Sunday, November 30, 2008

Looking for Hope and Home

hmm, I've got several posts floating around in my head, and I guess we'll see what comes out. Coming soon to a blog near you are posts on "Great books vs. Cultural Literacy," reviews of Twilight, thoughts on Advent, and some other random things.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It doesn't seem to have the same commercialism as Christmas and everything else. This year just seemed different. Black Friday a year ago is when my grandmother went into the hospital for the beginning of the downward spiral that took her Home. I've really been grieving for her this week - sometimes really randomly. I guess that's kind of how it works. 

Today was the first Sunday of Advent, and it was my first time to really participate in Advent in a Methodist church. I've always kind of considered myself Methodist, and been around that tradition, but have spent the majority of my life in non-denominational churches. I've been aware of Advent and the candles and all that, especially when around my Methodist-pastor-uncle's house at Christmas, but it was really cool experiencing and participating in the ancient tradition of anticipating the HOPE of Christ's arrival. 

So I do not grieve as one without hope. I live because Christ lives in me, the Hope of Glory. 

I'm loving Brooke Fraser's "CS Lewis Song."

If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary
Then of course I’ll feel nude when to where I’m destined I’m compared

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan
As I wait for hope to come for me

Am I lost or just less found,
On the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way?
Is this a soul that stirs in me,
Is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?

‘Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb
And avoid the impending birth
Of who I was born to become

For we, we are not long here
Our time is but a breath
So we better breathe it
And I, I was made to live
I was made to love
I was made to know you

Hope is coming for me

Saturday, November 1, 2008

For All The Saints

It's All Saints Day, November 1. 

I think I understood the concept of All Saints Day before I knew what Halloween is. Not to say that all celebration of Halloween is completely Satanic, but why would you want to celebrate fear, death, and darkness when you can celebrate the glory of God as displayed in past centuries and thankfulness for those who have gone before us and left a legacy impacting still today?

My mom and I have been humming stanzas from "For All The Saints" for the past couple of days. 

For all the saints who from their labors rest, who Thee by faith before the world confessed, Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed: Alleluia, alleluia. 

Thou was their Rock, their Fortress, and their might. Thou Lord, their captain, in the well fought fight, Thou in the darkness drear, their One True Light, Alleluia, alleluia. 

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long, steals on the ear the distant triumph song, and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia, alleluia. 

O blest communion, fellowship divine! We feebly struggle, they in glory shine; yet all are one in thee for all are Thine. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Some of my favorite experiences have been thinking/journaling at ancient churches. From San Antonio missions of the 1700s to European churches built in the middle ages to Central American churches built centuries before America was settled, there is something powerful about realizing that the power of the gospel transcends time and kingdoms. 

My faith is strengthened by those who have gone before me. I stand on the soldiers of giants, from the apostles and early church fathers, to unknown missionaries going to the uttermost parts of the earth, to grandparents and great-grandparents who lived the gospel and passed it on to me. I am grateful.