Family

Michael Ignatieff's Equality for All Speech

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Started writing this morning on FB about some of my thoughts to Michael Ignatieff's speech in Ottawa and it kind of turned into a full note. Anyways, it's been a bit since I've been writing; I just needed to get some things of my chest, so it's nothing extensive but I thought I'd share it here also. Michael Ignatieff - "Equality for ALL" (From this mornings speech in Ottawa) - Question: Does this same equality include the Canadian Citizens within the Federal Prison Systems be they people seeking reformation or employees amidst over population? Does this same equality include those who are in service to our military struggling with substandard equipment?

They are honest questions of Federal prioritization. In light of resent global events, I'm not sure I'd count on the US covering our _____ in the event of military movements! :( Prisoners serving their detentions in a correctional facility are not second class citizens in a society which claims equality for all. Over population can also force into early release in dangerous circumstances which in turn also impacts society. Should we not give adequate space and legislative time to the reformation of such people; not to mention the danger over population places of Correctional Employees?!

Family Care, Health Care, and Education are also all valid concerns and issues Canadians face. Yet, these can be issues perhaps more directly addressed within the Provincial and Local Municipalities alternatively. Ultimately, my personal nee-jerk reaction is to say it also falls to the role we as individual citizens play as active participators and care givers to our society and communities.

We must stand up for our neighbour and ourselves; not leaving the sole responsibility of health and education to government parties. We must make better health choices for our own bodies and inspire and encourage others to do the same. We can and should give freely to others as they have needs out of our personal responsibility to care for one another - this is a responsibility of individuals and community not institution or organization. (Please note: This includes Religious Institutions however... it does not dismiss responsibility to personal faith, belief, and world view which may become expressed through such organizations. I wish I had more time to define this but perhaps another time.) Yes, this may mean we need to change our expectations of personal status and wealth as a social vision but let me ask you... what are you asking of those who are in the minority of the vote? (i.e. - Prison System, Military, Immigration, ect.)

Ultimately, I am concerned we have become a society of "Me First!" mind sets. This must change. Please do not consider this as my vote cast. There is still many policies to be defined and clarified. It is simply just my wonderments for the time being... :)

Living for Potential (Audio) - My Message at CCCF

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at Canyon Creek Christian Fellowship on Sunday January 2nd, 2011 about Living for Potential while focusing on Matthew 5:48. Although feeling a little rusty, here is what I shared...

[audio=http://justwondering.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/living-for-potential.mp3]

[slideshare id=6510883&doc=livingforpotential-110110164658-phpapp01]

5 Kinships With Jesus at Christmas

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"Are you ready for Christmas?" It seems like an innocent question enough but what are we really asking? Most times we're wondering if you're done rushing around to the many over run shopping malls and sale displays too which you are looking to buy the greatest gift for your loved ones and family. I must admit that even I have caught myself in this frame of mind from time to time throughout the last few weeks. After all, who wants to be stuck in traffic and that last weeks rush before the big day arrives on December 25th. Yet is that what Christmas is really all about? Just us consumers delighting in the buying of gifts for others while waiting to see just what presents they might also have for us?

Last week while taking a moment to relax, I came across a post called 'The 5 Stages of Relationship With God'. It didn't really have any particular holiday theme but as I read it, I couldn't help but truly see the meaningful beauty it connected with in the story of Christmas and our relationship with Emanuel during this time of season.

I have a Kinship with Religion

It is pretty much impossible to say today that you do not know who Jesus is. At least that is true for a North American culture and society. We all have in one way or another been impacted by an understanding of the word Christianity and the general story of the Nativity. I think every year I hear about someone stealing the little baby Jesus from some church's Nativity scene as a bad practical joke!

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The spirit of Christmas as a religious relationship finds its expression for those of us who brave the cold to find a local church community who is hosting a Christmas Eve Service so that we might join in with carols and song while not feeling we have to attend church any other time of the year. Or as my fellow columnist Chris Hammer at the Calgary Beacon writes in his post 'The Christmas Dichotomy', "Christmas is a time to engage with the comforts of tradition; whether celebrating the birth of a baby in a manger or the arrival of a jolly soul in a red suit."

This is without a doubt a deep and meaningful relationship we have and Jesus is there too of course, but the relationship is distant. Not distant in presence per say but more so in the meaning of relevance. Soon the daily activities of life resume and the fable story of a little baby in a manger have little to no significance in our activities or thoughts.

Still for some, that distance might like other far reaching relationships cause us to question, "Who is this baby Jesus?" What happens to him when he grows up?" "Is Jesus real and if so, what makes him so special?"

I have a Kinship with Doctrine

Every year around Christmas I hear the conversational whispers of the battle between perceived Consumerism and the "true" meaning of Christmas. On one side are those who want to see a greater focus on the celebration of the birth of Jesus while on the other side are those who simply want to find a sense of joy in giving and receiving gifts from family and special loved ones.

Doctrine makes us want to create and follow certain beliefs or principles according to our understanding of faith or truth. It is the foundation to our world view and by definition creates "laws which are established through past decisions". But following doctrine at the absence of feelings and emotions is outside of human natural behavior and becomes void to the essence of our need for relational acceptance and support. We need community and with community is our need for a greater sense of grace and tolerance.

Last week I was strolling through South Center Mall and came upon a quote from William Arthur Ward. He said, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." I pondered the feelings that I have of gratitude, as a Christian, for God sending his son Jesus to us here on Earth. What or who would I be today if Jesus had never been born? How would I feel knowing that my faults, my sin had never been forgiven by my creator? Or how could I have known what purpose I might have; what on earth is right and wrong; is life meant to have a moral, ethical, and emotional compass? And if so, how could I possibly relate to it?

Words cannot express the emotions of gratitude, joy, love, and admiration which I have for Jesus and the relationship we have today. It is a relationship which not only sets a living compass for doctrines which guide my thoughts and actions but; it is also a human kinship filled with the workings of grace, forgiveness, and life long blessings.

It is that relationship which makes me want to share that same spirit with those around me; my friends, loved ones, and even the stranger I pass in the mall as I look up and smile while giving a friendly greeting, "Merry Christmas!!!"

I have a Kinship with Jesus

Have you ever listened to the lyrics of the Christmas song 'Little Drummer Boy' and wondered, "What is the essence of my drum to play?" "What is my gift for Jesus?"  I know I have and at times and in some instances I have felt like the little boy, in that my gift isn't really that special. Yet, in Jesus' eyes all our gifts are special!

[audio=http://justwondering.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/09-drummer-boy.mp3]

When we find ourselves realizing our relationship with an incarnate and living Jesus, we begin to explore the gifts, talents, and passions in our life in a new way. They're no longer meaningless and pointless but instead they are unique and special just between us and God because they become expressions of our relationship with Jesus. Our hobbies become the praxis of His presence in our lives!

I wonder what the wise men must have thought as they packed all their belongings, gathered their family, servants, and helpers, and headed west across the continent to see a little baby Jesus in a manger who would one day be king? The pride they must have felt, knowing the relationship they had with this future king must have been great as they even bragged about it to King Herod while coming close to the end of their journey! (Matt. 2:1-2)

Jesus has a Kinship with Me

I am just a guy but if I were Mary I cannot imagine the terror that would have filled my heart when an angle stood before me saying “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus." (Luke 1:30-31) At 14 years old, the thought of being pregnant and unmarried must have been scary to say the least. Even more so would be facing the whispered judgments of the many who would watch her as the little baby Jesus grew inside of her.

Being in relationship with Jesus brings the comfort of friendship and unconditional acceptance that we all love but when the realization of Jesus' character as Lord and the Son of God settles into our minds it becomes a little terrifying to think of his relationship with us. So how do we get beyond this fear so that we can bridge his Lordship from our minds to the heart?

There is a well known proverb in history that says, "The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding." (Psalm 111:10) This is not a fear of harmful intent or life threatening danger. More so this is a fear which inspires us to become something better and maybe in the process we might just make a difference in the community and world around us!

My colleague Justin Bills has been my friend for several years now and I was inspired by his post that he wrote last week called 'The War on Christmas'. When he shared that he was giving half of his parents Christmas gift to Living Water International so the people in Africa might have clean water I was moved by his faith. Justin doesn't just want to lead through his knowledge of scripture or authority by position; he wants to inspire others by following the life calling of Jesus being in relationship with him.

Mary faced some amazing fears in those moments standing in front of God's appointed angle. Yet with awe inspiring courage she spoke, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Matt. 1:38)

"Never get stuck with the angels---if shepherds in fields or Mary in tomb (Jn.20) had stayed with angels, they never would have seen Jesus!" - Leonard Sweet

Jesus and I have a Mutual Kinship

Many years ago I can remember exploring the Anglican cathedral church of St. Steven's in downtown Calgary. My mother would bring me there late on Thursday evenings while she practiced with the choir for the yearly Christmas celebrations and I would have my prodigious imaginary adventures while exploring the "catacombs" and secret passage ways within the halls of the church (usually consisting of over and under the pews and the tunnel passage way behind the altar front) :-).

At four years old I had little knowledge to the relationship I had with Jesus nor the way he and I would encounter one another in the future. Yet looking back I now know that he most definitely knew and loved me. There were many people he placed in my life at that church that showed his love at Christmas and many other times of the year. People like Bob, "Aunt" Ruth, Meredith, Graham and Barbra Goode. People who are still in my life today.

Jesus and I having a mutual relationship is so much like my imagined adventures in that church as a boy. Through the exploration of the unknown and the relationships we develop along the way, Jesus shapes who we are, loves who we are, and in turn allows us to in our own time, come to know who he is freely in our own way and at our own pace. There never is a "right" way to do it. Just the slow prodigious adventure of being in mutual relationship with him at Christmas and every other time of year.

So where do you find yourself in relationship with Jesus this Christmas? Which of the 5 kinships do you find yourself this year? It doesn't matter which answer you might discover because it is the right one for you today. In all of the 5 Kinships with Jesus at Christmas we find the real Spirit which fills this season... “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

May you find yourself surround by a Spirit of Love and Joy this Christmas as Jesus blesses you, your family, and loved ones. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Broken

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I starred blankly at the news screen as they described the story of a stranger who was listening and after hearing the faint cries of a baby, leapt into a garbage bin. After peeling away the layers of garbage they took off their shirt and wrapped it around a new born boy who with its umbilical cord still attached was rescued from the clutches of death. It wasn't until later that the stranger would find out that he was not a stranger at all but the unexpecting father of the child. Let's face it; it’s a story we have all heard so many times before. We cry out in frustration, "What's wrong with that person!" "How can they just not know...?"

A Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces is arrested and charged with sexual deviance, rape, murder, and other horrific charges. Teenagers are found gang raping teenagers in the school yard. And prostitution is legalized in certain states and provinces. It all seems so wrong, so decayed, so grotesque, so... Broken.

I was four years old when I was exposed to the realities of a broken world. My mother worked long days and would leave me at a day home behind our condo in SW Calgary. I remember the lady running the home would keep us locked in the basement all day exclaiming, "That's where children belong." Usually with a few "F" words in the mix.

It was here that the eldest daughter of the lady who ran the home began taking me with her to the darker corners of the basement. I don't remember much, but I remember that I spent most of my childhood trying to hide it and make sure no one ever found out. Most importantly, I tried to make myself forget it ever happened because I thought it was my fault. I was Broken.

I was broken and because I was broken the world will never look the same to me again. The world has become a place of overt violence with battlefields in every marketing advertisement plastered on the billboards and storefronts in shopping malls and road ways; in snippets of film, movies, television, and commercials as they provocatively  exploit the psyche of human relational conjecture; in the one liner jokes we so innocently speak to one another with; and in the headlines of news media leading to social judgements based upon the bias of social and personal exclusion from the stories context.

My Brokenness has caused me to become angry. Why can we not see the exploitation of human sexuality and relational identity as the violence which it truly is? Why has it become normal to treat human sexuality as a consumer product and individual right rather then a relational identity and spousal gift? I suppose the reality to which I found is that I am broken, just as everyone is has been broken. The world is Broken.

Jesus' brother James gives us something we can use in our brokenness. He wrote and called us to, "confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." and promised us that, "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (James 5:16-17)

I don't have all the solutions to the broken realities of our world but I do believe James is right. We need to first recognize our own Brokenness; and once we've accepted that we need to expose it, confess it to those around us, and talk about it. When we can be open and real with one another about the struggles we have, the challenges and fears that are a part of our lives; we can be honest in the midst of communal grace and truly seek to transform those realities. Then we can see the real beauty, the real gifts God has placed in our lives.

Secondly, we need to pray for one another as well as ourselves. Speaking to God about our need for healing and openly asking for his hand in our broken reality brings an internal connectivity which reaches to the very depth of our created being as it was meant to be. In Jeremiah God speaks to us saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5)

Lastly, we must live with grace for one another; accepting that we are all Broken in a reality to which none of us can ever fully understand, experience, or comprehend. Forgiveness is not always easy to work out but, judgment is never ours to make lest our own judgments come upon our own brokenness.

This world will never be the same to me as it will never be the same for you. I will pray for you though just as I pray for the Broken people which I wrote of in the beginning of this post. I hope you would do the same for me.

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To Save a Life - Youth Event

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John Lloyd Inventories the Invisible

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I thought this was rather brilliant this morning as I contemplated the beauty of Gods creation and the humor of finding things of invisibility. I must use this as an illustration some time! By the way, in answer to John's agnosticism and defining terms... I believe that is the point! Man cannot define God's terms just as we cannot define his character. To do so is to miss his existence entirely and in the midst of trying would only be caught up in ideology and ultimately idolatry. It is God who can and did state his terms through the act of incarnation not through words or things!

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The Ethics of Fear and the Unseen Force

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"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding." - Psalm 111:10

Violence and fear is at the core of everything in this world. If it was not true then the fact of ‘Fight or Flight’ in nature would not be valid.” These were the words of my friend as we dug deeper into a conversation about our fascinations around violence in society. An odd conversation to have while at work I will admit yet, when God provides the opportunities to explore truth I never seem to back away. It becomes an honest question which I am continuing to ponder long after Joe’s and my conversation. Is fear and violence the soul driving force behind any natural relationship?

It seems throughout history that violence and the threat of violence is often used to control, manipulate, and set in motion the parameters of not only simple human relationships but national and international relationships. Whether it is a parent threatening their child with punishment for unacceptable behavior or a political or religious figurehead threatening ideological superiority with the mandate for social transformation; they all seem motivated by a theme of violence and force. Even I noticed within the context of Joe’s and my conversation it became less about the relational coexistence we have with one another and maybe more about the gnostic rights we possessed over one another. All of which fall prey to the illusions of false forces and mad men.

In a post called ‘Motivated By Fear of Love’ the author of The Naked Soul Blog says, “Fear in many ways runs this world and when fear is planted the crop that is reaped is all too often violence. Violence becomes the tool of those who live in fear because they have come to believe that is the only way they will be heard and that through violence they will make change happen.” I can't help but like the way the author has radically changed the identification of violence to being more of a resource which an identity or person uses rather then being an entity unto itself. It seems radically different from mainstream thought and takes the power out of violence itself and puts it perhaps more rightly in the abilities and choices which a person who finds themselves within certain contexts can make or use.

[audio=http://justwondering.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/10-scared.mp3]

There is a story of a time when Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat with his disciples. Now the Sea of Galilee is about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide; so it was no easy journey for the time period in a little fishing boat. Like most of us have done on a long journey Jesus decides to get a little sleep and as the other disciples manage the boat a rather large storm arises and as the thunder claps and the winds blow, the waves began to crash against the sides of their little boat. The disciples begin to panic in fear for their lives as they shake Jesus awake. Jesus says to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” (Matt. 8:26) Jesus didn't deny the existence of his disciples fear but; his concern was more for what power they believed that fear had over them.

Fear is an emotion which many of us encounter through much of our life; fear of failure, fear of unacceptance, fear of loss, fear of loss of control, fear of being wrong, fear of what others think - what others say, and fear of the unknown. But that does not mean our fear needs to drive us to fight or flight, nor to turn to violence in the hands of anger and manipulation as a tool for change. Rather fear can turn us to an expression of love and relational correction; one which brings mutual redemption, transformation, and a change that brings progression.

In the words of C.K. Tygrett in an article called ‘The Violence of Non-Violence’, “…the reality of our beliefs is that if they are to be true and authentic they must wear a human face. Someone will be affected by what we do or do not believe in. It doesn’t matter if you are a house church leader, an emergent church “contributor”, a carpenter, painter, etc. If there is a cause deep enough to found belief upon, it will affect another living being.

If there is one inevitability that exists in this world it is that change is going to happen to both you and me. That does not mean however that fear and violence is going to be the only way that change is going to come about. There is always the factor or factors of the unseen force between us, one which seems more inspired by love, grace, and compassion. I only hope that I might be part of that change.

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." - Phil. 2:1-11

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3:16

Breathing in a Life of Beauty – Thoughts of Dominion

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"God watched as though he were like a child full of joy as the sun rose over the horizon. And as he was engulfed by its beauty he cries out again and again each new morning, ‘Do it again!’” These were the words of my friend Steve several years ago that as I drove into the Rocky Mountains last week I couldn’t help but personally reminisce while describing the beauty of God’s creation to my friend Kenny in the back seat. Kenny was here in Calgary visiting with a team from Abilities Church in Toronto while presenting in a conference at Center Street Church called ‘Life Without Limits’. Being their first time out to Calgary we took the opportunity as a leadership team to drive out to Banff as a bit of a retreat on the Saturday. As we drove further west from the city I realized that Kenny has been blind since birth and so the only way he would be able to see the natural beauty of our surroundings would be if I described it to him.

As I drove I would try my best at describing the amazing beauty of the soaring heights to the mountain tops, the amazing colors of the trees and flowers around us, the depths of the crystal clear lake waters beside the highway, and the excitement of the chance at seeing a large moose which crossed the road in front of us just inside the town of Banff. Each time I described something new Kenny would be so excited while exclaiming, “This is so cool!!!

It seems each night since then that as I turn to the news I hear about the devastating environmental crises that is ravaging our planet. The Gulf Oil Spill, Carbon Emissions, Global Water Crises, Pandemics and Superbugs, Nuclear Energy Waste, and the battle between economic recovery and developments within oil companies or the need for clean energy; where is our sense of holistic stewardship and respect to dominion? Have we lost our created identity and unity for the self serving desires of one dominant species – humanity?

I have heard both sides of the argument; “The world is going to end unless we change now!” and “Global worming is a fraud made up by hippies and tree huggers.” It shouldn’t really matter whether we count ourselves on the environmentalist side or economist’s side; what is important is being on God’s side. After all, it is all created by him!

It is often quoted that God gave dominion to all humanity, “the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26) I don’t think God’s intentions were that we were to do whatever we wanted to please our own purposes. Rather I believe it was a uniting identity we had as a place in creation to tend to and take care of all that God created. In much the same sense as we would bear the image of God, so to we would look after, love, and foster all that he created within relationship to us.

So then what does it mean to act in dominion of the earth? Here are a few thoughts to which I thought of and maybe you might like to add your own later.

Pray for creation and all that is in it; understanding the realities and context the earth is faceing today. It is important to recognize that we are not just physical but spiritual beings and by acknowledging that spiritual connection with nature we can find God's grace and healing uniting us in purpose and harmony.

Educate and spending some time reading while learning about the many issues our world is facing today. Don’t just really on major corporate news providers to share what they deem as important or relevant but dig deeper into the issues; listen to the hearts and minds of those who find themselves passionately involved in these global concerns. What you might just find is a vision for your own expression of involvement to transform the way we treat the environment! (A place I like to check from time to time; maybe you might like to visit this site as a way of launching some creative thought patterns http://www.globalissues.org/)

Write a letter to your MLA, Prime Minister, or city official (maybe you might even like to start a blog) articulating the thoughts you have towards the need for better environmental legislation or national practice. Don’t just write about your frustrations and disgruntlements; take the opportunity to engage there minds with some ingenuities and resourceful ways in which our city and nation can bring better stewardship to the global issues at hand.

Primarily I think it is important to take an active roll yourself in the way you practice dominion. It might mean some radical changes in your life but by acting holistically in your own stewardship you will be healthier for it and find that many who around you will be inspired by your commitment. One of the easiest ways I have found this in my own life is to try and adapt to a three R’s lifestyle – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. It’s not that I’m perfect at it but as Jesus exemplified, radical transformations always begin with the movements and choices of one man!

Finally I think it is important to love our environment. Have you ever watched that video of a plant which over the span of a minute or two you see it start from a seedling and then grow into a fully blooming flower? Now imagine sitting there and waiting in natural time, watching with complete anticipation, not just seeing but hearing, smelling, feeling the plant as it blossoms and grows. Perhaps then in those moments, when we are willing to spend this kind of energy and time with God’s creation we will leap at the joy and exuberance of witnessing such miraculous beauty while catching ourselves bursting in praise with the words, “This is so cool! Do it again!

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A Great Grandmother And Mother, A Beautiful Woman

It has been a few weeks since Bonnie's mom Marie passed away. Bonnie's niece Terra shared a poem in the funeral which touched many peoples hearts including mine and so I wanted to share it here.

Strong, beautiful Mother and Grandma, so peaceful and serene, You deserve to live in Paradise and shown the finer things. Life has dealt you plenty of cards, some winning, others bad, And tides have brought in waves of memories; both happy and sad. Gracious, beautiful Mother and Grandma, so wonderful and divine, You've endured many heartaches-oh the world is so unkind! Your speech is confident, your eyes are soft and your walk is hard and bold Your laugh equals happiness, your heart contains love, and hides the stories untold. Tired, beautiful Mother and Grandma, so patient and so calm, it's funny how you hold the family's fear within your palm! With wrinkles, stress, and worn-torn hands, tell me how do you smile so... When you've traveled this long, endured all this pain, and still have miles to go? Blessed, beautiful Mother and Grandma, so collected and confident, I can't imagine a gift greater than you-your love is Heaven sent. Don't you dare give up now, just stay strong, your reward is comin'... Strong, courageous, gracious, blessed, and beautiful Mother and Grandma.

Rest in Peace

We all Love you grandma.

Weeping...

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"Jesus wept." Two simple words and the shortest sentence in the Bible (John 11:35). Yet it seems these words to me have become such a deep revelation into the authenticity of Jesus' love for humanity and the lives of those who he calls friends. Have you ever been in those moments where sadness and fear have gripped you so strongly that nothing else seems to matter? When the daily practices of life seem to become surreal in nature? Or when the very fabric of life itself becomes infinitely perplexed by the loss of a loved one in the midst of it?

This past week has been a blur for me as my wife and I came to grips with the slow understanding that we were losing her mother to multiple organ failure. I was struggling with the questions, "What do I say?" and "Where is God in all of this?"

In a lot of ways I suppose that is how Jesus' friends felt after Lazarus had died; numb, dazed and confused as to where Jesus was when their brother Lazarus was sick and close to death. After he passed away Jesus arrives and Mary Magdalene called out to him, "Where were you Lord when my brother was sick?" And Jesus wept.

Taking Jesus to the tomb where Lazarus' body was he stood in front of it calling out, "Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43) The miraculous happened.

I don't suppose to know the mysteries and power of redemption or the process of salvation and the ways in which the miracle of resurrection happens. Nor do I understand why sometimes prayers are answered and sometimes there not; or at least not the way we hope for. But if it is one thing that the story of Lazarus has spoken to me about in the last week, it is that death does not stop the miraculous.

Until then though I pray for comfort in the midst of silence, knowing Jesus is with us, weeping.