To God be all glory.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
- Pro-lifers see them. We are reminded of the reality sterilized by large brick buildings prettily landscaped. It is hard sometimes, watching staff drive in nonchalant and unconcerned by the carnage a few rooms away, to be convinced that cruel murder takes place behind those doors.
- The staff sees them. Some of the staff witness actual abortions. I wouldn’t imagine the signs have much effect on them (except in that they expose to the world what they do every day). But other staff does paperwork and counseling and escorting. Perhaps their hearts will be softened when they see what they are supporting.
- Customers who are not pregnant see them. A few women stop by for birth control or STD testing or other gynecological procedures. Before they are in a desperate situation, pregnant and emotional, they have been exposed to the gruesome facts of “choice.”
- Mothers and fathers with appointments see them. There are a lot of efforts to prevent them from even reaching this point. Government programs attempt to teach people what they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Christian ministries offer help to pregnant moms with counsel and physical aid. Friends are out there offering support for keeping the baby, praying for the women they know or don’t know. But if this mom slipped through the cracks or chose to come anyway, there are two last efforts: unmistakable graphic signs and people who care enough to try to stop her up until the last minute.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Overnight and into the morning snow fell. Big flakes layered across the ground, mounting to over half a foot - for the third time in ten days. I pulled on my clunky shearling boots and plodded out into my day, bereft of sunshine, pining for summer.
When I got off work the snow was only asserting its memory in patches of well-shaded remnants and dirty piles on parking lot edges. The sunset gleamed on the wet runoff skimming the pavement on my weary drive home.
And then the next morning I woke up. I got out of bed and went upstairs. Blew my nose, suffering the symptoms of my annual spring virus. Washed my hands at the kitchen sink, ignoring the running water while I watched the back yard. It needed watching.
When I hadn't been watching, even while I slept, the world had transformed. Green struggled through the old year's lawn growth. Tiny buds swelled on twigs of bushes and trees. Birds were singing!
All sudden and without warning. When a snowstorm had driven back expectation of spring anytime soon, beating me down with the power of winter to persevere past decent dates. Last time I looked, no sign of renewed life. Now, everywhere.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
I have always struggled with the word “propitiation.” In Awana’s elementary-school books was included 1 John 4:10, an excellent verse I don’t regret memorizing. All of my friends at the time struggled with the pronunciation of the dauntingly long word. A few years’ practice rendered us able to speak the word, and Awana supplied a definition sufficient for rudimentary comprehension. I believe their paraphrase was “the payment Christ made for my sins.” At about the same time, I attended my parents’ Sunday morning Bible study at which the teacher was discussing the concept of propitiation. He described it as “the mercy-seat of Christ, through which man has access to God.” To a fifth grader the two definitions were not nearly similar enough to be joined. I understand the word has to do with redemption, with sacrifice and salvation. For years that has had to get me by.
The word comes up, you know, a grating little piece of ignorance: a something I cannot understand no matter how hard I try or what sources I reference. Searching for the Greek word in Strong’s Concordance is not all that helpful, adding nothing to my understanding of the English word. So I read the verses that say “propitiation,” pretend to understand while wondering why I don’t.
And last week it happened. I wasn’t even reading very closely. A page was open, and my eyes lit on the word “propitiate,” the verb form of “propitiation.” All at once I saw the root word, sitting right there, disguised by the ‘y’ converted to an ‘i’: pity. A series of clicks could be heard in my brain as the meanings fell into place. Pity is strongly associated with mercy. Add the prefix, “pro,” and you have something that advances or makes the way for active mercy, for pity. The substitutionary suffering Christ endured for my sin was what made forgiveness possible before a just God. Jesus is the living way by which we enter the holy of holies, where the mercy seat used to be in the Temple.
(It just so happens that, when I went to look up the etymology of propitiate and of pity, the dictionarians have not noted a connection, but associate the word "pity" more with "piety," or duty than with "propitiate." Nevertheless, I feel I have much better grasped the meaning of propitiation, and still wonder whether the two words share roots.)
To God be all glory.