 10, 2010

The Apology

I am so sorry but after a fitfull night and little sleep I woke up in a dreadful mood. I discovered I had an irrepressible urge to show my displeasure at life by burning something.

Sep 4, 2010

On Corrupting the Innocent

Sometimes as I go back and read random notes, I discover something that was especially delectable as a slice of human behavior. Recently I ran across one such note.

Lloyd H. Steffen wrote in The Christian Century how when King Frederick II, an eighteenth-century King of Prussia, visited a prison in Berlin, the inmates tried to prove to him how they had been unjustly imprisoned. All except one. That one sat quietly in a corner, while all the rest of the prisoners protested their innocence.

Seeing him sitting there oblivious to the commotion, the king asked him what he was there for. “Armed robbery, Your Honor.”

The king asked, “Were you guilty?”

“Yes, Sir,” he answered. “I entirely deserve my punishment.”

The king then gave an order to the guard: “Release this guilty man. I don’t want him corrupting all these innocent people.”

Every now and then one understands the truth and the truth will set that person free.

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