Monthly Archives: January 2017

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. ≈ 1 John 4:8

I remembered Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) today. A PBS documentary, books from divinity school, and quotes of yesteryears swirled into view. “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.” And “The truth is mightier than eloquence, the Spirit greater than genius, faith more than education,” according to Luther. Humble memories that sparked hope as I grappled with the notion of Christian duty.

The idea of Christian duty towards humanity. All of humanity… those in the body of Christ and those that are not yet believers. All of humanity… those that favor one mode and those that favor the other. All of humanity… those that look one way and those that look another. All of humanity… Jews and Gentiles as created by God.

Nothing profound… not metaphysical… nor perplexing… Plain and simple reasonable expectations befitting a Christian. Old Testament commands (Deuteronomy 6:5 & Leviticus 19:18), while the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:30-31 & Luke 10:27) avow Jesus’ message… of loving God with our whole being and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Christianity, the lens through which I view the world. Christianity, the glory that reflects God’s creation. Christianity, the love of Jesus Christ that is for all of humanity. Christianity, the faith that frames understanding, guides relationships, and prescribes moral character based on love.

I bowed my head, fold my hands, and meditated on Philippians 4:8-9 (KJV), Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Please God… Bless America… the land that I love. Amen.

Lifting my eyes towards the hills from which comes my help. I considered the words of Martin Luther again, “Christianity can be summed up in the two terms, ‘faith’ and ‘love’… receiving from above (faith) and giving out below (love).” Hence, on earth… every action taken… should be tempered in love.

Therefore, for the Christian… love is duty and duty is love… whether called by any other name.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. ≈ Psalm 118:24

Once… when I searched for evidence that Jesus Christ lived in history, from sources other than the Bible. I came across confirmation… from Josephus, Lucian, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, the Babylonian Talmud, and a few other historical works. In grateful humility, those sources spoke of proof. Affirmation for rational minds and doubtful believers that Jesus lived on earth. But, “Why wasn’t there more written in secular records?”

A miracle-working man… drawing attention and challenging rulers. Speaking hope to the downtrodden… fellowshipping with Jews and Gentiles, men and women… even little children. Surely, people heard of His presence from near and far. A man with a beard, teaching about the kingdom of God… preaching love your neighbor… even love your enemies… Wow… Who wouldn’t write about such a person? An answer, seemed baffling… just beyond my grasp.

Then at a conference, I heard a keynote speaker affirm that “history is changeable” and we can affect that change. His words were profound. I thought about them for months. How can we amend static bygone space and time… to change history?  Could this be… the flip side of an idea that I had grappled with for years?  Remembering a favorite childhood fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen (1837), a tangible thought emerged. Maybe, some history is held captive by misrepresentations… Maybe history is changeable, merely by telling the… Truth.

Perhaps… more people would have written about Jesus in secular works, if they weren’t afraid of the powerful leaders of their day. Just a thought… we may never know the answer to the question.

Yet… by acknowledging… oppressor and oppressed, conqueror and conquered, marginalized and glamorized. And yes… the right and the wrong… the good and the evil… By holding up a standard and measuring with the Word. Respecting the relationship between past, present, and future, we become aware. Recognizing disconnected, desensitized, and dehumanized concepts, we become informed. Unifying, to fortify… our need for each other… and our responsibility to each other. We emerge, to embrace, our mutual journey in human destiny as ordained by God.

Though history may have omitted many important facts. When history is accurately transformed, it affects the present and changes the future. Whether written in stone or with invisible ink. Life merits, confessing omissions and fallacies… In hopes that one day, all men, women, and children will live fearlessly in the present… courageously look forward to the future… and recognize that each day is history.

Yes, Truth… affects history… no matter when it is told… Truth improves the present and changes tomorrow. Let the truth of another day… make this a better day.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. ≈ Psalms 31:24

emma_rev_gimore3In 1983, President Ronald Reagan, signed into law Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday legislation. We celebrated this federal holiday the third Monday of January. It is a day when America pauses to remember the life and legacy of one of God’s chosen champions. A man, who delivered a dream of hope, for all mankind. Hope that still resonates in the hearts of men, women, and children.

Though I never met the man. I am thankful to the late Rev. Dr. Thomas E. Gilmore, who told me about the last time that he saw Dr. King. It was Wednesday, March 20, 1968. About 10:30 p.m., near a tiny airstrip in the rural town of Marion, Alabama.

Rev. Gilmore had driven Dr. King and a few members of his staff there from Greene County. Dr. King had spent a long day in speaking engagements. So, it was late as they traveled on narrow meandering two lane country roads. Trying to get Dr. King to Marion, to board a small plane leased by a project called The Poor People’s Campaign. That would transport him to Washington D. C. for his next engagement.

When about half way between Greensboro and Marion a tractor-trailer rig passed them. The truck slowed down and then blocked the road. Forcing Rev. Gilmore to stop. The driver, a man, mid to late 30’s, small build, got out of the truck. He left behind two comrades, who just watched.

He walked over to Rev. Gilmore’s car and put his hand on the driver’s door. Then he told them, preceded by unceremonious, derogatory language. “Get those bright lights out of my rear-view mirror”.

In that tense moment, Rev. Gilmore, told me that he was prepared to protect Dr. King with his life. But that wouldn’t be necessary.  Rev. Gilmore watched Dr. King leaned over in the seat next to him. Almost touching his right shoulder, and said, “Young man get back in your truck. You are trying to start trouble. Get back in your truck”. The man stepped backwards. Stood there for a while, speechless. As Rev. Gilmore drove off. Mindful to avoid the trailer rig still blocking his side of the road. Soon they reached Marion, AL without further incidents.

Rev. Gilmore and I, had quite an in-depth telephone conversation about that situation. I remember the date, Dec. 22, 2012, because the conversation started with an email that he sent to  me. An email that I revisited today. Searching for the words, he used to describe the distinctiveness of Dr. King’s voice.  That even after speaking at various churches, all day. Late into the night… Dr. King spoke with crystal-clear clarity on that fated night in 1968.

Rev. Gilmore emphasized that Dr. King’s voice was mesmerizing. He’d never heard anything like it. He wondered if the other’s in the car heard it too… a resounding quality of peaceful God-given authority. But, they didn’t speak about what had just happened as they continued their journey.

Rev. Gilmore told me that on that night… he thought, “Only God knows the weight of the Cross that Dr. King bears”. Thank you, Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. for hope in such a time as this.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. ≈ Psalm 112:6

Yesterday, when I called a business from the office telephone. After several long rings, a lady answered.  I heard the hesitation in her voice. Sheer awe, as if she didn’t know what to say. So, I rushed on to identify myself and explain why I had called. Then she told me the reason for her reluctance.

“The number you called from… that showed up on the caller id is that of my mom and dad,” she said. “They’re gone. Both my parents are in heaven. So, I knew they couldn’t be calling me,” she added.  So astonished, she asked me to tell her out loud the number that I was calling from. I did.

I told her that I understood and we shared pleasantries. Since I too, know what a nostalgic moment feels like. That sentimental longing for someone or something that is gone. An overflow that stirs the heart and fills the mind with joy, sadness, or pain. An occurrence that I have learn… to let it come… and let it go.

For God, doesn’t want us to live in the past. Though He allows us to keep our memories. Causing, nostalgic moments that can overwhelm. I’m not talking about gut wrenching, heartbreaking, life shattering moments. Where you just want to fade away. I’m not talking about teary-eyed, agonizing, debilitating feelings. When you first realize your love one is gone.

Nor, am I talking about… illusionary, often bittersweet memories of the good old days… that linger for days or even weeks. Those good old days that weren’t as good as our selective memory makes them out to be. Nor, am I talking about living in the past… refusing the present, or declining the future.

I’m talking about, the reality that God makes no mistakes and we must bow to His holy will. Yet, when we walk outside on a bright sunny day and the scent of lavender kisses us with a memory of a beloved one. When we’re tired and just want to survive the drive home. Then, flipping the radio dial, a late love one’s favorite song plays on the radio. When that nice old lady at the department store goes out of her way to help us exchange an item, without a receipt. And yes, her name tag says Dotty. Which just happens to be the name of our dear late granny.  And, for a brief moment, we’re looking back through time. Thank God for memories.

Every now and again… often few and far between… when I smell a familiar scent of cinnamon, I’m overcome with nostalgia. With every whiff and sweet wispy wave of air. The sheer aroma, reminds me of sharing lunch and good conversation with my dear granddad. For, a brief instance, just a few seconds… I feel his presence… if only in my memories. Then I smile… just a nostalgic moment.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. ≈ Proverbs 18:24

I enjoy writing. For it expresses the eloquence and the uniqueness of words, which you can touch.. Yesterday, I wrote. ‘Don’t get so overwhelmed with the cares of life, that you forget to live… living is a gift’… a blessing from God. I thought to tweet it. But I didn’t. Captivated by the world.

Then this morning, a dear friend sent me a text. That encouraged me to have a great day. It included a link to this song.

 

The warmth of friendship overflowed from the song. Friendship that refreshes and guards against the cares of life. A reminder that God is still God… God of my life… God of our lives. Friendship, which relaxes the grip of daily life. A vivid reminder of God’s love through Jesus Christ in the bond of friendships.

The desire to write each day, ignited my consciousness with every musical note. My heart embraced the words. Words that inspired hope. Words that inspired my dreams. Words that expressed my faith. Words that declared, the Lord will make a way. Words that brought joy, irrespective of circumstances. Regardless of what’s taking place in the world.

Bold caring friendship that hears the needs of others and lift its voice for good. Precious friendship that acknowledges, God has it all in control. A friendship that fosters responsible courage. Thank God, for friends that remind us of our source of strength in the universe.

Thomas Aquinas, said, “Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.” For friendship affirms that life is most interesting. It is a grand adventure made grander by the company of friends. For friendship,  reveals the amazing grace of God’s love. Through the caring words and acts of others.

God given friends who overlook faults. Share in disappointments. Then rejoice in our successes is the best antidote for the cares of like.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.