Toast for Thanksgiving

I confess have a favorite movie—Babette’s Feast*. Babette, a spectacular chef who fled the French Revolution, made a feast for a village of Christian people who hated each other. The table was set with more than food—it was rich with joy, mercy and reconciliation. Just like Jesus when He ate with sinners. I hope you’ll watch it someday.

Near the end a surprising character, Old Lorens, offers a wonderful toast…

“Mercy and truth have met together. Righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another. Man, in his weakness and shortsightedness believes he must make choices in this life. He trembles at the risks he takes. We do know fear. But no. Our choice is of no importance. There comes a time when our eyes are opened and we come to realize that mercy is infinite. We need only await it with confidence and receive it with gratitude. Mercy imposes no conditions. And lo! Everything we have chosen has been granted to us. And everything we rejected has also been granted. Yes, we even get back what we rejected. For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another.” —Old Lorens Lowenhielm, Babette’s Feast

Hallelujah.

—j

*Rated ‘G’, French-Danish, with subtitles

Toast for Thanksgiving

I confess have a favorite movie—Babette’s Feast*. Like Jesus, Babette made a feast for a village of Christian people who hated each other. The table was set with joy, mercy and reconciliation. I hope you’ll watch it someday. Near the end, Old Lorens, a surprising character in the story, offers a great toast…

“Mercy and truth have met together. Righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another. Man, in his weakness and shortsightedness believes he must make choices in this life. He trembles at the risks he takes. We do know fear. But no. Our choice is of no importance. There comes a time when our eyes are opened and we come to realize that mercy is infinite. We need only await it with confidence and receive it with gratitude. Mercy imposes no conditions. And lo! Everything we have chosen has been granted to us. And everything we rejected has also been granted. Yes, we even get back what we rejected. For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another.” —Old Lorens Lowenhielm, Babette’s Feast

“Hallelujah.”

—j

*Rated ‘G’, French-Danish, with subtitles

Beyond the Reach of Darkness

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

There are some things ‘Mordor’ can’t touch—all darkness is fleeting. From everlasting to everlasting the star will shine in all its beauty. And us with Him.

His love endures forever.

Now that’s hope.

—j

Eating Fireworks

“THERE EXIST BEINGS WHO…spend more money, waste more time, take more trouble, than would be required for ten good actions, and that gratuitously, for their own pleasure, without receiving any other payment for their curiosity than curiosity…Why? For no reason. A pure passion for seeing, knowing and penetrating into things. A pure itch for talking. And often these secrets once known, these mysteries made public, these enigmas illuminated by the light of day bring on catastrophes, duels, failures, the ruin of families and broken lives, to the great joy of those who have “found out everything,” without any interest in the matter, and by pure instinct. A sad thing. Certain persons are malicious solely through a necessity for talking. Their conversation, the chat of the drawing-room, gossip of the anteroom, is like those chimneys which consume wood rapidly; they need a great amount of combustibles; and their combustibles are furnished by their neighbors.” —Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

The world feasts on fireworks served daily by those who love to watch the world burn—a blue-plate special of flaming bad news and gossip full of all kinds of artificial ingredients.

When will it end?

Jesus is coming.

What can I do?

Bring a heaping course of truth to the table—it’s full of all the Good stuff—hope, life, salvation, Jesus. Show it, tell it, live believably.

Though many have lost their taste for truth, it’s still the main course—and we’re still the waiters.

—j

Irrationalists

“Christians often explain away miracles for the sake of being rational about things… They acknowledge the God Who Created Everything, but find it difficult believing that this same God would occasionally suspend the natural laws of His own creation for the sake of His glory, because it’s ‘not rational’.” —Zachary Jason McCarl

Pray big—rationality not required. God still parts seas.

—j

The Big Contradiction

“Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, they reject the Bible because it contradicts them.” —Paul Harvey

“My truth” is just another way of saying “The real thing offends me.” Actually, the real thing saves you, and it’s plain as the print on the page.

Happy reading.

—j

A Most Stupendous Thing

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” the Apostle Paul asked. The question itself is the answer…

“God is for us. Paul here arrives at the mountain height of the Christian position! And that, so to speak, by way of experience. He does indeed, in the word “us” bring all the saints with him. There was first our state of awful guilt and Christ’s work for us, and justification thereby. Then came knowledge of indwelling sin, and the Spirit’s work within us, and deliverance from sin’s power thereby. Now Paul has arrived upon the immovable mountain-top… and sees God Himself FOR us! Not at all meaning here that God is merely on our side in out struggles, but God’s uncaused, unalterable attitude with respect to those in Christ. God is FOR them! Nothing in time or in eternity to come has anything to do with matters here. Our weak hearts, prone to legality and unbelief, must with great difficulty receive these mighty words: God is FOR us! Place the emphasis here where GOD places it: on this great word “for”. God is FOR His elect. They have failed, but He is FOR them. They are ignorant, but He is FOR them. They have not yet brought forth much fruit, but He is FOR them. If our hearts once surrender to this stupendous fact that we are those whom God will be eternally FOR…whose lives do not at all affect the fact that God is FOR them, then we shall be ready to magnify the God of all grace!” —William Newell (emphasis in the original)

There is an unassailable star gleaming in the night of the world—a hope shining beyond the reach of any looming shadow, be it personal, political or spiritual. It is there, though clouds obscure it, and it will remain when they are forever banished.

—j

Counter-Culture at Its Best

It used to be that Hippies and Beatniks (remember them?) were America’s counter-culture…

“As Christians [in America], our challenge is to go back as close as we can to the Gospel and truly be the church. Increasingly, we’re likely to be a counter-culture. As that happens, we will be the last great defenders of reason, truth and human dignity, with the task of defending [the Faith] not just theoretically…but practically, as the early church did… Our privilege will be to repeat that story in our time.” —Os Guinness (World Magazine interview, June 29, 2013)

Our passports say “Kingdom of Heaven”.
Our culture is Jesus.
We are light in the darkness at noon.

Far out, man.

—j

The Unelected

Democracy makes people rulers, ideologies are their battlefields and votes are their swords—until a real King happens along…

“As Christians we know that here we have no continuing city—that crowns roll in the dust and every earthly kingdom must sometime flounder, whereas we acknowledge a King men did not crown and cannot dethrone, as we are citizens of a city of God they did not build and cannot destroy. Thus the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, living in a society as depraved and dissolute as ours. Their games, like our television, specialized in spectacles of violence and eroticism. Paul exhorted them to be “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in God’s work,” to concern themselves with the things that are unseen. “For the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal.” It was in the breakdown of Rome that Christendom was born. Now in the breakdown of Christendom there are the same requirements and the same possibilities to eschew the fantasy of a disintegrating world and seek the reality of what is not seen and eternal, the reality of Christ.” —Malcolm Muggeridge

The King is coming.

—j

Don’t Stop

“Keep about the work God has given you. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let corporations resolve, let the devil do his worst; but see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling the work that GOD has given you. He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you defended you character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood about yourself which Satan and his servants may start to peddle. If you do those things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the LORD. Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” ­—Pastor Matt M. Hoekstra

Let’s go…

—j