HOPE for the HAPLESS

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


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Bieber, abortion and babies

Here is an article I wrote for the church.  What do you think?

Canadian Lutheran Online » Blog Archive » Bieber, abortion and babies.

It is a sad statement on our society when there is more outcry against the sincere answers this young man gave, than for the tactics of an interviewer who thought it was appropriate to hit a 16 year old with these questions.  Not to mention the two separate “editorial” omissions in the initial reporting that made his comments more controversial, and less specific then they were when given.


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How Do I Love Thee …

Every once in a while a story comes along that just seems to say it all.  Consider the following gem:

Bronx Zoo selling naming rights – to cockroaches – as Valentine’s Day gifts

Published: Friday, February 11, 2011 | 5:44 PM ET  Canadian Press The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. – If lingerie is too intimate and dinner out is too expensive, the Bronx Zoo suggests another Valentine’s Day gift: a Madagascar hissing cockroach.  Spokesman John Calvelli says, “Nothing says forever like a cockroach.” The Wildlife Conservation Society runs the New York City zoo and is raising funds by offering the public the chance to name the huge roaches. In return for each name, it’s asking for a $10 donation. Calvelli says about 1,700 cockroach names were bought in the first two days of the promotion. Recipients get a certificate. The zoo says naming a roach will honour a sweetheart’s resourcefulness and resiliency. As the zoo puts it: “Flowers wilt. Chocolates melt. Roaches are forever.”

via Bronx Zoo selling naming rights – to cockroaches – as Valentine’s Day gifts.

How is a person to show love on Valentine’s Day … if outright lust is just a little too carnal for your tastes, and gourmet gluttony is above your pay scale …  why not try cockroaches!  What says “I love you” more than putting your beloved’s moniker on something that scurries from the light, feeds off of garbage, secretes a form of neuro-toxin, and  hisses to communicate?  What girl in her right mind wouldn’t want that! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways … 1, 385,418 … 1385,419 … 1,385,420 … no wait! Don’t lift that!

And I don’t know what is worse, that someone thought of cockroaches and Valentine’s Day as a good fit, or that 1700 people bought into it within the first two days.  Is this what people think of love?  Is this what it’s come to … pleasing the baser desires of sensuality, or grabbing a few bucks off of a bizarre marketing plan?

Here’s a humble idea instead. Why not do something that is actually loving for Valentine’s Day.  Take that ten dollars and just donate it to the zoo, or the charity of your choice and leave everybody’s name out of it.  Or save yourself the money and maybe volunteer a little time with someone who is stuck in a nursing home, or visit a friend who’s down in the dumps. Send some food to your local foodbank. Volunteer an hour or two for one of the hundreds of local charities in your community.  Help your children with their homework. Talk to your spouse about things that are important.  Or maybe you could take a moment or two to read about the man behind the Holiday, St. Valentine himself. Physician, priest, martyr … his life and death have a lot to say about the true meaning of love.

Love doesn’t have to last forever (only God’s love for us is that good!), but it should be lived out in the here and now.  Love doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it should cost some of you (just as God’s love cost all of Jesus).  Real love can never be expressed by lingerie, lunches, or laughable marketing campaigns, only in one person giving of themselves for another – no matter how  un-sexy, unpretentious, and unassuming that may seem.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  (1 John 4:7-11)


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Goodbye to Shadows

Groundhog day … a day steeped in tradition … and rodents …  As strange as it may seem, you cannot dismiss its importance in the hearts and minds of the average person in this land of snow and ice.  You might think that living in Canada we would come to accept that winters will be long and cold. That there will be snow, and blowing, and freezing.  You might think that we would come to take it all in stride, as a recognized (if not welcome) fact of life.

But we don’t.  Somehow we always seem surprised when it snows. We get gloomy when the winter lasts all winter long. We complain when the deep freeze is strangely colder than our summer swelter. Every winter is the same … “This is the worst one I can remember.” “This is the longest one ever.” “This is the coldest one I’ve ever lived through.”

And so it is 43 unbearable days into the season that people begin to crave release from this bondage to winter. They long for a sign. They pray for some good news. They plead for a ray of hope to see them through the bleak days ahead.  Enter the humble groundhog and his lowly shadow.  Here in Collingwood we are not so very far from one of the most well known of the Furry Canadian Meteorological Prognosticators, Wiarton Willie.  And what good news he brought us?  In the midst of a snowstorm there was no shadow, so winter will end early (but still not early enough for some!). Good-bye shadows, hello Spring!  Only time (about six weeks at the most) will tell if this is true or not.

And yet, even when winter finally does end (sooner or later) people will still be in bondage to the whims of this time we live in.  Life is still full of many dark and foreboding shadows.  We will still be surprised when bad news falls upon us, when the gloom lasts, when hearts remain cold. You might think that we would come to accept that life can be unpleasant. That there will be sadness, grief and pain.  People get sick. People are lonely. People hurt one another. People suffer and die. You might think that we would come to take it all in stride, as a recognized  fact of life.

But we don’t … because deep down everyone knows that it shouldn’t be like this.  Deep down everyone knows there should be something better.  Even the most jaded and storm-worn individuals this world has produced still crave release, still long for a sign, still pray for some good news. Everyone is looking for that little ray of hope to see them through the bleak days ahead.

And God has given that sign. In the chill of another early morning nearly 2000 years ago another prognosticator of sorts emerged from his rest to give hope to this world in bondage to sin, death, and the devil.  Only His prediction lies not in the loosing of winter for another year, but the springing forth of new life – eternal life, where once there was only the gloom of death.  For as this man, himself once dead but now gloriously alive again, stepped forth from the tomb, it was good-bye to shadows and hello to life and light eternal.  Were oh death is thy victory? Where oh death is thy sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:55-57)

So as we sit and wait for the coming of our early spring with all of its long-awaited warmth and life, let us remember not to be afraid of the shadows around us. In Christ our Light, there is Good News, the promise of fairer days ahead.  No matter how deep or dark the shadows in your life may seem, they will not last . In the the ever greater Life and Light that is coming in our Lord, they will be dispelled once and forever. And life will rise anew in a springtime of blessedness that will not end.