Monday, March 20, 2006

Questions for your family...

I was only able to watch "The Passion of the Christ" once, but the scene that stood out in my memory was a quick one, easy to miss. Inside a small room the table is set for Passover. Mary, the mother of Jesus, the younger Mary, and John are there when they hear the shouts of angry and violent people outside. Jesus' mother is unaware that her son is in trouble, but they are fearful nonetheless. The younger Mary asks, "Why is this night different from every other night?"

That is one of the four traditional questions that the youngest observant asks the host during the Passover meal. In response, the host would go through the history of God's people and how God led them out of Egypt.

It is also one of the questions I ask myself and my son each day. Why is this day different from any other? Why hasn't the world ended yet? If it hasn't, then God still has a purpose to work out here. This day is different because it has never happened before and there is something to be done today. Who knows? It could be that the entire history of the universe was leading to this day. Be prepared to live out your part of it.

Another question -- which I borrowed from a long forgotten source -- is asked at the end of the day: Where did you see God today? Was it in the eyes of a kind nurse as you made your rounds? Was it in the homeless man you gave $5 to? Was it in a kind, encouraging email you received? You will only see God if you are looking for Him. Knowing that the question is coming makes you more alert for Him during your day. Look for Him, Look for His angels.

A question I ask God every day is one I got from the roll-out of Windows 98: "Where do you want to go today?" I ask the question of God -- what do you want to do today, God? Where are we going? Remember the old song "Lead Me To One Soul Today"? Maybe I got the idea from that instead of a Windows commercial, but the idea is one that works for me. It keeps me on track, on message.

Another question: Who needs Jesus? Yes, yes, we all know that everyone needs Jesus but that's not the point of the question. Let me use a story to illustrate it. If my father goes to Wal-Mart to buy something today he will hesitate before he goes to a check out lane. He will first pray silently, without giving an outward sign: "Lord, who needs encouragement? Who needs something from you?" He will then get in the lane of the person who seems the most tired, harried, or un-blessed, even if that line is the longest (and full of people who plan to use coupons and write out of town checks). Who needs Jesus? And to whom can I be Jesus?

Warning: these questions will lead to bizarre behavior. They will lead people who love one place to live in another. They will lead you to give away your lunch money. They will lead you to stop when everyone else is rushing forward... and ask questions. I -- who am the least social person I know -- am made to stop and help someone who is struggling with their luggage, or with English, at the airport. And as I leave them and wave off their thanks I have been known to say. "It's all right. Jesus just wanted you to know he loves you. He wanted to say hi" and then just walk away.

They will lead you to bring your children along with you on this bizarre and wonderful ride. You can't honestly ask yourself these questions without changing things, step by step, as you go from here to heaven.

1. Why is this day different from every other day?
2. Where did you see God today?
3. God, where do you want to go today?
4. Who needs Jesus today? To whom can I BE Jesus today?

Try it. But first, buckle up. It's gonna be a wild ride.


At 3/21/2006 09:05:00 AM , Blogger KentF said...

Excellent post Patrick. I forgot I had purchased "Next Door Savior" by Max Lucado a few years back. I dug it out and have been reading it this week. He has a chapter in the book that is something like A Common Life - and he notes many things you have here- really good stuff. Thanks.


At 3/21/2006 09:07:00 AM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

Thank you, Kent. I haven't read that book. Maybe I should give it a look.

At 3/21/2006 02:50:00 PM , Blogger carrie said...

Wow. That is really good stuff. I just happened upon your site and it is obvious it was the holy spirit working through us both. Thank you for your insight and openess. I will try to put these concepts into practice in my life. God bless you and your church!

At 3/21/2006 08:02:00 PM , Anonymous renee cutts said...

"It's all right. Jesus just wanted you to know he loves you. He wanted to say hi"

Wild and crazy, huh? It sounds like it's worth the risk. I do try and look around for people to help but I've never come up with a comfortable way to say Jesus made me do it. I think I'll try your suggestion on and see what happens.

At 3/22/2006 05:41:00 PM , Blogger David U said...

Great post, my brother! That is why I come here.......and will keep coming back!


At 3/23/2006 01:18:00 PM , Blogger heidi said...

To not only ask the questions but actually wait for the answer, believing you will be guided would quite literally transform everything about the way I live my life.

And because I like to be social, I'm going to say that it would probably greatly effect the rest of us too.


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