Last week, I talked about the sacrificial love of a dinosaur and a fox.
Our Sunday School class continued the conversation, pointing out that we were limiting ourselves in our discussion. It was pointed out that Christ did not have the same limitations we do on the definition of “friend.”
Now we are in harder territory – loving the stranger. Or worse, the guy we choose to keep as a stranger.
For solace, we turned to the great story teller, Walter Wangerin Jr., and his story of the Ragman.
Pretty powerful stuff. Walt has that way, of getting in.
So that is the dilemma we left hanging in our Sunday School. If we aren’t strong enough to follow Christ in sacrificially loving those that we know and hold close – how do we transfer the love of God to those we hold only at a distance, if at all?
The Bible says we can only love because we have been loved. Can we realize that deep enough, strong enough, real enough to live lives of sacrifice?
What would the world think of our church if we actually did as we were told?
We have a winner – Dan Madison correctly identified this prop:
Our Sunday School class at Wilmore Free Methodist (apparently they don’t charge, like those other Methodists do. I may be hazy on the theological meaning of “free.”) focuses on the intersection of culture and Biblical faith.
One Sunday was devoted to love – and we started by watching “Lost & Found.” If you haven’t seen it, take the time now.
Watched it? Good. Cried a little? That just means you have a heart.
We disagreed on whether the video was moving and depressing; or moving and uplifting. I vote for uplifting – fox will succeed in her knitting project.
We then talked about the short in terms of the two forms of sacrificial love shown – by the dinosaur, willing to give his life to save his friend; and by the fox, willing to give up her life so dinosaur wouldn’t have to.
No-brainer on how to connect this to our faith – and our supreme example. The challenge came when we stopped looking at our role models, and looked more inward, at our own willingness to show this level of love.
Not so easy to honestly answer which friends we love enough to unravel for; and which ones we just wished we loved that much.
Then we hit a snag, when we realized that our examples of dinosaur and fox, as beautiful as they are, fell short of the kind of thing that Jesus was actually talking about.
To be continued…
Two bits of news: I am back to the blog. I will be sharing tidbits about story and scriptwriting, the comings and goings of my professional life, and trivia that I find interesting.
Second, and apropos to the first two things in the above list, I will be the special guest on Kitty Bucholtz’s podcast, Write Now!, this Thursday.
You can listen to Write Now! on any of your podcast listening devices, or watch the video version on Kitty’s YouTube page.
We will be discussing a number of angles on writing, including my theory on why Infinity War had to end in tragedy – which is tied to why the MCU is stronger than the DCU.
Me: I’m having my students watch the opening to “Longmire.”
She: Sure. Good movie.
Me: It’s a TV series.
She: Right. The one with the Aussie playing that guy from the south.
Me: From Wyoming.
She: Right. He plays a rancher.
Me: A sheriff.
She: The one with the unicycle.
Me: You’re not even trying anymore, are you?
She: (laughing) Nope.
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” – Matthew 2:18
I hear the song when I reflect. In my head, not the jovial version, closer to the original.
The singing voice has a tinge of melancholy – that’s only right. It is not a song about joy, but a song longing for joy, wishing joy, conferring joy. A song sung in the midst of the troubles.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight
I hear the song, and I think of the children.
The ones lost to us, the ones from the mothers who were once filled with the same overflowing joy as Mary, who looked to the future with a gleam of possibility… but no more.
Because a crazy man wanted to snuff out Mary’s light, he cast darkness over a whole land.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, make the yule-tide gay. Next year all our troubles will be miles away
It is a good thing, isn’t it – the Light coming into the world? The Creator himself breaking into creation?
It is a thing of glad tidings of great joy – isn’t it?
But it is a thing accompanied by as much weeping and great mourning as it is with hallelujahs.
Once again as in olden days, happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us will be near to us once more
That is the deal, though, isn’t it? Great joy can only be reached by travelling through the great darkness.
That is part of the curse.
No harvest without the toil.
No new life without painful labor.
This place is fallen, broken, messed up.
The Good News arrives, and the innocents are slaughtered.
Someday soon, we all will be together, if the fates allow
Until then, well have to muddle through somehow
Ultimately, the light is brighter than the darkness, the life more joy-filled than the labor, the harvest outweighing the toil.
The good news isn’t that the toil is over, just that the comfort is coming.
If only we have eyes to see it, if only we can keep ourselves focused on the true and lovely…
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” -John 1:4-5
The good news is that the brokenness is a temporary lie, that the momentary loss is a shadow to eternal goodness.
The good news is that the curse is being corrected.
Until then… until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
Just my thoughts,