DayBreaks for 2/1/16: Holy Land Lessons – The Stones Will Cry Out

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Interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel. Galen C. Dalrymple, 2016.

Luke 19:39-40 (KJV) – And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

It was what we call the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. The crowds were cheering the man from Galilee. No doubt many were thinking that this was the time when Rome would be overthrown and the Jewish people would once again be freed from the oppression of the great empire. One thing that galled the people was that the temple which had been constructed by Herod was overshadowed on one side by the fortress Antonia, from which Roman soldiers could peer down into the temple grounds to keep a close eye on those worshiping there. 

But on this day, there was cheering. The ruling clique of religious leaders in Jerusalem were very distressed about all the noise and clamor. The Romans didn’t like boisterous crowds (except in the Coliseum and at their own revels) and would often react with great and swift violence to quell any possible disturbance. That is probably at least part of the reason the religious rulers were disturbed by the noise. 

I believe they were also disturbed because Jesus was getting so much attention. The masses of people in Israel despised their own religious leaders with good reason, for they were corrupt and in cahoots with Rome whenever it suited their purposes. 

But none of that is the point. The point is that Jesus’ statement about the stones along the road crying out gives me pause to think. I, like most people, like it when people sing my praises. In such a situation we don’t mind being the center of attention. Jesus, as the incarnate Son of God, had created those stones that were along the side of the road. It seems that Jesus is suggesting that even the inanimate things of creation know their Creator and will give him praise.

And that gives me reason to ponder my own attitude of praise toward Jesus. Do I find myself so compelled by wonder and love and appreciation that I give him the praise He is due? In today’s photo that I took inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, it seems as if the stones of that building are reaching skyward to sing glory to His name. While I was there, did I? Barely. And that shames me, for He certainly is worthy of my shouts of praise!

PRAYER: Jesus, You deserve every bit of praise that my poor soul can lift to You. Let my entire life be a song of praise, an offering of love and devotion, to You for what You have done for us all! Forgive my silence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple.

DayBreaks for 12/23/15 – L’Enchante

DayBreaks for 12/23/15: L’Enchante

“There is a beautiful story recounted every Christmas in the forests of Provence in southern France.  It’s about the shepherds who came to Bethlehem to see the child.  One brought eggs, another brought bread and cheese, the third brought wine.  And the fourth brought nothing at all.  People called him L’Enchante.  The first three shepherds chatted with Mary and Joseph, commenting on how well Mary looked, how cozy was the cave and how handsomely Joseph had appointed it, what a beautiful starlit night it was.  They congratulated the proud parents, presented them with their gifts and assured them that if they needed anything else, they had only to ask.  Finally someone asked, ‘Where is L’Enchante?’  They searched high and low, up and down, inside and out.  Finally, someone peeked through the blanket hung against the draft, into the crèche.  There, kneeling at the crib, was L’Enchante – the enchanted one.  Like a flag or a flame taking the direction of the wind, he had taken the direction of love.  Through the entire night, he stayed in adoration, whispering, ‘Jesu, Jesu, Jesu – Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.’” – Brennan Manning, The Lion and the Lamb

I wonder what I would have done had I been one of the shepherds?  Would I have scrounged up some gift out of my pack to take with me to Bethlehem?  If so, what would I have taken?  After all, what gift could a poor shepherd have that the child Jesus would need, or could use?  Certainly, they could not take anything like the gifts which the magi bore on their caravan.

But perhaps, if there is anything to the ancient story (and even if there is not), L’Enchante had something to take but thought better of it.  Perhaps L’Enchante realized that no matter what he had, there was nothing marvelous enough on this earth to lay at the feet of the baby Jesus.  And in that moment, he had grasped a great truth.  I think, perhaps, that he realized that what this baby deserved was not gifts which were so inadequate, but our wonder and our worship.  And so, L’Enchante took the only thing with him to the manger that the baby would ever want: his heart.  Hour after hour, pouring out worship, gazing in amazed and overwhelmed wonder at the Miracle that lay on the hay, too enchanted to talk about trivialities.

May we all be overwhelmed with the enchantment that Jesus brings with him.  May we all give him our wonder and love and worship.  May we avoid the trivialities that are so frivolous and meaningless and focus on the one thing that is needful – to worship the One who is our Savior.

TODAY’S PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we live in an age where it is hard for us to be amazed at anything that is good.  It seems that the evil that is present in the world is still able to amaze us when we hear about our cruelty to one another, but seldom do we fall to our knees in amazement.  Help the Christmas Truth to enchant us and capture our hearts anew this week.  May we truly worship Jesu!  In His name, Amen.

Copyright 2015 by Galen C. Dalrymple.