An Easter Thought for All

SONY DSC

Easter is a time of hope, optimism and looking forward. Because of its ties to Passover it occurs in the spring, with its focus on life. I propose that we take this time to harness our creative energies as we look ahead.

The prolific Thomas Alva Edison was self-educated, and, before some of you protest, let me remind you that Facebook wasn’t invented by a large corporation, and Apple started out with two guys experimenting in a garage.

So, now to the challenge – What is frequently in the news because we have too much?

Carbon and heat.

Someone is going to figure out what makes carbon – or more specifically carbon dioxide – valuable. When they do, I’m sure that the rest of us will bemoan how obvious the answer was and that we all should have thought of it. As near as I can tell, carbon in many other configurations is preferable to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Likewise, we’re always looking for new sources of energy, particularly renewable energy. W commonly measure energy in terms of heat (calories, and BTU – British Thermal Units). Somehow it must be possible to efficiently capture the extra heat in the atmosphere and store it for use elsewhere.

It’s a time of beginnings, worldly as well as other-worldly, beginnings and possibilities.

Thy Will Be Done

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

As Jesus prayed in the garden, we see Him as bowing to the Father’s will as the “Suffering Servant.”

I suspect that just as Jesus was both divine and human at the same time, many of His messages have meaning with regard to both worlds. Yes, he was obedient to the Father, and gives us the perfect example to follow. On the other hand, I think He’s also teaching us that God’s will is inevitable.

The most evil person who works tirelessly against God is not going to change the ultimate outcome. God’s just too powerful.

We can follow Christ’s example, and be an active participant in God’s plan, or not. The end result will be the same.

 


Misnamed Religious Days?

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane  1746   Pinacoteca, Vatican City, Vatican

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane 1746
Pinacoteca, Vatican City, Vatican

It seems odd that we call this Holy Week. After all, it’s a week when everything seems to have fallen apart.

“Holy Thursday” – Jesus asks for Peter, James and John to pray with him, but they fall asleep. He’s betrayed by one of his closest followers. Those charged with representing His Father are the ones orchestrating His demise. His trusted right-hand man denies Him.

“Good Friday” – Jesus is tortured, humiliated, abandoned and condemned to a death reserved for slaves who threaten the emperor. His own people don’t so much choose Barabbas to live as condemn Jesus to die.

“Holy Saturday” – The hope for the world lays cold and dead in a sepulchure.

But, as God told Samuel as he looked at each of Jesse’s sons, and as Jesus told Peter – God sees things differently than we do and His thoughts are not like ours. The week is Holy because it unfolded according to God’s plan – not ours.

Why a Dove?

HS

None of us understands God or the Trinity, and perhaps most of all, the Holy Spirit – the part of the Trinity that represents the very power of God.

When Jesus allowed Himself to be baptized by John, the Spirit of God descended on Him like a dove.

After Jesus left them by ascending to heaven, the apostles did what any normal men would do– they gathered, locked the door and basically asked, “Now what do we do?” The Holy Spirit arrived, their doubts were erased, and they went out and faced the world, and even death, fearlessly.

So why would such a great power (actually the Greatest power) appear as a dove? Even more profound, is that some biologists tell us that the dove in the New Testament was the rock dove, or what we today call the common pigeon.

Why?

I can’t answer for God, but I remember that when Elijah was told to prepare for God to pass by, He wasn’t in the earthquake, or the fire or the wind. He was in a whisper.

I remember that Jesus the Messiah came not as a king or a warrior, but as the “Lamb of God.” Instead of taking the role of the high priest, He offered Himself as the sacrifice.

So, at least in my heart, the Power of the Holy Spirit comes as a dove because God in whichever way He discloses Himself, Father, Son or Holy Spirit, He comes to us peacefully to invite us even though He has the power and the right to command us.

The next step is up to us.

Jesus’ Timing

Superstar

If you have followed my blog for a while, you may remember that during Lent I listen to “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Although it’s an artistic musing, it does cause me to think of my scripture reading from a different perspective. In the recording, Judas asks why Jesus came, “in such a backward time in such a strange land.” He goes on to say, “If you’d come today, you’d have reached a whole nation. Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication.”

It’s a fair question, and I pondered it for a while and arrived at an answer that at least makes sense to me.

I think that Jesus’ aim was to inspire, teach, challenge, and demand that we take things into our own hands and do God’s work. It is up to us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and perform such works in His name and to give glory to the Father.

But what if He had chosen today? I suspect for a while He would be the top story on the news and a meme on the internet. But would we take Him any more seriously? Personally I doubt it. Besides, in a few days some other story would have pushed him out of the limelight.

It was within His power to solve all our problems – disease; poverty; everything. Instead, He solved the biggest problem – our separation from God.

The rest is up to us, but don’t worry. He taught us how.

How to Keep Your Computer Safe

With all of the stolen identities, viruses, Trojans and other malware, here are the steps you need to keep your computer safe:

  1. Purchase a good quality anti-virus/firewall (AV/F) program.
  2. Install the AV/F program. DO NOT backup data before installing, since this will just save any malware already on your computer. If possible, boot from the AV/F disk and perform a complete system scan.
  3. Update your operating system and your AV/F program. Run a second complete system scan.
  4. Backup your data to a series of Blu-Ray, DVD or CD ROMS and store in a place that is safe from theft, fire, electromotive pulse damage, etc. Bank safety deposit boxes are ideal.
  5. Change your passwords. Do not use any word or combination of words in any language that could appear in a dictionary as these are vulnerable. The password should be at least 20 characters long and include 2 upper case and 2 lower case letters, 2 numbers, 2 special character (such as !@#$%%), 3 polynomials, an imaginary number, an augmented 7th chord, and a mathematical impossibility.
  6. DO NOT WRITE YOUR PASSWORD ANYWHERE!
  7. Remember, if you can remember your password, it is not safe.
  8. Change all your passwords again.
  9. Turn the computer off and remove the power cable.
  10. Remove all other cables attached to the computer.
  11. Remove the screws holding the cover on your desktop OR if you’re using a laptop, remove the battery and all the screws on the bottom of the computer.
  12. Remove the screws on all boards, modules and devices inside your computer. If possible, unsolder all components from the printed circuit boards.
  13. Take each of these items and hide or bury each in a different county/parish. If possible, different states or provinces. (Note: For a variety of reasons, it is advisable that you not cross international borders with your computer parts.)
  14. Consult a professional hypnotist and ask him/her to erase all memories of any passwords or portions of passwords from your subconscious. (Although equally effective, lobotomies have unwanted side effects.)

Congratulations! Your computer is now safe! Enjoy!

Who vs. What

There are things that are integral to one’s life that you ignore, but then, without notice, you have an epiphany.

For 62 years, my father always called and referred to me as “Stephen”- never “Steve,” but I never really noticed until shortly before he died. Apparently whatever is routine goes unnoticed.

For many years, I tended to identify myself with what I did to earn a living. Recently, however, I realized that there’s a big difference between what I do, not who I am.

Now, a little older and wiser, I realize that who I am is best defined in the various ministries and responsibilities God gave me. Father. Husband. Friend. Son.

Over 30 years ago a priest tried to explain to me, “You have a job to support your family, not a family to support your job.”

I think I’m finally understanding.