For those folks who may find the holiday season inspiring a reassessment of their life and faith, I bring tidings of great joy. WO'C Spiritual Advisor J. Grant Swank, as you may have noticed, has been writing less about politics these days, but only because he's busy getting back to his core competency of spreading the Gospels like mayonnaise on white bread.
Christmas: Faith Traveling
Pastor Swank points out that faith is a journey, much like the
[I]n this faith traveling, there are numerous Herods who would stand in the way, attempting to wreck the faith project. They are bloodthirsty, agents of hell, mean to the pits.I knew a guy who was mean to the sternum once, and that was bad enough; but if you're mean all the way up to your pits, then you should seriously consider getting help. Just not from Robin of Berkeley.
Such should never surprise the faith child. Jesus promised as much. That is why He told His own to be as wise as snakes and harmless as doves. Wise as snakes!Harmless as doves! Your turn, Pastor. (I assume this is the ecclesiastical version of that "Tastes Great! Less Filling!" debate.)
How interesting that every time heaven breaks through with some marvelous holy extravaganza of love and mercy, hell gets as angry as angry can be. So it is that while God implanted Himself into human history, Herod became furious with envy. He stalked. He balked.He caulked. But he had to, because his winter palace, Herodium, was poorly insulated, and as extravagant as Herod was, he wasn't trying to heat the whole West Bank
He strung out his nerves to dry.This is a bit off-topic, but did you know sun-dried nerves are a cannibal delicacy? When I lived in New York I often saw savages with a taste for human flesh paying up to $17.99 a pound for the stuff at Balducci's.
In our faith journeys we come upon the outrageous counterfeits. How they wear their masks tightly.Has this ever happened to you? You're walking along, minding your own business, when you suddenly stumble over a counterfeit who obviously smothered to death in his tight-fitting Nixon mask or overly-snug leather bondage hood, and think to yourself, "Not so outrageous now, are you?"
Again, Jesus warns His genuine grace children to be wary of the snakes.
The Apostle Arch Hall, Sr. spreads the Good News and Reptile Advisory.
How sad that the chief priests and teachers of the law could inform Herod of the prophetic piece and yet be so utterly far from its personal truth. It would be these very religious play actors who would some day plot the murder of the infant-grown-adult.While it's true that most victims of murder plots are infant-grown-adults, there is one known case of chief priests and teachers planning the death an adult-grown-infant: 1982, when members of the Sanhedrin conspired to murder the Jonathan Winters character on Mork and Mindy.
Eventually the magi reached Bethlehem. The Jewish shepherds had preceded them in the cave stall.The magi were grateful there was a cave stall, because Melchior had a shy bladder.
The Christmas account then happily relates that the magi's hearts were overjoyed with their sight discovery. Their faith had led them to the visible God in the cow's trough. There he was, for certain!You never really appreciate the majesty of a Bible story until you hear Pastor Swank tell it.
But they did not renege. They remained true to the close. Their faith yielded its own reward--sight!
And so it is with each of us--we make the journey to the close, then we see. We come upon heaven's own reward--sight!And Pastor Swank wrote a thoughtful, incisive piece without a single flummoxing grammatical deformity--psyche!
It was then with such utter ecstasy that these grown men bent their knees before the child. They flung their gold, frankincense, and myrrh--gushing forth with praise and worship. They were beside themselves, no doubt tears streaming down their cheeks. The hot sands were behind them. The babe was before them.They realized they'd wandered onto the set of Baywatch.
We find out that as we make the faith journey, there are days when we wonder what is going on.This is beginning to feel like one of those days...
If the magi had turned back somewhere along the westward trail, Jesus would still have been waiting in the Bethlehem cow stall. But they would have missed Him--totally.Then they would've had to come up with some lame excuse about how they'd gotten a migraine, or had to pick their aunt up at the airport.
Thank heaven the magi remained constant and so came upon The Constant. No wonder their hearts were pounding for joy abounding!I didn't realize cow troughs could induce tachycardia and excessive rhyming. Someone should put a trigger warning on the cave stall.