15 May 2013

numero fifty and God-with-us

Hooray! This is officially the 50th post on this blog!

I guess that really isn't that many considering that I've been writing for 3 years but I'm going to celebrate the occasion anyway. My original intention for this blog was to write about my travels studying abroad, which never happened. I guess in a way, I did eventually travel away from home so at least I have fulfilled that purpose somewhat.

On a completely unrelated note, I was going through the files on my laptop tonight, cleaning and organizing (yes, you can do that on a laptop), when I came across a reflection essay that I wrote for my Christian Doctrines class.

And I thought I would share it with you. It is a reflection of Matthias Grünewald's "The Crucifixion," part of his larger piece the Isenheim Alterpiece.

So, without further ado, here is my essay; enjoy!

A very human death of Yahweh: God-with-us

The Crucifixion, Matthias Grünewald

What difference does it make that Jesus died?

Instinctively, I know that it does make a difference that Jesus died…I just don’t know how to put into words what that difference is.  The painting is very graphic.

It isn’t like a lot of crucifixion paintings where Jesus looks more like a super-human who hasn’t been truly affected by his suffering.

No, Grünewald’s painting is very much in touch with Jesus’s human nature and what it means to suffer to the point of death.

Rather than portray God-with-us as a God who is all-powerful, Jesus is battered and grotesque and wasting away and beaten and weak at his end.

So, why does it matter that he died? First off, I think it matters because it shows that Jesus lived the entire human lifespan from birth to death.

He didn’t skip out on any aspect of it but instead lived it all.

I think what it is even more awe-inspiring in that knowledge is that he didn’t sin at all even when suffering and dying. I know for me, when I was on the brink of death I struggled to even be able to have the thought of mind to even think about sin.

My energy was spent on just surviving – the bare minimum necessary to make it through the day – so I didn’t have any extra energy to devote to loving God and others above myself.

And yet, Jesus did that. 

Another aspect that stands out to me is that if Jesus suffered and died, then there is no amount of suffering that I could go through that Jesus has not himself experienced. You could argue that his suffering was taken to completion in his death.

There is no more suffering after that point and he went there.

So, no matter how much suffering I go through, Jesus has taken it further than that because he took it to its completion.

When I was extremely sick, my body was shutting down: I was dying. Jesus knows what that is like because he was in that same place.

There is no aspect of the human life that he did not live fully.

He conquered death and that means that there is nothing that has not been conquered by him.

There is nothing that does not bow in submission to God – God reigns supreme over all including death and the depths of Hell.

My dear brothers and sisters, I pray that you will come to know Jesus, God-with-us, in ways that you never could have thought or imagined. I pray that you will rest in the knowledge that the God of the universe is with us in our lives - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

12 May 2013

mother's day and the number fifteen

Today is Mother's Day. And as much as I want to, I can't be with my mom today. Somehow 1,300 miles is a little too far to walk in a day. So, I decided to celebrate my mom by dedicating this post to her.

I know everyone makes a big deal about how their mother is the best. But I don't think it has to be a competition. I think everyone has the best mother for them. I know that is definitely true for me. God gave me the mother that I have needed, am needing, and will need.

So, I thought I would share some of the reasons why I love my mom.

15 Reasons for Why My Mother Wins at Being My Mom
1. She taught me the meaning of not letting my education get in the way of my learning.
2. She showed me that music makes everything better.

3. She has stood in solidarity with me through many different medical sagas.
4. She gave me my quirky sense of humor that finds pink flamingos, duh-winning, and Funda Hundas hilarious.
5. She knows the importance of coffee, chocolate, and ice cream.
6. She gives me advice on everything yet shows confidence in my ability to make decisions.
7. She cooks delicious gluten-free food.
8. She taught me that the number of books to get from the library is limited only to the number you can carry.
9. She taught me that sometimes characters in movies and books can seem like real humans. (And sometimes you have to go visit your "friends".)
10. She has supported me when I said I wanted to pledge a sorority, transfer to a university 1,300 miles away, and go to a Broncos game while injured.
11. She sends a lot of care packages with things like chocolate vegetables and a birthday-party-in-a-box.
12. She covers me every day and night in prayer.
13. She has taught me that Jesus needs to be the center of my life.
14. She is not simply my mom but one of my best friends.
15. She loves me unconditionally.

I love you mom! I hope that one day I can be a mom like you!

Abba, thank you for mothers. Thank you for my mother. Thank you for showing me what unconditional love looks like!