Friday, April 19, 2013

Pray, Be Calm, and Carry On

When I first heard about the Boston bombings, I was horrified like everyone else. What kind of sick people would do something like this? Hearing that the perpetrators were from Chechnya increased my fear because I’ve been reading about Chechen terrorism. If the fighters from that small country can keep the Russians terrorized, they know very well how to terrorize Americans.
Just a couple of weeks ago, a meme of the British royal crown on top of a red background with the words “be calm and carry on” was making its rounds on facebook. I thought it was fascinating that the logo designed for use if the British were invaded was such a simple one, but it held great power. I would add another word to it: pray. So my thoughts during this tragedy were: “pray, be calm, carry on.”
A wave of sadness spilled over me when I heard about Boston on lockdown. Forcing an entire city to shut down wasn’t going to help the peace in our nation. The action was designed to create more fear, not calm it. The British logo of “be calm and carry on” made more sense than the action of shutting Boston down.
As I was reading through the various posts on facebook, I was struck by the thoughts of Steven Reid. He graciously agreed to let me quote him on my blog:
Fear not, God is with us.
The Old Testament story of Elisha and the King of Syria in 2 Kings 6 (11-19) teaches us this principle. The King of Syria goes down to capture Elisha because he recognizes Elisha is able to know the King's plans in advance. Elisha's servant comes running in and says: "Master, what are we gonna do?" The fearless Elisha responds this famous line: "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Elisha prays for the servant's eyes to be opened and he sees the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire there to protect Elisha. Elisha is safe because of the Lord.
I do feel sorry for the people of Boston because the government is creating fear in the hearts of the people. An entire city on lockdown over one tragic event caused by two men one who is now dead? Give me a break. Murders happen EVERY DAY in big cities. A no-fly zone over the city? Out of control! If government is supposedly "fighting terrorism" why are they creating terror and panic in the hearts of their citizens? Their unconstitutional over-reactions and breaches of civil liberties are making a fugitive criminal more dangerous. They should just keep people informed and aware but let people make their own decisions (teach people correct principle and let them govern themselves...hmmm someone said this once...).
The Jews at Christ's time wanted him to condemn the murderous Romans, he did not but rather focused on peace. At the same time Jesus did not advocate the forebearance of justice. You will find my position to be modeled after Christ’s: again, we condemn the sin but love the sinner who is our brother. I refuse to let hate for this murderer blacken my heart. Nor will I allow government to usurp our Constitution.
I defend the truth. The right of the presumed terrorist to free speech, the right to a trial, and to face justice for his evil. The right of the people of Boston to go about their ways and lives as they so desire. The right for us as a nation to live at peace with one another.
Steven’s words reminded me of John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
As we go forward from this tragic day, I would hope that you will remember to “pray, be calm, and carry on.”

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Christ, The Atonement, and The Resurrection

I know I’m late for the Easter holiday, but I thought this is a topic important any time of year.

There have been several deaths recently that have impacted my friends and family. My mother sent me a link to a short video regarding the life-after-death experience of Dr. Mary Neal. While I watched the video, I reflected on the truth that her ability to join with her family after death is directly related to the sacrifice Christ made for us.

Christ’s sacrificed twice for us. The first time was in the Garden of Gethsemane. I know we don’t dwell on it a lot, but that is where he bled from every pore as he accepted our sins.

When Christ shed his blood on the ground in Gethsemane, it was for the sins of the world. In a very real way, he felt every agony you have suffered. He was with you any time you were hurt by others or when you hurt someone else. He felt your pain as if he was you feeling everything you are feeling. When you fully accept the Atonement of Christ, you can hand your pain to him. You don't have to suffer. He already did. Remember you are a beloved, wonderful child of God. You are his precious child, and he allowed his perfect son to feel your pain so you don't have to live through it.

The second time Christ sacrificed for us was when he gave his life on the cross. Since he was capable of immortality, he didn’t have to allow his spirit to leave his body. He could have lived forever without dying. He chose to allow his body to die because when he did he broke the bands of death. No one could be held in the grave after that.

In Matthew 27, we are told about the first resurrection, the first people to come out of the grave:
50. Jesus, when he had cried again with loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

The resurrection of Christ will allow all of us to take up our bodies again and live with those we love.

I believe in Christ. I believe in his atoning sacrifice. I know that he lives and is involved in our lives today. I pray that you may find the peace in your own life that comes from accepting his atoning sacrifice.