What’s So “Good” About It?

From a conversation with Anna earlier this week:

“Dad, why do we call it ‘Good Friday?’ What the people did to Jesus wasn’t good at all.”

“No it wasn’t.”

“Well then why do we call it ‘Good?'”

“Well it’s a very old name, and it originally meant ‘great’ as in ‘very important.’ The Orthodox still call it ‘Great and Holy Friday.'”

“Oh, okay.”

She paused for a moment, deep in thought.

“Well it was good that Jesus died for us,” she added.

“Yes it was Anna.”

“And the he loves us.”

“That too.”

Not quite a Five Minute Friday, but sometimes you don’t even need five minutes to say what’s important. All you need is a few moments with a thoughtful nine year old.

Five Minute Friday

And another two-for-one for Holy Week …

Cheerleaders of Faith

It’s Your Turn

Do a good turn daily.

The slogan of all scouts, both girl and boy, is the same—”do a good turn daily.” It’s a good slogan to live by.

How often do any of us follow that advice? When we have an opportunity to “do a good turn” do we take it? Do we even notice. or are we too caught up in our own problems to see anyone else’s?

And it’s so simple. It’s something each of us can do in a moment and it might just make a difference.

See a piece of trash left on the ground? Pick it up.

See a shopping cart in the parking lot? Take it back into the store.

See someone struggling with grocery bags and a door? Hold the door open.

These are the kind of things I try to notice every day when I’m out and I try to remember to do them. Just three examples, but there are many more. And I’m not going to say that by doing these things we’ll solve all the world’s problems. But we might make someone else’s day a bit better. And they might do the same for someone else.

Call it a random act of kindness, or loving your neighbor as yourself.

But either way, it’s your turn to do a good turn today.

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He Holds Us

Christ the Redeemer, Rio De Janiero, Brazil

Photo: Sean Vivek Crasto

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross (through him), whether those on earth or those in heaven. —1 Colossians 1:15-19 (NAB)

I have never struggled with the supposed contradiction between the Scriptural account of Creation presented in Genesis 1 and the overwhelming evidence for evolution. Perhaps it’s because, like St. Augustine, I always saw the Genesis story as allegorical. And perhaps it’s because, like St. Francis, I picture God continuously willing the whole universe into being as an act of infinite, divine love.

He isn’t Newton’s Absent Watchmaker, who built the machine, pressed start, and walked away. Neither is he Calvin’s Divine Puppeteer who wrote the script and pulls all the strings. He loves us, and everything else, into existence, and he sustains us, and everything else, by a constant, intentional, and ongoing act of love.

He who is Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity holds us. He who became like us so that we may become like him died for us. He who made us and all things reconciles us and all things in him.

The visible Son who is the Image of the invisible Father holds us through the power of the Spirit.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God who is Love.

Amen.

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Bloggerhood Etc. 9/8/14

Anna with her backpack on.

Photo: Julia Ozab

Anna starts her first full week of third grade today, and I’m settling into a writing schedule. Time to get to work. First up—the best of the week from around the blogosphere …

Best Back-to-School Post.High School: It’s Her Turn” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.

Best Commentary.The Message of Mercy” by Cardinal Walter Kasper at America.

Best Reflection.The Classical Cloud” by Alex Ross at The New Yorker.

Best Cautionary Tale.Here’s Exactly Why MacArthur’s Advice On Gay Children Is So Dangerous” by Benjamin Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Best Profile.A Place to Call Home: The Complicated Story of Colt Lyeria” by Mike Piellucci at SB Nation.

Best Question.What’s so Important—and Stressful—About Family Dinner?” by Alice Callahan at Science of Mom.

Best List.Pothead NFL Logos: What if all 32 NFL Logos Smoked Weed?” by David Rappoccio at Kissing Suzy Kolber (via Not Sports Center).

Most Honest.Death of a Cult Leader OR “How are you doing since your grandfather died?” by Elizabeth Esther.

Most Vulnerable.On Brokenness and Mole-Whacking” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Most Hopeful.Teen With Cancer Remixes Jay Z With ‘Bald So Hard,’ Shows How To Laugh When Battling Disease” by Eleanor Goldberg at Huff Post Impact.

Best Special Needs Post.The Other Talk” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best Essay.The Forsaken: A Rising Number of Homeless Gay Teens Are Being Cast Out by Religious Families” by Alex Morris at Rolling Stone.

Best Video.Product Testing: Flowbee and Poo-Pourri” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

“Have you always wanted to cut your hair with a vacuum cleaner?”

Um … no.

Filled to Overflowing

Salt Creek Falls

Salt Creek Falls (Photo: Julia Ozab)

“How full is your bucket?” This is the question asked by a best-selling book of the same name. It uses a metaphor of a bucket and a ladle to describe how selfish acts diminish the positive outlook of other people (symbolized by water in a bucket), and how self-giving acts replenish not just other people’s buckets, but our own as well.

It’s really a meditation on the infinite abundance of love.

We read the kids’ version of this story to Anna. She picked up on the metaphor right away, and I picked up on a couple of other points that the authors might have missed.

First, that depression is like a hole in your bucket. I know that when I got depressed none of the people or things that normally brought me joy could lift me out of the darkness. There’s a hole in the bucket, and—just like the song—any attempt on my part to patch that hole is futile. That’s why people who suffer from depression need to get help. You can’t will yourself to get better anymore than you can will away an infection or a major injury. Depression is not a lack of faith, in either God or in oneself, it’s a disease.

Second, that God has an infinite bucket filled with infinite water that never runs out. This is what Jesus told the woman at the well—”whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

God is love; a spring of living water that never runs out. And he fills us to overflowing.

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When I wrote this post last Friday, I had no idea how tragically relevant it would become. If you’re struggling with depression and especially if you’ve thought of hurting yourself in any way, please seek help. 1-800-273-TALK.