Good News and Better News … July 18th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3006)

Lady Liberty hillAll the squirrels and sparrows in the woodlands of Pennsylvania did not seem to care.

As I drove through on my way to St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Valley View, these creatures were preoccupied with the pursuit of living–actually, rather excited and vigorous about it. They seemed unaware that political conventions were about to convene or that lunatic killers roam the earth, trying to prove that their god is better or that their lives truly matter.

I realized that I could either imitate my friends in the forest or the commentators on television, who bombard me with the command to be sad or mad.

After all, it seems appropriate to be forlorn or infuriated. Killing is deadly. Worse, it’s terrifying. (That’s why we call them terrorists.)

It seems irresponsible to follow the advice of Jesus and “be of good cheer” or “be not afraid” and “rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” Matter of fact, one of the better ways to be mocked in this day and age is to suggest that things will get better instead of worse.Valley View Map

So I was delighted when I arrived at the church and discovered that the human creatures emerging from their homes had decided to imitate the squirrels and the sparrows instead of the pundits on television, who continue to repeat the same information, hoping it will create greater nervousness and rage with each pronouncement.

Why do we need to be glad? Because we become emotionally unhinged when we’re mad, and mentally depleted when we’re sad.

Gladness releases the chemicals in our bodies which make us willing to go the second mile instead of complaining about the first one.

Gladness causes us to remember times of goodness instead of being partly cloudy with evil.

Gladness is the abiding notion that we still have something to contribute instead of being at the mercy of the people with the loudest guns or the biggest truck.

For I will truly tell you that yesterday the only place of satisfying sanctuary and hope was the church.

  • It’s not because it’s perfect.
  • It’s not because every issue is handled correctly by the clergy.

It’s because we serve a Master who insists on fueling us with good cheer instead of wearing us down with negative reports.

During the service, I watched the people bloom. They brought the seed, I brought the water and God gave the increase.

I watched Pastor Duane encourage it to happen without inserting reports of doom and gloom or trying to balance it out with an overuse of concern. Yes, concern is overused if it has no intention of becoming involved.

Here’s the good news: Jesus told us that even when we’re confronted by those who are persecuting us, we should “rejoice and be exceedingly glad.” Why? Because in the hour of need, our “smarts” might be our only friend.

And the better news is that the only way to tap the full potential of what we’ve experienced in our lives is to busy ourselves living instead of worrying about dying.

Valley View book table

 

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Jesonian: Mike, Carol, Alan, Suzanne, Bill, Alicia, Dan, Becky and All of Us… November 30, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2429)

guns in dumpster

He said he “did not come to be served,” but to be a servant to all.”

Yet we turn Jesus of Nazareth into a religious icon instead of a person of purpose who was out for the best of mankind.

Mike wants to know if you really meant what you said, Jesus. You told us to be “poor in spirit.” So would you do us a favor? Tell those preachers to stop pushing your perfection. It’s not impressive–it’s intimidating. We don’t need you to be perfect–just aware and understanding.

Carol is curious if you really do “mourn.” You told us to do it. But it’s really important to Carol that you’re touched by her difficulties, even if, from your lofty perspective, they seem silly. After all, silly is something we have to discover for ourselves.

Alan asked me to inquire of you if you think “being meek” is an actual power position, or just some pious platitude. Can you show us, in your life and teachings, and in your dealings on earth, how your gentleness actually wins the day?

Suzanne contacted me and wondered whether you still “hunger and thirst” for truth and knowledge. It sure seems like some of your followers have frozen themselves in time, refusing to thaw out and learn much of anything. Can you take your words and spirit and prove to us that God is still growing in His experience of being “Our Father” every day?

Then there’s Bill. Bill’s going through a rough time. He wanted me to ask you if you really are merciful. Are you giving out second chances? Would you consider granting a third opportunity? And Bill knows that in some areas of his life, he requires a fourth go-round.

Do you know Alicia? She wishes to find out what you mean by “pure in heart.” You asked us to be pure in heart–yet can you share in some detail how you continue to be honest with us and grow with us?

Dan wants to be a “peace-maker.” Yet he hears the rumble and rumors of war everywhere. What does it mean to you? That’s what Dan wants to know. Are you still backing nations and cultures? Or are you pursuing any human being who has a desire to bring peace instead of murder and destruction? Is “whosoever will may come” your plan of action? Or just a campaign slogan?

And Becky. Oh, my dear Lord. Becky has had a hard time with people gossiping about her and criticizing her. She reads over and over again that you say, “Blessed are those who suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake.” She just wants to understand how to let it roll off her back without stuffing the pain down in her gut, to resurface at a later time.

And I guess all of us want to know how you expect us to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” when we’re hurt and shunned. It seems to be a bit more of your divine nature than your human one. Did you really have a divine nature? Or were you a human being who discovered the secret of “being of good cheer,” jumped on board and rode it all the way to resurrection?

I guess it’s pretty simple. Mike, Carol, Alan, Suzanne, Bill, Alicia, Dan, Becky and all of us really need you to be more like Jesus, instead of so much like God.

If we understood God, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus.

Can you tell us how you did it?

Would you relate what it was like to be human–just like us–and still find a way to be blessed?

 

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