Years ago I was phoned from a garage by a woman who was very upset. She had taken her car in for an oil change and was told that it was not safe to drive. The repairs would be about $2000.
I knew that her car was reasonably new so I went over to see what the problem was.
This shop was part of a chain. The man in the front office explained that her transmission was about to fall out of the car. I requested to see it.
After much angry hesitation he showed me the defect. It was a slightly worn rubber grommet, through which a wire was running. It had nothing to do with the transmission and was in no way unsafe.
As I left the premises, after explaining my disgust at their attempt to rip off an older woman, the man turned to her and said: “Well, I guess if your minister doesn’t care if your transmission falls out and you are pole-vaulted to your death on the 401, why should I care?
He tried desperately to instill fear in her so he could control her.
We are seeing the same tactic being employed more and more by all avenues of life. Advertisers tell you to be afraid of home invaders and broken sidewalks, etc.
But the major concern I have is the emphasis lately to be afraid of other races and religions. We hear the word “terrorist” more and more. The more we become afraid the more we can be controlled.
Christ calls us to love our enemies and overcome fear with love. Christ calls us to be individuals and think for ourselves. Christ calls us to “Be Not Afraid”.
It is a challenge but it is the only way to raise ourselves and others to an abundant life.
By the time you read this article, Christmas will be over. Some things will remain, some won’t. Those that don’t remain are the batteries that did not come with the gift in the first place and because you had to buy them at the corner store they only lasted a few hours. The thing that will remain is the effect of the worst three words at Christmas: not “Oh how lovely” but “Some assembly required”.
That statement applies not only to Christmas but to the rest of the year. The god Janus in ancient Rome was the god of passages. He often sat midway in a door or gate, looking both directions. This two-faced god was not an indication of their awareness of bipolarism. Rather it symbolized that we look forward to new beginnings but also bring with us the baggage and experiences of the past. Those experiences are the building blocks of the assembly that is required.
When dealing with the baggage we need to know that first it is ok to question. We have physical, emotional, spiritual and mental accumulations. As we have grown, we have discovered that not all still apply or are useful but, we are afraid to part with them. Sometimes we are afraid because parting with issues leave us with empty bags and it’s scary to search for what is truly ours. Sometimes we have been ingrained with certain restrictions by society or individuals that have kept us limited. Science, religion, education, culture, parenting and even friends have all contributed to the luggage we carry. Some good and some bad.
It is also Ok to doubt. It is Ok to realize that others have not lived your life. It’s your life not theirs. It’s fascinating at weddings to watch and see who is trying to control the situation other than the bride and groom. I always tell them “It’s YOUR wedding. Do what you want.” Same with life.
Some toys like the old model planes come with instructions and while you assemble them, they have your attention. However once they are assembled, you put them on a shelf and occasionally view them. Some toys have endless possibilities. They are the ones that can be reassembled in many different ways. They are the ones that keep your attention. The more you reassemble your life, the more fascinating it becomes.
Finally, look ahead at the New Year as an opportunity. If there is baggage that is holding you back; let it go. Look back at it and watch it disappear in the mists of time. Then turn your head toward the newness and discover who you are and who you can be.
Some assembly is still required.
A first blog on a new website and Christmas is coming. If I put those thoughts together it could sound like the beginning of a bad joke.
Hopefully what I write isn’t a bad joke although I am sure that at times you will hope for a punch line.
There is a similarity between these two seemingly remote ideas. It can be summed up in the word “new”.
When the idea of computers, websites, etc., was introduced there was great resistance by many. For some it was the dawning of a new era and great possibilities. It represented new ways to search out and view the world. For others it was a threat to all they had learned.“Why do we need something new?” was often the cry.
That similarity extends to Christmas and the present day churches as well.The birth of Christ represented a new and in some ways different understanding of God. The established church of the day was being challenged. The church of today is being challenged. In recent years there has been tremendous change and challenge to the traditional understanding of God and Jesus.
In the Churchill and Gilford churches we no longer subscribe to a fear-based religion but rather a love-based one that welcomes all. As we welcome Christ at this Christmas time let us also welcome the opportunity to search out old and new meanings of our church and our faith.
Merry Christmas, Glen