Saturday, July 28, 2012

Funeral Poem: "His Heart Stopped"

His heart stopped.
This brave heart.
Strong and resilient.
Said in the early morning hours.
To him:
Our work is done.
The race is won.
We've crossed the finish line.
Now take a rest m'boy.
Take a rest.
Enjoy some time off.
This brave man who worked so hard.
Who loved so much.
Who made things with his hands.
And told stories to hold everyone's attention.
Who wheeled around and put ---- on his lap.
The best seat in church, it was said.
A father.
A husband.
A human being.
The world is better because of him.
And today, we cry because it's over.
But we smile because it was.
A good life.
A good man.
A brave heart.
Now at rest.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Vision, Voting Booths and Faith

Written for the August newsletter of Calvary Presbyterian Church, Hawthorne, CA

As the Presidential Campaign heats up, both parties are offering their vision for America.
What’s our vision for America?
And more importantly, could we explain to someone how our vision for America correlates with our faith?
Our vision is shaped by all sorts of things:
  1. How we were raised and how our parents saw the world.
  2. Our schooling, what we majored in and our favorite professors.
  3. Our work history - good jobs and bad jobs.
  4. Our personal lives - joys and our sorrows, wins and losses.
  5. How we feel about ourselves, how we see our lives and our place in the world.
  6. Newspapers and magazines and books.
  7. TV and radio.
  8. Obviously, the internet - from the ridiculous to the sublime.
  9. Our religious background and spiritual proclivities.
  10. And our DNA.
In high school and college, I was formally introduced to Calvinism, a “world and life view” - a faith perspective into which I was born, with many a fine pastor proclaiming the gospel with Reformed Style! For me, as a person and a pastor, such breadth and depth captures the heart of the Christian Faith, the sweep of Scripture and the vision of the Saints and Leaders of the last 2000 years.
Everyone has a tradition, even those who claim to be “non-denominational” have a tradition behind them, and it’s called Anabaptist. 
Anyway, as Christians of the Calvinist, or Reformed, persuasion, our world and life faith is big; big enough for the world, and small enough for every-day life. Including the candidates we support and our vision of America. So we pray: O God, may our convictions correlate with Jesus, the Bible and our Reformed Tradition.”
So, we rightly ask, “What are the elements of a Calvinist, or Reformed, faith”? 
  1. This world belongs to God, and God yearns for the world to know and live this liberating truth. This is God’s Sovereignty!
  2. God is at work in all things to restore creation to health and wholeness for all God’s creatures, great and small. At the heart of this work is forgiveness, or atonement. This is God’s Grace!
  3. The object of the Christian is not to simply go to heaven (though that’s part of the deal, God be praised), but to live well here, as a child of God, a friend of Jesus. This is God’s Sanctification of God’s People.
  4. The prophets of the Old Testament offer tremendous insights into the mind of God and provide the foundation for Jesus and the New Testament. This is God’s Instruction.
  5. The Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount describe specifically the world envisioned by Jesus. This is God with Us!
  6. Paul the Apostle writes about the effort of God to persuade us, lead us, guide us, command us, through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, to be, as Jesus says, the salt of the earth and the light of the world. This is God’s Call to Follow Christ!
We shall serve Christ well when we take his life and love, and the whole counsel of God, into our hearts and minds, and our hearts and minds into the voting booth.
To God be the glory!
Interim Pastor Tom Eggebeen