Tag Archives: God

Damn Lies…

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Two days ago I wrote about how big God was. I wrote a sentence about God being big enough to find joy in giving a tired mother her morning cup of coffee while waking up beside a beloved son dealing with the aftermath of addiction.

I wrote the coffee part thinking about a friend who sends out pictures of her frothy cups regularly. She’s far away now, but the pictures make me remember our mornings together. Yesterday this friend texted us, her coffee girls, that her brother did not wake up to deal with the aftermath of his addiction.

I don’t know what form his addiction took, but it doesn’t seem to me that there is a sin as old as this one, the belief that something good is being withheld from you, that those who love you most don’t understand. The belief that you will take, ingest, and be wise.

How bodily this form of lie, how physically it works. Its consequences are old and the same.

Consequences come last and so I think its easy to confuse that they are given us in response. It can make your loving Father seem judgmental or spiteful. But the consequences were always there first. The consequences are what necessitated the prohibition in the first place.

I’m so sorry, friend.

Big…

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I remember being a little girl driving home at night with my Dad. Everything was black except for the long stream of Los Angeles highway running bright with headlights in one direction and bright with taillights in the other direction, the only demarcation of the rolling hills being the offset lines of red and white. Into this meditative silence my Dad said, “God knows all these people. He loves every single one of them.”

I had a similar moment this morning as I rode the bus to work. There were so many different people, so many different types of attractiveness, so many different ages. I was thinking about my morning as a parent getting dizzy vacillating between the emotions of only three small humans. But God is a Father to all these people. And I found myself wondering at how it must feel to wake up with the emotions of billions. How do you wake some up with singing and others to the worst day of their lives? How do you take joy in giving a tired mother her morning cup of coffee while dealing with the despair of a beloved son waking up on Van Ness in the aftermath of addiction?

God was suddenly that big again, bigger than the California-one bus line, bigger than San Francisco, bigger even than the infinitesimal system of Los Angeles freeways. He’s that big.

Christ is Risen…

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Christ is risen!

I spread the white tablecloth last night, a particular sacrifice when I know jam, strawberries, and chocolates are the order for breakfast. I made flaky orange scones studded with cranberries which are a tradition I’ve adopted from my husband’s childhood. There was a smattering of jelly beans across the tablecloth and in the middle I placed our lent box, cross upright, black cloth banished.

Happy Easter!

Easter Sunday: He is Risen Indeed!

Where to find it:
A Child’s First Bible: p.232
Jesus Storybook Bible: p.310 “God’s wonderful surprise”
Bible: Luke 24:1-9

Reading:
Today is Easter Sunday. Do you remember how happy God was when his baby son was born, he told everyone! He sent angels to the shepherds and a star to the wiseman. On Easter morning he sent an angel again. The angel gave them the good news, “He is not here, he is risen just as he said!” And then Jesus himself went to his friends. He even ate breakfast with them to show them that he was really alive again. Jesus had beaten death, and death couldn’t win anymore where Jesus was. Just like death cannot hold you when you have Jesus in you.

There is a special thing we say on Easter morning. We say it three times, once for each day that Jesus lay dead in the tomb. I say “Christ is Risen!” and you respond with “He is risen indeed!” Let’s do it now!

“Christ is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”
“Christ is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”
“Christ is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”

Lent box activity:
The black item over the cross can be removed prior to Sunday morning. When the morning dawns the purple cloth or construction paper sash is already over the cross. If you like, you can take turns tracing the path from the Nativity to the cross past the tokens in their order.

Beginning questions:
What’s your favorite part of the Easter story?
What’s the most confusing part of the Easter story?

More questions:
What is the part of the Easter story that’s the hardest to believe?

Family question:
What is our best family Easter tradition?

Family Activity:
Go to Easter services and rejoice!

Family Prayer:
“Risen Lord, thank you for beating death. Thank you for your rescue plan that lets us be close to you again. Thank you for living in our hearts so that we do not need to fear any more. Help us to know that when you look at us you see Jesus. Thank you for being our brother, Jesus. Thank you for being our Father, God. Praise the Lord! He is risen indeed! Amen”

Christianity Needs a New PR Machine…

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My son had an art piece selected for a school district show at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

(“I used watercolors, pencils, and sharpies. They let me use sharpies. How come you never let me use sharpies?”)

It’s one of the art museums I haven’t been to since moving to San Francisco. And my reluctance was validated as I faced my first full gallery of Asian idols. I just get a heavy feeling in my stomach when I see them, even the fellows hanging out in the entryways of Asian restaurants with fruit and money arranged prettily at their feet. They make me need to pray.

And this gallery was filled with Shivas and Krishnas. I walked through the first two rooms quickly, trying to appreciate the artistry, the antiquity.

And then it caught my eye. I stopped suddenly at a small glowing thing, a perfect ivory sculpture over three-hundred years old entitled “Christ as the Good Shepherd”.

It was of a small boy with a lamb on his shoulder, a lamb tucked around his feet. A girl at the bottom reading the Bible was identified as Saint Catherine in the tag.

This ivory boy was so at odds with the four-armed warriors, the serpent crushing monsters, with their supernatural bodies and sharp teeth.

It occurred to me afresh how ridiculous it is to follow a God who would become an ordinary human baby, a gentle man who would submit to die for love of brothers, sisters, and Father.

I thought about Christianity’s PR machine that was going around India three hundred years ago amidst bejeweled deities trying to sell the idea of a baby born in a stable who didn’t even scare sheep, a homeless king who would submit to a criminal’s death out of love.

The other gods’ stories ring hollow, stories of vengeance and lust, of trying to prove their strength and superiority. How glad I am that my God is so confident in his authority that he would unhesitatingly submit to the only plan, the base and humble plan, that would bring me once again into his family.

Small, glowing, and brighter than the thousand more impressive sculptures, my little baby God conquered the room.

"Christ as the Good Shepherd"

“Christ as the Good Shepherd”

Week 3: The Baptism…

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So far, this Lenten activity is going over gangbusters with the kids. They ask about it often throughout the week. I mean, I’m definitely finding ways to improve it. And when I put that dish of sand down things can get rather out of hand. However, I’m really liking it for us.

Here’s where you can find the previous activities:
Ash Wednesday
Week 1: The Nativity
Week 2: Jesus in the Temple

Happy and Holy Lent to you all!

3/8 Lent Week 3: Jesus’ Baptism

Where to find it:
A Child’s First Bible: p.170
Jesus Storybook Bible: p.200 “Heaven breaks through”
Bible: Matthew 3:13-17

Reading:
Today is the third Sunday of Lent. Today we read about Jesus’ baptism. When God was preparing his rescue plan he sent prophets to tell his people that Jesus was coming. When Jesus was born he sent angels to tell the shepherds and a star to tell the wise men. God even sent John the Baptist to tell the world that he was finally here. And when Jesus was baptized God himself sent a dove and with his own voice told the people that Jesus was his son. By getting baptized Jesus was telling the whole world he was following God’s plan.

Lent box activity:
Have a family member place the token for week 3 in the sand. It can be a clear marble, a decorative glass stone, a small dove figurine, or a piece of foil cut into a teardrop shape to represent the waters of baptism.

Beginning questions:
Who does God say Jesus is?
Does God want us to know his plan?

More questions:
Have you ever told the world that you were following God?
When did your parents get baptized?
Did anything change for your parents after they were baptized?

Family question:
What is a behavior or habit in our family that changes or stops if we remember that we are new creations washed clean? Name calling? Yelling? Impatience? Unkindness? Busyness?

Family activity:
This week decide as a family on one behavior that needs to be washed out of your family, whining, arguing, unkindness, hitting, complaining, negativity, or sarcasm, for example. Decide together to eradicate this behavior by remembering and reminding each other that you are new creations in Christ.

Family Prayer:
“Saving Father, we thank you for your great power to redeem. We remember the way that you claimed your son Jesus at his baptism and we thank you for claiming us, too. We ask that you would give us the strength to claim you every day and live as those new creations washed clean. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”