Sin is offending God, or going against His wishes/desires for us. When someone offends you or does something you don’t want then you could say that they have sinned against you, though we usually say that they have pissed us off. (more…)
Posts tagged ‘Religion’
For six days our internet service was down, we were disconnected from our etherfriends it was horrible…for the first couple days. After that you kind of get used to it, missing it only once in a while. It’s like that with church. You missed church Sunday and it was terrible, you felt bad. The following Sunday you missed it again, it was still terrible but not quite so much. After a few Sundays you no longer miss it.
When the internet came back it was like a long-lost friend came for a visit…it was fantastic! We caught up with old friends (read the accumulated email), reconnected with the lives we followed (blogs), and delighted in things going back to the way they used to be – comfy cozy.
It’s the same with church. If you left for a while then returned you reconnect with old friends, and you feel good being back where your soul knows it belongs. If you’ve lapsed why not go back, maybe you’ll feel delighted that thing are back to they way they they used to be – comfort for the soul.
Jesus asked that we love each other with the same love that he showed to us. Love demands two things: acceptance and forgiveness.
If we are unwilling to accept that others may see/feel/believe different that we do then how can we truly love them? God accepts that we are different from each other, he made each of us as we were when we were born, and into the families into which we were born. He did not make us clones of each other, but made each of us different, and incomplete. With all due respect to Simon and Garfunkel, we were not made to be islands, but to need each other. Man needs woman, the hunter needs the gatherer, the warrior needs the diplomat, the liberal needs the conservative, and vice-versa. The Christian needs the Jew, the Muslim, and, yes, even the Hindu and Native American. It is only by seeing God in his Infinite Diversity that we can see God in everyone we encounter. And it is only by seeing God in others that we can accept each other fully.
Forgiveness is the other thing that love demands. We all make mistakes, it’s part of being human. Anyone who claims to not make mistakes has just made another. From Eve to Adam, down through the ages, man has made mistakes, but God has continued to love us. But you can’t forgive them unless you first love them, then accept that it is because of your differences that probably caused the disagreement in the first place. True forgiveness requires that we put the offense behind us, and not bring it up again. We cannot forget that it happened, but we can leave it in the past.
Acceptance and forgiveness aren’t easy, but for a Christian they are necessary. God forgave mankind for abandoning his will, then accepted that it was because of our free will that it happened. Jesus was the sign of that forgiveness, and our promised eternity with him is the sign of his acceptance.
Love, acceptance, and forgiveness. All are required of Christians, and all are the signs that we truly are followers of Christ.
John 13:35 (RSV) By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Will people know you are a Christian?
January 6, a holy day in West and East, but do we both celebrate the same thing? Not at all. It’s unusual for East and West to share a holy date, but to celebrate different events (especially when both churches celebrate the events) on that date tends to lead to confusion. So, what are Epiphany and Theophany, and how do they differ? (more…)
Occasionally you come across a series of events that require such precise timing as to question if they could happen in a random universe. Such an event happened to me last week.
I like to hike…a lot. I like to hike like Michael Jordan likes to play basketball. I do a hike of at least 6 miles every week, I’d do more but then I’d come home to find my clothes in the driveway. Last week I was on a 9 mile hike in one of my favorite areas – Ohiopyle, Pa. Ohiopyle has just about every summer outdoor activitiy there is – rafting, fishing, biking, hiking, camping, and probably a few things I can’t remember, but hiking is my main activitiy (okay, some rafting as well). On this particular hike a bunch of things came together in such a way as to enable me to help two other hikers, a timing that has to make you question if it could be anything other than a guided occurrence. Let me lay it out (this is only from my side of things, I have little idea what occurred on their end):
- I left my house at 9:10, I wanted to leave at 8:30 but woke up late so my timing was off.
- I wanted to update the music on my Jeep’s radio, so when I left I plugged in the USB drive and began the process of uploading over 1,800 songs (yes, this is part of it).
- When I got off the turnpike in Donegal I decided not to follow my navigation system, so I turned left instead of right.
- By turning left I came across a work zone and had to wait for my turn to drive through it.
- My upload of the songs was taking longer than I thought, so I slowed down so that it would have more time to complete the upload (and I wouldn’t have to wait in the trailhead parking lot).
- When I got to the lot the upload was still running (argh!) so I had to sit for 18 minutes for the upload to finish.
- After the upload finished I loaded my daypack and my waterbottle, grabbed my hiking staff and headed off. I was trying out two new trail apps and had them running simultaneously on my cellphone. Because of this my hiking went slower than it normally would as I would periodically stop to check out both apps to see if they were faithfully tracking me.
- I also stopped along the way to take pictures to see if they posted to the apps properly. Along with these were the normal stops for drinks and breaks to rest and enjoy the views.
- At one point one of the apps was far off from where I should be, so I stopped for 5-8 minutes to check it out, see what was going on, and compare it to the other app. Since my phone battery was starting to run low (GPS apps use a lot of power) and the one app was already wrong, I turned that app off to save battery, then continued on.
- At one point I had to make a decision on whether to follow a different trail further up the hill, or my original trail as it turned back down to Ohiopyle. I decided to go up the hill to Sugarloaf Knob.
- When I reached the parking lot at Sugarloaf Knob I stopped for a quick lunch.
- After lunch I decided to take the shortcut in front of the knob instead of the trail that goes around the knob, meeting up with the shortcut trail on the other side of the knob. I took the shortcut.
- At the other side of the shortcut I started the trek down the hill into Ohiopyle (patience, we’re almost there).
- Going down the hill you cross a service road, on the other side of the road the park had done some clearing of trees. It’s a normal process, but it made it hard to identify my trail from fake trails made by bikers. It took a few minutes to find the real trail and continue on my way.
- After a half mile I came across a junction with another trail. I stopped to take a drink, at that point I heard the other hikers coming down the side trail. When they saw me they called out for some help, they were lost. They had talked with someone else when they first realized they were lost and he sent them down the trail that intersected with mine, with the instructions to turn left at the junction and follow the trail down to their car. He was wrong. Had they followed the advice they would have ended up on the trail I had just used to come down the hill, and would have been back up at Sugarloaf, or on one of the side trails that came off of that trail.
- I told them to follow me and I would take them to the trail that would take them back to their car. They walked with me for about 2 miles when I sent them off on their trail, and I continued on mine to where I was parked.
Consider everything that had to come together, along walking speeds, to assure that the three of us would meet at just the right time and place. Even a minute later and I would have been out of their sight. A few minutes earlier and they would have turned left, they might have met up with me, or they might have ended up at the clearing and who knows where they would have gone from there, with all the fake trails (I say fake trails because they do not appear on any maps, with no idea where they lead).
Could all of this happen by sheer coincidence, or were we guided so that we would meet?