Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Nazarene from Bethlehem

     While reading through the passages in John chapter 7 where the people question how the Messiah could come from Galilee, and not from Bethlehem as the Prophets said he would, a thought struck me - why did Jesus not clarify the whole question by telling the people plainly the story of his birth? Was it because they wouldn't believe him? That very well could be the reason. We know from the Gospels that the Disciples knew the story, but whether Jesus himself told them, or whether it was Mary, His Mother, after the Son's Ascent, is a mystery. My own guess would be that Mary told them, since the narratives in the Gospels are very much from her perspective. But the question still stands: Why did Jesus let a great number of the people's unbelief continue, when the simple understanding that he was actually born in Bethlehem might have been enough to clear their minds, and cause some of them to believe? 

     I pondered the question after I read this -

     John 7:25-27 - Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, "Isn't this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true that the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from."

But, as I read on, the matter began to clarify. 

John 7:28-29 - Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out: "Yes, you know me and you know where I came from. Yet I have not come of myself: no, there is one who sent me and I really come from him, and you do not know him, but I know him because I have come from him and it was he who sent me."
It's amazing how some of the most mind-boggling questions that Jesus posed had answers that made complete sense, but were totally surprising. In the answer to the question concerning his birthplace, Jesus doesn't say, "Oh no, you've got it all wrong. I was actually conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin in a stable in the town of Bethlehem! You see, it all makes sense when you know the facts." Instead he replies by revealing that the Prophet was not speaking of his birthplace or town when he said that no one would know where the Messiah came from, but of where he came from, namely, the Father - making it clear that they didn't know the Father anymore than they knew the story of his birth.
Over and over again in the Scriptures you find questions that have answers like this. The people didn't have enough faith to simply believe that even though they didn't know the ins and outs of the answers to the questions, they would trust that God knew, and that he would reveal it in his good time. This thought first came to me when I was reading the passage where Jesus states that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we have no life in us. A great many of his disciples left him when he said that because they didn't have enough faith to trust that Jesus wasn't telling them that to have eternal life they must become cannibals, but that there was an entire mysterious spiritual meaning behind his words, which he would reveal to them in time. The Twelve stayed because they did have that faith. (I should probably say the Eleven, since Judas most likely stayed just because he had his hands in the money bag.)
     I think that is why Jesus didn't clarify some of his most confusing statements to the people. He wanted the type of follower that would look beyond the confusion that some of his words would create, to the knowledge they had of him, and to the trust and love that his deeds and words had built in their souls. 



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The 116 Sonnet of Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove:
Oh no! It is an ever fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark, 
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Monday, September 28, 2009

May God Bring Peace to Jerusalem

Thank God that someone is willing to speak truth! If only we had a Netanyahu for our President. Everyone should watch this -

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Zaharako's Ice Cream Parlor and Museum - Since 1990

We are in Indiana today for a concert. It's been refreshing to be out here where the weather isn't continually overcast. I don't remember if we've actually had a sunny day in Nashville all through September. It's been awful.
After Church this morning we were taken to 'the spot' in Columbus, IN - Zaharako's Ice Cream Parlor and Museum. I'm telling you, I don't think I've been anywhere more idealistic. The Parlor opened in 1900, and they've kept all of the original decorations in tact. I was totally unprepared for the marble counters and authentic soda and ice cream dispensers, the high gilded ceiling, and the lights that lined the edges of the ceiling. In the back of the parlor there was an organ that held several different instruments, among them a drum and violin. The machine plays all of these instruments at one time to create a one of a kind sound.
On the other side of the parlor there is a gift shop and museum. In the gift shop there are replica toys and old newspaper articles. My brother Jeremiah bought a wooden yo-yo - we still have to see whether or not it will end up in the floor of the car with the twine tangled into an unmanageable knot. Next to the toys there stood several antique ice cream and soda dispensers. It's hard to describe just how ornate and beautiful they were. One in particular was shaped into a marble two story house, with golden handles at the bottom, and a great big glass globe at the top of it. I'm still trying to figure out how that was made.
The whole experience was quite wonderful. It made me wish that our stores and restaurants today cherished beauty and uniqueness as much as they did back then. I hope you get to go to Zaharako's someday, because last, but not least - their ice cream was amazing!


Friday, September 25, 2009

The Beginning of the End

     Earlier today (it was actually yesterday) my brother Benjamin challenged me to a cyber-space duel. The weapons are a computer keyboard, and our imaginations. We are to see who can write a blog a day, and for how long. I will lay down in writing his exact rules, so that he can't spontaneously change his mind concerning them: "You can post poems, quotes, thoughts, or even pictures that you like. We just have to see who can keep it up the longest." And so, I will be posting a blog a day for................... 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

hi 'asa

Earlier today I started to think about why I don't do the things that I really want to do. That might sound weird, but I find that it's true (at least with me). When I know that what I really want to do is draw - I dispose of the thought and get on the computer. Sometimes I feel lazy and don't want to do my math, and even though I know that my math isn't very hard, and I can be finished with it in less than an hour if I set my mind to it, I just don't. I know that I really want to do my math, because finishing it will make me happy, but there's a little voice in my head that says, "That will take forever!" and, "You can skip out on math one day and get by. Anyway, you're exhausted."
Now, why is it that, more often than not, I listen to that little voice rather than my own reason? When my conscience pops up and says, "You should draw, Gretchen! You haven't in an age, and whenever you actually do it you re-realize that you love it. So go be creative and use your mind you lazy bum!" this little voice blocks it out and says, "Drawing is tedious, and it takes mental energy. Don't do that today." And why do I listen to one over the other? especially when I know that the first is the more truthful of the two? It's ridiculous. I've noticed that this usually happens when I'm trying to get myself to do something artistic. Now why is that? I love being artistic and creating things!
So, guess what? I'm going to rebel against that little voice.