Monday, June 28, 2010

See the Good

I have a great Dad. We seem to think the same way; have a similar life view; are both mostly happy go lucky with a tinge of the macabre. I have always enjoyed being around my dad, okay, maybe for a few years during my teens neither of my parents were really on the top of my list of people to hang out with, but the forced contact was usually quite nice.

My dad was recently in a pretty serious car accident, and while the doctors were checking him over with tests and scans, they discovered that 1) he was relatively unharmed by the accident while his truck was totaled and 2) he had a cancerous tumor on one of his kidneys. What? I guess doctors don't usually discover this type of cancer until it has spread and taken over other areas of the body, so his car accident was really a miracle.

We talked on the phone tonight - mostly about my little family's trip to the U.P. of Michigan (WOW! So amazing! More on that later) - but we also talked about faith and religion. About how so many people in our world use religion to tear others down and spread hurt and fear. My dad is such a wise and loving person; such a good role model; such a great person to talk to.

The subject of hatred and fear through religion keep coming up for me lately.

I just read the weekly email from our church and this is what is read:
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

1 John 4:18

"Amor omnia vincit. This old Latin saying means, "Love overcomes all things." There is no obstacle or any destructive force so great that love cannot overcome it. I am reminded of the words of the old French carol, "Now the Green Blade Rises" - a song that speaks of Jesus as a grain of wheat:

In the grave they laid him,
Love by hatred slain,
thinking that he would
never wake again,
laid in the earth
like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again like wheat arising green.

Hatred is one power in this world that seeks to slay love. The rest of the carol is equally vivid in its description of other destructive forces in our lives: grief, pain, and, as 1 John points out, fear. But the power of love is pure and indestructible. The resurrection was proof of that. Perfect love casts out not only fear, but hatred, grief, and pain. The final line of each verse of the carol offers vivid testimony: no matter what we face in life,
"Love is come again, like wheat arising green."
Love overcomes all things.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes the harsh realities of life make me fearful and anxious. Thank you that your love always springs up in my life and gives me hope. Amen."

I'm still not sure if the faith that I have, the love that I share or the prayers that I give truly define me as a Christian, but tonight I know that I don't care one lick about what I am defined as by others. I know that the peace I feel in my heart is the way I determine how well I am following the path the God I believe in has set before me. I know that everyone has the opportunity for that peace and joy - and by everyone I mean every single person on Earth. Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Athiest, Agnostic, or in search of a flock.

However you see Jesus' role in human history, most agree that he was a great man who shared love and respect with everyone he came across in his short life. Man, that is so difficult! But it's a good example to strive for. See the good in everyone. A new mantra for my meditations. Especially when I find myself bristling against someone - see the good.

I hope others return the favor. (Thanks Dad)

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