That's right…taking a couple of days off from even monitoring my blog! My gift…no posts for you! Oops, and for me too! I will look forward to posting again though…got some updates for you…some reflections on Christmas and the 12 days of the discipline of the divine hours during this precious season…and more!
So, Merry Christmas friends around the globe! I'm praying for a fulfilling celebration in your life, heart and family…unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!
1. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.
2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you, but don't start anything."
3. Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a salted.
4. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."
5. Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: "Does this taste funny to you?"
6. "Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home!'" "That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome." "Is it common?" Well, "It's Not Unusual."
7. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.
8. Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.
9. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but I couldn't find any.
10. A man woke up in a hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, "Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!" The doctor replied, "I know you can't – I've cut off your arms!"
11 . I went to a seafood disco last week…and pulled a mussel.
12. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.
13. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says "Dam!"
14. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
15. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked, as they moved off. "Because", he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."
16. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in western Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in western Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds,"They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal!"
In other words, we’re all on the table, the culture and all of our lives are terminally flat-lining – the Annunciation should shock us back to reality.
Thomas Merton – in the 1960’s – was forseeing what many of us are experiencing on a day to day basis – reality of most people’s view of the world/life is one dimensional…actually a reduction of all the wonder of what God created and the power of what life actually is…
Merton wrote, “all words have become alike in our world…to say God is love is like saying eat Wheaties – no difference except that people know they are supposed to look pious when God is mentioned and not when cereal is."
Amazing isn’t it – that can't be clearer or more true than during Christmastime.
Miracles these days are reduced to diet pills, figure slimming swimsuits, wrinkle reducing lotions, garden fertilizers…did you know that close to 80 billion dollars will be spent this Xmas – we are so easily deceived aren’t we?
How can this be?
We mix the incarnation with Santa/gift giving and don’t even flinch…
If anything we live out (day by day) the proof that we haven’t bought into a different value system or worldview than anybody else – we all have a not so subtle allegiance to materialism – that stuff is all there is…we are moved more by expensive gifts and technological trinkets that by the most earth-shattering event in history of the universe. We spend more time shopping and getting all stressed out during the holidays than in quiet reflection/worship of the living God being born in a baby into our lives.
There used to be a time when Christmas meant this for alot of people – "Jesus was all you had – so essentially Jesus is all you needed"
This is not supposed to be a guilt trip but rather a call/challenge to a return to forgotten ways – for 100’s of years, people celebrated Christmas simply and the focused on the right thing – the incarnation – God’s amazing love – miracle of what God is doing in this world.
Annunciation – "Do not be afraid for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
Grace and Peace to you through God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I have to admit, I haven’t known Human Responsibility (H.R.) in a personal and intimate way all of my life…but over the last number of years, we’ve built a very good relationship. It is my honor to be able to reflect with you over the next few moments as we talk about his legacy. For in one way or another, all of us have to confess honestly that HR has made at least a small impact on our lives. For many of us we would not be the people we are today without his illustrious influence…so, those of you who are here to honor his memory but you don’t know him that well, please forgive those of us who have known HR well as we become a bit indulgent with our recollections of someone who has made a life-altering impact on who we are today.
H.R. had a bright beginning from the moment he was brought into existence. In other words, it was an illustrious start to a long life as HR was birthed as the twin sibling of H.F., Human Freedom.
Both HR and his twin were born in a place called Eden. HR and HF started to grow and flourish as other creatures inhabited their world…a tender relationship was carved out between HR and HF and those who would become their close neighbors, human beings. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for these neighbors to start playing favorites when in came to the twins. It soon became more than obvious to HR that these humans much preferred HF…it was that relational damage that would go on to chart a specific and eventually destructive course in HR’s life as time went on. When his life journey began, the Creator put H.R. in charge of key decisions. He was a partner with human beings in taking care of the world and engaging in life-giving work that made life purposeful and enjoyable. HR gave these human beings a sense of value as they took him seriously and he taught them how the balance their relationship between the he and his brother.
Then, in a pivotal moment that we all remember, two of HR and HF’s friends, did something that went on to test their relationship with the twins. As I briefly alluded to a moment ago, this moment in HR’s life would go on to be the defining moment for the rest of HR’s years on this planet. I don’t want to belabor a very trying and destructive time in HR’s life, but the decision that A and E made to actually start to abuse HR’s twin brother, HF, was the moment that forever hurt their relationship with HR forever. It would never be the same again…the moment HF was abused, A and E tried to avoid HR. They ran from him like he was an infection preferring rather new friends like Blame, Shame and Death. After a while, this story began to be tragically repeated over and over throughout HR’s life. He was the easy one to try to avoid…it was easy to pick on HF and get away with it because all anyone ever had to do was run away from HR and ridicule him.
I don’t want to go and on about this – but let us suffice to say that HR’s life from that moment on became one of loneliness and desperation. All the years that HR was alive could have been best summarized by the word, “pain”. Every time his brother, HF was abused, which became an addiction for all of Creation’s creatures, HR was more and more isolated. Yes, he had some good friends…Confession and Repentance were close to HR but they too soon became the butt of jokes and appeared as “old school” or “old fashioned” to those who thought they knew better. Over the past years, Individualism, Excuse, and Relativism joined HR’s old nemeses Blame, Shame and Death as those who took precedence over the influence that HR desired to make on life. Apparently, they had slicker and more attractive personalities especially since H.R. was so old. Add that to the fact that HR was, frankly (we all know this) a bit forthright, cranky, and a bit of a pain to deal with, people slowly started to embrace new relationships.
Over the last few years, HR experienced most of the debilitating effects of his loneliness. Governments with HUGE debts decided that they would be more popular to leave to that debt to future generations… famous people looked to their problems as addictions or psychological disorders which gave them permission to embrace Excuse rather than be HR’s friend…others would spend time with Blame looking to genetics, upbringing, the past, the color of their skin, ethnicity or place of birth rather than visiting HR. People learned from “Sponging off the System” and from “It’s your Responsibility not mine” and lastly from “You take care of Me” rather than give HR the time and attention he deserved.
HR passed away from a broken spirit over the last several years. His deteriorating influence and health finally caused him to succumb to deadly forces that sucked the life out of him and left him a lonely, broken, and empty shell. I must say, that I wish there were more like HR in our lives…we needed him and he was the first person we ignored. Heaven forgive us…and may we find some way to honor the legacy and memory of Human Responsibility at some time in our lives!
It is bound to happen more and more…as life is being reduced to its "utilitarian" dimensions, people will be reduced to the amount of cash it takes to sustain life. Decisions in our culture will be based upon a person's usefulness, productivity, or simply on a scale of chronological age that is deemed by some to be more valuable than other ages. This plaque is a good example of what is to come…I admit, there are no easy answers. But medical ethics and a clear definition of what constitutes "life" in our culture will be battlegrounds that are bound to cause angst and division. This is a worldview issue of profound proportions. Once you reduce human life to its "usefulness"; as soon as you choose to deny viewing life as a gift from a loving Creator (but the result of mutations and chemical accidents); and as the "collective" becomes more important than the individual…you've got a melting down of the respect and awe we have of the miracle of life. It is time not only to pray for wisdom as we wade into these controversial waters…but also to begin to be prepared to take a prophetic stand on the gift of life. More to come on this for sure…