Saturday, February 27, 2010

What I saw at Stonehenge

It was cold, raining, and windy. But I was excited.

We were winding through hills, passing pastures with sheep and pigs. It seemed like we were lost, but I began to see the pillars through the fog.


We arrived.

The monoliths predate history.

Some weigh up to 50 tons.

Some 24 feet tall.

Theories point to the work of aliens. Others think the devil put them there.

Assuming that these supernatural theories are just folklore, the only semi-logical explanation is that the druid worshippers shipped the stones from Wales.

Rolling them on logs.

Hundreds of miles.

Up and down hills.

For hundreds of miles.

This would have taken thousands of people.

And years to do it.


So they could worship.

I believe that there is such an innate desire to worship that an entire people group would accomplish the semi-impossible and construct Stonehenge.

Because they wanted to worship.

Because they needed to worship.

Mankind was created to worship. What we choose to worship is up to us. Worship like the druids and praise the sun, moon and stars. Worship like the Hindu, a god for every aspect of life. Worship like the entrepreneur and live for money. Worship like the athlete and live for glory. Worship like the atheist, who worships himself.

But we were created to worship our Creator.

We don’t always worship what we say we worship. We may say we worship the one true God. Our songs may point to him. But what does our time point to? To God or to ourselves? What do our conversations point to? To God or to ourselves? What does our wallet point to? To God or to ourselves?

If you follow the trail of your life, you will find what you worship.

Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.

But let justice roll on like a river,
Righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:23-24)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

God's Overlooked Gift.

Pain is a gift from God.

That sounds weird, doesn’t it.

Jesus said something similar.

“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
For you will be satisfied.”

It is weird for us to think of PAIN as something good. But pain let’s us know not only that we are hurt, but that we need to be fixed.

Sometimes it is something we can fix, as with physical pain.

Other times it is something we can’t fix, as with spiritual pain.

Pain is God’s way of getting our attention.

S. Lewis said,

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

This past sunday, I had the opportunity to share with two churches about pain. To be thankful for pain, because our pain points us back to God.

God doesn’t waste pain. Rather, he uses it to draw us closer to him.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Clowns and Godzilla

One morning I was reading a book about the Church, and I came across this story. It was one that I had to share!

“My idea was pretty simple at the beginning. I started to volunteer in wards with terminally ill children or burn victims – just go in there to cheer them up a little, spread around some giggles. Gradually, it developed that I was going to come in as a clown.

First, somebody gave me a red rubber nose, and I put that to work. Then I started doing some elementary makeup. Then I got a yellow, red, and green clown suit. Finally, some nifty, tremendous wing-tip shoes, about two and a half feet long, with green tips and heels, white in the middle. They came from a clown who was retiring and wanted his feet to keep walking.

Things were very tough for me at the beginning – very. You see some pretty terrible things in these wards. Seeing children dying or mutilated is nothing most of us ever get prepared for. Nobody teaches us to face suffering in this society. We never talk about it until we get hit in the face….

Some of us were setting up to show Godzilla in the kids’ leukemia ward. I was making up kids as clowns. One kid was totally bald from chemotherapy, and when I finished doing his face, another kid said, “Go on and do the rest of his head.” And when I was done, his sister said, “Hey, we can show the movie on Billy’s head.” And he really loved that idea. So we set up Godzilla and ran it on Billy’s head, and Billy was pleased as punch, and we were all mighty proud of Billy. It was quite a moment. Especially when the doctors arrived….

Burnt skin or bald heads on little children – what do you do? I guess you just face it – when the kids are really hurting so bad, and so afraid, and probably dying, and everybody’s heart is breaking. Face it, and see what happens after that, see what to do next.

I got the idea of traveling with popcorn. When a kid is crying I dab up the tears with the popcorn and pop it into my mouth or into his or hers. We sit around together and eat the tears.” (From How Can I Help? By Ram Dass and Paul Gorman)

I think these clowns got it. There is so much pain in the world. But in the midst of pain, we can laugh. We can spread joy. Keep your eyes peeled for someone you can make laugh. Laughter will be a welcome change to the tears they shed daily.

And who doesn’t love a Godzilla movie every once in a while?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

When Jack Black Preaches a Sermon

I don’t cry much. Hardly at all, actually. Once a year? Twice if I had an emotional year. So when I do cry, you’ll know that my heart was really touched.

One time I cried at Jack Black. As much as I loved Kung Fu Panda, this wasn’t my favorite Jack Black movie. That honor goes to Shallow Hal. I cried! And I know what you’re thinking. Disbelief. I know this because that’s how everyone feels when I tell them in person. If you don’t remember the movie, Hal (portrayed by Jack Black) was hypnotized to see everyone by his or her inner beauty (or lack thereof). He sees selfish people as ugly, and good-hearted people as handsome or beautiful.

In one scene, Hal is volunteering at a hospital, spending time with children. There is one particular girl, Cadence, which he is particularly fond of. He picks her up in his arms and says, “Hey beautiful.”

Later, in the movie, when Hal’s hypnosis wears off, he is back in the hospital and stopped by a disfigured girl. She says, “Hi Hal.”

“Hi, um, how do you know my name?”

“Its me, Cadence.”

Hal’s eyes scan upward, and he sees the sign ‘Pediatric Burn Unit’. Only then did he realize that this affectionate little girl was a burn victim, utterly unrecognizable with her facial scars. He kneels down to her level and says, “Oh hi, Cadence. How are you beautiful?”

Sniff! Even now, just writing this blog, tears well up in my eyes. I remember one time, I told my friend’s wife that I cried during Shallow Hal, and she made fun of me. Then I reminded her of Cadence’s story, and she replied, “Oh yeah, I cried at that part too…!”

Jesus spoke of this.

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)

Just as God saw us with worth when we were broken, we are to see the least of these like Cadence as beautiful. The burned, the scarred, the ugly and the abused. Beautiful. Are still hypnotized, and do not see the beauty in the broken. Ask God to heal your eyes, so that you may see the broken as beautiful as God sees them.

So yes. I cried at Jack Black.