Given the bleak title, people may automatically expect to read a wretched tale announcing I’ve contracted a dreadful (probably incurable) illness. Not so for this post, though there’s no avoiding the truth: my days are numbered.
Frankly, so are yours. Though we try to forget it, we are all mortal. As 2016 wound down and the obits began to stack up, we became ever more cranky reading the list of friends, family, celebs and high-profile individuals whose days had ended, some whose days were seemingly “cut short.” Mortality sucks, doesn’t it?
Today’s news that the convicted Boston Marathon bomber had been formally sentenced to death didn’t surprise me. That awful atrocity from April 2013 cut short the lives of three people (one was an eight-year-old boy) and left 260 others injured, some maimed. They gunned down a fourth victim during the manhunt that followed the bombing.These were despicable acts perpetrated by two radicalized Islamic individuals. (No, I have no intention of using either of their names.) Today’s proceedings in a Massachusetts courtroom included three hours of statements from victims and families of the victims before the convicted bomber broke his two-year silence. Continue reading “Service To A Cruel God”→
Everyone needs compassion A love that’s never failing Let mercy fall on me Everyone needs forgiveness The kindness of a Savior The hope of nations
The lyrics above are the first stanza to a song written by award-winning lyricist and contemporary Christian vocalist Laura Story. The song is titled Mighty To Save.Listening today to the statements of family members in South Carolina addressing the young man who murdered their loved ones during a Wednesday evening Bible study, I heard these people express willing forgiveness for the murderer and a steadfast refusal to be consumed with the kind of hate the perpetrator’s deed demonstrated. Continue reading “Mighty To Save”→
To the families of my brothers and sisters who lost their lives in Charleston, SC at a Wednesday night Bible study on June 17, we grieve with you and mourn the incomprehensible loss of your loved ones. May the great mercy of our Heavenly Father bring you comfort and peace.
Posting Monday about the death of Elisabeth Elliot, I used a couple pictures of her … one was a familiar publicity photo and the other was a pen-and-ink sketch used on her website. In the World Magazine tribute noting Elliot’s death, they used the photo below. A follow-up post noted that some readers of World had expressed their dismay, wishing instead that the magazine had attached a more flattering picture, an image reflecting her youth and beauty.
In response to its readers, World posted another photo of Elliot in her youth alongside the more current photo. World writer Mickey McLean titled his piece “Old and beautiful,” noting her “smile and twinkling blue eyes” reflected her “joy of living as a child of God.” I am in complete agreement! Continue reading “An Elisabeth Elliot Smile”→
Elisabeth Elliot died today. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, I suppose she is best known for a tragedy that occurred almost 50 years ago – and her incredible courage in the midst of great personal pain. She and her husband, Jim Elliot, were living in the jungles of Ecuador doing missionary work with several other families.
Jim and four of his associates went further into the jungle where they knew an unreached tribe was known to live. The Huaorani tribe with whom they made contact killed all five of the men and disappeared back into the jungle. Jim and Elisabeth had been married little more than two years. Elisabeth was left to care for their 10-month-old daughter.
Details of the contact between the missionaries and the tribe are documented in a 2005 film, End of the Spear, and I referred to the film in a 2010 post. I won’t repeat what I wrote in that post other than to say I remember when the men were murdered. I was a small child and it left an impression on me. Continue reading “She Followed Far”→
A recent television show, titled Forever, offered the intriguing tale of a man who experiences a kind of immortality. He’s a couple hundred years old and if he dies or is killed, he returns. The premise had promise but earlier this month, after just one season Forever was cancelled. (I suppose when it comes to episodic television, there’s no such thing as Forever … unless it’s Law & Order.)From the moment we’re born, it seems we consider ourselves invincible. It’s in our nature to view the world through what I would call forever eyes. As I’ve noted before on this blog, C. S. Lewis explained it this way: “… we were made for another world.” Because we were made for another world, our eyes want to envision forever, our fingertips ache to touch forever, our hearts long to connect with forever. Each of these impulses is innate.
Thinking this week about the death of 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning poet Franz Wright, I couldn’t help but wonder about the ways in which he was depicted through numerous obituaries. He was “troubled,” he endured many “dark years,” a man who was “celebrated and tormented,” he suffered “clinical depression” and eventually “became addicted to drugs and alcohol.” These descriptions don’t paint an encouraging picture!
Wright holds a unique position in the world of poetry. He was the son of another poet who also won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry! Not surprisingly, the elder Wright (James) has also been described as a tormented individual. James was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1972. Continue reading “Adieu, Tormented Poet”→
While the contemplations of the sacrificial death and subsequent bodily resurrection of Christ are fresh on my mind, I thought it would be appropriate to consider the concept of “dying well.” I’ve posted before about the concept politely described as “death with dignity.” In my mind, these concepts are not synonymous for the most part, though there may be vague similarities. When Jesus died, the brutal way in which He died denied Him basic human dignity, but I believe He died well. He died fulfilling His mission. John 4:34 says: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” Jesus was singleminded in His resolve to do the task for which He’d been sent. He died well. Continue reading “At Journey’s End”→
Everyone has a story to tell. Life doesn’t occur in a vacuum and although the details of one’s life may seem mundane, even boring, other people don’t always share that view. Yesterday’s poem-of-the-day email from Academy of American Poets featured a sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning begins “O Dreary life!” we cry, “O dreary life!” Who among us hasn’t felt that identical fatigue?Stories energize us, convince us our personal experiences aren’t isolated … it’s comforting to know other people have felt the very same emotions as we do. A person boards a plane, train, or bus and starts a conversation that is often summed as: this is my story, this is who I am. Each aspect of one’s story sets a basis for common ground, our points of connection with one another. Continue reading “The Human Story”→