Happy Birthday, Love.
I know “dates” are no longer part of your life, as calendars are not, either, but “Mine” –
I am still here, and without you. And I, like your wonderful daughters, cannot forget the dates that always meant something special to you and all of us. And this date is one of those, big-time, My Love. You are frolicking in the eternity of the Lord, we still reside in this vale of tears. You know I get it, understand it, still write and preach of it, but I still must deal with the fact that we live on opposite sides of the eternal river.
And it still hurts. I suspect it always will. The very nature of the Love of Christ we had and the extreme good fortune to share for our years together made it special beyond any words I know. We experienced highs and lows and everything in-between. You now have all the highs, I am left with the “in-betweens” and lows. The proverbial vale of tears.
But – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of those things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
You already know how true that promise of Faith is. I have to believe in my own humble, faulty way. Days like today make that difficult for me. And I understand it is because I miss you so very much. But please, Mine, do not pity me. We both knew it going into it all in the beginning, and you got home ahead of me. Theologically (Gee – I wasn’t too dogmatic, was I?) – I know it and understand it, but all the same . . .
I still miss you. So very much.
While your birthday is now a matter of eternity, which I cannot know or understand yet from this side, I still wish you a Happy Birthday – because I must.
I am still on this side.
Mark 5:21-43 – Sixth Sunday after Pentecost – 070118
And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”
And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
In a way, this Gospel text is a short synopsis of the momentous things to come. The woman with the issue of blood – in fear and trembling kneeling – her faith, grasping the healing forgiveness that is the ESSENCE of our God come in the flesh, the Christ that is had only by faith; and the “Talitha cumi,” “Little girl, I say to you, arise” spoken by the Lord (I say to you) – to the daughter of Jairus, ruler of the local synagogue. Death to sin, and leaving death to live in Life – precisely what Jesus Himself would endure on Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. The parallel could not be any clearer. I like to call this reading the Gospel in a Nutshell. One could tack an “Amen” onto the end of it and call it a sermon. But I want to address my title and theme especially –
And They Laughed at Him.
We live in a day and age when most of what we were taught growing up has gone by the wayside. In general, it is call the “Post-Christian Era.” We see it in the dereliction of things spiritual in church bodies that once were stalwarts in confessing the Faith. No church-body seems to have escaped the effect, not even our own. Society, welded to technology, has so many “not needing God or the Faith at all,” as they see it. The aberrations we see in society, in families, in churches – in my lifetime I have seen such a degradation of matters spiritual that I find it often difficult to address. The question – “Have we all lost our minds?” – can no longer be taken lightly, for it very well seems that might be the case.
And They Laughed at Him.
Are we really any different than those who lived when Jesus walked upon the earth? Well, we do walk around like zombies with super-computers we call phones in our hands – sometimes using them while driving the self-propelled chariots – our cars and SUV’s, so I suppose in some ways we are different than they. But not really, because in and by the lives we live, it is still with us as it was then . . .
And They Laughed at Him.
Let’s get down to the proverbial brass tacks. Due to sin, and the satan’s never-ending efforts, most look at their lives, and then the life Jesus calls them to – and most go with the known quantity. They/we are living in this life and world, we see the gross sins some commit, but we can’t imagine ourselves to be “THAT” guilty of sin, and so rather than making the connection, and take Christ at His Word that only He is Life – we call what are truly sins on our part, mistakes. And we miss the truth.
When God warned our first parents not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of God and Evil, lest they were to die – they ignored Him first by changing His Word, then doing what the satan lied to them about doing, and telling them they would NOT die. But they did, and all since have, and those of us still breathing – we will be unaware, but nonetheless present at our own funeral. Sin kills. Yet the world?
And They Laughed at Him.
As they did then, so we do now. Every time we minimize our sin, we minimize or obliterate our need for Jesus and the forgiveness and eternal life only He can give in the Word, and at the Holy Altar in His Body and Blood. I told a good friend once who was excusing himself from the true nature of his sin, or need for Christ “Ya know, the last thing you want to hear your own voice say on the Last Day is ‘Uh, oh!'” No laughing then!
Jesus made a clear mockery of the crowd laughing at him, and did it in such a way that I have always caught and understood, but oh-so-many other commentators on this text seemed to have missed altogether.
Jesus went into the room of a dead young girl. God has always said sin leads to death – not merely those we commit, but due to our very sinful natures. Jesus spoke His own Word to her: “‘Talitha cumi,’ Little girl, I say to you, arise.’” And . . . she did. And next?
(Point to the Altar and Communal elements) “Give her something to eat.”
Word, Sacrament. In order, by Christ’s clear command. The results?
We shall also rise from death.
Don’t laugh anymore. Jesus is a man of His Word – believe and live.
Anyone getting what is happening?
I suspect most would say – “Huh?”
But it’s happening.
Those close to me know I have been warning, for many years, of what is presently transpiring before our eyes in society. That there was something moving far deeper than just the usual political morass seemed clear to me. Much was afoot, but few knew or even seemed to care.
And I have written of it all many times, but in muted terms, or as one of my vocational persuasion might tend to do, in various and directed applications. But when one with the calmest of demeanors, and a genuinely devout man, puts it out there, so to speak, it quickly captures my attention.
True, I know of some brethren actively discussing matters on FB. But I have, since day one, avoided that governmental data collection agency, just as I avoided the mindlessness of present-day phones, which mesmerize their objects of attention to a grossly unnatural degree, as they record everything. For whom? Merely “advertisers?”
I cannot be sure if we are watching the beginning of the end of the left, or its move toward a final ascendancy. Better thinkers than I have their opinions out there for all to read – and from both sides. Being an optimist by nature, I tend to think that is a good thing, but I cannot be sure with any certainty. There is also a great amount of volatility as well, although most all of it seems to be manufactured and produced on call, and as another writer said – not nearly as large as we are being led to believe.
From the beginning, my concern has always been the One Holy Church and our ability to be about the task given us by the Lord to do. It does seem in many ways, that said ability is being hindered, but I tend to see it a bit differently in that I think the premier “fault-line” of the commie left, is that as they seemingly ascend, they are likewise now fully exposing themselves for what they truly are. That is not a profitable mix for “progress.”
On the other hand, I am also more than aware of the fragmentation of the Church, which seems to be progressing merrily along, gathering even more adherents from those once calling themselves faithful. That is flowing directly from the societal upheavals, without question.
Toss a dime into a crowd, and 10 self-certified prognosticators will step forth and tell you what is and what is coming. By faith, I know what is ultimately going to occur, but I am just as certain not one of us knows what will happen previous to that moment, except to say, prophetically speaking, it doesn’t appear ideal scenarios are in our immediate future.
In the end, it’s in the Lord’s hands. Determining which way things turn is above my pay grade, to be sure.
I took notice that one of our Synodical colleges “lemminged” itself. No real surprise – one paying attention could see it coming. The only question is how long will it take Synod and the responsible officers to take the necessary steps in response? This all should prove interesting. I know there are similar rumblings at my own alma mater, which while somewhat distressing personally, is not unexpected either, given their neighbors across the street and all. S2 will get that one!
On a far more positive note, what was a tragedy in its own right, is now becoming a bit-by-bit miracle. Perseverance is a hallmark of the Faith. Good to see!
Sudden spike in readers. I never know why – since I garner few comments. Then again, I don’t set out to do so – never have. This is not a diary per se, but I do use it to express myself as needed. Anyway – welcome to any visiting my humble joint.
With that, I am off yet again in search of my desire to write. Lost it somewhere in the last weeks. Happens. Besides, the news of late has my attention in a big way. Many Questions. Answers slowly coming out.
Among the Sierra Mountains, California (1868) Albert Bierstadt
There is simplicity in this painting that points to the sublime majesty and, might I add, the grandeur, of the Lord God Almighty.