Tag Archives: Christmas

Icicles: A Christmas Meditation

Christ is born in Bethlehem: these are the words of a carol that are so beautiful and yet sometimes make me sad.

May the icicles in our hearts melt:

Remembering all those who are no longer here and we cannot be with .

Remembering all those who are no longer a part of our lives, but whom we still love.

May the icicles in our hearts melt with awareness:

Remembering family who are scattered all over the earth.

Remembering James, Taran, Evan, Bobby, and Mia my nephews and great niece in England and Australia who I so rarely see.

Remembering too other family, all gone now, some I loved, some I did not: Auntie Phyllis, Uncle Tim. Auntie Violet, Uncle Ed. Cousin Roger. Uncle Bill, Aunt Lil. Auntie Margaret, Uncle.

May the icicles in our hearts stream with gratitude:

Remembering Mum’s shining face, and Dad’s warm smile.

May the icicles in our hearts drip with streams of living water:

Remembering the Christ who unifies us, the one whom we can all adore because the love of the holy child is greater than all of our struggles, greater than our lack of love, greater than our mistakes, greater than our sins, and embraces us with warmth and welcome, fills us with holy waters.

We who are the all–may we learn to love one another on all the continents throughout all the earth, may we respect all the peoples in all the islands rising from the seas, may we cherish the wanderers and nomads in arid plains, and most especially within the still darkness of our own hearts, may we experience ourselves as blesséd.


Listen. Christ is born in Bethlehem

Remember those who are your Belovéd.

Remember those who you would love.

Name them.

Hold them in the palm of your hand.

Bless them.

What’s the App for Jesus?

Now if you’re like me and wasn’t born with a mouse in your hand, then you might not know what in the world an App actually is. It means application and is software, the stuff on the computer that underlies all the outward jargon, information, gamesmanship, photos, chat rooms, shopping channels, etc. It’s a special computer language beneath the user-friendly buttons. If you press Home, for instance, you’ll be directed to the opening page of a website. This happens not by magic, but by the underlying App’s computer language. There are quite a lot of program languages listed by Wikipedia: “BASIC,” for instance, “is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use – the name is an acronym from Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.” I wondered just how many computer languages there actually were and began to count all the ones listed alphabetically by Wiki. I began with the A’s, and then the B’s, but when I got to the C’s, I stopped counting after one hundred.

Perhaps, the volume of specialized programming languages is not surprising given the number of Apps, many of them free. There are, for instance, Apps for ipad, Apps for iphone, Apps for android, Apps for smartphone, Apps for face book, Apps for blackberry, Apps for droid, Apps for Google, Apps for mobile, and on it goes. In fact when I searched for Apps, Yahoo delivered five hundred and eighty four million general sites.

How many Apps-sites do you think there are for Jesus?

File:Ushakov Nerukotvorniy.jpg


Are you ready? Four hundred and eighty four million.

How on earth do you find what you are looking for in such a mass of information? Where is the truth? What if your lives, in spite of an outer show of pleasure, seem empty? What if the frenzy of your daily life what with work, care of the children, care of elderly parents, fixing the car, mowing the lawn, shopping, relationship maintenance, and the constant stream of daily activities are a cover-up for inner anxiety? What if you are dealing with injustice, hurt and suffering?

Would you cry with Isaiah (64: 1-3): 

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,

that the mountains would tremble before you!

As when fire sets twigs ablaze

and causes water to boil,

come down to make your name known to your enemies

and cause the nations to quake before you!

For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,

you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

You might if you knew where to look. But what if you simply felt empty and did not know or denied the existence of a greater power, God? The Bible might well seem inaccessible myth to you. Perhaps, you’d surf the web trying to find meaning.

When I searched for the Apps for Jesus websites, one that popped up in the top ten was called >AppsforChrist.com< It was a site where someone was using Jesus to sell i-phones; it also offered free Apps to memorize Scripture.

One I liked was called:

Heartcry: Compassion in Action
Jesus Centres: where every person is valued
Our Jesus Centres around the UK offer friendship and help to every kind of person, regardless of their beliefs or lack of them.
Find out more. With Facebook feed, photos, music, videos and details of each Jesus Centre.
Jesus Centres are set up and run by Jesus Army Charitable Trust, a UK registered charity (no. 1091912).

My attention leaped on to Bikers for Christ, and made me think of the–disreputable shack close by my house where Bikers of the World meet. They look like Hell’s Angels with long shaggy beards, and chunky molls clinging to their backs when they roar up to their clubhouse. They also run food drives and do charitable acts. I wondered if they ever solicit new members?

I moved on to Rapture-Watch. Ethereal music played, and a clock with a hand pointing to the time of the second coming of Christ appeared. I wonder how you’d point to Jesus with a digital clock. I did enjoy the photo of a great big raven with shiny black feathers. I suppose the bird was meant to illustrate a verse of Scripture from the Song of Solomon (5:11):  “His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.” The author of the site expounded on the meaning with rapturous language which left me, well, confused: Comparisons all fail to set forth the Lord Jesus, but the spouse uses the best within her reach. By the head of Jesus we may understand his deity, “for the head of Christ is God” and then the ingot of purest gold is the best conceivable metaphor, but all too poor to describe one so precious, so pure, so dear, so glorious. Jesus is not a grain of gold, but a vast globe of it, a priceless mass of treasure such as earth and heaven cannot excel. The creatures are mere iron and clay, they all shall perish like wood, hay, and stubble… The bushy locks depict his manly vigour. There is nothing effeminate in our Beloved. He is the manliest of men. Bold as a lion, laborious as an ox, swift as an eagle…

What? Momentarily, I understood Isaiah’s cry O that you would come down and rescue us (Is 64: 1-9).

I was relieved when I read what Queen Royalty who’d posted Jesus: Got An APP for that? said: With advances in technology surfacing every other millisecond, the world has grown accustomed to instant gratification. Instant gratification has now even got a microwave version called Quick Response. Translation—RIGHT NOW! As one of few earthlings who has yet to join the society of smartphone users, I surprisingly don’t feel at a lost. While the world goes around uploading videos, scanning company barcodes, and updating Twitter feeds, I reserve the right to live a simple life. And this vow is simply joyous! My life lacks the toil of trying to remain on top of the up-and-coming; however, I remain keenly aware of the space and time in which I reside. The lack of empty distractions has allowed me to locate my purpose and destiny. Thus, I have progressively been downloading what I’ll dub my Jesus App into my “smart” dome—head that is.

Queen Royalty made sense to me, but I wondered just what is a definitive App for Jesus?

On the internet around the twentieth millionth site, I came across a news article about the shooter who claimed to be a modern Jesus Christ. Not too much further down the list was one about the Salvation Army taking applications for Christmas assistance.

Should we be heartened or frightened by this frenzy of often contradictory messages? How does anyone make any sense of all this?

I liked Heartcry with its Jesus Centres in the UK, but I couldn’t help wonder why they didn’t call them churches? In Britain, though, church is not viewed as respectable. To be religious is to be a nutter–a crazy person. Tony Blair, former prime minister, was a practicing Christian, but he tried to keep it private.

Should Christians who go to church keep their lives in Christ private? Certainly, there is nothing more annoying than someone forcing their beliefs down our throats, but on the other hand, there are millions of people who are seeking meaning in their lives and they’ll find some Apps and websites that will help, but there are plenty of sites full of ill-considered opinions.

People might do well to enter a church to hear about God from a traditional stance, a tradition that’s been developing for 2000 years. And there’s another reason to come–to be in community with other people, to share ideas and disagree too (without storming out the door, or clicking onto the next App), and to have opportunities to reach out to help the surrounding community. So why not invite your neighbors and friends who don’t have churches to come with you to yours? You don’t need to use Christian language or try to convert them. A simple invitation to a place you love is enough.

So is there an App for Jesus?

If Jesus is the way the truth and the light, and if Jesus is the Word giving meaning, empowering lives, restoring us to our loving God, then perhaps Jesus is THE App for you and for many.