Saturday, December 15, 2012

What's the Answer to Newtown?

Yesterday our collective hearts were broken and our minds were stunned with news of the terrible tragedy in Newtown, CT! There are no words that reach deep enough to encapsulate the grief of parents who kissed their children good-by yesterday morning and sent them off to school never to see them alive again!

Some are making ridiculous statements about the shooter and his life circumstances. Let me be clear: autism (or any Autism Spectrum Disorder including Asperger's Syndrome) does NOT cause someone to do what Adam Lanza did yesterday - if he did indeed was somewhere on the Autism Spectrum. But, Adam Lanza is not where our immediate focus should be!

This may seem controversial but neither should our immediate focus be on the personal and corporate loss in Newtown, CT though my heart and prayers go out big time to the entire community and especially to those who have empty places in their homes and hearts due to this tragedy!

Nor should our focus be on increased restrictions on gun ownership!

Our focus should be on the heart!  The tragedy of yesterday is purely and simply a heart issue!  Sin is ugly - ugly to the bone! Ever since Adam and Eve made a very bad choice in the Garden of Eden, sin has been the greatest problem we face. We may not like that reality but our discomfort doesn't change the truth. The truth is that we need Jesus! We need Him to change our hearts! We need Him to begin the process of restoration - one heart at a time.

I read wise, compelling words yesterday from Mercedes Cotchery:
I do not think gun control is the issue.Man's heart is the issue. People are spiritually depraved on their own. Apart from God any of us can and will do all kinds of things. That is the real issue. We want to worship God however we want to, yet also want to be surprised when things are out of order. We cannot have it both ways. We either abide in his word or sit and watch all hell break loose.

We don't need more laws and fewer guns. We don't need to presume that people who present differently than we do are fundamentally flawed and therefore a danger to themselves and others. We need to focus on the heart - our own first and work from there!

5 He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev. 21:5)

We need to pray that the King of Heaven - Jesus - will begin that process of restoration in me and you! That's the ONLY answer to pain, suffering and loss!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Saw Love!

I saw love at the movie theater

I went to the movies a couple of weeks ago to see “Lincoln…”
But instead, I saw Love. ….               (Posted on December 11, 2012 by katiewetherbee)

My husband was treating me to a movie and burger date for my birthday. For me, going to the movies is a huge treat. I love the atmosphere…the anticipation when purchasing tickets, the hushed feel of a darkened theatre…the fun of the previews and the uninterrupted enjoyment of a story on film.
When we arrived, Tom went to get the tickets and I ducked into the ladies room. We were running a bit late, and so I hurried in, pleased that it wasn’t crowded. In fact, only one other person was there…an older lady wearing a red winter cap on her grey curls. She smiled at me as I ducked into the stall. When I emerged, she was still there, pacing back and forth, humming to herself. As I made my way toward the sink, she turned and followed me.
And then she spoke.

“I can’t find my way out of here,” she said quietly.
“Well,” I replied, “I know the way out. We’ll go together as soon as I wash my hands.”

She smiled and waited for me. We walked out together, and she murmured, ” You seem like a kind person. Don’t ever let this happen to your brain.”
“Is someone here with you?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “My…” her voice trailed off when she saw him, her delight shining in her smile. “There he is!” She pointed to a gentleman wearing a plaid flannel shirt.
Her husband’s worried look was replaced with relief when he saw her.

Yes. Here I am,” he said, “Let’s go.” He nodded and smiled in my direction and gently took her hand.
I found Tom and we made our way into the theater and found a seat. Settling next to us were my ladies room friend and her husband.

Soon, the lights dimmed and “Lincoln” began. We were transported to the Civil War, mesmerized by the scenic design, costumes and acting.
About halfway through the movie, the lady shifted in her seat, becoming disoriented and agitated. Her husband immediately stood, and put his arm around her, whispering comfort to her as they walked out of the theater.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things(from 1 Corinthians 13, NRSV)
I saw love at the movie theater. … and I saw it in action. Clad in a flannel shirt, holding a wrinkled, familiar hand, whispering comfort.

This blog post is by my dear friend Katie Weatherbee. I had no warning it was going to be a sweet sucker-punch but it was!
You see, Katie could be describing my own dear parents: Ed (Buddy) and Austin Robeson. They loved with just such a love for all the world to see! My mother like the lady in the restroom is mostly confused and fragile mentally – much more often than not! She also has a hard time sitting still! And, I must say, my daddy would have done just what the man Katie wrote about did. He would gently get up, hold her hand even as stooped as he was from severe Parkinson’s and lead her from the theater.

Then there is the part about the flannel plaid shirt. My daddy always wore a plaid flannel shirt in the later years.
They loved each other with a holy love! I know the couple in Katie’s story isn’t my sweet Mother and Daddy because my daddy slipped away to heaven a few months ago and my mother is still confused about “why he doesn’t come around anymore.” She just can’t take in that he’s gone ahead without her. She just told me this afternoon that she expects to see him standing with Jesus when she comes to heaven’s gate. She said, “I’m gonna smile, wave and start running to Buddy and Jesus!” She will too! ‘Cause then it won’t matter anymore that her knees have nothing but bone rubbing on bone or that she totters! Then it won’t matter any longer that she loses her balance and doesn’t have the strength to do what her mind wants her dear old body to do. What will matter is that Jesus is there and Buddy too! It’s a wonderful thing to find love, Katie, whether it’s in life or in a theater! Thanks for sharing your story so I could share mine!

       --used by permission:


Friday, December 7, 2012

Day of Infamy - Day of Remembrance!

On December 7, 1941 my precious Daddy sat in chapel at the United States Naval Academy listening to a sermon preached by Peter Marshall, the great Scot preacher.
His wife Catherine details "behind the scenes" of that sermon in the biography of her husband, A Man Called Peter:
"A strange feeling which he [Peter Marshall] couldn’t shake off led him to change his announced topic to an entirely different homiletical theme based on James 4:14: For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. In the chapel before him was the December graduating class 1941, young men who in a few days would receive their commissions and go on active duty. In that sermon titled Go Down Death, Peter Marshall used this illustration:
In a home of which I know, a little boy—the only son—was ill with an incurable disease. Month after month the mother had tenderly nursed him, read to him, and played with him, hoping to keep him from realizing the dreadful finality of the doctor’s diagnosis. But as the weeks went on and he grew no better, the little fellow gradually began to understand that he would never be like the other boys he saw playing outside his window and, small as he was, he began to understand the meaning of the term death, and he, too, knew that he was to die.
One day his mother had been reading to him the stirring tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table: of Lancelot and Guinevere and Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat, and of that last glorious battle in which so many fair knights met their death.
As she closed the book, the boy sat silent for an instant as though deeply stirred with the trumpet call of the old English tale, and then asked the question that had been weighing on his childish heart: “Mother, what is it like to die? Mother, does it hurt?” Quick tears sprang to her eyes and she fled to the kitchen supposedly to tend to something on the stove. She knew it was a question with deep significance. She knew it must be answered satisfactorily. So she leaned for an instant against the kitchen cabinet, her knuckles pressed white against the smooth surface, and breathed a hurried prayer that the Lord would keep her from breaking down before the boy and would tell her how to answer him.
And the Lord did tell her. Immediately she knew how to explain it to him.
“Kenneth,” she said as she returned to the next room, “you remember when you were a tiny boy how you used to play so hard all day that when night came you would be too tired even to undress, and you would tumble into mother’s bed and fall asleep? That was not your bed…it was not where you belonged. And you stayed there only a little while. In the morning, much to your surprise, you would wake up and find yourself in your own bed in your own room. You were there because someone had loved you and taken care of you. Your father had come—with big strong arms—and carried you away. Kenneth, death is just like that. We just wake up some morning to find ourselves in the other room—our own room where we belong—because the Lord Jesus loved us.”
The lad’s shining, trusting face looking up into hers told her that the point had gone home and that there would be no more fear … only love and trust in his little heart as he went to meet the Father in Heaven.  Catherine Marshall, A Man Called Peter, pp. 230-231, 272-273
As my father told us the story of that day, he said that when they walked out of chapel the newsboys were on the streets crying, "Extra, extra! This morning the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor was bombed...." Within a few months many of those midshipmen who heard Peter Marshall's sermon that fateful day would go down to hero's graves in strange seas. Soon all of them would be personally involved in the business and dangers of war.
The sermon they heard in chapel that day offered these men the defining metaphor of the reality of eternal life: For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. (James 4:14)

On December 7 I often - almost always - reflect on my dad's real life experience. This year is no different except that another chapter has been written in this story. It was written early on the morning of August 5, 2012. On that day my precious Daddy was carried by his heavenly Father (in much the same way as Daddy often carried each of the six of his children back to our beds at night) to his eternal home. NOW my dad knows what waking up in that other room is in reality! He is in the place he belongs forever - the place that will never vanish away where there is no more fear or pain, no more death or sorrow or tears - the place where Jesus sits on His throne proclaiming, "Behold I make all things new!"