Where Is God? – I’m Crucified Til The End of Time – A New Song

 

For years I’ve tried to consider the incarnational meaning to this passage from the book “Night” by Elie Wiesel. Last night I attempted writing a similar thought in the form of a song. Even if you don’t want to hear the song, I’d encourage you to read this passage and as we head toward Sunday reflect on the question Wiesel asks along with all of mankind, “Where Is God?” It’s a great sacramental question I think.

“One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows rearing up in the assembly place, three black crows. Roll call. SS all around us, machine guns trained: the traditional ceremony. Three victims in chains— and one of them, the little servant, the sad-eyed angel.
The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual. To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him.
This time the Lagerkapo refused to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him.
The three victims mounted together onto the chairs.
The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses.
“Long live liberty!” cried the two adults.
But the child was silent.
“Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked.
At a sign from the head of the camp, the three chairs tipped over.
Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting.
“Bare your heads!” yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping.
“Cover your heads!”
Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue-tinged. But the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive…
For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was red, his eyes were not yet glazed.
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“Where is God now?”
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
“Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows…”

[Excerpt from NIGHT by Elie Wiesel]

 

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Abortion: Does The Church Really Have A Better Alternative?

So what can the church offer to a woman who is facing the difficult decision of how to handle an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy? This is one of the best responses I’ve come across. In my opinion the church has little to no right to condemn abortions if it isn’t willing to offer difficult alternatives like the one below.

William Wilmon describes hearing an African-American pastor’s response to the grim reality of teen pregnancy in his book, “What’s Right With The Church”. Here is an excerpt from Willimon’s book, and it is beautifully sacramental:

“We have young girls who have this happen to them. I have a 14-year-old in my congregation who had a baby last month. We are going to baptize the child next Sunday, “he added.

“Do you really think that she is capable of raising a little baby?” Another minister asked.

“Of course not, “he replied. “No 14-year-old is capable of raising a baby. For that matter, not many 30-year-olds are qualified. Babies are too difficult for any one person to raise by herself. “

“So what do you do with babies? “They asked.

“Well, we baptize them so that we all raise them together. In the case of that 14-year-old, we have given her baby to a retired couple who have enough time and enough wisdom to raise children. They can raise the mama along with her baby. That’s the way we do it. “

Here is a link where you can buy Bishop Willimon's book,

Here is a link where you can buy Bishop Willimon’s book, “What’s Right With The Church” on Amazon.com

First Blood Author David Morrell on The Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #146

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David Morrell and Sylvester Stallone on the set of First Blood

David Morrell and Sylvester Stallone on the set of First Blood

Subscribe To This Podcast on iTunes

Subscribe To This Podcast on iTunes

Podcast Index At This Link: www.RickLeeJames.com/Podcast

This week on the Voices In My Head Podcast our special guest is

New York Times Bestselling Author, David Morrell.

About David Morrell:
In 1972, David Morrell published his debut novel about a veteran with PTSD who returned home from the Vietnam war, bringing the war home with him. The name of this groundbreaking novel is First Blood. It was called “the father of the modern action novel,” and was widely and enthusiastically reviewed. It was also taught in high schools and colleges. It became a 1982 film, starring Sylvester Stallone, and led to a series of films about Rambo, who joined the ranks of the top five internationally recognized thriller icons: Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, James Bond, and Harry Potter.

In addition to being Rambo’s creator, David Morrell also holds a Ph. D. in American literature from Penn State and was a professor in the English department at the University of Iowa where he taught from 1970 to 1986. His numerous New York Times bestsellers include the classic spy novel, The Brotherhood of the Rose, The Fraternity of the Stone, and The League of Night and Fog.

Eventually wearying of two professions, Morrell gave up his academic tenure in order to write full time. Shortly after, tragedy struck theMorrell family, as David’s fifteen-year-old son Matthew was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and died in 1987, a loss that haunts not only Morrell’s life but his work, as in his memoir about Matthew, Fireflies, and his novel Desperate Measures, whose main character lost a son.

In 2007 after 40 years of novels, honors, and awards David Morrell was able to add comic book writer to his resume, writing the acclaimed mini-series turned Graphic Novel, Captain America: The Chosen. Since then he has also written stories for The Amazing Spider-Man as well as the Savage Wolverine.

Find out even more about David Morrell on his official web site at www.DavidMorrell.net

Voices In My Head Podcast #145: Slugs and Bugs with Randall Goodgame

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This week on the Voices In My Head Podcast I’m joined by the talented Randall Goodgame. He has written songs for Veggie Tales, Caedmon’s Call, Andrew Peterson, Jason Gray, Jill Phillips, and Eric Peters. He is also a frequent collaborator of Andrew Peterson, including the 2006 music album, Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies. From this album, the song You Can Always Come Home was featured on the Veggie Tales’ The Wonderful Wizard of Ha’s (2007). He and his wife live in Nashville Tennessee with their three kids and a dog. ( schnoodle)
You can support the new Slugs and Bugs Sing The Bible Record at this web site. http://www.slugsandbugs.com/

Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #144 – The Amazing Spider-Man with Matt Anderson

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Matt Andersonamazingspider-man033

This week on the Voices in my Head Podcast I am joined by Matt Anderson of the Sci- Fi Christian Podcast. We talk about Spider-man and the themes of “Power” and “Responsibility” while revisiting a classic Stan Lee and Steve Ditko storyline of the Amazing Spider-Man, The Master Planner!!!

 

Listen in iTunes :itunes

Voices In My Head Podcast Episode #143: Morning Daily Prayer Rule

I invite you to pray along with me this week on this special episode of The Voices My Head Podcast as I lead us through a Morning Daily Prayer Rite of the Orthodox Church. Click the picture below to follow along with the prayer.

Beginning Daily Prayer Rule

Does Worship Have an Audience?

For too long in our worship services we have seen the congregation as the audience. In recent years a new emphasis has directed us away from that kind of thinking by helping us to see God as the audience and the congregation as performers for Him. While this metaphor has changed the course of the conversation and helped us to use new language, like referring to the stage as a platform, I don’t think the metaphor has been carried far enough.

The more I reflect on worship in the house of God, the more I want to completely abandon that idea that there is an audience at all. When it comes to worship, maybe there is no audience. Audiences tend to be spectators but they don’t usually contribute to the what is happening in the show they are watching. If it’s a movie, the audience pays their money then they sit back and let the performers on screen do the work. At church we often plunk down our tithe and let the people on the platform do the work.

While I believe the metaphor of seeing God as the audience and His people as the performers is better for helping congregational members to engage more in worship, I still think we can do better. A passive spectator is the furthest thing from what Christianity means when it uses the word God.  God is not a passive spectator and neither should His people be, after all, liturgy is the work of the people.

The Christian faith has always affirmed a Creator God who is active in His creation, all of His creation.  God is not an academic pursuit for us, God is our source of life who draws near to us, reveals Himself to us, intervenes in our lives, changes us, disrupts our days, dies for us, resurrects for us, and just won’t leave us alone even if we want Him to. You can run from yourself but you can’t run from God.

In worship we remember together, we retell the story, we share a meal, and we commune with God. He isn’t an outsider to our worship, He is the host who is drawing us in, welcoming us, and has the table prepared for His family to dine together. Even outsiders, non-believers, are active participants in worship because we believe God is present to them as well, calling them and drawing them to Himself, weaving them into His story, usually against their will and often against their long held beliefs.
Even so, God is a relentless pursuer who loves us too much to leave us alone. Worship is not meant to be  judged by what type of an emotional experience we had anymore than a family dinner gathering should be judged by the emotional experience it evokes. We gather together because we are family and God is having us over to His house for a meal.
Family gatherings can be rough. We don’t always see eye to eye. Sometimes we are an embarrassment to our family and they are an embarrassment to us but often they are the only strength we have and are a great source of life. Say what you want about family, good, bad, or ugly, they will always be your family. The Father is calling us to the table and I think this may be a more helpful way for us to see Him in our worship than to see Him as a grand spectator.
Worship is not a show as much as it is a family gathering. Come to worship this Sunday and participate in the story of God, with God, and with the congregation. Come worship this active God who is even more present than we are as we gather together. He is the Father, the host, and we are His children called into His home to dine.