A Grand Universe

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New video images of the Sun from NASA here. I am just in awe of this kind of stuff.  I don’t mean to get political, but we are specs in a grand and mysterious universe.  Do we really think we have much impact as humans on something as colossal as global warming or climate change?  Most times I just think we are full of ourselves.  History has shown man as a proven narcissist.  Believing the universe revolves around us and is dependent on us.  The more I see, read about, study and wonder . . . the more it can’t be about us, it’s just absurd.  We are grains of sand in relative to the mysteries and galaxies beyond us.   The universe is immense, we are not. And if the universe is immense, spectacular and mysterious?  What does that say about it’s author?  Does God need to fit our systematic theologies so we can have it all figured out?  Again, more absurdity.  I am all for the search for knowledge, but it needs to begin with a sense of humility and a thirst for things truly wonderful and incomprehensible.  In my elder years, (now that I”m 37), I want to conclude less and wonder more.  These pics today just make me wonder. peace,marshall

Seasonless

 

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Celtic Daily Prayer, April 22, Aidan Reading:

“We are all very subject to seasons; yet these seasons are there to make us eventually seasonless.  There is only one way you are ever going to learn to triumph over all seasons, and that is to go through each and every season . . . many times.  When you can reckon the sound of abundant rain and the hot blowing of a dry spell exactly the same, then you will be nearing the land of maturity.”

To make us eventually seasonless . . . wow.  I like that.  That doesn’t come natural to this empassioned irishman, but I sure see the wisdom in it.  Typically, our approach in life is to avoid pain, suffering and all sorts of unpleasantries so that we can experience status quo or increased pleasure.  Rarely do we ground our experiences in the context of ongoing maturity.  That makes everything a teachable lesson and not something to rush through or avoid for personal safety. Ultimately, I follow Jesus because I believe his ways and his Kingdom are leading me back to the place I was always meant to be.  It is a pursuit of becoming more fully human, becoming the human I was always meant to be.  To do that, involves a process of “becoming mature” or “complete” as the apostle Paul put it.  this doesn’t happen overnight, this is my life’s work in all seasons.  That there come a day where my reaction and response to abundance and dry times is the same, all who know me will assuredly say that it’s not Chris, but Christ. peace,marshall

Perspective

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Isaiah 40:21-26 (The Message)

  21-24Have you not been paying attention?   Have you not been listening?Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?   Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?God sits high above the round ball of earth.   The people look like mere ants.He stretches out the skies like a canvas—   yes, like a tent canvas to live under.He ignores what all the princes say and do.   The rulers of the earth count for nothing.Princes and rulers don’t amount to much.   Like seeds barely rooted, just sprouted,They shrivel when God blows on them.   Like flecks of chaff, they’re gone with the wind.  25-26“So—who is like me?   Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy.Look at the night skies:   Who do you think made all this?Who marches this army of stars out each night,   counts them off, calls each by name—so magnificent! so powerful!—   and never overlooks a single one?

I mostly sit back and just watch the political climate of America.  I vote, I can give my opinion on matters of practicality, economic trends and my preferences, but that’s about it.  Most fundamentally, “my kingdom is not of this world”.  I don’t expect it to be, I don’t want it to be.  My identity is set in a world that has come and a world that is yet coming.  Deep rooted in my beliefs is that the King is coming back with a new heaven and a new earth, that is where my hope lies. I cannot buy into the church’s affiliation with political power systems, it is the worship of a foreign idol.  Be it Republican, Democrat or Tea parties . . . they do not make the sun rise nor the seas roll.  The One who does brings perspective.  The manic pursuit of foreign idols is a life of being tossed back and forth by the wind with no center, nothing that gives gravity to one’s life.  Root yourself in the one who doesn’t change.  Root yourself in the one who is King of all reality, not just the land you happen to live in at this point in time.  Root yourself in the One who gave you being, not the one who wants your vote and your treasures.  Worship the one true God and you find living water that your soul thirsts for.  Worship a foreign idol and you drink dry sand. I guess my heeding is be careful where you put your ultimate hope.  God has reigned over the universe before America, and God will reign over the universe after America.  We are but chapters to a greater story.  With what little time we have, let’s not live it with all the wrong dreams.   I swear singular allegiance to the the King. peace,marshall

Sharing Attention

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Good artcile here on technology and the lack of presence we have with our kids even when we are spending time with them. 

“This time with children pays off,” Brandon says. He notes that good parent-child relationships result in children being happier and more successful, including at school. “Most researchers in this field would agree that these parental investments of time — reading with your kids, playing with them, going to concerts with your kids, going to the school, making sure you know who the kids’ peer groups are — has benefits for both,” he says. “These investments in parent-child interactions also means payoffs in adolescence, with potentially less risky behaviors.”

 Paying attention to our kids is our job, period.  When our kids experience this kind of attention, it feels like we are pulling out our wallets and just handing cash over to them.  When we pay attention, we are giving them an identity that they are valued and that they matter.  This is like a cup of cold water on a hot summer day, it’s what their young hearts long for.  As parents, if we are so pre-occupied with our own pursuits and self-importance, we leave our kids to look to fill these primary needs in other places. How do I see myself sharing attention?  My blackberry.  When it signals, I am checking that email/facebook comment/text regardless if I am in conversation with my kids, wife or friends.  That is shared attention and if I can curb that impulse, I’m a better human/Dad/husband/friend. Live is short.  No one will ever wish you spent more time in the office or working away except for the ones who are consuming you.  To practice presence at home is to be a powerful parent.  It’s a gift, a blessing, handed down to the ones we are entrusted to nurture.  This is an area I am constantly wanting to improve in. Practice paying attention to your kids, your friends, your neighbors.  Be present, resist sharing attention.  In a world of manic speed, the truly powerful have the discipline to slow down and pay attention. peace,marshall