Thursday, March 25, 2010

Medical Tests

Medical tests are spiritual trials. One must face the unknown through the unpleasant and the frightening. Groundless optimism is no better than morose and unwarranted pessimism. One does not know. One would rather be doing anything else than having one's body prodded, pocked, or penetrated by alien mechanical objects operated by strangers.

The trial of testing is but another opportunity to trust in Someone beyond medicine. I bring Scripture verses on cards to these tests, whether I am tested or someone else. I read and reread them; try to memorize them; and meditate on them. The medical environment can be grim: sick, sad, and scared people all around. We need to direct our souls to God through Scripture and not be dragged down by it all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Tail of Leviathon; the Face of God

This is from Melville's epic, Moby Dick, chapter 86. It highlights the difficulty in knowing God's face, although approached through a chapter on the difficulty of understanding and explaining the tail of a sperm whale.

The more I consider this mighty tail, the more do I deplore my inability to express it. At times there are gestures in it, which, though they would well grace the hand of man, remain wholly inexplicable. In an extensive herd, so remarkable, occasionally, are these mystic gestures, that I have heard hunters who have declared them akin to Free-Mason signs and symbols; that the whale, indeed, by these methods intelligently conversed with the world. Nor are there wanting other motions of the whale in his general body, full of strangeness, and unaccountable to his most experienced assailant. Dissect him how I may, then, I but go skin deep. I know him not, and never will. But if I know not even the tail of this whale, how understand his head? much more, how comprehend his face, when face he has none? Thou shalt see my back parts, my tail, he seems to say, but my face shall not be seen. But I cannot completely make out his back parts; and hint what he will about his face, I say again he has no face.

From the Book of Common Prayer

59. For Quiet Confidence

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Churches and the Chronically Ill

Churches could do one simple thing to help "the least of these" who are chronically ill. Hold evening services on Sunday. Many chronically ill folks just cannot do things earlier in the day. However, they can work up to an evening event. Yet, so few churches have this option. Moreover, many of us who are not chronically ill are not "morning people" and prefer services later in the day. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the early Christians met in the morning. We are not told when they met nor are we commanded to meet in the morning.