Aloha Friday Message – May 22, 2009

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Happy Aloha Friday, everyone. Is everything looking up in your life despite so many people, places, things, and ideas being so down? I hope so. Looking up is a handy thing sometimes.

I look up a lot. Well, I mean, I look a lot of things. I’ve always been kind of a research freak. I had the Richard’s Topical Encyclopedia when I was a kid – still have it in fact in my home library. It was one of those things my parents bought for me before I could even read. It also came with ten year’s worth of In Our times, an annual publication that summarized the year’s events. As I recall there was also a set of books called Lands and Peoples and a collection of popular books like Black Beauty, Heidi, Treasure Island, and even Tales from Shakespeare. One of my favorite places to look up things was the Funk & Wagnall’s Standard Dictionary of the English Language. It was two big, blue, thick, heavy volumes of thousand of words all defined to the nth degree. I loved using all those books and read for hours and hours just looking up one thing after another.

Of course, another mode of “looking up” is like, “Things are looking up!” I can remember joking (badly as is often the case in my life), “Well what are ‘things’ looking at?!” Of course that expression, things are looking up, means that life is getting better. I keep hearing that the things that are happening in the economy mean that “things are looking up,” but I am not convinced yet that they really are. I mean, we’re being told that what’s going on will make things better and that there would be consequences even more direr if we didn’t do them.

I just wonder if the duplicity and amorality that got us into this mess is the best approach to getting out of it. Can we really solve our economic crises by just printing more money and using it to pay for more stuff? I’m not very good at understanding that kind of thing, and the more I look up about it the more confused I get. I find that looking down on it doesn’t do me much good either. Looking past it or overlooking it doesn’t seem to be very helpful either. My thinking is moving more and more toward “stop looking” and “get involved.”

We look up to people we respect – our elders, our heroes, our loved ones. That’s a good thing in some ways as long as we don’t put them up so high that all we can do is look up but never reach up high enough to connect up. We do that with God sometime – put him up so high and far away that we forget He’s walking along with us every inch of the way, and even live in our hearts! We look up to all these persons as persons of quality, persons who will accept the gifts of respect and love we exchange between them and us.

All of us have done the kind of looking-up at clouds and stars, and the moon (hooray for the MBN!!), and airplanes, and sky-scrapers, and birds (another hooray for the Iwi and albatrosses here on Kaua`i!!), and all manner of things above our heads. Of course, we still have to pay attention to what’s around our feet, and whatever is within our sphere of experience and responsibility. Looking up in awe is great exercise

This week, yesterday in fact, there was another kind of looking up that we commemorated: The Ascension. To me, that event is so reassuring. It is a very strong central tenet of my faith. And in a way, it’s one of my favorites because the angels in that account have a little bit of attitude about them.

Here’s what I mean. Jesus has just been talking with the disciples, and suddenly WHOOSH! He’s on the Cloud Elevator going back to spend eternity with His Dad – Abba. Very, cool. And if we could be there watching (and we are – I’ll tell you about contemporaneous concomitance sometime), we would see the disciples standing there literally dumbfounded. Then two angels show up and say, “Men of Galilee, why-y-y-y are you standing there looking into the sky!? This same Jesus, who has been taken up from you into Heaven will return to you in the same way you saw him going up into Heaven.” Man! How great is that?!?! I think that passage is just amazing. I guess some scholars can debate about “in the same way” or “in like manner” but for me the word that jumps off the page and makes my ears ring is SAME as in THIS SAME Jesus. Now for those of you who are true Biblicists, really-real Bible scholars, I may be stepping out on a limb here. In the Greek used in Acts, the word for same is houtos I can put the Greek letters here, but they might not display correctly on your screen: οὗτος. So it turns out that this word, which is used in a bunch of places in the Bible, means this one, the one visibly present here, the one just named and none other than this one. There’s not another one, there’s no way it could be someone else. It will be precisely, exactly, permanently that same guy you just saw take off into the clouds. It is HE who will return to you.

Pre-millennial, post-millennial, silently or with a mighty trumpet blast, in fire or in thunder – I don’t really care about any of that. I only care that it will be Him. I don’t care if He comes with The Church Triumphant or The Bride of Christ or with Many Crowns or a white horse and an army or whatever. It will be HIM, and that is all I need to know. It is also the best reason I have for always looking up in every sense of the phrase. He won’t be coming to us from inside us – where He lives now for all who accept Him. He will be coming back from somewhere UP THERE. Look up, Beloved. What went up will be what comes down: Christ, The LORD.

WHATEVER, WHENEVER, WHEREVER, WHOEVER, HOWEVER, IF EVER, FOREVER— AT YOUR SERVICE.

Make it a great day. Pray as you look up. Pray for healing, health, and hope for our loved-ones who are ill – yours and mine. Pray for justice, mercy, and peace – yours and mine, theirs and ours. Pray for enemies who seek to destroy life, faith, meaning, and freedom – yours and mine and even their own. Pray for those who pray. They are ours, together.

~chick

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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