Monday Morning Musings 10.28.15

  1. Pride - foolish human pride - can be a dangerous thing. God reminds us in Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goes before destruction...." How often we see that played out before us. The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 reveals it well. Thankfully, the gospel offers us a life-giving solution: our human pride vanishes when we realize that there is only one Name to be lifted and made known - and that is the name of God. When we finally see Him for who He is, we will value His name above our own, and the perils of pride vanish. What's more, that majestic and matchless God knows our names (Is 43:1), so any prideful need to "make a name for ourselves" disappears. The only One who needs to know us.....does. May we humble ourselves and live with confidence out of that truth, our identity hidden with God in Christ. (Colossians 3:3)
  2. The Veil: I was blessed to officiate the wedding of Amy AmmoAmmerman and John Ullrich last Saturday. What made it so powerful was that when the doors opened and Amy was presented, she was wearing a waist-length veil. She was stunning. I had not seen a bride wear a veil in many years as it is largely a lost symbol at weddings. Marriage is the primary symbol God uses in Scripture to describe His relationship with us: Christ is our groom, and we, the Church, are His bride. Thus, when a groom lifts the veil of his bride, he represents Christ, lifting the barrier that was once between us and Him, lifting it by laying His life down. The veil has been removed - or torn in two - and we are now one with God in Christ. Thus, the wedding - and marriage - speak to the world of how God has reconciled us to Himself in Christ. ‪#‎marriagematters‬ ‪#‎traditiionstellthestory‬
  3. Thanks to so many of you for your faithful prayers and support through our son, Alex's, cancer diagnosis, surgery and treatment. I shared in church yesterday that he finished his chemo, had his follow up scans, and last week was declared "cancer free" by his doctors! They also said that it is highly unlikely for this to ever return. We have many emotions, but primarily gratitude and relief. He will move to New Orleans in several weeks to begin a job with Iberia Bank. Meanwhile, Leigh Bywaters Swanson and I will happily return to life in our empty nest. I have written about our journey in the new Columns Magazine that will come out next week. ‪#‎cancersucks‬‪#‎prayermatters‬
  4. JD Swanson and Alex Swanson were both home last Friday so we got to play golf, a rare treat for this Dad. There are things you imagine when your kids are little and enjoying playing golf together as adults was one that I had hoped for - and it's not actually about the golf. It's about five hours outside, being together, no computers or phones - and invariably, subjects come up that we would likely otherwise never discuss. And as they know, there are moments in these rounds when I just grab them - hug them - and kiss them. Can't help it. Thankfully, they tolerate this practice - and even if they didn't - I'd still do it! ‪#‎alwayskissyourkids‬ ‪#‎nevertoooldtobekissedbyyourdad‬
  5. Two weeks ago, I got one of those phone calls that comes out of the blue. A friend of mine from high school - someone who was in my wedding - someone I had spent a lot of time with in those days - had suffered a mental illness in his mid-twenties. I was moving from seminary into ministry and we lost touch. Occasionally, I would hear things, but then 15 years went by and nothing. Honestly, his was one of those lives that you could see falling through the cracks. I had searched for him hard on two occasions with no luck. I had come to the conclusion that he was either homeless or deceased. And then, last week, he called. I could not believe it was his voice on the other end. He is better. He's making it. It's hard, but he is in a good place and being cared for - and I'll see him this Christmas. Still can't believe it. What a gift. ‪#‎nevergiveup‬
  6. Children are awesome. They teach us. They make us laugh. They don't have a filter and they are mostly uncorrupted by adult fears and prejudices. I'm walking by our church's playground last week and one three-year-old says to another, "You are NOT my friend anymore!" He then hands her the toy back and she says, "I love you!!!" ‪#‎itwasmoresimplethen‬
  7. Am I the only one who thinks Daylight Saving time is dumb? I don't get it. What is the point? Let's just pick a time and stay with it instead of putting us through two time changes, one of which I hate!
  8. Finally, one of my favorite authors is Frederick Buechner. In thinking about "pride" this week, I recall what he wrote on love in his book, The Magnificent Defeat. We love the "easy to love" and we know we are called to love the "less fortunate", but pride often keeps us from loving the "more fortunate." He writes, "The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing - to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is bewildered by these saints." May we grow today to learn to even love the more fortunate, those our pride will often keep us from truly loving.