Daily Devotions

It Isn't Always Denial

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Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. (Psa. 139:7-8)

 

Thomas Moore, in his book, “Ageless Soul,” tells the story of sharing an Elizabeth Kubler-Ross video to a class of college students. In the video, she interviews a young man with terminal  cancer. While facing his impending death, he seemed to have come to terms with his situation. The students in Moore’s class thought he was experiencing denial. Kubler-Ross considered the man’s responses in a different light.

In her video, the young man told a story of being hurt while working on a farm. The situation could have been serious, but he improved without any lasting issues. He said the experience left him, in some way, prepared to face his cancer. The early experience forced him to consider his own mortality, and appreciate the life he was given. When he was told he was terminal, he was able to look back at his life, and realize that while his life was shorter than he would have liked, the life he had was a good one.

Moore said of the young man, “His story has stayed with me for thirty years, and when I have to face illness or watch a friend die, I remember him and his remarkable point of view. I wouldn’t say that he was courageous but that he had the fullness of life in him. He could live with both the good and the bad.” Every one of us knows that ultimately, we will die. As people of faith, we hope and pray that we will be able to face our death with a proper hope and trust. Hope, for the life we’ve lived and the loves we’ve shared. Trust, in the God we worship and the promise that our lives do not end in death, but continue for all eternity.

Today, pray for the life you are living. Moore called this section of his book, “Vitality and Longevity.” Consider your life, up to this point. Are you living a life of vitality, or just dragging through life? If God gave me the choice, would I rather live to be 60 and live a vital life, than to 90 and live without joy, I would choose vitality, even though that is only about three years and a few months away. As long as you have breath in this life, there are opportunities to live with vitality. Pray for God to guide you to vital opportunities. Your congregation is a good place to start. Many of our churches have ministries that make a difference in our community. Even if you are home bound, writing supportive cards to young people can be a vital ministry. Just about everyone has the ability to do something meaningful. Try it before it is too late, because we are all terminal – sooner or later – and we want to face our mortality with hope and trust.

Ignoring Our Dominion?

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God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

 

One of the great debates in contemporary Christianity is the role of politics in our churches and its role in our personal faith. When individuals become uncomfortable in church, one often hears the mantra, “There shouldn’t be talk of politics in the church!” Worse, is the misinterpretation, “We shouldn’t be talking about politics in church because there is a separation between Church and State!” When I hear these complaints, I want to scream, “NOOO! People of faith should not take God out of any aspect of our life.”

According to the first creation account in Genesis chapter 1, (and the second creation story in chapter two), God gave “dominion” over the earth and all creation. In our ever more-complex 21st century society, the individual does not have the ability to carry the mantle of dominion over the world. In our society, it is only through our political system that real, dominion-sized decisions, are capable of taking place. For far too long, the Christian Churches, with their commitment to “loving thy neighbor,” etc., have refused to take their seat at the political table, and as such have given away their responsibility to have dominion over God’s creation.

What the separation of Church and State means is that the church does not become the state. It doesn’t mean the church should remain ignorant or at least deaf to the political venue, which is where real and lasting change takes place. While Christians of different denominations, and even within the same church will disagree politically, it is vitally important for Christians to debate, make stands, and influence political decision-making, so the Holy Spirit can be at work, making lasting, beneficial, change.

Today, think about your own feelings on the issue of the Churches’ role in political activism. When should the church address prophetic issues? When should the church provide opportunities to discuss controversial issues in an environment of mutual respect? When is a subject too sensitive that the Christian Church should ignore the issue? Finally, pray for our political situation, locally, nationally, and globally. Pray for specific concerns that address issues of equality, and the implications it has on poverty, opportunity, and the care of our environment. When we do this, we are fulfilling the command to have dominion over creation.

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