Friday, August 18, 2017

Meditation on the Lord's Prayer

Meditation on the Lord’s Prayer  (Matthew 5:9-13)
Our Father which art in heaven…
                What is the role of a Father?  How would God be the perfect example?
     Explain some ways your life could be different as you relied on your all-powerful, 
     all-compassionate Father.
Hallowed be Thy name…
                In what ways can people, by looking at you, see the holiness of God?
                How can you help others see the holiness of God?
Thy Kingdom come…
                Imagine what settledness earth will possess when the Prince of Peace is come.
                What peace can come to my mind and heart now as a subject of his kingdom?
Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven…
                How is God’s Will done in heaven?  What is the result? 
                How would God’s will done on earth look different from today?
                In what ways is pursuing the will of God better than pursuing my own will?
                How can I cultivate a desire for God’s will?
Give us today our daily bread
                How would daily dependence on God be a better benefit to us than a lump sum provision?
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
                What does this petition assume if we don’t forgive our debtors?
                How would a rich sense of forgiveness free us from our past?
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
                How are God’s guidance and his protection related?
                What kinds of temptations are you prone to?
                What are some of the sources of evil around us?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

D = S-M: How much suffering is too much?

If Frankl is right, that Despair equals Suffering minus Meaning, the culture has damaged the nature of man by removing "the image of God" from our definition.  But we have caused further damage.  We have raised our sense of expectation to the point of entitlement.  Frankl discussed suffering in the context of World War II and its atrocities.  Today, we have a lifestyle of plenty, but we still complain about our lot.
How do we view suffering?  My dad had Retinitis Pigmentosa and a hearing loss.  He worked two and three jobs when I was a kid, followed by job loss and disability.  I remember the sound of his voice, then the silence in the house on the day the state took his driver's license.  Bitterness did not mark his life, however.  He did not spend his time lamenting his loss and its unfairness.  We traveled, camped, maintained good friends, and went to church.  He and my mom gave us a normal home. 
So when Frankl refers to suffering, are we talking about real suffering or perception of suffering?  In our entitlement culture, what if suffering is working forty hours a week?  What if you don't have money for everything you want?  What if your relationships are not where you want them to be?  My car is a source of suffering.  By telling our generation that we deserve all these things, have we increased their suffering when life comes up short?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

D = S-M: Why is our culture depressed?

Viktor Frankl gave us useful mathematics for understanding despair.  In the midst of World War II, he noticed those who were able to persevere amid horrible suffering were those who could attach meaning to their lives and to their circumstances.  Despair increases, he said, when meaning is removed from suffering.
Is it possible that our culture suffers from a loss of meaning?  Secularism teaches us we are independent of meaning from God, we have to make our own.  The problem is that man is not capable of sustaining meaning on his own.  We are finite- whatever meaning we cast cannot last because we don't last.  We are also derivative- meaning is not inherent in us.  We are made in the image of God which means our meaning is attached to his.  When we deny God exists, we deny ourselves meaning.  Frankl saw that without a transcendent meaning, suffering becomes unbearable.