LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Monday, December 17, 2012

Processing the Grief

"Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matt. 19:14)

Friday, December 14, 2012 twenty little children and six adults took possession of the kingdom of Heaven.  Today they are whole and happy and healthy.  Yet, today, their families...and the world...are wracked with a raw grief encompassing every fiber of our being...body, mind, soul and spirit!  Words escape us...tears consume us...questions proliferate with no logical answers...why?  Why, God?  Why young innocent children?  Why loving dedicated school staff just doing their jobs?  Why now?  Silent screams pierce our psyches, searching for rational and logical motives.  Yet, they don't come!
Opinions run rampant...the need for new or better gun laws; additional and more specific attention to mental disorders...better school much do we expose our children to the specifics of tragedies such as this....some unbridled opinions, as in the case of the supposed Morgan Freeman views through social media (check it out on Facecrooks) continue being reposted...

All of those issues are pertinent and important to discuss!  But now?  Really?  People want to know why? and where was God?  The other legislations, regulations, and policies will come in time.

So why did this happen?  Why did the shootings in the mall in Oregon happen?  Why did the shootings in Tucson occur?  WHY?  Because evil exists in this world!  Plain and simple!  When God created the world, behold He looked upon it and said it was "good" (Gen. 1: 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).  He created man and woman and it was good.  But then SIN entered the world?  WHY?  Because God gave man free will, the option to choose good or to choose bad.  God set the ball in motion and allowed man to choose...and man chose evil.  So evil exists in the world even today!

In our state of "free will" over the years we, as a country, have chosen to remove God from just about every governing document or body, our schools, buildings, athletic events, etc.  The pledge to our flag still contains the words " nation, under God..."; yet, who's to say those words will remain in our pledge.  America has become a self-focused, self-reliant nation.  The New Age movement has ushered in the idea that we can do everything FOR and BY ourselves; that we are most important; that we are able to do for ourselves and need no one; we are all interconnected, and we can, through positive thoughts, heal ourselves and one another; "the human mind has much greater potential than that ascribed to it and can even override physical reality" (Wikipedia, New Age) other words, we are big, we're cool, we're in control; we don't need God...we ARE God!  In the realm of religiosity we have either removed God or moved Him down on the hierarchy UNTIL and UNLESS a magnanimous tragedy occurs!  THEN we want to reach across party lines, across religious divisions and cry out to God for help, fully expecting and anticipating His rapid response!  HOW AUDACIOUS!  HOW ARROGANT!  

No matter your political affiliation, please listen to this blatant yet candid statement by Mike Huckabee: 

Wonder what would happen if, just for a while, we were to allow God to re-enter our lives in all capacities, public and private?  HE is a good God!  He is a righteous God!  But He also is  JEALOUS God...and He WILL NOT force His way into any place He is not welcomed!  
So, since this way is not working for us (in the wording of Dr. Phil) then should we keep doing the same thing expecting different results (the definition of insanity); or should we perhaps try something maybe the "old fashioned" way of doing things like when I was growing up?  You know, like prayer in schools, at athletic events, the display of the 10 Commandments, etc. 
And...where was God throughout this whole incident?  Right where He always has been!  On His throne, looking down on the senseless and tragic incident, His heart hurting...for the deranged mental state of the gunman, for his mother whose life was blotted out, for his remaining family who will re-live this every single day for the rest of their lives, for the precious victims whose lives were stolen from them, for the families of those victims, for the first responders, for the fellow teachers, administrators, and other students, for the community of Newtown...and for the world at large.  Jesus was weeping along with each of us.  Could He have intervened?  YES!  Why did He not?  We don't know...and we will never now this side of Heaven. 
 Yet, in the words of my pastor, Pete Wilson, this is what we DO know:  " Ps. 34:18  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
I know in confusing times like this many people wonder…
God where are you?
God why aren’t you answering?
Do you know?
Do you care?
We wonder if there is anything that STILL holds true. Even in the face of unexplainable circumstances like this I do believe certain things still hold true.
I believe…
Love still defeats hate.
Hope is still stronger than despair.
There is a God who still answers prayer.
His mercies are still new every morning.
His forgiveness is still stronger than sin.
His guidance is still greater than human confusion.
His promises still remain more certain than human fear.
The cross is still sufficient for grace for us.
The tomb is still empty.
All this is true because 2,000 years ago, a baby named Jesus was born in a town named Bethlehem. Governments, economies, civilizations, and cultures keep coming and going, but the kingdom Jesus started is still spreading, and his light shines brighter today than it did when it started."  (Pete Wilson, Dec. 17, 2012, Cross Point Community Church).
I am clinging to those that that baby who went to a cross and rose again!  I am clinging to the only One I know can supply the comfort so desperately needed by countless people the world over.  I do not know what tomorrow holds for any of us....but I DO KNOW the ONE who holds tomorrow, and so I press in to Him, I cling to His Word and His love...and I cry out, "Abba, Father, have mercy, bring healing, and provide peace in the midst of this horrific storm!  For You along can bring hope, peace, comfort, and joy again!  And we WILL offer you ALL praise, glory and honor for every little provision along the way!"

As I end, I share the names of those precious lives lost, to honor their life and death...and I ask you to choose even one name and pray for that family throughout the holidays and the coming months, even years!

Believe it or not...PRAYER DOES CHANGE THINGS! We don't change things or people!  GOD DOES and He embodies the prayers of His people!  

My prayer for each of you reading this is that you will know the One whose birth we celebrate during this season!  If you have not yet relinquished control of your life to His control, I beg of you to do so now.  For, as in the words of our pastor to his boys during this tragedy, "None of us chooses how we die.  But we do choose how we live".

Live deliberately!  Live obediently!  Life hopefully!  And life the only one who matters, Jesus!

Merry, Merry Christmas in spite of and through it all!

Principal Dawn Hochsprung, Psychologist Mary Sherlach, Teachers Lauren Rousseau, Victoria Soto, Anne Marie Murphy, Rachel Davino (Adults) ("Kinders",  Principal Hochsprung's pet name for these six and seven year olds: Olivia Engel, Emilie Parker, Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison Wyatt

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Royal Birth

A royal baby is Prince William and Kate Middleton!

The expected due date is July.  Kate has struggled with acute morning sickness and recently spent 3 days in a British Hospital under intense security, while receiving "royal" medical attention.  All the world's a stage and at the center is the expected royal baby.  Surely Kate will set trends in maternity fashion; predictions on the size and name will headline every talk show and VIP Magazine; the nursery will likely be carefully and elegantly crafted...and then the son or daughter of the heir apparent of England's throne will make a grand entrance into the lives and hearts of us all!

Over 2,000 years ago another royal birth fashion trends were set; His name, Christ the Lord,  was announced by an angel appearing in the sky (Luke 2:11).  The wise men sought him, calling Him "King of the Jews" (Matthew 2); there was no paparazzi following Him with cameras or writing articles about His arrival; there was no stylish, well-designed nursery~ rather His birthplace was likely in a a King size bed....

                                                           ...or maybe more like this
                                                   (photo credit)

To be sure there was no Fluffo or Memory Foam mattress.  Mary did not receive medical attention fit for royalty.  

Virtually every part of THIS King's birth was non-traditional by our standards.  Mary and Joseph had no physical relations leading to pregnancy; yet, she was pregnant.  They lived lives in obscurity.  There were no celebratory baby showers.  "Mary treasured and pondered all these things in her heart" (Luke 2:19).  And while there likely was much chatter from sheer shock, I doubt there was much awe of this  baby who would be born a King, yet die the lowest of commoners death!

It's Christmastime...with Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Prolific parties, dazzling decorations, merry music, generous gift giving, family feasts...
 ...but how much wonder and awe and joy does the birth of the Christ child bring you at Christmas?  Do you, like Mary, treasure and ponder these things in your heart? 

"Sing my soul, the greatness of the Lord.
Rejoice my spirit, rejoice in God my Savior.
So tenderly hath he regarded me.
So wondrously hath he exalted me.
All generations shall call me blessed, all generations shall call me blessed.
For His name, His name is Holy.
He is the mighty One.
His mercy is ever sure, His mercy is ever sure.
Sing my soul, the greatness of the Lord" 
(Celebrate Life, Ragan Courtney and Buryl Red, 1973)

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.                                                                 
 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful  to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1: 46-55)

From the cradle to the the cross...ALIVE forevermore!  That's the only royal birth we should truly celebrate.