Sunday, January 6, 2008

a new year - a lot of work to be done

My Way Sunday
Epiphany, January 6
. . . . .
On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Twelve Drummers Drumming

The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

. . . . .
reflections on being a Christian man, part 9

Now we're getting into some of the real nitty-gritty of becoming a Christian man. Most of us have defining character traits by which others identify us. Some of those traits are good and some are not. On most of our "not good" lists are traits such as anger, impatience, becoming irritated or aggravated, and at times discouraged.

Each of these traits require effort to overcome. 'Count to ten', and 'bite my lip / tongue', are adages that would serve us well in our efforts. I don't 'blow-up' readily. That is not to say it has never happened. I had an employee with whom a firm thoughtful word did not work when correction was called for. A loud, angry word is the only way I could get his attention. Short of that, in his mind, the issue was not that serious. Since the required manner of correction was not my normal style, I would have to rehearse ahead of time, and practice 'blowing up', and using harsher language than I was used to using.

I fear too many of us do not have to practice that type of behavior. For many of us it is second nature - and we need to reign it in and correct it. The tongue, in speech, is perhaps the most difficult organ to control. It does its dirty deeds when we cannot control our anger, or our patience, or our agitation, or our discouragement.

Scripture gives me examples and admonitions to ponder and from which to learn. In the Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture), in one of the books attributed to Moses, the book of Exodus, we find written in Chapter 34, verse 6, the following attribution to God:
Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out, "The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity,
I need to be "slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity". A son of God, a brother of Jesus, a Christian man, needs to acquire these attributes.

In the epistle letter of St. James, he describes further issues in Chapter 5, verses 7 through 11.

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.

You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Do not complain, brothers, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.

Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because "the Lord is compassionate and merciful."
My work is cut out for me. I have a lot of room to grow if I truly wish to become a man worthy of the title 'Christian'.

. . . . .
On this date:

Nancy Lopez, Professional golfer, is 51
. . . . .
in 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union address, outlined a goal of "Four Freedoms" for the world: freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of people to worship God in their own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
. . . . .
in 1872, Harper's Weekly featured a cartoon about the Tweed Ring.
(See the cartoon and read an explanation.)
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