Thursday, November 26, 2009


Lord, as you know, I am deeply impressed and affected by my weaknesses and my failures, but I want you to know that I am grateful for the life you have given me. When I question this, when I say to myself, “I wish I had never been born,” I am being very foolish and ungrateful.

Despite the difficulties in life, I do have a life, a life that will carry on into eternity. From the day I was born, you granted me eternal life. I am deeply grateful that I will live far beyond this life, and that I will live it with you and loved ones. I love and appreciate my family, both now and in the future, a family that will never cease, a family that will continue forever in your presence. This time on earth is just a beginning.

Some have said that how we live on earth will shape and impact how we live in heaven. I’m not so sure. How many of us will enjoy what you granted the thief on the cross, or those who come to know you on their death bed? I don’t know what eternity holds for me, but I know that it is beyond my imagination to conceive. I do know that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” For this life now, and for the life to come, I am deeply grateful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


“What is this news? For whom is it intended?” The words struggled to emerge from the shepherd's mouth. Despite his dumbfounded condition, somewhere in the back of his consciousness lurked the question, “Why is a messenger from God bringing news to insignificant, unknown shepherds?”

Why indeed? Why does God invest himself in the insignificant? With the whole of Creation from which to choose, why choose earth? From among all the peoples of the earth, why choose a tiny sect called Jews? Why choose Abraham? Moses? Elijah? Why choose a slight youth to slay a threatening giant? Why choose Bethlehem? Why choose a manger, a stable of animal smells, in which to birth his Son? Why does God, as he moves events among men, have the perversity to make small men large and large men small? Why this delight in the unimpressive, the insignificant? Why his strength made perfect in weakness? Is it because he is attracted to humility and put off by the proud strutting of human arrogance? God holds sway over the heavens. Men of power and influence have no power or influence with him.

This is perhaps exciting news to the disenfranchised, the governed, for those whose lives are dramatically affected by the whims of other other men, men who except for status, are just like them. But that is hardly the point. It could be argued that the impoverished have stronger character, are less pretentious and full of themselves. Alas, the character flaws, pretentiousness and pride of the poor is as ubiquitous as among the rich. The poor are as quick to take unwarranted advantage of a weaker neighbor as are the rich. There is no honor among beasts, whether rich or poor.

It is, nonetheless, a fact that pain is greater among those without the resources to make life more pleasant. Suffering is more prevalent. Babies die quicker and more often. More violence and murder. Hunger. The nagging feeling of being in need greater. The struggle for survival more intense. The malaise of will and determination more accepted and understood. More of their lives spent in prisons. Though many cry out against the terrible Fate that decreed their poverty, God is still more readily received among such people. They seek him for they have discovered that mankind does not love them, does not know what to do with them. They have no place else to go. If God does not help them, they will perish.

Of course, the verdict of the affluent and sufficient is that these pathetic creatures need a God. They invent something, someone larger than themselves, larger than anything they know in order to help them survive in an adversarial, competitive world. Poor things. That is obviously why their God favors them, is it not?

The shepherd, however, could not think beyond Why? Simple man. For him there was none of this insufferable, pedantic reasoning. He, a man of whom not even Rome made sport, was afraid.