In matters of the world today, the Golden Rule is better pronounced, those with the gold make the rules. It’s sad, but true, and not very Christian-like nor Godly. How did this uniting principle, which Jesus taught on the Sermon of the Mount, evolve from “do to unto others what you would have them do to you” to the least respected and most changed scripture in our sovereign nation?
I’m looking forward to attending a fifty-year high school class reunion soon. Together we will gather, once again, from different walks of life. We began as one student body at a tender age and played hard, but eventually, we spread our wings and flew away to a new life. But beyond the aforementioned, my thoughts look forward to the gathering of this event for united we should stand. Thank God for these memorable moments! Our heritage draws us together, forming deep inside, love and pride we can rest on our shoulders.
My thoughts now divert… what if our political force reigned with the same enthusiasm? Imagine the vitality of men and women working together instead of belligerence.
A little boy sat in the corner with his nose against the wall. He never realized how disruptive he was to other students. The class frowned at him, but he still didn’t understand his misbehavior during the lesson. A bell loudly rang, and kids jumped up from their desks to run to the cafeteria. Yet, a little boy deprived of lunch sat in his confusion of tears.
We prayed for grace as all eyes focused on Thailand. Acting on faith alone, the Thai Navy Seal divers couldn’t verbally communicate with other aids; but they still came to the rescue, joining hands to save twelve of God’s precious children. I bet their coach couldn’t imagine where Satan lived, for undoubtedly this was Satan’s time of evil and sadness. Every eye wept tears of praise for the brave few who conquered the depths of this forbidden cave. The remoteness of our televisions didn’t show the justice of endurance the lifeguards displayed to rescue the young soccer team. The world is a stage while God protected the perseverance of not just the divers, but the world who never gave up hope.
I walked in from another day at work, and I propped my feet up on the table. I laid my head back and thanked Jesus for another safe trip this morning. Staring at my boots, and examining my highs and lows in life, I think of those famous names we all know – have they stayed true to themselves under the bright lights? Do they have anything significant left to reflect on their humble beginnings? How many give God credit for their life of luxury? Let me start by saying, I have many rich and famous who follow my blog. Therefore, it is clear they try to maintain their unassuming relationship with God – bless their hearts! But for every person who praises and gives thanks on a daily basis, there is plenty left in the muck of money.
In honor of my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland
The effervescence of ships lies waiting as dawn’s early light tells the story. The masts are still sleeping, and flags unfurl in dead silence. God’s grace patiently calls this place home. A quiet, tiny town bellows the names of victims as the unexpected has turned into reality. How many more lives must suffer as the story unfolds? Flags at half-mast fly in honor of the fallen.
On this day, may I ask, too, that we honor our innocent, fallen friends (not those in uniform on Taylor Avenue) but rather the ones greeted each morning on their way to work at the Capital-Gazette Newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. It’s my hometown too. God bless their legacies!
What perplexing situations are conquering the headlines today! Newsstands are full of lies and deceit, especially on the front pages. The backrooms and tarmacs leave us little confidence, and spies run rampant. I asked God, is there no conscience in the men of betrayal? Looking back at the unconscionable patriots fighting for a cause, I wonder – what is their purpose? Are they doing God’s work, or are their intentions malicious? Did you know that spying goes back as far as the Old Testament? Let’s explore this age-old state of affairs….
My thoughts wander back to the Mondays of my younger years when I fought so hard to get up and go to work. During my school years, I always hoped a cold, and rainy Monday meant a cancellation. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life and wasted a lot of those precious days, but now I thank God for the ability to face my world of dreams. Today, the first day of the week brings me joy and positive electrons I never felt before now.
I reached for a recipe in the early morning light of the holiday. My family came from far and wide to join in the festivities. We joined together to celebrate life and to thank God for one another. It was an awesome time to make memories. For generations, our family’s tradition included the ever so sweet Currant pie. But as this metaphor unfolds, it makes me wonder if some people can relate.
I watch a variety of birds take turns at the feeder and boy; their life seems so simple. With a hot cup of coffee to soothe my tired, aching joints, I think about my growing up years. My mind wanders back to a different time of life.
It’s 5 am, and the town’s still dark. Flags lining the main street hang low like there’s no tomorrow. Winding roadways glare with oncoming headlights, and my love is calling me home. The dawn’s very early light ignites the sky reminding me there’s still a war yet to win.
My mind shifts gears, and I wonder what happened to the infants of the infantry. Dead men are hailing, and POWs are released all in the name of our Father. It’s time for them to return home to resurrect their family’s lives.
God calls on the dawn to wake the earth, but a shroud hovers as the sun tries to illuminate the land. Saddened spirits are in disrepair – only prayer and our Father can bless the wounded military. I meander up a lazy lane as the early rays break through the branches of the grim darkness. Headstones stand lined at attention for the many memories of men and women who gave proudly to their country. To think of the bloodshed where no one won! Their names inscribed on a slab of marble causes horrific pain. I humbly salute these honorable soldiers.
Years pass and memories fade; our skin grows tired and desires wither away. But only one thing rejuvenates life….
Blooming flowers permeate scents, drawing us into heavenly thoughts. We close our eyes and smile, as only one thing rejuvenates this life….
You age, withdrawn as if society closed its eyes on you. You’re not alone for many feel the same pain creeping through the window pain. I pray our Father unsheathes the frowns of miserable days, filling your life with thanksgiving. Only one thing can rejuvenate this life….
Erase your sorrows of past dormant days! Allow yourself to be reborn, and God will fill your enjoyment of life and love. One miraculous morning, the flower petals will commemorate the reflections of your smile. God’s spirit will lift you up and live on inside you, as only one thing rejuvenates life….
Today, I sit in the sun and watch you shine. A blessing to all who meet you, my brightest star – you are the one who lights my up life in the darkest of hours. Frustrations ride off into the sunset. All things were made through and for Christ, including the joy of happiness for only one thing rejuvenates life…..laughter – and it comes with a smile! It keeps us young, and most all the consequences are forever more.
I told my wife I felt as if I am starting off in the middle of this blog, with no beginning nor an end. It all began with research on questions plaguing my brain about the simple word, amen. For example, do you know what it really means? I read the footnotes of articles which brought me to an inconclusive decision so, I dug deeper. Where I ended up is mind-blowing, especially for those growing up in the era of the sixties. I am from a generation of influential music such as the Beatles, and I even have to contemplate the answers I found to be true.
We all know the biblical story of God’s conception of a special child named Jesus. He was given to us for our salvation and to spiritually guide us in life on earth. But did you know the Lord, himself, never uttered amen? Of the three deities, it was only His son, Jesus, who spoke the word. Many apostles used it in the New Testament including Paul. Translated into our language today though, the underlying meaning of amen means ‘let it be’ or ‘let it be so.’ Well, this information opened a big can of worms!
Let’s fast-forward to the 60s generation. We are all familiar with the song, “Let It Be” written by the infamous Paul McCartney. I inquired how the song originated, and if there was a connection between Paul and Jesus. I wasn’t sure if there were religious ties between them after almost two thousand years, so I dug deeper again.
The music group, The Beatles, grew up in moderately religious homes. Two singers were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics in Liverpool, England. But by 1964, engrossed in fame and notoriety, they each abandoned their religion…. or did they??
In 1965, the Beatles were filming the movie, Help! in the Bahamas. It’s here they were introduced to the Indian culture through a book about reincarnation. Within three years, they migrated heavily into Hinduism, but it didn’t last long for three of the artists – John, Paul, and Ringo. John Lennon, in particular, devoutly rejected religion and even wrote and produced the song, Imagine, in ‘68 which became dubbed the theme song ‘atheist anthem.’
Paul McCartney returned home confused, or maybe even a little disillusioned. There were undertones of the band breaking up, and Paul suffered from severe insomnia. But one night, twelve years after his mother’s death, he had a beautiful dream. He saw her face and eyes clearly and do you know what message she gave him? “Let it be.” His mother’s name, oddly enough, was Mary. What a message of peace!
Paul immediately sat at the piano and wrote the song, “Let It Be,” in one sitting. It later turned into the title of an album. Shortly after that, he met his wife, Linda, and it was one of the first songs they performed musically together. It was even sung at her funeral because it was comforting and healing to Paul. A miracle was put in place by God, for it was almost as if his mother sent Linda to help him spread the message – Amen!
Thoroughly confused, I went back to my beginning thoughts of this blog – the Bible. Christ was God’s amen, so that’s why Jesus never ended a prayer but only started prayers with an amen.
If it’s possible to connect the dots, I wonder if Paul McCartney was and/or is spiritually connected to Jesus? I relish the thought of Paul finding this blog. After all, his mother’s name was also Mary, and she came to him in a dream. Then, he was blessed with the miracle of his wife to spread the message, let it be. It’s a great piece of music! Paul will forever live on through this song…. shall we all say Amen?! Could Jesus, two thousand years ago, had a clue the word amen would translate today to let it be (so)?
Let It Be – lyrics by Paul McCartney
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, “Let it be”
Video by H. Chan
As stories became legendary, customs through the years of the Pharisees and Hebrews became scribed in ink. And the holiest of holy are annual traditions – a commemoration of beliefs we grew up with in life. The rituals and myths may be a bit of a quagmire, but one little-known truth surfaced in the basement of a Southern Gospel Pentecostal church.
It was a beautiful spring day. The sun kissed the blossoming petals, and the winds sailed pollen through the rays of the glistening air. Love was abounding as the fellowship commenced on an Easter Sunday afternoon. A congregation of fifty or so prepared a supper fit for a king. Although I was only passing through, the church made me feel comfortable, and I felt compelled to attend the quaint little service. Afterwards, I was ushered down the steps and into the basement. It was here I discovered true southern hospitality.
The guest’s table was labeled with names in front of each place setting, and flower bouquets stood between platters of food. Crystal, China, and Steiff flatware lined the perimeter. I was so amazed at the beauty of it all! The pastor’s wife instructed me to sit in an empty chair at the far end of the table set for twenty-five attendees. That was fine since being left-handed can cause elbow problems. As everyone found their proper place, one remained empty on the opposite end. I thought little of it as the scrumptious meal made its way around the table – roast, chitlins, not to mention black-eyed peas, succotash, and ham.
Individual plates filled with the colorful spread. As the pastor stood and said a blessing, a vacant seat caught my imagination. I thought someone was probably running late. In the abundance of generosity, conversations easily flowed. Then, the ladies paraded from the kitchen with the pies. Oh, my gosh! Did I say fit for a king – and his court?
I knew not a soul, but they made me feel so welcomed. One by one, folks finished their meal, wadded up their napkins and either tucked them under their plate or set it over the dinner plate. But still, in reverence at the end of the table, remaining poised, was a vacancy place setting with a folded napkin, waiting for another guest.
I could be mounted above a mantel after indulging to the point of being stuffed. The crowd moved outside for a breath of fresh air. I wanted to thank those who particularly made me feel so welcomed. As I reached the doorway to exit into a courtyard, a gentle puff of warm air entered the breezeway.
An elder stood at the door and shook my hand. “It’s so nice to have a bright young man, a new face too, come for our Easter supper.” I smiled and returned the compliment. Then, I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “What happened to the person designated for the place at the opposite end of the dinner table from me?”
He smiled and replied, “You see the folded napkin?”
“Yes,” I said.
He further explained, “If it’s folded, it means they will return.”
“Who?” I asked, “They never showed.”
“Christ,” he said. I was perplexed. He looked at me and smiled again. “We are waiting for His return.”
“6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.”
This story alludes to the interpretation of the linen cloth which was wrapped around Jesus’s head at the time of his burial. The disciples Simon Peter and Peter were the first to arrive at the tomb. They saw the wraps of linen cloth lying in the spot where Jesus was placed to rest. However, the “cloth” put over his face and head were lying off to the side.
Three different versions of the Bible translate this cloth to be a napkin. The NIV version renders it to be a burial cloth, and yet a third interprets it to be a handkerchief. The truth is napkins were not used in the days of Jesus – only a simple piece of fabric.
Though stories run rampant of the validity of this account, it can be noted that it was an unknown custom in Israel. However, some Jewish traditions do support the act of folding a napkin to denote their return to the table.
So, is it conjecture or did this event actually happen? The answer is unknown and requires more research of Jewish customs in the days of Jesus’s life. It certainly makes for an interesting conversation over breakfast!