A Place Called Somber

Struggling some today…

Seeking Peace

Somber:  solemn, grave, serious, toned-down, subdued.

These words are all synonyms that I found for the word “somber” when I looked it up in the thesaurus, their were some others that indicated a much more intense meaning, but this subdued list will work for my purposes here.

The line between despair and hope is a very thin and fragile line for me.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

Psalm 42:5 & 11 and 43:5

 

Some days I have a really hard time responding to the question posed in this verse, at least in the same way that the psalmist does here. I think that is easy for you (the psalmist) to say, but honestly some days I am just not there, because on many…

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Community: Love and Peace

I see a connection between Jeremiah 29:7

But seek the welfare (peace) of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare (peace) you will find your welfare (peace).

And Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (see also Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

And also Matthew 5:43-45

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Community is the only place where true love can be taught and the only atmosphere in which it can be truly learned.

Community is the only place where we can learn to love ourselves and in doing so find out that it is not really ourselves that we love; but our community.

Community is the only place where we can learn to love our enemy and in doing so find out that it is not really the enemy that we love; but our community.

Community is the only place that we can truly learn what it means to love God.

Community is the only place that we can truly learn to live in peace; for it is in the seeking and working for that peace that we come to realize that it is bound up with the peace of the community as a whole.

Community is about coming together as one for the good of the one.

Community is what our children need to learn about and live in; that they might have hope…

Community is the bridge to our children’s future.

King’s Legacy Iconic or Eikonic

Pondering:

What would be the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. if he had not (in my opinion) been turned into an icon, a brand. A large majority of people, I believe and it brings me great sorrow to say associate King with a brand or as a celebrity.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a son; husband; father; friend to many; a Baptist minister; a renowned civil rights leader; a Noble Peace prize winner, a peacemaker of broad scope and influence. He was many other things to many other people as well, but the one I hear talked about the least is that he was a child of God, a disciple of Jesus Christ, created in the image of God the Father Almighty, that he might bear witness with that image and likeness to a world that desperately needed to hear God’s message of peace that was for all those who were created in that same image of God that he himself bore.

I know King has impacted many lives including my own, but I often ponder, how much more impact he would have had, if his legacy were not perceived as a brand – King’s Peace- we could call it, that is all I hear talked about this time of year, the person of MLK, the peace that he preached about spoke and lived, his brand lives on another year for in due time probably over the next few days, we will put his person and his peace back on the shelf until this same time next year.

We wonder or question as to the validity of King’s message for today’s generation:

Can and will it endure?

Is it still possible today to have the peace that King spoke of, lived out and died for?

Why are so many still in poverty?

Why do so many young black men still end up in prison?

Why in the name of peace are innocent children around the world being killed?

Why ???  

The Martin Luther King Jr. that I have seen in my studies is not the icon or celebrity that he seems to be more remembered for or as.  The Martin Luther King Jr. that I have found;, is one who had chosen to bear with witness with; even to the point of sacrificing his own life, as one who was created in the image of God and took up the likeness of Christ as a disciple of Christ. For him while his main platform may have been as a prophetic witness for his race, it rose high above those barriers which man and not God Almighty had put into place.

He spoke of peace and equality for all people everywhere. May his mantle be picked up again as we march forward into this next generation, may we carry it with honor and dignity, as fellow image bearers of our Almighty God.

So don’t put Martin Luther King Jr. back on your shelf, for that is what you do with idols and images made with the hands of man.

If you believe in the work of King, then you believe in the work of the one he followed, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior; that is the work of joining God through Christ in the work of restoring and reconciling all things to himself.

We have made Martin Luther King Jr. into the wrong type of Icon/Eikon

       i·con

               1.) image of holy person: a holy picture, carving, or statue of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint, especially an oil painting on a wooden panel …

             2.) somebody famous for something: somebody or something widely and uncritically admired, especially somebody or something symbolizing a movement or field of activity

               3.) picture on computer screen: a small image on a computer screen that represents something such as a program or device, that is activated by a mouse click

 

When we should have concentrated more on:

Eikon: an image, figure, likeness

    1. an image of the things (the heavenly things)
          

      1. used of the moral likeness of renewed men to        God
      2.   

      3. the image of the Son of God, into which true        Christians are transformed, is likeness not only to the heavenly body,        but also to the most holy and blessed state of mind, which Christ        possesses
    2. the image of one
          

      1. one in whom the likeness of any one is seen
      2.   

      3. applied to man on account of his power of        command
      4.   

      5. to Christ on account of his divine nature        and absolute moral excellence

To God be the glory in all things, may all praise and glory forever and always be ascribed to Him.

Seeking, working and praying for peace in the place where God has sent us.

Community is the bridge to our children’s future.

of the people… by the people… for the people

“… of the people … by the …for the people “

“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth. ” Abraham Lincoln –The Gettysburg Address –  http://www.gettysburg.com/bog/address.htm

I was thinking this morning of the short quotation that I opened this post with and with shame I must admit that I had forgotten that it came from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, I had also forgotten that it was also among the shortest speeches that Lincoln had given (only 272 words and app. 2 minutes in length). But probably the one most remembered; not only for its brevity, and for its solemnity, but for me also for its closing line of which we pull those three simple statements: government of the people… by the people …for the people. But we often take those words out of context in which they were originally spoken and spin them in a way that best fits our personal situation, and does grave harm to their intended focus; which is a nation of people that had/has come together as one united people, or so was the hope of the forbearers of the freedom we now seek/strive to walk in.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth. ”
We tend to forget that the United States, is supposed to be states of a united people, working together for the good of the whole of the state and of the nation. Back then they did not deem it impossible to believe that those of many and varied political ideologies, cultural and religious backgrounds (they knew it would be difficult) could come together and work together as one, for the good of one people, one nation united under God. But these were people of vision who saw the possibility as a possible reality, who saw this new nation being a unified light, a beacon of hope, a city on a hill for all to see.

I believe that they were not unrealistic, I also believe that the world did at one time see our nation in a way that they had envisioned, and that some around the world still do, which tells me that our light has not gone out, though it brightness has been dimming/fading almost from the very beginning; it is indeed still a light of hope.

I believe that the brightness with which that light once shined can be restored and made even brighter, I believe that we as a nation, as a united people can live and work together for the common good of all people. I believe that it will involve sacrifice for all of us, but that sacrifice will be worth it, I believe that we as a people created in the image of our God, are a people who were created to be people who find their deepest needs being met in the realities of being a people who both give and receive of life, I believe that when we no longer do both or those things in equal measure that we are missing something, that peace becomes impossible for us until that balance is restored, sacrifice is the one main tool that we have in the restoring of that balance, of that peace that we all need.

It is when we take on the work that we are all called to join God in; that sacred work of restoration and reconciliation that we may know peace.
This work is bigger than one nation, it is bigger than one people being faithful and working together in this place where God has sent them, but for us, it all starts in the place where we are, in the place where God has sent us. May we all open our minds and hearts to the possibility of living in peace, to the ultimate reality of living in peace, to the peace that only God can provide when his people come together as one people?
But seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its peace you will find your peace. (Paraphrase of Jeremiah 29:7)

“…of the people …by the people …for the people” – People who have learned what it means to live in community and that starts for all of us in our neighborhoods and our local communities, let us teach our children to live in community.

Community is the bridge to our children’s future…
Seeking, working and praying for peace in the place where God has sent us…

Martin Luther King Jr. – I Have a Dream for Community

Martin Luther King Jr. I have a Dream Speech (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs) has long stood in my mind as a source of inspiration; it was a great speech, a rallying call for a people, for all people to come together in community, in a community that God intended for us all, where we could all live together and work together for the good of the whole. I believe that in the generations since while his message has made a difference, a generation of people (all people) was changed forever, and future generations of all people are reaping its rewards. But King’s dream I feel for many was for another day and time; that its vision has been fulfilled, believing that; all that it would accomplish, had/has been accomplished. Those who believe such, I believe have no clue as to what King was saying, his dream was not just for a people, for a time or a generation; it was a dream for all people, all times, all  generations. King’s ultimate vision for me was one of a people living together in community; that expansive community for King was our country, a country where people of all races could live together in peace. But that expansive community for King was to be the end result of people’s coming together, I believe that as King knew and spoke of in his speech; that this work would start in the smaller communities where people lived, worked and played, a place where our children could learn what true community was supposed to look like. These would be the places where King’s vision would be perpetuated; these would be the places that would shine as beacons of hope not only for black people, but for all people. I believe further that the reason things are not moving along or bearing the fruit that we had all hoped, for the long term, is because of the neglect of that more foundational work of building and sustaining those smaller communities.

I have indeed been blessed by the life and work of Dr. King; but stopping there would not be what Dr. King would want, I believe that he knew that this work was a lifelong work that would require continued sacrifice by all people as they were working together for the good of the community that was being formed, he knew that this work was not his own but work that he had been called to join God in, this work of restoration and reconciliation, was his life and he gave his life in this work.

Let us also join God in this work of reconciliation and restoration. Let us start this work where we are, where he has placed us, let us be that beacon of hope, that city on a hill, that light that shines for all to see. Let us do this for God, let us do this for each other and most importantly let us do this for and with our children, that they may not only learn to hope, but also live in hope together, this is how, I believe King desired for all of this to play out.

I have a dream…    

I Have a dream for … community

I have a dream … said Martin Luther King Jr.  I have a dream as well; that one day poverty will not be the problem that it is today, that all people everywhere can have a shared hope for living in a sharing community, in a community where a person’s lack of wealth or intellect will not determine their value to the community. I have a dream that one day such a community will exist, that it will exist across all lines of race and socio-economic levels; where rich and poor; red and yellow, black and white; where people of all races and ethnicities can sit down together with an equal voice in community, knowing that their voice will not only be heard but be counted as equal to all the other voices. I have a dream that these voices will be heard, not because they speak to their own concerns, but to  the concerns of the community as a whole; knowing and understanding that it is only in seeking and working for the peace and welfare of all that all can have peace and welfare.

I believe that this dream can only be realized if we start teaching our children the importance and value of community. The time for making excuses has long past, the time for action is today; so parents, preachers, teachers, community and government leaders what say you or more importantly what will you do? Because you see; this is not about my dreams or even our dreams; it is about the lives of our children, it is about their future, it is about giving them  a hope and a future.

It is time to break this cycle of hopelessness that we ourselves have perpetuated through both our ignorance and our inactivity.

I have a dream that one day all of our children can live together in community, community that they helped to build; a community where each person has value and worth that is equal to all others in their community; a place where hope is not only possible but a place where hope has become a way of life.

Offering my services to all for the good of all.

I really don’t know where to start, my name  is Gary Lynch I have  pastored/ministered at a small community church on the westside of Indianapolis since September, 2004 in the township of Wayne in the southern of Wayne, my children all attended school there from Kindergarten through grade 12 all three of them graduating from Ben Davis High School, with their elementary and middle school years being spent at Stoutfield Elementary and South Wayne Junior High. I have also been married 32 years to the love of my life Amy. Before becoming a pastor at Drexel Gardens I spent 16 years working for Nice-Pak products most of that time in their DC’s first in Stoutfield and then in Plainfied, IN. I grew up on the eastside of Indianapolis on the near eastside and lived their until this summer before my sophomore year in high school, when we moved to Mooresville to get away from court ordered busing, I graduated from Mooresville High School in 1977 and lived their a few more years , got married and eventually moved back to Indianapolis if my memory serves me correctly in 1982 and we have been here ever since. A few other things about me that I believe are important for you to know about me are that I never went on to college and have no regrets about that ( I don’t have anything against higher education; it just wasn’t for me) I have and still do battle depression at times (I believe we all struggle with something), I have a passion for serving God through serving people (not that I am that great at it but I am learning more everyday), I have developed over the years a passion for community (people working together as one for the benefit of all), I think it is all a part of God’s plan that people created in his image would need each other and him and that those things would allow us to live in peace with each other (even if you don’t believe in God, you have to admit that its a pretty good plan: people loving each and giving a crap about one another). Our neighborhood is very, slowly coming around to becoming this kind community that I believe God’s intends us to be, none of the credit goes to anyone in particular, the leaders are just those who believe that God is working in our community and it is not only in best interest to join him in that work, it is work that we as his people were created to do (works of restoration and reconciliation) for it is the fulfilling of this role that we find peace. That’s enough of those things for now.

Let me get back to the real reason I am writing this and you may think that I am a little crazy and also a bit naive for writing this and you are probably a little more right on the first of those two thoughts, but both may apply.

Over the past several years, months, weeks and days things in our country, state, city and neighborhoods where we live that things have gotten more crazier than normal. But what can we do,  the problem I believe is at the same time simple and also very complex, we need to do a better job globally, nationally and  locally and working together to find solutions to our problems that benefit all people; in other other words we need to check our pride, egos and personal agendas at the doors and make an honest, hard , difficult decisions that for the long term benefit the group as a whole. This process can will be painful at times, but life is painful at times, the reward comes longterm and sometimes we are not even around to see the fruit of our labor, but that becomes bearable as well when we see people making the very hard effort of doing the work of restoration, reconciliation and giving a crap about one another.

One last thing and this is the really crazy part; if you need any help or just want to talk about it , give me a call, send me an email or just come looking for me, it would be a blessing for me to be able to help.

Seeking, working and praying for peace in the place where God has sent us.    

Pastor Gary Lynch

email: pastorgarylynch@live.com

Phone: 317-409-5914

Please forgive any grammatical errors, a writer I am not.

A Piece of Me Died Today…

I struggle with life and death on a daily basis, but maybe not in the sense you may think. I am a battler of depression and have been since my teenage years. I find it hard to maintain an even keel  these days, but yet I lay down and I go to sleep and wake up the next day, being  thankful  for the rest and the life of the new day, knowing that a piece of me will die today.

One of the passages of scripture that guides and helps me live within my struggles is 1Corinthians 12:25-27 -(referring to the body of Christ, which is the community of the Church)

…that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

As you can see, its members care for one another, they not only rejoice, but also suffer together, lessening both the burden of suffering and mellowing the joy of rejoicing, bringing us back to a more even keel, a more solid ground, a place of enduring peace.

A piece of me died today, but that is no grave concern of mine, my concern lies more deeply with the soul of the other within whom a piece of them has also died. Being faithful Presence for them and sharing in their suffering so that I can  also share in their joy and just maybe share with them peace as well. Oh divine law of reciprocity the wonders you do work in the life of mankind, Father breathe into us your life-giving Spirit.

For not only has a piece of me died, but so also has a piece of my brother died as well.

And also in our dying to self, oh giver of life, you promise to breathe in us the Spirit that gives each of us life, life that not only draws us closer to you for today but also for all eternity.

A piece of me died today and I am thankful.

Louie Giglio and the New State Church: My Response

My response to the following blog (edited version of the comment I left at at the originating blogsite) :

http://www.russellmoore.com/2013/01/10/louie-giglio-and-the-new-state-church/

I believe(my opinion) a more right position would have been to not to withdraw. But I can’t place myself in Louie Gigleo position because I was not there. Was his withdrawal  a form of Christian peacemaking? I again don’t know. My position is clear and based on scripture the same way Louie’s is and by the way I agree with Louie’s position that is at the core of this, I just choose to express it in a different way. When confronted I express my position with scriptural truth and I deal with the consequences, when not confronted, I choose to let God do what only He can do in the situation. If the person is truly seeking God with his or her whole heart the truth will ultimately be revealed to them, at least that what scripture says in Jeremiah 29:13-14. If it is ultimately in God’s hands anyway, my being confrontational (and I am not saying Louie was) is not the  going to solve anything, except maybe to prove that I am no different then the one provoking the response. That is precisely why the provocation takes place. When confronted though, I do have to listen in love and respond in love, because that is what the Christ I believe in calls me to.  God does not need my help in taking care of this, He is the only one who can reveal truth; no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.

Maybe Louie should have let the President make the call, he is after all  the one who offered the opportunity, so I believe that if he felt compromised in any way he should  have asked Louie to withdraw, but he did not.

I believe that at some point in time ,that the Church has to stand up in these situations, we have to be Truth and accept the consequences that come with it. No other group is being called to compromise their position, we as a group of people should have that same right.

As for the whole State church thing, I think we ought to just work harder at being the One True Church, I believe that is what God wants for us, to be one, that the world may know and believe  in Christ.

Seeking working and praying for peace in the place where God has sent us. – Peace for everyone, peace for all people.

This too can be laid at the doorstep of the American Church

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/01/08/A-Joyful-Planned-Parenthood-We-Aborted-Over-333-000-Babies-In-2011.
The above link tells the tragic story of 333,000 babies aborted in the America’s in 2011, the article seems to once again point to legislation as an answer and maybe even the only answer to this atrocity. But why should that surprise us, the blame seems to always go to the government, they should be able to solve all of our problems right: to much poverty, let us introduce legislation to solve the problem; to much gun violence, I am sure we can get a bill passed that will solve that problem as well; why don’t we just let the government take care of all of our social ills; they seem to have a proven track record when it comes to legislating morality don’t they (?).

Something does need to be done on all these fronts and maybe some legislation will help, but it is not answer. The answer I believe is that these issues need to be picked up from the doorstep of the Church in the United State and taken into their/our buildings, but more importantly into their/our hearts; all of these issues involve hurting and broken people. Are not hurting and broken people the responsibility of the Church; are they not part of the mission field that we have been called to. Maybe the Church by and large should get back to its calling of: proclaiming good news to the poor;  proclaiming liberty to the  captives; recovery of sight to the blind; to set at liberty those who are oppressed ; of being salt and light, a city on hill.

The  above mentioned issues are all things that would be less of a problem, if the Church would simply repent of its neglect and deficiencies  in these areas and be more of  the Presence that they are called to be; do we not trust God anymore? If His Presence through His people the Church cannot provide peace in the hearts of those who are created in His image, than the government most certainly cannot, so Church rise up!: be light, be Presence, be Truth and maybe, just maybe, if we believe;  that next year abortions numbers will go down, gun violence will go down, people will be able to see the hope of Christ and rise up out of poverty, maybe their will even be less war and more peace, just maybe if the Church lets it light shine, more people can come to know the peace of Christ that only He can provide.

Just maybe, if we only believe…

Go ahead and lay it at the doorstep of the Church, lay it at the foot of the cross and watch God do, what only he can do if we only believe…