Soul Food

not my photo.

Wilt thou love God, as he thee! then digest,
My Soule, this wholsome meditation,
How God the Spirit, by Angels waited on
In heaven, doth make his Temple in thy brest.
The Father having begot a Sonne most blest,
And still begetting, (for he ne’r begonne)
Hath deign’d to chuse thee by adoption,
Coheire to his glory, and Sabbaths endlesse rest.
And as a robb’d man, which by search doth finde
His stolne stuffe sold, must lose or buy it againe:
The Sonne of glory came downe, and was slaine,
Us whom he had made, and Satan stolne, to unbinde.
Twas much, that man was made like God before,
But, that God should be made like man, much more.

-John Donne


Something More

*squeeeeee* Many thanks to the pheersome Canadian kitty of doom for the header! I was feeling terribly uninspired, but I still decided I didn’t like my header, and she whipped one up out of thin air for me.

Otherwise… I’m tired. Work, and rehearsal for church, and then hanging out with Laura and some people in her program, which was fun. And tomorrow (rather, today) is Friday, and then seeing some good friends from last summer over the weekend.

I’m blanking right now, and nothing terribly exciting or clever is coming to mind, so I’ll leave you with a thought/quote that has really jumped out at me this week:

“If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.” – C. S. Lewis

Title Goes Here

Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon… more or less. I went to the open-air market, kind of a bazaar, in the city. Vegetables are so cheap there! I paid the equivalent of fifty cents for three really good tomatoes – which is significant because the tomatoes in the supermarket are expensive and look really sick. I may have mentioned this before, but I have never seen so much candy in my life. The usual American stuff, but also things like German and Swiss chocolates. I may have to bring some back. Mmmm, chocolate.

The atmosphere of the market was very tangible – not unlike those of other markets of that type. Booths crammed with vegetables, trinkets, fabric, artwork, household wares and completely useless items, stall owners enthusiastically hawking their goods, customers haggling with smooth vendors (“yes, usually it’s fifty, but for you, I make it forty” “what! that’s a rip-off! I can get it cheaper in the store”), and the combined smells of fish, spices, and cheap perfume. So many languages, too, and different types of people – students, tourists, housewives, businesspeople, and tiny children constantly running about and somehow managing not to get tripped, squished, or yelled at. Mostly.

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Breaking Sabbath

Today was an interesting day. For starters, it was the first day of class. Yes, on a Sunday. Here, the weekend is Friday and Saturday. Somehow, I think that I can now appreciate the significance of Sunday as a day of worship more fully.

I guess I first really started thinking about it a year or so ago, during the first NOLA spring break trip, when Collin asked me if I kept the Sabbath. I said, well, I tried to take it a little easier on Sundays … did I keep the Sabbath as defined by Mosaic law? No, I admitted.

I suppose I thought about it somewhat in the following months, but it really jumped out at me this past week. Should a Christian actually keep the traditional Sabbath, on Saturday, instead of observing Sunday, the first day, as the Lord’s Day? After all, don’t the Ten Commandments instruct us to “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”, and to rest on the seventh day? So if we worship on Sunday, are we routinely, deliberately breaking that law?

I think the answer is yes. Yes, if the Sabbath is the last day of the week – and I believe it is. It doesn’t translate to anything in Hebrew but “Sabbath”, which for thousands of years has been that seventh day. It doesn’t translate to “any day of worship that you choose”.

There are several reasons why I am deliberately, joyously choosing to break the letter of this law. First, as Paul points out in Romans and Galatians, those who have received God’s Holy Spirit are not bound by Mosaic law; the law is superceded by the Abrahamic covenant (see Galatians 3). My salvation is not dependent on my keeping the Sabbath, or on doing anything else, for that matter. Why? Because it is dependent on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, the perfect lamb; dependent on the actions of God, not myself. (And I, for one, am really glad that it doesn’t depend on me, because I would screw it up in two seconds flat. To quote Galatians again: “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”)

Second, Christians worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, for a reason: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was an event so significant that the early church (numbering more than three thousand, forty days after the death and resurrection of Christ), trained from birth to set aside the Sabbath, abandoned thousands of years of tradition and met on Sunday. This was no insignificant act! But as a Christian, I am privileged to celebrate the most important event in history every week by formally worshipping on the first day. (Why is the Resurrection the most important event? Because through this, Christ – who is God – demonstrated his power over death. If he can raise himself up, he can also raise me to eternal life. If he couldn’t, then I have no hope.)

Third, Christians were observing Sunday, aka breaking the Sabbath, as early as Acts 20, which speaks of the disciples meeting on the first day of the week to break bread, or take communion. At this time the inspired letters which make up part of our Bible were still being written. I really believe that if God had desired the church to keep the Mosaic Sabbath, he would have indicated it in these letters. After all, Christians got lambasted pretty strongly for some other issues.

However, I don’t think that worshipping on Sunday is breaking the spirit of the law about Sabbath, which is to set aside a day to focus on God, and not yourself. Having gotten the Sabbath/Sunday issue out of my system, that’s the problem I should really be focusing on: How much of my Sunday am I giving to God?

Thanks, Collin.

First Impressions

Yesyesyesyes my luggage is here! Thank God! And thank you to all of you who have prayed for its arrival. I’ve had the feeling for quite awhile that I am here by the grace of God alone. So many answered prayers: essays in the middle of midterms, admission, finances, loans, tickets, luggage … and that list will probably grow over the semester.

Some notes from the last few days:

30 July 2007

Stuck in NYC.
Jamaica Center – Archer Ave. Bus Q5 to Target.

After realizing that my luggage was not going to make it in time, I had a bit of an adventure riding the bus through Queens in search of a Target, where I purchased two shirts, a pair of jeans, and a few other necessities. I guess I’d always thought of New York City as a glass-skyscraper, high-stress, busy-people-in-suits kind of place. I guess Manhattan is like that – maybe – but the Jamaica area is most definitely not. I may have more to say about this later.

31 July 2007

Well, I’m finally here. And I don’t know how I feel about it. Maybe slightly lost.

Fortunately most people I’ve run into speak a little English. And there are a lot of American students here, though I haven’t met any yet. In fact, there are some partying/hanging out (rev: actually just partying) on the floor below mine. I suppose I’m at a slight social disadvantage, not having come on the group flight and also having arrived a day late. Not to mention that I’ll be wearing the same three T-shirts for a few days.

My dorm room has a tiny kitchen with two gas burners, a tiny wet bathroom, a bedroom with two beds (with foam matresses), two chairs, two desks, and some shelving, and a balconyish area with a refrigerator and windows with no glass, but slats that you can flip open or closed. No air conditioning, so keeping the windows open for airflow is important. I also don’t have a roommate yet, which from my point of view is a good thing. This is where I go off on my little loner spiel.

The hallways are almost open hallways, with concrete blocks staggered to let the air in. Kind of like Lovett’s hallways, except that these dorms, two streets away from the university, don’t look like a toaster. Otherwise, it’s very humid right now, but not too hot, and there’s usually a breeze. More like Malaysia than Houston. We had wet bathrooms in Malaysia, too.

Other than that, need to get my mobile tomorrow. And find some people to hang out with. But shop for things like food first.

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