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From the Front Porch: The Ever-Present, Obscure God

October 17, 2011 1 comment

100th day of birth of Martin Buber (1878—1965)

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I wonder why we like to think of God as obscure, hidden from view. Perhaps it’s our finite minds that make it difficult for us to grasp the mystery of God’s presence in the universe.

But what if we could think differently? Indeed, what if we could actually wrap our minds around the idea that in every relationship, we reflect our relationship with God? What that means, of course, is that the very presence of God — His eternal essence — is in us.

Thre great philosopher and Bible scholar, Martin Buber put it this way in his famous book, “I and Thou“:

“in every sphere in its own way, through each process of becoming that is present to us, we look out toward the fringe of the eternal Thou; in each we are aware of an eternal breath from the eternal Thou; in each we address the eternal Thou” (26).

What this means is that in every relationship, our words and actions reflect the presence of God in us, reaching out to others through us and touching, healing and transforming us in the process. How close is that!

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From the Front Porch: The Power of One!

August 2, 2011 2 comments

Ezechias-Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the ...

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Sometimes, when we are beset with life’s troubles, it’s easy to imagine that we face them alone. In the Bible, there is a story about good King Hezekiah who learned that Sennacherib, the Assyrian King, was planning to sack Jerusalem. Now Hezekiah was no fool. He knew he was severely outnumbered by the Assyrian troops. He made all the necessary preparations to defend Jerusalem. When the Assyrian King wrote a letter to the people telling them to give it up because they would be destroyed, King Hezekiah encouraged the people to be strong and have courage, for the power of God is mightier than the power of the greatest army on the face of the earth. That’s a good thing for us to remember — when we face a sea of trials and troubles, the power of ONE is greater than our greatest troubles.

From the Front Porch: Loving the Unlovely

July 30, 2011 2 comments

The Apostle Paul summed up all the commandments in one rule:  “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9, NIV).  Of course, Paul is quoting the words of Jesus who put it this way: “do to others what you would  have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12, NIV). This means that we are to treat others with the same amount of respect and dignity that we want others to give us. That’s tough to do  with the road-raging maniac on the highway; the churlish boss who bullies us around the office; the person at the gym who hogs the weight machine, taking long breaks between sets while we wait;  the impertinent, rude sales clerk, and many others. Loving people who are unlovely is, at best, a difficult thing to do. But loving them as we love ourselves is nearly impossible.

However,  as we understand the strength and presence of God‘s love in us, loving others — even the unlovely — becomes possible. Loving others, even as difficult as they are, requires acknowledging that at times, we too are unlovely. Yet God loves us so much that He was willing to lay down his life for us. With this changed perspective, now is a good time to love — even the unlovely.

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