Aug 19, 2008

Where's Waldo?

You say it's your birthday!

June Anne LaGrone (with a little prompting from her mother).

August 19, 2008

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for giving me your Gift of Life.

Thank you for my mother and father, June and Harry Summer, who not only shared their physical being with me, but also their spiritual being, as well as their love for each other (even in hard times), and their love for you. Thank you for having them show me that love isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap, but that it is worth the cost.

Thank you for the pain you have carried me through, which softened my heart to feel the pain of others.

Thank you for my wife, Linden, a true child of yours who has helped me to be faithful to you.

Thank you, Lord, for my daughters Anna and Catherine. Lord, you have blessed me beyond my imagination by allowing me to participate in some small way in their lives. Again and again I see your hand in their lives, and I marvel at your works. In them, I can see you, and I can see how you planned and prepared my life to be in theirs. Thank you, Lord, for showing me what being a father is all about.

Lord, thank you for Hosea, for June Anne, and for Jesse, for the opportunity to see life continue and thrive, as you have planned it to.

Thank you for their fathers, David and Riley. Thank you, dear Father, for allowing me to be a part of their lives, too. To be a friend when possible, and a model when needed.

Thank you, Father, for giving me your Gift of Life here, and thanks to your sacrifice on the Cross, your Gift of Life Eternal.

Amen and Hallelujah!

Aug 15, 2008

The Final Moments of a Penitent Thief

Within minutes, officials would give a lethal injection to Michael Rodriguez, the first of the Texas Seven to be executed for their infamous killing of an Irving police officer on Christmas Eve 2000.

Final moments

At 6:02, Mr. Rodriguez was led to the execution chamber.

"May I speak now?" he asked.

"No, not yet," a prison official answered.

He was strapped to the gurney, and then his executioners pierced his arms with the needles, first the left, then the right.

At 6:10, he began his final words.

"I know this in no way makes up for all the pain and suffering I gave you," he began. "I am so, so sorry."

He looked directly at Ms. Dalmolin and Ms. Hawkins-Acosta.

"My punishment is nothing compared to the pain and sorrow I have caused. ... I am not strong enough to ask for forgiveness because I don't know if I am worthy," he continued.

"I ask the Lord to please forgive me. I have gained nothing, but just brought sorrow and pain to these wonderful people."

He kept apologizing, calling the families by name. He thanked a couple, Irene and Jack, for "helping me find Christ's love." His words turned to song.

"My Jesus, my Savior, there is none like you," he sang softly. "All of my days I want to praise, let every breath. Shout to the Lord, let us sing ...."

His song trailed off and turned to a sound like snoring. It was 6:13, and his lethal dose had begun. He was pronounced dead at 6:20.

They pulled a white sheet over his face.

By STEVE THOMPSON / The Dallas Morning News

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Aug 8, 2008

On a typical sunday morning at church in America.

Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

From the Gospel According to John

And so it is in most churches in America. They have taken my Lord, and I don't know what they have done with him.

Revisionist theologian John Spong says that after Jesus died, they took his body and threw it in the garbage pit, where the wild dogs ate him. Clearly, Spong was speaking for himself and his cohorts in the Episcopal Church.

But what about the "good" churches? What have they done with Jesus? Locked him up between the heavy covers of a book as "The Word", only to be freed for brief moments at the pastors command? Placed under lock and key in a tabernacle built to imitate Hebrew Temple worship? Memorialized him? Forgotten him altogether? Banned him?

Mary didn't find Jesus where she expected to (tomb = church). Not only did she find him outside of the church building, she didn't even recognize him, mistaking him for "Hey-suess" the gardener.
But he called her name. He calls yours and mine.

Shall we exit the tomb and enter The Church?

Aug 5, 2008

Why it isn't working.

"In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise."

-- Richard Halverson, former Chaplain of the United States Senate