Wisdom from the judge: Each has their special celebration days—Christians, Jews and atheists alike

In Florida, an atheist became incensed over the preparations for Easter and Passover. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews, while atheists had no day of their own to celebrate.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the long, passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel and declared, “Case dismissed!”

The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling, saying: “Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah. Yet my client and all other atheists have no such day!”

The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said, “Obviously your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate, his own atheists’ day!”

“Your Honor,” the lawyer pompously pronounced, “we are unaware of any such day for atheists. Just when might that be?”

“Well it comes every year on exactly the same date,” the judge replied. “April 1st! Our calendar sets April 1st as April Fools’ Day, and consider that Psalm 14:1 states, 'Fools say in their hearts, There is no God. '

So, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by scripture he is a fool, and April 1st is his own special day to celebrate! Now have a good day and get out of my courtroom!”

[Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 both attest to this tendency of fools. We cannot, however, attest with certainty to the veracity of this story]

How to pray when you don’t know how

A good question, no? How can one possibly pray if you don’t know how to pray?

A traditional Chasidic story speaks glowingly of the prayer of an uneducated Jew who wanted to pray, did not speak Hebrew, but thought Hebrew a necessity for prayers to be heard by God. So he began to recite the only Hebrew he knew: the alphabet. He recited it over and over again, until a rabbi asked what he was doing. The man told the rabbi, "The Holy One, Blessed is He, knows what is in my heart. I will give Him the letters, and He can put the words together."

A Prayer for Every Need, a book by old faithful Norman Vincent Peale, provides wording for prayers for many situations. If you’re one who finds a formula or model helpful, you can download a free copy of that book here.

Charismatics would answer that you pray in your ‘prayer language’, the mysterious gift of praying in tongues many of us have heard of or experienced.

Charisma magazine published an interesting article exploring many aspects of this, Tongues: Is It the Initial Sign of the Holy Spirit's Filling? by John Sherrill.

Personally, I’ve found ‘HELP!’ and ‘Thank-You’ two of the easiest and best.

Seeing, not seeing, and seeing differently: Blindness, physical and spiritual

Do you see what I see? Do I see what you see? The necessity of ‘eyes to see’ looms large in Christianity. While Jesus healed the physically blind, he simultaneously heaped criticism on pharisaic types suffering spiritual blindness. The problem was not they couldn’t see, but that as spiritual teachers, they were sure they could.

How can one possibly perceive the 'Light of the world' without spiritual eyes—without an ability to see beyond the physical? John 9 succinctly reveals these truths, and in likely the most memorable way in scripture.

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world", Jesus announces to those around him, including a fellow he’d just met who had been blind from birth. What follows may be the strangest of Jesus’ recorded miracles. He “spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the [blind] man's eyes. 'Go,' he told him, 'wash in the Pool of Siloam' (this word means "Sent"). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing" (vv. 6-7).

Preaching and reflecting on this on a recent Sunday, our rector Anne wondered how on earth a man born blind—and now with his eyes full of mud—could, as Jesus commanded him, make his way to the pool of Siloam to wash away the mess. We know he did of course, and perhaps some supernaturally endowed spiritual sight helped him to. After cleansing, he gained physical sight as well, sending the hyper-critical Pharisees into religious overload.

Jesus had worked a miracle on the Sabbath, and so violated the Sabbath ‘no work’ laws. But he really tangled up their taut tidiness with his next statement, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind" (John 9: 39). A better summation of Jesus’ ‘doing away with the Law’ may be hard to find.

"What? Are we blind too?" the incredulous Pharisees replied. To which Jesus answered, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9: 40-41).

Anne then illustrated the whole 'how do we see?' concept with a Sherlock Holmes story Conan Doyle may or may not have actually written. But her love of camping, and that it so lights up the topic, make it worth sharing.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of red, they lay down for the night and went to sleep.

Some hours later Holmes woke up, nudged his faithful friend and said, "Watson, I want you to look up at the sky and tell me what you see." Watson said, "I see millions and millions of stars." Sherlock said, "And what does that tell you?"

After a minute or so of pondering Watson said, "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets, and I also observe that Saturn is in the constellation of Leo.

Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three in the morning. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day today. What does it tell you?"

Holmes was silent for about 30 seconds and said, "Watson, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!"

Jesus and Satan argue about computer skills

Jesus and Satan were having an on-going argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and frankly, God was tired of hearing all the bickering.

Finally fed up, God said, “THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job.”

So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away.

They moused.

They googled.

They downloaded.

They e-mailed.

They e-mailed with attachments.

They did spreadsheets!

They wrote reports.

They created labels and cards.

They created charts and graphs.

They did some genealogy reports.

They did every job known to humanity, and more.

Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than hell.

Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off.

Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld.

Jesus just sighed.

Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them re-started their computers. Satan searched frantically, screaming, “It's gone! It's all GONE! I lost everything when the power went out!”

Meanwhile, Jesus quietly added all his files from the past two hours of work to a memory stick to show God.

Satan observed this and became irate. “Wait!” he screamed. “That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?”

God just shrugged and said, "JESUS SAVES."

Woman enjoys perfect week

Sandra Keyes didn't yell at the kids, didn't snap at her husband, didn't even wish them ill in her heart. She quit moping and shunned gossip. For one week she was perfect — outlasting her husband and winning a marital grudge match.

"I win!" she exclaimed, doing a little jig in the front yard after husband Dan slipped up and cursed the garden hose for malfunctioning. "I beat you, I beat you! A week without sinning. Whoo, whoo!"

Dan threw the hose down and stomped into the house. A week earlier, during a heated argument, he and Sandra had challenged each other to their first-ever "no-sin" competition. Thus commenced a week-long Chip-and-Dale routine.

Having won, Sandra was jubilant. "It's like pitching a perfect game," she said. "Nobody can take it from you. It's in the record books."

(lifted from LarkNews.com)

'Proverbs 31 husband' justifies beer habit

Jack Crocker, a beer-loving machinist and "part-time Christian," finally agreed to read Proverbs with wife Reanna. He's glad he did.

"I'm a Proverbs 31 husband all right," says Jack, then quotes Proverbs 31:6-7: "Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more."

"That's my permission to crack open a cold one," Jack says, having a Coors after dinner. But Reanna, a new church member, is pushing Jack hard to stop drinking. She insists he is neither "perishing" nor "in anguish." But Jack researched the Bible on the Internet and found 2 Corinthians 4:16 and 5:2 which say, "Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day," and "Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling."

"Everyone is perishing and in anguish," Jack says. "Until we're delivered from these bodies, the Bible says to drink up."

As part of the escalating family tension he created a "Proverbs 31" category on their weekly budget and listed "beer" under it. He also wants to start a Proverbs 31 Men's Group with his buddies.

"We're trying to find where the Bible talks about buffalo wings," he says.

(courtesy of LarkNews, great humour site)