Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This Lent Season

I grew up believing that Lent was a silly thing that Catholics do to deprive themselves of something in order to make themselves seem more holy. This didn't come from my parents or church teachings or anything, it was just my perception of the whole idea of fasting for forty whole days.

Now, at age 20, I have just come out of my first season of Lent, and I am so grateful that I observed this part of the Church calender this year.

Today I woke up with a great joy. It had nothing to do with logging into this social networking site that I have dutifully avoided for forty days. The joy came from the known fact that CHRIST IS RISEN!! He defeated death! How incredible and amazing is that!

One thing I never really understood growing up was that we spend a whole month celebrating Christmas-Christ's birth- but for His victory over death and sin we give Him one day that is to be shared with a mythical bunny that hides colorful eggs. It is great that he came as a man as we celebrate in December, but it wouldn't matter if he hadn't died, risen and ascended into heaven.

The Church calender lets us walk through this incredible drama of Christ's birth, death, burial, resurrection and ascension every single year. The forty days of Lent have a somewhat ominous and sad feeling to it. Good Friday leaves the people of Christ in despair just as his disciples felt as they realized that their leader and teacher was dead. But, as we all know and experienced today, that is not the end of the story. Because of these forty days of deprivation the joy experienced on Easter is incredible!

I am encouraged. Not only did I learn the trivial fact that I don't need to be on Facebook at every free moment, but I felt the joy of making it through that season in order to experience the joy of Christ's victory.

Yet the waiting is not over. We have not yet experienced being with him in all of his glory. For that we will have to wait. Just as the two lovers in Song of Solomon wait and long to be with each other, we must be diligent in looking forward to being with our Beloved. The wait seems long and arduous, filled with discouragements and despair, but when we meet with Him in glory all of that will be forgotten.

"It is appropriate for the young Christian to seek after Christ in order to experience heaven, but the mature Christian longs to go to heaven in order to be with Christ."
~Brian Denker, Christ Community Church's Good Friday Service 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sometimes I miss the theatre...

Union/Jackson State production of Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TIm had to throw the chicken....

Jim's head turned into a chicken. Other than that it's the best shot I got.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shampoo, Style and So Much More

I thought I was just going to get a haircut when I walked into the hair salon on Friday.

I was mistaken.

Profiles Hair Salon was very busy Friday afternoon. I didn't have an appointment, so they asked me to wait to see if someone named Don was about to finish. I've never had a man cut my hair before, so when they asked me to come back in an hour for an appointment with Amy I was slightly relieved.

The hour went by and I was back at Profiles for my appointment with Amy. The receptionist recognized me and let me know that Amy was doing a dye job that was taking longer than expected, so I was back with Don. They paged for him to come to the front and I waited. Up walked a man with seven rings, two sliver cross necklaces and black spiky hair. Stereotypes ran through my head as we walked back and I told him what I wanted my hair to look like.

As Don shampooed my hair we started talking and the stereotypes started melting away. I mentioned that I was a journalism major at Union, and he told me that his wife was a writer at the Jackson Sun. He grew up in upstate New York, but he and his wife had lived in Tampa, Fla. for about twenty years where he had owned his own shop and his wife was an editor at a major newspaper. This, of course, begged the question What are you doing in Jackson, Ten.? He laughed and told me that the short answer was that God had brought them there.

We moved to the chair where Don started cutting my hair. He talked about how he gives his testimony at youth camps and churches (he'll be at West Jackson this Sunday) and how he prays for God to use his story to touch other people's lives. He told the story of a young man who had been through a lot, including suicide attempts. After Don gave his testimony, this boy asked to meet him. Don sat down as the boy started pouring out his heart. Don told me that all he could do was cry and tell the boy that Jesus loves him and he is alive for a reason.

Don also told me about a book he wants to write. He gives his testimony at all different kinds of events, but he wants his wife to help him write it out in book form. He even has the title picked out: Macaroni, No Bologna. He explained that macaroni is actually related to the word "blessed" through Greek, and he considers himself to be very blessed. Be on the lookout for this book....it should be really good.

Our conversation went on and he told me that he meets with some people for a Bible study on Wednesday nights. They are not associated with a specific church, but they all don't like the "fake" Christianity that a lot of people are being fed, the kind where we sit in church and sing three worship choruses and go home feeling good about ourselves, scoffing at the homeless man on the way. Then he told me a story about one time when he delivered the message at this Bible study. He spoke of how we are to be bold for Christ, not caring about the way people see us and not sugar coating the gospel so that people feel warm and fuzzy inside. Throughout his entire message a woman who he had never seen before was responding with shouts of "Amen!" and other encouraging words. At the end of the study, he went up to her and said it was so nice to meet her and receive such encouragement. She left the building, and one of Don's friends turned to him, asking if he knew who he had just spoken to. Don had no idea, and his friend told him that she was a widow who lived in a $3 million dollar home in Alamo, Texas. Her husband had been the head of National Geographic for years, and before that he had been the assistant to the head of the Department of Defense under Regan.

By then, my hair was cut, dried and looked great. As we walked up to the front I thanked Don so much for everything. He smiled, said it was nice to meet me and left with a simple "God bless." I was smiling as I wrote out his tip (a bigger tip than I usually give), and the smile didn't fade as I walked out to the car. I had walked into the salon that day expecting a professional cut and nice service. I left with a great hairstyle and, more importantly, encouragement and joy that I had met such an amazing brother in Christ.