New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 25, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Saturday, November 25, 2000 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 7 A
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Shopping for the
This past year, I was assigned the unenviable task of buying the annual Christmas tree. My wife and oldest daughter, both of whom had traditionally been critical players in this family liturgy, were unavailable to participate. There was a definite testosterone overload since the task fell squarely on the shoulders of my son, my daughter and me.
Men go to stores to buy a specific item, bag it like venison on a fall day, return home with their prize and do it in the shortest amount of time possible. Expediency is a critical part of the contest. The faster he can “hunt” his product, the greater a man’s virility.
Women, on the other hand, shop for shopping’s sake. No list need exist and time is irrelevant.
It is the process that is the prize.
If, in this process, items are purchased, all the better. A long day of “shopping” need not be justified by a purchase.
So one afternoon last fall, my son, daughter and I piled into the family trickster and headed to the most convenient tree lot we could find.
While my son’s and my “hunting” instincts were clearly engaged, my daughter’s “shopping” mode, while conveniently concealed, was in full gear. We parked, got out of the van and walked straight into the tent where only a few trees remained on display. Then a miracle occurred.
The very first tree we saw was verifiably not only the best tree on display, but it matched all of our parameters for what we wanted. Within seconds, my son and I knew that the “hunt” was over.
We had found our “game” in record time. Testosterone oozed as we euphorically celebrated our “kill.” I doubt the entire process from parking to paying was longer than five minutes.
My daughter, however, was panic-stricken. For her, we had blasphemied the process. It did not matter to her that this tree was perfect. We had not “shopped” long enough to justify any purchase, let alone this one.
She, being a loyal card-carrying member of the “girls’ club,” would have preferred to leave this perfect tree sitting vulnerable to other “hunters” and proceed to countless other tree leases, aimlessly roaming aisles of pine needles while looking at what would obviously be lesser quality trees.
Then, after enough time had passed (and only women know what that magic number is) we could return to the original perfect projection of pine and make it ours. Fortunately, no therapy was needed and she would have to agree that no amount of searching would match the quality of this tree*
I would prefer to “hunt” and “bag” a fully realized relationship with God. After nearly 35 years of Christian experience, however, I have to admit that living with God is much more like a “shopping” experience. While the ultimate product of Christ-likeness is unquestionably vital and very attainable, an equally important process is necessary to realize the essential quality of knowing Jesus.
Unlike fruitlessly searching for a lesser quality tree once the perfect tree has been found, shopping with God will always produce the highest quality of product since it always leads to Jesus himself.
(Tim Judkins ’speaks about “ The Soup of the Season ” this Sunday at the Contemporary Worship celebration of First Protestant Church.)
We might forget, but God looks and remembers
Noah, we are told, lived to the age of 950. If we take this figure literally, none of us can imagine what it would have been like to live more than 12 times the nor- „ mal lifespan. It would mean, for \ example, that if Noah had died this year he would have been bom in 1050, roughly at the time of the Norman Conquest.
But let us read the story as it is written. After the flood, Noah lived 350 years. I wonder how vivid the memory of it remained. Was there ever a time when the breeze blew into a gale, a mountain of clouds darkened on the horizon and the lightning split the angry sky, that Noah’s thoughts did not go back to the time of the deluge? And when the storm was over and the rainbow appeared, is it possible that Noah did not remember the covenant God had made with him and his descendants?
‘ After the flood, Noah lived 350 years. I wonder how vivid the memory of it remained. Was there ever a time when the breeze blew into a gale, a mountain of clouds darkened on the horizon and the lightning split the angry sky, that Noah s thoughts did not go back to the time of the deluge
“I will set my bow in the cloud ... and it shall come to pass that when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud . . . and I shall look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature.” (Genesis 9:12-16).
Three hundred fifty years is a long time, and Noah was only human, and it is human to forget. Two years ago we had a terrible flood in New Braunfels, and this past month, with all the rain we have had, causing the river to swell out of its banks, we have probably had to suppress a few anxieties about what happened not long ago. But will we always remember it so acutely, or with each passing year will it recede like the waters, until it is half for
That is probably how it was for Noah. Perhaps even the rainbow lost its significance for him, or if it did occasionally remind him of his covenant with the Lord, very likely these feelings grew less distinct as time passed and how the bow in the clouds became for him what it has become for us, a lovely phenomenon of nature and little more.
Why are we so forgetful? Why do we have so much trouble being grateful to God? At this time of year those are fairly urgent questions. We are now at the beginning of the holiday season, and when it is over, chances are that we will be feeling rather despondent over our failure to be as faithful to God as we should have. Thanksgiving came, and we were not really thankful. The Advent will come, and somehow we will not adequately prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming into our lives. After that, Christmas will come and wear us out shopping and going to parties. Lastly, the new year will come and we will make some high-minded resolutions that we can not keep.
It is all a rather discouraging business, but our faithfulness is only part of what the covenant is about. Noah might have seen the bow in the sky and experienced only a vague stirring of old memories, but what God sees is far more important. Look again at the Scripture: “And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I shall look upon it, that I may remember (my) everlasting covenant.” We might look and forget, but God looks and remembers.
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father;
There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changes not, thy compassions they fail not;
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.
(Ken Peters is the pastor at New Braunfels Presbyterian Church.)
Deciding if church is subject to man or God
A family drives into Anytown, USA on a Wednesday evening. They stop at the first church they come to for a good Bible study. When they enter, they are given a copy of the man-written study guide which is currently being used. Hie father says, “No thanks, we’ll just go by the Bible.”
“But you’ll not know what is being taught,” says the guide. What is wrong with this picture? How should the head of this family respond? Why should he not desire his family to be influenced by the word of God and not by other literature?
Consider how we have been schooled to think. The 20th Century brought about the inundation of “post-modern thought,” which says, in part, that man’s reasoning has superceded all superstitions, fears, prejudices, inequalities, etc. This philosophy is followed by a dependence upon those who choose to be educators. The educators choose where they will attain their knowledge, and are leaving God and his word out of it. And the people, en mass, abide in the collection of thoughts placed upon them by normal leaders who are flawed by constant superstitions, fears, prejudices, inequalities, etc.
The preceding is not me creating an enemy attack. There is prevailing rhetoric that proves the point of the previous paragraph. We do not talk today in terms of “thus saith the Lord.” Rather we talk of, “Did you hear what so-and-so said about thus-and-such?” and thereby formulate opinions.
Churches, for the most part, say, “what we believe is... ” and in a huffy, sort of hurt feelings manner, turn away from the real word in favor of the “we believe,” or worse, change what they believe by altering their own writings, such as a “statement of faith” every few years to keep up with the times. Did they notice that the God of their Bible says “I change not”*?
What should be done about this? What shall we do? Shall we continue until the word of God is so obscured that it cannot beYouth bag groceries, deliver to needy families
Left, Esther Perez and Stephanie Salazar prepare food donations for delivery. Several member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church youth group load up groceries for needy families.
Youth members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 138 W. Austin-St., prepared gift bags of food for more than 50 needy families on Wednesday.
Ninth and 10th graders helped bag and deliver the groceries.
“They included bread, turkey and canned
goods,” said Darlene Villarreal, a youth group member of the church.
Marcia Brock, director of religious education, said the church coordinated with Community Services to get the donated food to the families and that the church had been doing the deliveries for several years.Group presents Advent Vespers on Sunday
Advent Vespers choir practice took place Tuesday night as the group prepared for their Sunday chorale celebration at First Baptist Church on Cross Street. The 41st annual Advent Vespers Massed Choir Concert will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday. The New Braunfels Music Study Club sponsors the concert.
This year’s concert is a memorial tribute to Melitta ) Frueh, founder and director of vespers. Tim Smith, organist and choir director at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio, will direct the massed choir. JoAnn Lemmon will be the accompanist. For information, call 625-3875.
Sat. & Sun. 10-5
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