Sunday, April 21, 2013

What I Think

I spend a lot of time on Facebook. I suppose some people watch television when they want to take a break. I just don’t find much on TV these days that interest me – OK, I do like NCIS, but I get plenty of that in reruns on some station on the dial. I also watch the Cooking Channel a lot. I like both Chopped and Restaurant Impossible. But that’s only two nights a week. During the day and most nights I’m either cuddled up with a good book (or Kindle) or I’m walking the dog or taking a walk or just walking. I love the out-of-doors, especially the beauty that is Colorado.

But when I have a few minutes to sit down and drink some coffee or just relax, I always turn to FB. Mostly I view it on my phone except when I want to write something.

I’ve been busy for over a week now on a nice little tale of the history of science. At least, it is nice for me. I just love explaining science and sharing just how we got to today, complete with Facebook, servers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones. The journey is really interesting … at least to me.

I’ve spent a lot of time in a classroom. I’ve been a student for many, many hours of lecture and lab and homework. I’ve also stood in the front and tried to share the knowledge as best I could. These days I don’t lecture, except to a keyboard. I’m also back in class, although that is primarily via video and more text books, but the homework is just as hard (if not harder).

So why is FB attractive to me? What do I get out of it? Well, I like sharing my life with my friends, both past and present. I like to see the pictures and share the adventures and just have a feeling that I know a little better what my loved ones are up to.

I read all the comments with great interest. Some just share their lives with food and kids. A lot focus on music or current events or take the platform to present their personal political view or to denounce the views of those they don’t agree with. Some share the activities of their lives or their interests in travel or birds or scenery of whatnot. All that is very interesting to me.

Many of my friends and acquaintances, not to mention many of my family, are deep in faith and they freely share that too. That’s good. I understand clearly the people that have made God the center of their lives and their desire to share the Gospel message with others. They’re actually obeying one of God’s commandments when they do so. Many also share how they are living their lives for God’s glory in the works they do and the activities they support. I like to read about those charities and works too. They build me up to see the love in other people’s actions. God knows we need to be exposed to more love in other’s actions with all the hate that is floating around in the current events.

After all, the Gospel is free, it makes you free, and it is free for all. A theme I picked up in church today. I was thinking about how people’s lives are shaped by what happens in their life. That is, their future is often a reflection of their past.

Many people have had to deal with great tragedy in their life. For some, that tragedy strengthened their will like fire strengthens iron. For others the tragedy has become a theme that they carry like a heavy burden, making them all bent to the ground.

The Gospel is good news because it says you can lay that burden down. Faith is not a burden, but rather it lifts the burden.

Me, I’ve had no tragedy. I thought about what word is the opposite of “tragedy,” its antonym. I think, at least in my case, it is “luck.” I often consider myself the luckiest guy in the world.

I was born to fine and loving parents and grew up in a home full of love and laughter and music in a wonderful town in a wonderful state in a wonderful country. Throughout my life I’ve been lifted up by good events and happenings and my marriage has been a blissful union with the most loving and precious of wives and great family and children. I’ve had the freedom to explore the things that interest me most, while my professional life always provided support for my family and my interests and left over plenty for savings. Now I find myself retired with an excellent pension, good government support, and savings that let me continue to live a life of interest and loving relationships. I know that many, if not most people in the world are not so lucky … or blessed.

Oh, I’m lucky all right. However, not everything has been perfect, and I’ve had losses. But the positive always seems to exceed any kind of negativity in my life. I don’t even feel a need to document my losses, even though some have been great, for I have memories that compensate for those that are no longer in my life or those that the Lord has called home. No, those tragedies are not what have shaped my life.

Anyone who has read more than two of my postings on Facebook know that my great delights are in science and music. Lots of other interests too, but those are the main ones.

I am a man of Faith and my beliefs are the rock that my life rests upon. I was just thinking this morning how lucky I was to get to baptize my son and also my wife. Me, myself, I was baptized by a friend with an audience of other friends. My Christian beliefs are part of what makes me who I am. They are integral to my family and our interactions. They are the strength of our lives that can survive even the greatest adversity, although there has been no need … at least so far.

I recently did some musical work for another friend who writes and directs plays and dances and other enjoyable works of art. It is such a pleasure to be involved in her artistic efforts. This time it is a dance recital with the theme of Jack and the Beanstalk as the Prodigal Son … an interesting and logical combination. I’ve completed the basic sound tracks and voice-overs, and we’re currently refining the music production and getting it all down on disk for the performance.

The story of the Prodigal Son is a very special story for me. Jesus tells it, so it is literally straight from the Lord’s mouth. It is a simple story, yet one that a person must read carefully. There are three characters. The father, the prodigal son, and the “good” son. There are so many lessons in the actions of all three, but the greatest lesson is the lesson of grace and of love.

These are lessons the world is much in need of, especially at this time of tragedy … while we await news of the next tragedy. How these events affect us and how they make us feel and, even more important, how they make us act is a test, a measure, an experiment to gauge our faith and our grace and our love. I just hope we don’t all fail the test … schoolteacher speaking here.

So, this is my dilemma. I have so many friends and family that it is very obvious from their Facebook comments, live lives that are focused on their faith. So why aren’t my comments always about my faith? Is my love of science and music greater than my faith in Jesus Christ? That’s a good question.

I suppose that I could be like the Apostle Paul, not after his conversion, but before. Remember, he was the greatest of the Pharisees. He lived the law to the best of his ability. But, after the conversion, after the blessing of grace, he lived a law of freedom: Freedom to live a life under grace. He knew that his behavior toward God did not affect God’s behavior toward him. That is the freedom of the Gospel. God’s grace transforms us. It is not something we earn, but something given as a gift. We don’t deserve it, but it is freely given anyway.

So, I choose to exercise my freedom in God’s love by pursuing the things that I love. I worship God in the creation and in music. That’s why I do what I do and that’s why I write what I write.

I may be the prodigal son … wandering in the wilderness, but I know I have a loving Father that will take me in with open arms. I don’t think he will hold a little attempt to understand the wonder of His creation against me. I could spend all day studying his word, as I know many do. That is a wonderful way to spend your time. Moreover, I consider my studies of the wonders of the universe to also be studying His word, just in a different medium.

God forgive me if I error. And I know He will. Thank God.

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