Reflections on Living

Is Heaven For Real?

People are on an earthly journey.  They hope that eventually they will be in paradise.  There they will discover immortality, perfect beauty, and the truth about life.  Many believers see this place as heaven.  In anticipation of this reality they talk about experiencing heaven on earth.  Some refer to this place as the original Garden of Eden that once existed in the Middle East.  This garden described in the Book of Genesis was destroyed by the Fall of Man.

Earthly Paradise is a four-volume collection of narrative poems written by William Morris (1868–1870).  Its prologue described the flight of a band of Norse sailors in the Middle Ages from the Black Death, and their search for this glorious place.  But heaven is more than an earthly paradise. Whatever it truly is our limited minds can’t begin to comprehend.

Right Comforts in Perspective

When people talk about having right comfort do they mean being in Comfort Inns, improved home efficiency, using a hybrid bike shopper, and having the right service?  Or do they wish to retire financially comfortable, having at their convenience an adjustable chair, and a water furnace geo-thermal unit?  These might be part of your plan of the good life, and you’re able to watch multiple-TV channels both via satellite and cable.  But are you really satisfied with these comforts?  You might say add my heart’s desire of favorite drinks, wine, beer, and liquor.  Aren’t you sure though that you might still be lacking what’s essential for a healthy lifestyle?  Your friends could advise you to do an exercise program to be in good shape, and try developing physically.  It’s essential though that you take a good look at how you’re growing spiritually.  For behind all your earthly comforts, much care should be taken in selecting what you do in your spiritual life.  You should always remember that our heavenly Creator is the provider of all comforts, so be wise about them.

Descent to the Underworld

The descent to the underworld is a motif in many myths.  Readers find these in Greek, Jewish, Slavic, Hindu, Chinese, and Japanese mythology.  These stories are in folklore of all peoples.  The descent is usually made to rescue someone, who is either abducted, or rightfully dead.  It’s all done to find the answer to a question, discover a secret from the ruler of the underworld, or to seize some treasure.  The rallying cry that believers should heed is don’t wait for a hero or heroine to recapture you.  Be safe, live wisely, and do what’s right in the sight of God.  Waiting until you’re in a dark and bottomless pit, then realizing you’re in trouble, isn’t the best thing to do.  It’s better to stay away altogether from such a dark and gloomy place.

Enjoy Life!

Be a success in life! Don’t let disillusion get you down.  Some people act bizarrely at bad stages in their life because they are discontented.  It’s better and more fulfilling to work at being happy.  Take time to reflect on the good things that life has to offer.  Discover the richness in the arts.  Listen to uplifting music, and enjoy reading good poetry.  Remember to see the good-hearted gifts in people, and celebrate the joys of life.  Why don’t you fill your dreams with these pleasant reminiscences, and see the joys of the world unfold before your eyes?  Katori Hall (b. 1981), a playwright and journalist wrote, “Follow your intuition, listening to your dreams, and your inner voice to guide you.”

Be Happy

Carp Diem is a Latin aphorism that calls for people to live to the fullest right now.  “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” declared the Roman poet Horace.  But does life only consist of pleasurable pursuits?  There’s an essential goal that’s necessary to make people happy.  On a fall’s day people can take a stroll in the woods.  They could watch a powerful and life-affirming film.  Take a trip to some exquisite destination, or read a good book that warms their receptive hearts.  Still these joys might not satisfy their desire to be happy.  They could even breathe in the fresh air of the seaside.  Swim in the Atlantic Ocean, or go biking on the beach when the sun is shining brightly in the sky.  Still real happiness could escape them.  Why is this so?  It’s because they are only satisfying some emotional, physical, or intellectual needs.  But have they ever stopped to think what is lacking?  It could be that with all they are doing, there’s no balance in their life.  They could be neglecting their spirituality that’s because their souls are hungering for higher fulfillment.  This satisfaction only comes when they love knowing God.  Their happiness then becomes truly enlightened only after they have attained a perfect equilibrium.

Lost Saints

A poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1812–1861), who was more successful than her husband Robert Browning, wrote in Sonnet 43 about love without limits.  She addressed the “lost saints” this way, “With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life! – and if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.”  These were saints Browning didn’t know.  It was an acknowledgement that some of these wonderful individuals as important as they were, people didn’t know.  They lived humbly doing good works, suffering patiently, and kept the faith.  Only God in heaven knows, who these men and women really are.  These are the incredible ones Browning loved so deeply.  Yes, we hear a lot about the saints, who are canonized in the Catholic Church, and are blessed to know them.  But what about those that are under the radar?  Are you listed among these?  Maybe you are, and don’t even know it.  You could be humble, self-effacing, but abundantly blessed.  Yes! You’re listed among those that Browning hopes to love better in death.

 Changed Lives

Unlike poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), the world isn’t just governed by “chance.”  And natural laws aren’t always hostile.  These aren’t necessarily indifferent to human lives.  Do people get what they deserve?  Some persons think so.  They might say it’s all about karma.  And what goes around comes around.  Others could be simply indifferent concerning the needs of their neighbors.  They find explanations of events with coincidences, view these incidents as the bleakness of nature, and are pessimistic.  But it’s always better to be positive.  When people look on the bright side of life, and serve their community they are able to find peace.  It’s through this special kind of love that lives are changed for the better.

 

 

 

God’s Time

Carl Sanburg (1878–1967), a poet, and writer said, “Time is the coin of your life.  It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”  People should therefore use time wisely.  Time in one’s life could be tricky.  Most treat it like a commodity.  They tend to agree, “Time is money.” But it’s a lot more than that.  For another perspective look at the saying, “To God a thousand years are like one day.”  Isn’t this awesome?  Therefore the life span of a human could be likened to a grain of sand on the seashore.

Time is necessary for growth, development, and the production of commodities.  Plants like all other living organisms have to have nutrients to grow, but this process takes time.  Their growth and development take a short or long period.  After much dedication to be educated humans have to be nurtured to learn vital lessons about life.  And people have to be fed with spiritual food to develop virtues of hope, faith, and love.  But becoming virtuous also takes time.  It might take over a life-time for believers to become spiritually attuned.

Dreams & Aspirations

For growth and development to occur mean having dreams and aspirations fulfilled.  Students have to imagine doing particular jobs.  They ask, “Do they have what it takes to do a particular task? Is their ability suitable for a certain career choice?  How could they do such a job?  Is their personality right for a career choice?  This is a time when honesty is necessary to know one’s aptitude.

With challenges there has to be breaks for rejuvenation and relaxation.  That’s the reason why most Americans take vacations.  They have to aim for a good balance in their lives.  They quickly learn that life might not only be for fun, but for making the best of well-deserved breaks.  Some decide that instead of lying on a beach, it would be better to help build houses for the homeless.

Stephen R. Covey (1932–2012), in his book entitled: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that Time Magazine listed as one of the 25 most influential in business management, explained how to have a “sustained, long-term, effective lifestyle.”  Covey encouraged his readers to “learn, commit, do,” and argued that they would find “personal freedom, security, wisdom and power.”  Such realities could only be achieved by living true lives in God’s time.

 

 

The Vision of Leaders

A vision of leadership calls for having a spirit of collegiality.  Good leaders know how to delegate and exercise legitimate power in the church.  Inevitably they will summon their troops to pursue the church’s plans.  By so doing they will envision the relationships of the different committees they are supervising.  This insight tells them how best to foster the actualization of their followers.  Through their direction believers will prosper, and be filled with inspiration to do their respective jobs.  By their example they will be able to generate the commitment by transforming the environment.  A businessman Bo Bennett (b. 1972) said, “Those who improve with age embrace the power of personal growth and personal achievement and begin to replace youth and wisdom, innocence and understanding, and lack of purpose with self-actualization.”  Effective leaders will grow and guide their flock in wisdom.

Ethical Leadership

Ethical leaders don’t strive to control the group’s creativity.  They avoid the manipulation of people to get things done.  Decisions aren’t leader-centered, but worker-centered.  It’s for them to be sure that the parishioners understand how their instructions ought to be carried out.  Their leadership isn’t dominant, but they set the example by their management style.  Their noteworthy quality is being humble in serving others to work in unison with them.  Their very demeanor should show their ability to rally the work force.

A preeminent leader of India’s Independence Movement Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) wrote, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  This is the quality of what’s expected of leaders.  Pope Francis (b. 1936), the head of the Catholic Church said, “Every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better?  Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path?’  If you don’t ask these questions, your governance will not be good.”  These are questions leaders ought to ask themselves to be accountable to their followers.

Peer Pressure

Leaders must resist psychological coercion.  Their aim is to strive for authentic fulfillment.  Their approach with workers must not be lukewarm or heavy handed.  At all cost they must avoid manipulating them in order to have the upper hand in decision making.  All workers must be respected and honored for who they are.  Everyone must be treated like a colleague.  Benjamin Carson (b. 1951), an author, and politician wrote, “No matter how good you are at planning, the pressure never goes away.  So I don’t fight it.  I feed off it.  I turn pressure into motivation to do my best.”  This must be a model of leaders who want to counter stress in a work environment.

 Effective Communication

Leaders must be quick to listen.  They should never consider themselves as desirous of increasing their status for personal gratification.  Their foremost goal is to be a pacifier of conflicts with their workers.   They should practice authenticity, and treat their colleagues with the utmost respect and dignity.  It’s for them to follow the guidelines about leadership of their community.  Their role should be an exercise in spiritual growth by motivating others to higher levels of accomplishment.  And at no time must they give the appearance of being authoritarian.  Such an approach will only damage their relationship with workers.  Quincy Adams (1767–1848), the sixth US president and statesman said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  This must be the vision of successful leaders.

 

 

The Utmost

The utmost is the Christian God who abhors sin, and fully practices the rule of justice.  People ought to plead with him to have their iniquities forgiven.  It doesn’t matter if these iniquities are large or small.  To be truly liberated people should do so through his grace.  Only then will they find joy, peace, courage, and hope in life.  God is most compassionate and truly understands us.  So be blessed in all these riches by him.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader of the Civil Rights Movement said, “Human progress is neither automatic or inevitable…Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”  Sins not only have to be confessed by our leaders, but they have to set the example of how to live a Christ-centered life.  .

When people think about youthfulness they reflect on the chronological age of the young.  Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), a German philosopher envisioned youth differently when he wrote, “Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.”  To Schopenhauer youthful living takes different forms in the life of the Supreme Being.

Temporal Enjoyment

Temporal enjoyment might well lead to provocation, God’s punishment, and hardening of our hearts.  Alphonsus Liquori (1696–1787), an Italian Catholic bishop, spiritual writer, and theologian said, “What grieves me more in my past offenses, O my loving God, is not so much the punishment I have deserved, as the displeasure I have given You, Who are worthy of infinite love.”  Liquori regretted his offenses in not loving God as he should.

Why would people allow themselves to descend so low that there’s no hope of God’s mercy?  In Christian teaching to be eternally damned is a dreadful curse that could happen to a soul.  Still there are those who prefer to do evil instead of honoring God.  Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), a politician, diplomat, and First Lady of the United States wrote, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”  Roosevelt clearly gives us a reason for living successfully by using light as a symbol.

Christianity believes that non-believers ought to repent of their sins, come to know the one true living God, love his fellowmen and women, and serve God faithfully.  This apparently is what lighted candles mean to Christians.  Light dispels darkness that threatens to tarnish souls.  And forgiveness is a free gift, so why don’t we seek it?  But people must do so with repentant hearts, and walk victoriously in Christ’s ways.

Trusting God

So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.  Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

–Gal 3:6-9

God is always at work in our lives.  Situations come and go, but God directs our paths.  Joel Osteen (b. 1963), pastor and televangelist said, “I believe if you keep your faith, you keep your trust, you keep the right attitude, if you’re grateful, you’ll see God open up new doors.”  Jeremiah 11:1-5 urges us to obey the terms of God’s covenant and be his people.  Of this nature is the love of God.  1 Peter 2:1-5 tells us to rid ourselves of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.  For those who have tasted the Lord is good.  On the theme of love, Desmond Tutu (b. 1931), a retired South African Anglican bishop and social rights activist reminded us: “You don’t choose your family.  They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”  We therefore have to accept – not some, but all of our family members, even when it seems they have problems.

God’s View of Us

God loves us all.  In the world some give the impression that they have a special place with him.  These individuals could be self-righteous.  Albert Einstein (1879–1955), a German-born theoretical physicist wrote, “Before God we are equally wise – and equally foolish.”   But we could enhance who we are if we heed the advice of Voltaire (1694–1778), French Enlightenment writer, who said: “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

It ought to be remembered that our talent is God’s gift to us.  We have to recognize God is wiser than humans, and his weakness is stronger than ours (1 Cor 1:25-26).  That’s why believers should speak the Word of God with the strength he provides (1 Pet 4:11-12), and they will be blessed.

Be a Blessing

The Lord is always with us and we should have no fear (Isa 41:10).  It’s him who gives us strength and power (Isa 40:28-31).  Joel Osteen said, “When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.”  But should believers pursue these blessings?  Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997), an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun wrote, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is in the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence … we need silence to be able to touch souls.”  Trusting and loving God is a process that takes time.  The Word of God is right, true, and faithful (Ps 33:4-6).  With dedication to God’s Word believers could say like Joyce Meyer (b. 1943), a Christian author and speaker: “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.”

Islam in Brief

Islam (1.6 billion) – monotheistic with Allah as God, considers itself the true religion with Muhammad as its Prophet.  Muslim beliefs are in the Five Pillars – repeating the creed, reciting prayers in Arabic, giving to the poor, fasting from sunrise to sunset, and making a pilgrimage (hajj) in one’s lifetime to Mecca.

Muhammad (570–632) was born in Mecca in Western Saudi Arabia.  So Mecca is the site of the Great Mosque and in its courtyard lies the most sacred shrine called Ka’aba- a stone building that contains a Black Stone that Muslims believe was sent from Heaven, by Allah.  When Muslims pray five times a day they face the Ka’aba, and declare the “shahada,” the Islam Creed –  “I bear witness that there is no god but (the One) God (Allah), and I bear witness that Muhammad is God’s messenger.”  Muslims profess there is one transcendent, supreme being Allah.  The Qur’an Muslims’ holy book is arranged in 114 sections called “suras” which literally  means word of God.

Shia Muslims

Shia Muslims account for approximately 15 percent of the total Muslim population in the world. Shiaism has the greatest influence in the contemporary world in Iran where nearly 90 percent of Muslims are Shiite, but Shia are also the majority in Iraq, Bahrain, and Yemen. The division between the Shia and Sunni is rooted in disputes over the proper succession of leadership after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 C.E. The Shia maintain that the rightful successor of the Prophet was his cousin and son-in-law, Ali. Shia especially revere a succession of scholars (called Imams).

Sunni Muslims

The followers of Sunni Islam … make up approximately 80 percent of the Muslim population in the world. The Sunni are the majority in most Islamic countries outside of Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Bahrain. Sunna—translated variously as the “trodden path,” “the way,” “example,” or “habitual practice”—refers to the example or path of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers….The Sunni maintain that the Muslim community was to select the Prophet’s successor (caliph) to lead…Sunni are typically seen as putting more emphasis on the power of God and his determination of human fate, and are often understood to be more inclusive in their definition of what it means to be a Muslim. The Sunni tradition has placed great emphasis on the role of religion in public and political life, with great weight placed on the Shariah (Islamic law) as the standard of a broad range of social issues—marriage, divorce, inheritance, commerce, and so on.

The Islamic interpretation of the Bible overlaps in many cases with those of Judaism and Christianity, and some accounts in the Qur’an are almost similar to those  in the Bible.

Reference

Library of World Religions and Faith Traditions

https://www.patheos.com/library

 

 

Christianity in Brief

Christianity (2.2 billion) – Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  God the Father and Holy Spirit complete the Trinity.  This religion major problem is “sin.”  Christ came to earth, died, and resurrected to save mankind.

Christians learned in the New Testament that the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary telling her that she would give birth of a son, who would be called Jesus.  Joseph to whom Mary was betrothed was about to put her way privately since he never had a relationship with her.  But an angel appeared in a dream telling him he should not do so because Mary’s pregnancy was by the Holy Spirit.  Joseph obeyed this advice and continued to be with Mary.  Jesus entered the world by being born in a manger of a stable, for there was no room at the inn in Bethlehem.  While at the stable Three Wise Men followed a star in the east to his birth place bringing him gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh.  But they didn’t return to Herod because they too were warned not to do so.  Since Herod wanted to slay this new born child whom he saw as a threat to his kingdom, so they fled to Egypt.

Not much more is known about Jesus’ early life.  Later his parents brought him to Bethlehem for the census. As a young child of twelve at Passover they went to Temple. Unknown to his family he was left for three days behind.  Joseph and Mary discovered he was missing, and returned to the Temple to find him disputing with Doctors, who were alarmed at his knowledge for such a young child.  There’s little else known about how he was raised.  But Christians were again introduced to him at 30 – the start of his ministry, when he was baptized by his cousin John the Baptist in the River Jordan and the sky opened and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove.

Jesus chose Twelve Disciples to follow him. He was an iterant preacher who went around preaching the coming of God, forgiveness of sins, healing the sick, raising the dead, and refuting the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  He was met with opposition from the Roman officials and leaders of the Temple because his teachings undermined the status quo of the society.  Jesus was deemed an outcast, arrested by governmental officials, tried, and crucified during the reign of Pontius Pilate.  He is believed to have risen from the dead.  And this is the foundation on which the Christian faith is based.  Christianity therefore teaches about the perils of sin, judgement, resurrection, and salvation.  Roman Catholics believe in purgatory, heaven for those saved, and hell for sinners whose sins aren’t forgiven by God.

Jesus is viewed as the Son of God.  He is said to have instituted the Eucharistic rite during the Last Supper with his disciples at an Upper Room in Jerusalem – the night before he was betrayed by a kiss from Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples.  He built the Church on Peter, another leading disciple and apostle.  The beginning of the Christian Church is said to be on the Day of Pentecost – 50 days after Easter, when there was the gushing of a mighty wind and tongues of fire as the disciples were huddled together in one place.  This outpouring was interpreted to be the descent of the Holy Spirit on believers to continue the Christian ministry in the world.

Limitations of Prayer

Prayer isn’t magic.

Much of life is predetermined.

The longest living land animals the bowhead whale can live for 200 years.

While the Mayfly only live for 24 hours.

The oldest birds can live to 60 odd years.

These are parrots, vultures, albatrosses, and eagles.

With conservation efforts trees will live for thousands of years.

These are trees like Prometheus, Unnamed Great Basin Bristlecone Pine, and the Jurupa Oak.

Another long lasting tree is the Sequoia of northern California and Oregon that can live up to 2700 years.

Prayer can’t change the lifespans of flora and fauna.

 

Other conditions are daunting concerning how species live.

Many species rarely approach their maximum age.

Some animals and birds die because of a high infant mortality rate.

Others die because of diseases, predators, and bad weather.

Many lifespans are cut short because of habitat destruction

And competition for food and shelter

 

Religious believers must therefore know how and for what to pray.

There are known conditions that can’t change that come and go like the seasons.

But they can pray to their deity or deities knowing that some conditions in life are the way they are.

Yes, we can pray for relief from the hazards that impact all living things.

Eternal Spirit, give us the insight concerning how to pray, and grant us relief from the hazards of earthly living.

Amen

Legacy of American Indians

The first Americans have the distinction of being a people of diversity.  They consisted of more than 500 tribes ranging from the Arctic Circle across the Great Plains to the Eastern Seaboard and known as the Lakota, Cherokee, Navajo, Haida, and other groups.  In the Northeast alone, there were dozens of tribes originating from three main mother groups – Algonquian, Iroquoian, or Siouan.  Around 12,000 to 20,000 years ago Indians came to the Western Hemisphere after having crossed the Bering Strait ice bridge that linked Asia to the Americas.  So, Native Americans are indigenous to the Americas.

The Indians displayed vibrant languages, cultural forms, and their political empowerment varied between tribes.  Some tribes boasted a sophisticated clan system with unique spiritual traditions, music, songs and chants.  Not all adopted to the horse as a primary tool of hunting, but they fished – catching salmon, trout, and sturgeon; farmed – raising indigenous plants, roots, berries, and nuts; hunted – catching deer, elk, bison, antelope, moose, and even caribou; inventing agricultural methods with flourishing crops of corn (maize), beans, and squash.

Tribal architecture flourished.  They made ceramics from clay tempered with sand, potted ceremonial objects, rugs, jewelry, bead works, and baskets of all sorts.  Their trading networks were spread across the whole American continent, and their sovereign authority was invested in cultural and linguistic patterns.

The American Dream

In their own way the Native Americans were living the American dream.  Marco Rubio (b. 1971), a senator from Florida said, “The American Dream is a term that is often used but also often misunderstood.  It isn’t really about becoming rich and famous.  It is about things much simpler and more fundamental than that.”  Early Indian tribes exemplified what the American dream was all about by having a diverse culture blessed with simplicity.  Billy Graham (1918–2018), an evangelical Christian evangelist wrote, “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”  Our first Americans exemplified this legacy and faith while living off the land.

Joe Baca (b. 1947), a U.S. representative in California said, “Native Americans are the original inhabitants of the land that now constitutes the United States.  They have helped developed the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and separation of powers that form the foundation of the United States government.”   These first Americans were instrumental in proposing fundamental ways of governing by how they were living.

A Legacy Impacted

European diseases – small pox, measles and influenza devastated many Native American communities.  These natives became victims of brutal massacres, murder, and rape that dampened the American spirit.  Native Indians though continued to have rights, and the American government had no authority on Indian land without an act of Congress.  The 19th century witnessed the impounding of Indians to reservations.  Philipp Meyer (b. 1974), an American fiction writer wrote, “When you start to look at the native American history, you realize that very far from being peaceful, morally superior people, Native Americans were not that different from the Europeans.”  Meyer must have been thinking about the atrocities and broken promises committed by America on the American Indians.  Alberto Gonzales (b. 1955), an attorney general of the United States wrote, “I will be the first to admit I am not perfect and I make mistakes.”  The Europeans who settled America were imperfect men and women, and although some critics felt their actions against the American Indians were motivated by power, greed, and religious zeal they surely committed big mistakes.  Despite these atrocities the American Indian culture still exists, and adds to the spiritual richness of the nation.

Thanksgiving for Creation

A pediatric surgeon Bernie Siegel (b. 1932) said, “God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings.  Just as graduations are not terminations, but commencements.  Creation is an ongoing process, and when we create a perfect world where love and compassion are shared by all, suffering will cease.”  Inevitably Siegel was putting his trust in mankind to create a perfect world.  But our world is broken because of sin.  Christians believe it will only be transformed when Jesus Christ comes again.  This has been alluded to time and time again in the Old and New Testaments.

How should people navigate this this perfect world?  We have to use our imagination and ask God to guide us to it.  George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), an Irish playwright and critic wrote, “Imagination is the beginning of creation.  You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”  Believers come to know their God by meditating on his Word.  They are touched by God’s divinity, and realize they must seek his forgiveness.

People’s Perception

An actor and producer James Cromwell (b. 1940) said, “Often we are recreating what we think we’re supposed to be as human beings.  What we’ve been told we’re supposed to be, instead of who we authentically are.  The key about creation of full self-expression is to be authentically who you are, to project that.”  Such gift comes by faith.  With this knowledge people walk in godly ways by doing what’s right.

Wise men and women have pondered the role of nature in God’s creative process.  Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936), an Italian dramatist and novelist wrote, “Nature uses human imagination to lift her work of creation to even higher levels.”  With the glorious displays of trees, mountains, and streams in our environment we reflect on the grandiose nature of a loving God.  Our minds and hearts leap in the sublimity of these gracious blessings first imagined in the Garden of Eden.

Testament of Life

Nevertheless life is such a powerful testament of the gifts of God.  An attorney and Freemason Albert Pike (1809–1891) said, “One man is equivalent to all Creation.  One man is a World in miniature.”  People see this phenomenon in God who is all in all.  According to scripture people were born in his image and are spiritually like him.

How can we make a difference in the world?  There might be some confusion about our life’s mission.  A French poet and novelist Victor Hugo (1802–1885) wrote, “One is not idle because one is absorbed.  There is both visible and invisible labor.  To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do.  The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act.  The eyes upturned to Heaven are an act of creation.”  It’s good to remember that everyone works differently.  How could we determine who is working the most?  How do we see the role of contemplation to that of hard labor?  Yet contemplative meditation is necessary for fostering justice, dignity, and peace in our world.

How do you view creation?  Who is ultimately responsible?  Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869–1942), a second president of the incorporated Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania said, “Jehovah created the earth and therefore it is his by right of creation.”  Every aspect of life which exists is God’s gift to us.  He controls everything, and is the greatest gift of all living, and non-living beings.  We have to always give thanks for his creation.