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A Pharisee’s Cheer…….Go Big Law! Go Big Law!

When I was in sixth grade there was a realization that came to be in my life.  It was the fact that I was a Kentucky Wildcat. (For those reading outside of the Bluegrass State, I’m talking figuratively not literally) I’m not sure exactly how I came into that knowledge but it could have been the fact that I traveled with the Follett family numerous times to Kentucky football games and there was nothing like the pride of having a car horn that played the school theme song…… or it could have just been the fact that I thought some of the Wildcat basketball team guys were quite nice looking in their Converse shoes and striped tube socks… (Yes, I signed my name Nancy “Macy” on all of my notes to friends)   Regardless of how it came to be…..all I know is that sixth grade brought about my first true conversations of the University of Kentucky Wildcats and their rivals with all of mjay_shidlery friends at lunch that had never been before.  Sixth grade was also the year that I, maintaining my tomboy image,  decorated my bedroom in Wildcat Blue and White.. I was then envy of all of my Kyle Macy, Jay Shidler loving girl friends and the envy of all of my UK basketball player wannabe guy friends… I was, without a doubt, a blue-blooded, don’t talk bad about my Wildcats, type of follower.

As I grew older (and wiser) I maintained that passion and enjoyed watching a game with others cheering right along whether at a game or on television…. or even on the radio.  I just didn’t want to miss a game.  However, something happened years later that began creating a bit of confusion for me…. I was speaking with a family member who lived out of state and I mentioned that Rick Pitino had done something and they floored me with their response, “Now who is Rick Pitino?”  This was a well educated, former Kentucky resident and they had no idea who Rick Pitino was nor did they have a clue that he was the UK Basketball coach!  I was stunned… You mean there are people out there who don’t follow Kentucky Basketball? You mean there are people out there who think UK means United Kingdom? You mean there are people out there who don’t schedule their C-sections and wedding plans and vacations around the Final Four or the SEC tournament? It can’t be! But it was true… it didn’t dishearten me but it did open my eyes a bit.

ukA few years later I moved to Illinois, just a few minutes away from the city of St. Louis, Missouri.  I was completely disappointed that they rarely showed a University of Kentucky basketball game there and that there was far more talk of Cardinals baseball and Rams football than any college program…. I just couldn’t understand.   As years passed, I began to not be able to keep up with UK ball like I wanted.  I tried to catch as much as I could on the radio, internet and national broadcasts but eventually it kind of began to fall out of my interest as I started to see the fun of following the Rams or the Cardinals.  I was losing my blue.  (do you hear the moans?)

But now we are back in Kentucky and I’ll have to say that I was excited to be back in an area where there was such passion and enthusiasm about a nonprofessional sport.  However, for me, something is different now…. it is not that I’ve become necessarily less of a Wildcat because UK is still always my top team.. it is not that I’ve become a disinterested because I still love a good game… it is that my perspective has changed.  I was once totally consumed with being on the inside of the Big Blue Nation. I sent out Wildcat trash talk with the best of them and didn’t think for once that there might be others out there with passions focused in other areas..My thoughts were, you are either a Wildcat fan or you are wrong….My perspective has changed because I have now been on the outside looking in… It is still fun to cheer, it is still fun to have rivals, it is still fun to wear blue … but still my perspective is different….

Today in Kentucky there is talk of a new coach… the rumor mill (or possibly the fact mill) is telling of coach John Calipari’s interest in becoming the next UK Men’s Basketball coach.   Sports talk is everywhere… people are either super excited with the change or people are super upset with the change… regardless of their stance, it is everywhere.

(Disclaimer- I am not advocating that UK fans are like Pharisees…… this is not about “the fans”  but about one fan…. read on…)

I realized something today as I was reading about Jesus and the Pharisees…. I think my lack of ability to think outside Big Blue realm for years could have been comparable to the faith of the Pharisees…..the Pharisees were huge
“Big Law” fans.  Though the law was given as a way for salvation, it became flawed when the law began to become more important than loving God and those same people who were so focused on obeying the law were also breaking the law by their lack of love… enter Jesus… he came to fulfill the law and in doing so he ruffled a few feathers and made some people pretty angry in the process.  They were so focused on their Law Love that they couldn’t really love others… they were so focused on their Law Love that they couldn’t hear the truth though it was right in front of their eyes… Until they stepped outside and looked in they couldn’t see that there was authority in the truth that Christ spoke and that he was offering them fulfillment of their beloved law… he was the salvation they needed but they couldn’t get past the thought of “You either follow all of the law… even the ones we have made up…. or you are wrong”  (Are you seeing the comparison?)… I’m saying my UK fanatic ways were comparable to the fanatical ways of the Pharisee.

Jesus offered salvation to a man who was lowered by friends through a roof in order to be healed.  the Pharisees were focused on Jesus offering salvation that their thoughts consumed them and they totally seemed to overlook the amazing fact that this man who was paralyzed was now walking.  Truth in front of them and they couldn’t see it.

Now in comparing myself to the Pharisees… I would have totally been one of those folks who would have wanted to run a coach with a poor record out of town… I would not have considered it any less than being a loyal fan…But lowering myself to the level of meanness or hatred toward a coach who possibly had a bad year or two, an athletic director who has to make incredibly tough decisions, or a team of students (yes, pretty much kids) is not the true sportsmanship of a loyal fan… it would be my blindness of not looking at the picture from the outside and considering what the correctness or truth of a fan really is…. the Pharisees likely didn’t consider their anger or hatred toward Christ as any more than being a loyal follower of the law…. but it was when they became hateful and mean that they stepped away from their law and were blind to what was true….

Though I couldn’t have said it at the time, I’m glad now that I had the opportunity to step outside and look in…I appreciate the new perspective

That is what I’ll call a Pharisee moment… something that I am so focused on that I can’t see what the truth is. (and I’d probably even cheer it on… Go Big Law!)… and the sad thing, that realizing there was another way to look at life outside the Big Blue walls is not even of eternal value… it was just a total non-important Pharisee moment… nothing in comparison to choices I’ve made that are of spiritual worth… I’m sure I could name plenty moments like that one but would have greater depth and meaning such as….. going to church, hearing the words but not leaving with a changed heart…. or praying but only in motion not in heart… “loving” people at church but forgetting that “love” when I was out of that building or situation…..There are more… Thankfully, like Paul, God forgives a Pharisee… all we have to do is ask.

God, show me your truth.

Luke 5:17-26

17One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.

21The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

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Posted by on March 30, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Where’d She Go? … Falling down again…

Several weeks ago a nice little rainstorm came into our area and left behind some reminders in our yard.  We have one area that, though it seems to drain well, doesn’t get a lot of sunlight so it takes a while to dry.  The ground is very soft and in the summer, even in dry times, is very mushy so you can imagine what a good winter rain leaves it looking and feeling like… pretty much a muddy slip and slide.

It seems that with three daughters we are always trying to rush to get to where we need to go.  This story begins on what just happened to be my oldest daughter’s birthday celebration night.  We were all rushing to go meet grandparents at a restaurant and impatience was running rampant.  My husband and oldest daughter were in the other car while our youngest and myself were in our van.  We were waiting for our middle child.  She knew she was holding everyone up and could probably sense our frustration so when I looked up I noticed that she was rushing to the passenger side of the van.  I looked back down and continued digging for something really important in my purse when I noticed in my peripheral vision … pretty much a slow motion scene… I noticed her laying horizontal in midair and then disappeared… It was like a magic trick gone wrong… Being the sympathetic and compassionate mother that I am,  I laughed….and got out to check on her.  As I rounded the hood of the van there she was sitting in a cushion of mud.. Now, Allison has always had the ability to be a tad bit dramatic… well, really a lot dramatic especially when sympathetic mom is not being so sympathetic … so now was her time to shine.. She was not about to fall, have mom laugh at her and then not make us all feel guilty for it… So she got up, with tears in her eyes and a cracking voice, held on to me as she limped her way into the house to change clothes… something was surely broken… Well, apparently Cheddar’s can cure a broken something because she was fine and laughing about the whole thing a little bit later…

Now, you would think that Allison and I would have both learned our lessons… Her little drama was remembered and smiled about from time to time but for the embarrassment she experienced (our neighbor asked her later if she was okay) and for the guilt that I endured, it was not something that any of us wanted to relive…

Well, then it snowed and rained ice and our driveway became a downhill skating rink.  Again, we were running late for something and I was digging for that ever important something in my purse when I looked up and noticed Allison coming out to the car.  I went about my business and the next thing I know, Allison was once again, horizontal in midair and then disappeared.  I knew better than to laugh.  I quickly opened my door to get out and check on her and I saw her shoulders bobbing up and down and I heard laughter so I joined in… I felt a sense of relief as I was able to laugh this time, not at my daughter but with with her.  As I made my way closer I laughed a bit harder and louder… my daughter looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said something like, ” I can’t believe you are laughing at me!”  It was at that moment that I realized that Allison wasn’t laughing after all, she was sobbing.  She got me again, I was completely guilt-ridden.  I tried to comfort her by explaining that I thought she was laughing and so therefore I thought I had the freedom of sharing a humorous moment with her… She looked at me like I was crazy.  I helped her up, nearly falling too, and directed her back to the house so she could get dry clothes on.

So, two times down (literally) and one to go… Tonight,  for a change, I wasn’t truly in a hurry but my daughter was.  She was semi-pushing for us to make our way out to the car, but for whatever reason I was able to get there before her.  I was doing my thing … you know the routine by now… looking in my purse for something important when I saw her coming to the car.  It had been about six weeks since the first fall and about three since the other so they were long forgotten… but quickly remembered when I, once more, saw Allison disappear …. This time though,  it was a bit different. Before I even had time to maneuver my way out of the car to check on her, she popped straight back up, looked at me through the window and laughed… she shrugged her shoulders and said, “I’ll be right back.”  I chuckled as I watched her go into the house to change out of her muddy clothes…

You know, I fall quite a bit too.  Not physically fall so much, but I fall in other in ways.  I fall in patience, or understanding, or compassion or giving of my time… those are just a few of many.  Falling isn’t really the same as failing.  Failing is at the end of the road, falling is a bump in the road.  After each fall, Allison went back inside, changed clothes and finished what she had started.  She may have been a bit dramatic about it but she didn’t let it keep her from doing what she had intended.

I don’t know where you are as you read this… maybe you are feeling a bit overwhelmed after a fall… maybe it is a health fall, an emotional fall, a financial fall, a spiritual fall… maybe you really don’t have the support that you need to help you get up after that fall.  Sometimes those falls are easy to pop up from, other times a good cry is a natural precursor to getting up and then sometimes we can be totally embarrassed or angry… whatever the case may be, Christ is there with a hand held out to offer you help and hope… holding that hand and allowing him to be the strength is what directs us home….

Mark 5:35-43

35While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?”

36Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.40But they laughed at him.
After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!“). 42Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.


 
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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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