Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Thoughts

President Obama became President of the United States today. For two years now I have been impressed with the President's ability to inspire. His speech, after he took the oath of office, was no less inspiring than any of his best speeches. He referred to Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians in his speech as challenged America to step forward and put our childish ways behind us. Those childish ways include everything from racism to our greedy consumerism. Yes indeed! It is time to move on. As Christians we strive to build the Kingdom of God... a kingdom of love and peace that puts those childish ways behind us.

Rick Warren gave the invocation prayer near the beginning of the events. I was moved by his words which echoed the President's sentiments, even before President Obama spoke. It was a lengthy prayer... but one, I don't believe, that sought to draw attention to the pray-er. (Appropriate from the one who emphasizes in his books that life and faith are "not about you" but about discipleship.) He finished with the Lord's Prayer: Jesus' prayer. It's the prayer that says it all.

As someone who presides often at rituals and public events I appreciated the gaff that Chief Justice John Roberts made. He goofed when leading President Obama through the oath, causing an awkward moment. Maybe he should have had the words written down, though you would have thought he would have known them pretty well. It doesn't really matter much, but I do think it serves as a nice witness to our humanity. For as much as we would like to build up this earth shaking, watershed moment of first bi-racial President being sworn in by the great Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: in reality it is just two men who make mistakes and get nervous when billions of eyes are upon them.

If these "giants" can make mistakes... If these "giants" can pray from the heart... You can be yourself as you do your best for others and for God. Somehow, putting our childish ways behind us means being authentic in all of our relationships and actions.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Light Shines in the Darkness

Most people are saying "good riddance" to 2008... relieved to have the fresh start of a new year. Around 40% of respondents to an unscientific Chicago Tribune poll said 2008 was the worst year ever. Well... I don't know about that... but it sure was a tough one. I don't need to enumerate the reasons here again. A review of some of my posts from 2008 will remind you of the struggles of the previous year.

What I want to bring to light is some persepctive. If you take a look at human history from the clouds, or maybe even other galaxies, 2008 doesn't seem all that tough. It's is a small blip in God's history. We humans are but a blip as well. Yet God the Creator chooses to make himself known to us through his Word. In the beginning was the Word... and God gives us the chance to hear it.

The Creator didn't stop there. To reveal himself even more clearly to us blips the Word becomes flesh and lives among us. In Jesus we recieve the definitive revealation of God. Wonderfully Jesus does something about this world of sometimes miserable years by promising to establish a new Kingdom of hope and life. Sin won't rule anymore for we are made righteous in his glorious light. "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (John 1:5)."

2008 was not the worst year ever... as bad as it seamed. The light of God's love shined even as people faced the reality of tough times and lamented their decisions to believe the lies of those who would have us worship things other than God. Light shined, nonetheless.

The Light of the World will shine in 2009 as well. We still will suffer the consequences of our sins but those consequences will not destroy us. Many of us resolve to change in the new but I encourage you to no so much change what you do but instead allow God to do what God always does... come to us daily through Christ with love and grace. The light shines, whether you notice it or not. Bask in the light of Jesus... the darkness will not overcome it.