I am a news, talk and stories of interest watching junky (yes, ESPN falls into the category).
While tempted to join the hundreds offering commentary and opinion on the widely covered and painful school tragedy in Pennsylvania, I simply offer a heart broken prayer and wait to visit this topic when further information is made available. It has been my experience that many will offer simplistic, passionate (right or left wing) explanations to a complex and pain filled issue. Again, I would call all of us to pray for everyone involved in this terrible situation.
There are two news stories that really caught my attention this week. I share these with you with little dialogue and corresponding questions for a reason. One, the videos are easy to contrast and draw meaning. And two, I really think it would be great if you share the stories and questions with your family, friends, coworkers or students for discussions. Now, before I share the videos, a setting of the stage (just because) with the classic work of Charles Dickens.
The two stories I will share, in prophetic fashion, bring the words of Dickens, Tale of Two Cities to life:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way...
Let's start with the worst of times story from a Today Show segment (Be patient with the link. It starts with a commercial and has a rather long pause before the actual story appears).
- Why would I qualify this as a worst of times story?
- How does this story relate to these words from Jesus? “You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, ‘Don’t break your promises, but keep the promises you make to the Lord.’ But I tell you, never swear an oath. Don’t swear an oath using the name of heaven, because heaven is God’s throne. Don’t swear an oath using the name of the earth, because the earth belongs to God. Don’t swear an oath using the name of Jerusalem, because that is the city of the great King. Don’t even swear by your own head, because you cannot make one hair on your head become white or black. Say only yes if you mean yes, and no if you mean no. If you say more than yes or no, it is from the Evil One." --Matthew 5:33ff
- How can a Christian fulfill the words of Jesus and successfully navigate today's competitive world? (if you say only do business with "Christian businesses" listed in a "Christian Business Publication" you are disqualified from answering because you are avoiding the question--not really-- really)
- If this is the way "adults" are living and teaching ethics (blurred lines), how do we hope to teach and hold accountable our children to moral standards?
- Why would I qualify this as a best of times story?
- How does this story illustrate the reality of these words from Jesus? Some people brought even their babies to Jesus so he could touch them. When the followers saw this, they told them to stop. But Jesus called for the children, saying, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to people who are like these children. I tell you the truth, you must accept the kingdom of God as if you were a child, or you will never enter it.”--Luke 18:15ff
- What does the relationship between Lacey and Adreian say about the importance, power and impact of intergenerational relationships?
- (Extra credit question for church leaders) What does this story have to say about the need and importance of intergenerational worship opportunities?
Choose to live a best of times story.