…and justice for all.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.   John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

In a governing paradox, our western culture promotes self-government and individuality, yet remains coolly suspicious with unmasked distrust of external authority.  Donald Trump has become the icon of the angry American.  Perhaps, we feel betrayed.  Perhaps, the American dream is the latent pumpkin that never quite morphed into the bedazzled carriage sent to transport us to the Prince’s ball. justice
Racial tensions are taut and pregnant, economic pain births greater inequality, college debt pushes against career investment, families struggle, commitment becomes harder, and greed still seems to win.  The Nobel Prize winner and Princeton economist Dr. Angus Deaton  while being interviewed concerning the rising all-cause mortality of middle-aged whites suggested that this segment of the population “have lost the narrative of their lives.”

Les Miserables
The New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman wrote this in response, “Or to put it a bit differently, we’re looking at people who were raised to believe in the American Dream, and are coping badly with its failure to come true.”  Is it just a mere illusion, a figment of imagination, to believe that power was meant to extend justice?
Abuse of authority breeds the cynic.  

But, let’s suppose you deal with a ruling leader who executes perfect justice and integrity.  What if  there would be that One?  One who never miscarries justice and cannot be deceived.  One who will not be bought for a price.  One who will not be perverted through power’s spell. One who will not force peace with a gun?

Would we be comfortable with such a just authority?
Absolute authority with absolute justice.

Injustice is not merely the result of social structures and systems.  The heart betrays a man.  Justice emerges from purity.

What if a life narrative did exist that could not be corrupted by the deceitful heart?  

A babe was born Lord at his birth…a holy King.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of him:

He will not judge
by what He sees with His eyes,
He will not execute justice
by what He hears with His ears,
but He will judge the poor righteously
and execute justice for the oppressed of the land.

The Messiah baby is the King who sits enthroned forever.
Yet, this King was judged in night court as a criminal and crucified the next day.  The King allowed it.  He said, Put your sword back in its place because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword. Or do you think that I cannot call on My Father, and He will provide Me at once with more than 12 legions of angels?  How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”  At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a criminal, to capture Me? Every day I used to sit, teaching in the temple complex, and you didn’t arrest Me. But all this has happened so that the prophetic Scriptures would be fulfilled.”  Purity cannot be corrupted. It took “God here with us,” Immanuel, to satisfy justice.  So, the Son of Man with a perfect life, came to satisfy the law’s demands.  For if each of us are honest, there is no one whose heart does not deceive, who has never committed a wrong,  and who is not indicted for anarchy against the Highest King.  Yet, it is God’s very holiness that also transcends in love that ordained this sacred redemption.  The Son of God emptied Himself of all privilege, made Himself nothing, and offered His body as bail; so that, justice would cry no more against us. “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.”  (Colossians 1:13-14)

Absolute authority with absolute justice prevailed and liberty was won!

ps. 45 vs 6

God sees all corruption and evil.  Beauty adorns justice, for love requires it. Justice will reign in Christ’s kingdom.  We praise the King of kings whose throne is established in justice.

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ! 

-Dustin Kensrue

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The First Sun

Darkness swells.  A heavy hush blankets the blackness which lays still and spreading over the deep.  A voice speaks commanding light.
The light obeys, and God separated the light from the dark.  Yet, there was no source.lightoftheworld

Where did the light come from?  Do we only know that the gift of light was given?  It is written, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
This light is the first sun.

God, your shining glory is the light dawning in the darkness.  The Psalmist writes, “Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you….For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.”  This is a comfort in the shadows when my heart is fearful and darkness hisses gnarling, nasty threats of terror. The darkness has no power over your light, O God.  You will lead and comfort so that I will not stumble in the dark, “The unfolding of your words gives light.”  “Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”

But, what about my own dark heart and the remote recesses of the soul?  Creeping nightfall cannot hide secrets, “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.”  Where there is our hope?  The stealth of darkness grips and strangles, who will free me from the midnight of the soul?

The promise was made long ago to those who would believe:
The sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.”  sun of righeousness

The ancient prophets spoke of it clearly, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great  light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”  And the brilliant radiance of God came heralded by a star!  A birth announcement  like none other, the Great Star sang of the Light of the World, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”

The rising sun of righteousness speaks the words of life and hope.  Jesus said,
 I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life….I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

The gift of light is given to the soul for peace and healing.
The first sun is joy that dawns eternal.  sun rising over the earth from space

 

The Christmas that Never Ends

30 years have passed since that starry night.
christmas-star-gradient-8rAt the time, Jerusalem had been astir upon hearing the news from distant travelers coming from the far, far east in search of a new king. It had roused the interest of many including Herod the Great who had extensively interrogated the ancient astrologers. The Jewish rabbis and scribes had been summoned to explain the sacred prophecies telling of a future, promised king, now all but a muted, impoverished longing of the Jews. But, that was 30 years ago. It didn’t matter now.
Whatever tattered hope there had been been had long ago been discarded. Yet, God had not forgotten. He was still purposefully unfolding the story written long beyond time.  The Great Author of Life had planned another baby, also born 30 years ago,  in whom He had placed His own Spirit. John the Baptist A plain man, John called the Baptist, was now homesteading in the desert areas feeding off locust and honey.   Being filled with the spirit, the man had one mission.    Although refusing attention to himself, the message given was bold and clear: “You must change your hearts—for the kingdom of Heaven has arrived!” It was a strange clarion call, for he did not summon his countrymen to arms to blaze wars for the ancient kingdom of Israel. Oh, there were such zealots still; but, no,  he was making ready for something greater which required much more of the one heeding the call.  The gospel writer Matthew wrote, “This was the man whom the prophet Isaiah spoke about in the words: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’.” How does one prepare the way of the Lord anyway? God’s message given to John was the same prophetic message echoed throughout the Word of God, “Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings.” No, God didn’t want an army ready to strike. Why would He?  He didn’t need their paltry power.  God desired humble hearts willing to be washed free of the sins that held them so long captive and crushed their longings with hollow hopes. Theologian and professor Don Carson writes, “So, instead of marching up, a host of warriors, to the Roman citadel, the people troop down, band after band of penitents, to the Jordan, confessing their sins.”
The commander’s clarion call has always been, “Turn ye unto Me, saith the Lord of Hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts.”  It is a divine summons to the heart to return to his heart of unfailing love.  Will you believe?  Do you want a new heart?  Long ago, the prophet had foretold,  “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you and I will put my spirit within you.”

 

soul felt its worth

Thirty years later after that starry night, the clarion call summons our hearts to believe in God’s love for the world, in His Son sent as HOPE born, in the fulfilling of ancient promises, so that all who will believe may live in His forever love.
This is the beautiful message of a Christmas that never ends.  

“Preparing for the holidays is primarily a preparing of the heart. Because what comes down is love Sheila Gardner's photo.
and the way to receive love isn’t to wrap anything up
— but to unwrap your heart.

Ann Voskamp

What Happens When the Author Disappears?

Pages rustle.  Turning.Pages.of.Medieval.Bible
The overhead fan blows the thin, opaque pages of the book causing them to flutter.  This book is like no other…for in it God speaks, revealing His story, every page whispering hope for the world.

 There is a remaining longing written in our hearts…our sorrows often refresh the deep ache…it reminds us of REAL LOVE and the pang of separation. In a way, it reminds us of the appeal of fairy-tales & fantasies which irk and annoy modern literary critics for as we well know people still flock to those kind of stories. once upon a timeYou know the stories…The Lord of the RingsThe Beauty & the BeastKing Arthur and His Knights of the Round TableSleeping Beauty…Pinocchio…they all stoke the flame kindled in our soul somewhere before the once upon a time.  The great stories didn’t really happen…BUT LOVE IS REAL and our hearts really do long for happy endings. But even though we know they really didn’t happen, there is an inescapable, emotional longing deep within us for the supernatural…
for true love that never fails and never, never ends…
a desire to triumph over evil, for good to always win…
for the possibility and wonder of never growing old.  The well-told stories laced with those essential ingredients enchant our hearts. Daughter’s eyes shine for their daddy’s open arms of embrace. We love heroes. The Lord of the Rings bristles with bravado. We weren’t meant to die, and Sleeping Beauty is freed from her eternal rest through the power of love sweetly posed as a kiss from a dashing prince. Beauty and the Beast causes our hearts to hope for a love strong enough to break the curse of our beastliness. And our hearts really wants the world to be free from its sadness. Our hearts never want to let go when the love reaches deep.
So, the beauty of Christmas reminds us again…of a Father who did let go…of the Father who sooooo loved that He gave His only Son…infinity to infant.

Yet, did you know? That in between the soft leather covers of your Bible, in between the Old Testament and the New, there is a large empty gap, a looming void in the historical record of God’s metanarrative. The main character is hidden.  Did they notice God’s leaving?  For 800 years, there had been no miraculous interventions of God in the story.    What happened?  For 500 years, angels sent by God had not showed themselves to men.  Worst of all, did the people hear God’s hush?   God went darkYou see, for 400 years, God kept deafeningly silent.  No spoken Word…no prophet to bring the Word to the people for so many, many years.  Did God change?  Did He give up on His people?  Did the Author of Life quit writing the story?  Would God really remember His promises to do only good? Shriveling to a shadow of what used to be, Israel remained with only two tribes and without any status; and men and women’s hearts were very cold and faithless.  They had no king, and their hopes were bitter now.  But what about the beloved King David, whose throne was promised by God to be established forever? Alas, your royal son reigning now seems inconceivable, even impossible. There was only thunderous, ear-splitting silence.

An old promise, a worn-out hope to some, would not be forgotten; God would finish His story, and nothing would ever be the same

The night is silent again.  Now all is calm.grotto nativity 2015
God comes.
Infinity to infant.
God comes quiet.
A kingly birth hails from a defeated throne.  The Branch of David, the rightful heir to the throne, is a banner of salvation to all of the world.  The babe is Lord at His birth.  Emmanuel.  God is here with us.

So, what is this story of Christmas? 
Is it nothing more than a made up fairy-tale?
This story is true for it is written by God Himself.  It isn’t “once upon a time”; for this story never ends which is why eternity is written on our hearts.  
Jesus is the promised Deliverer sent to set us free from all of the sadness, darkness, and separation.  He breaks the chains of our beastliness and reconciles us to the open arms of the Father.  The king reigns over the grave’s steely grasp and death’s venomous sting.  He has come.god-was-made-man-1024x576  The story didn’t end.
We wait knowing that God truly did intend for our good and that the King will return.  During God’s hush, Hope was born, & nothing would ever be the same.