Showing posts with label Familias. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Familias. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Anamnesis




I remember my first thought being about a can of soup
Everything changed with my birth
Or was it a shot?
 The docs were oblivious and Merck never made a peep

I remember the sandwich bags
The drenched vivas
Flies in window sills
Roadkill and raindrops spreading disease

I remember a holy man driving our Sunday route ahead of us
Just to remove diabolical obstacles 
So we could make it on time
And spare us all your bitching and carwashing 

I remember covering my face from fumes 
The greasy plaid couch pillows
The lysol spraying
The chlorine cleansing

I remember the eyes closed
The wiping of faucets
The crossing a brass fluted transition
The holes you burned in carpets to save the kosmos

I remember the video games and chips and soda
The weight gain
The weight loss
The bitching about a brother stolen

I remember the money borrowed from dad's wallet
Traded for cartons of newports and camels
So you could look him in the eye
Saying truthfully it wasn't you

I remember the sleeping all day
The shopping
The hoarding
The careless starch flamethrower that looked "nice"

I remember which one were you that day
You'd leave randomly
You'd return randomly
You'd smirk and bitch and provoke

I remember it takes 45 minutes to microwave a frozen lasagna
You never prepared meals for us
Dad pressure cooked chicken and boiled brussel sprouts
Peace and quiet was at Boston Chicken

I remember you never really cleaned
You never educated
You never really cared
Until it was always too late

I remember the blinds closed in every room
During the missionary trip to South Africa
The pensive panic with little kids
Bitching back at you to let us pay our water bill

Which one of you cared afterward?
For years I wished one of you cared about me
I searched but never found her
She never tried to reach me either

It took decades to wish that one would find me
Had I been found within the last few years
We would have taken care of her
I wanted her to know them anyway

But it's not all bad news I'm remembering
I also remember that God became what we are
So that we could become what He is
Including every one of you, who was no guardian angel

Since God is the one who vindicates
Who is the one who condemns you now
If He who is risen knew you and loved you most
Sandwich bags and all











Thursday, September 5, 2019

For Cyril Methodius





O God of all spirits and of all flesh, Who have destroyed death, overcome the Devil, and given life to the world, grant, O Lord, to the soul of Your servant, Cyril, who has departed from this life, that he may rest in a place of light, in a place of happiness, in a place of peace, where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing. And since You are a gracious God and the Lover of Mankind, forgive him every sin he has committed by thought, word, or deed, for there is not a man who lives and does not sin: You alone are without sin, Your justice is everlasting, and Your word is true. You are the Resurrection and the Life and the Repose of Your departed servant, Cyril, O Christ our God, and we render glory to You, together with Your Eternal Father, and Your All-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.

Amen.


May his memory be eternal. 








Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Welcome Eden Havilah Sedlak


Eden Havilah Sedlak
Born 5-28-14 @ 3:34am
8 lbs
22" long
Apgar scores were 9 and 10!













Monday, September 2, 2013

One Year With Jadon!




Friends and family celebrated Jadon's first birthday today! To watch the YouTube video my wife made for everyone, click on this link.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Not every man really lives



When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to him, "yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world." When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, "The Teacher is here and is calling for you." And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:21-32)


I know this is going to be a difficult post for me to write. Ever since I found out that my uncle Ed died this morning, I haven't been able to stop thinking about what I would write; yet now that I've started, I know it's not going to be easy. There are too many thoughts running through my mind. I'll do my best to be brief. 

I'm not that old, nor am I considerably wise for my age, but I know one thing for sure: All human beings have at least one thing in common. All human beings will die. It's an inescapable fact of life. Life is so busy and our immediate needs are so constant that we're often too focused upon living, even to the point of forgetting this one sure thing in life. Life necessitates death. All men know this. There's no way of avoiding it no matter what religion you believe, and so no one has a legitimate reason for pretending as though death is not important. As C.S. Lewis once commented in response to the recent death of his wife, "It is hard to have patience with people who say 'There is no death' or 'Death doesn't matter.' There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn't matter."1  Death matters a lot. It mattered a lot to C.S. Lewis when he lost his wife. It matters a lot to me after losing my uncle Ed. It mattered a lot to Martha and Mary after losing their brother Lazarus too.

Even though I would like to write about the entire story of Lazarus, I'm not going to in this post. Instead I want to focus upon the central point of that pericope. As noted in bold type above, Martha and Mary both believed Jesus could have healed their brother. "Lord, if you would have been here, my brother would not have died," they both cried. In other words, their faith in Jesus was exceptionally great. They both knew Jesus alone had the authority and power to heal their brother. And they didn't look to anyone else. Martha even states explicitly that whatever Jesus would ask of God, God would give to him, which implies her belief in a harmonious unity between God the Father and the Son. What the Father wills, the Son obeys. What the Son asks of the Father, the Father grants. There is no disharmony between the will of the Father and the Son. If Jesus had willed to come earlier, Lazarus would have lived. If the Father had willed for His Son to come earlier, Lazarus would have lived. The only thing mistaken presumption of Martha and Mary's faith is that Jesus could only heal the living. But Jesus did not come merely to heal the living, and the Father did not send his Son into the world merely to heal the living. 

Martha clearly believes in a bodily resurrection of her brother Lazarus too. And if Martha is emphatic about this doctrine, it's reasonable to presume that her brother and sister were aware of it too. But Martha (and perhaps, Mary too) doesn't seem to understand that Jesus is the resurrection and the life until Jesus asks her if she believes it. "Do you believe this?," Jesus asks her. "Yes, Lord," she says, "I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world."  This is the central focus of this passage. Yes, it's amazing that Lazarus is eventually raised from death to life again. Yes, it's wonderful that the glory of God was revealed in this manner. But the central focus of the Lazarus-resurrection narrative is not Lazarus. It's not the faith of Martha and Mary either. It's that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. It's that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, whom God sent into the world so that men may believe in him alone and never die. "Whoever believes in me," Jesus said, "though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."

There are a few noteworthy aspects of this conversation between Jesus and Martha. First, Jesus teaches that all men will die. In fact, he takes this for granted when he says, "Whoever believes in me, though he die...". According to Jesus, all men will die physically. That's a fact of life. Secondarily, Jesus is teaching that not every man really lives. Only those who live and believe in him shall never die. Life, therefore, is more than mere self-preservation, and all men know this in their heart of hearts. As I was speaking with a friend of mine on the phone today, trying to vent some of the sadness I felt just thinking about the loss of my uncle, he reminded me that God has placed a startlingly clear sense of self-preservation in the heart of all men, whether they believe in Jesus or not. People live as though they are their own gods who control their own destinies and are slaves of no one, but deep down inside they know they're not God and they also know their destinies are in their own control too. That nagging sense of self-preservation haunts them because they know every single choice they make in life has eternal consequences. They know they are culpable for thinking they are the god of their own life and death, unwilling to bow the knee to Jesus as Lord over all in life. They know that death is inevitable. They know there is a life now that exists and will end some day. And so they preserve their own life to whatever degree they want. For the Christian there is more though. 

This brings us to the third and final point I wish to draw out of this central passage of John 11:21-32. For the Christian, our lives are not our own. Jesus taught this throughout his ministry. Mary and Martha understood this when they called Jesus "Lord." Christians know they are bought with a price -- a price that is going to be paid by someone eventually, either by ourselves without Jesus or through the substitutionary sacrifice of the Son of God who loves us and gave himself for us. In other words, Christians know they are slaves who have been bought with the life and death of Jesus. Christians are not free from slavery in every sense of the term. Slavery, in some sense, is an inescapable concept. It's never an option of whether one will remain a slave or not. It's always a matter of whose slave we will be. Will we be slaves of our Master whom the Father has sent into the world? Or will we be slaves of sin, saying within our hearts "there is no God"? For the Christian, death to one's self is essential to becoming a slave. Because we have been united to Jesus who died for us, death becomes the precursor to resurrection as well. And since death becomes the precursor to resurrection, death is also the precursor to real life. Not only do we know that we will rise again bodily in the resurrection on the last day, but we know who will be raising us from death to life and by what power we will be raised. We know it will be our Lord and God who raises us because he already has raised our dead hearts to life that we may know it is He who bought us with his life and death. And because He has purchased us as his own, when our perishable bodies die, they die with him. And just as his body was raised as one more glorious, so will ours. What Jesus has begun in our perishable bodies he will raise up to be imperishable. What He has sown in weakness, He will raise in power. We can be confident, even as the Apostle Paul taught, that "If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." (Romans 6:5) 

I am thankful my uncle Ed knew Jesus was the resurrection and the life. Now he is washed clean. Now he is clothed in white garments. Now he is feasting at a much better table. Now he really lives. 








1.  C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed


Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Baptize Jadon?



My son, Jadon, is going to be baptized this upcoming Lord’s Day, November 18th, 2012, at the age of 11 weeks. About a month ago, a friend asked my wife why we are baptizing him, since she knew we are not Roman Catholic. I wasn't surprised by this question. Infant baptism is a common practice throughout the Roman Catholic Church. The reason why they baptize babies is because they believe the ceremony itself mysteriously, but literally, “washes away” sin, thereby granting the baby a "ticket to heaven." In the Roman Catholic view, the person baptized doesn’t necessarily have a choice either. One does not have to believe in order to be baptized. One gets baptized into the Roman Catholic Church, and then receives a one-way ticket to heaven (or purgatory, which eventually leads to heaven anyway).

So then, why are we baptizing our son? Doesn't Jadon have to make that decision for himself? Isn’t it better to give him that choice, and to avoid the mistaken view that baptism is an automatic ticket to heaven?

To understand why we are choosing to baptize our child, and why historically it has most certainly been considered orthodox to baptize a child, I will be focusing upon two theological issues, and only two issues:

1)    God always saves people by means of a covenant1His covenant. Unfortunately, 21st century Christians generally don’t seem to view God’s plan of salvation in terms of a covenant. Instead, the modern trend among evangelicals appears to view salvation merely in terms of some activity by the Holy Spirit. Some evangelicals even claim that a mere profession of belief that "Jesus is Lord" is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s saving activity, and a one way ticket to heaven. Biblically, as well as historically, God’s people have not been identified merely as people in whom the Holy Spirit operates. God’s people have been identified primarily as people chosen by God through some objective sign and seal of his covenant.

2)    Nowhere in the Bible do we find people who initiate a relationship with God. God is the one who seeks out a people for Himself. He reveals Himself to them, and invites them to know Him, serve Him, and glorify Him. And there are two, and only two, circumstances in which the Lord seeks out people to be in a covenant with Him: people who are already outside of God’s covenant, and people who are born into the world. These two circumstances are normative in Scripture. All other circumstances are extra-ordinary circumstances in history.

All throughout the epistles of the New Testament, gentiles are learning about Jesus and are choosing to be baptized because they were previously identified as “foreigners” and outsiders of God’s covenant (Ephesians 2:12, 19). They believed in God and then chose to be baptized as acceptance that God sought them out graciously, and chose them for himself. In other words, they chose to be baptized because they no longer wanted to remain outside of God’s covenant. But what about the second type of person whom the Lord seeks out? What about children born into this world? Some children are born into the world as outsiders of God’s covenant; that is, in fact, how the gentile converts of Scripture were born and raised. But it’s obvious that not all children enter God’s world this way. Some children are born into a family that does, in fact, believe in God, and has been given the terms of God’s covenant. God Himself promises to be faithful in showing covenant loyalty to the generations that love Him and keep His commandments (Ex. 20:6; Deut. 5:10). In other words, the Bible reveals from cover to cover that God works within the context of families already in covenant with Him through faith, not just with outsiders who know nothing of or about God. This promise of God working through families is so important, and yet often neglected by modern evangelicals, that I feel the need to discuss it in greater detail.

What God has revealed is that from the very beginning of human history, in the Garden of Eden, where Adam’s fall affected all his children and their relationship with God, we learn that God’s promise of grace after the fall also affected Adam’s children: “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman and between your seed and her seed” (Gen. 3:15). Clearly God’s grace was going to be given to a child of Eve. Historically we know that child was Seth (Gen. 4:25-26). Moreover, we learn that God continued this pattern after the Flood with Noah. God promised Noah, “I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you” (Gen. 9:9).

Now, when God reveals something once, that ought to be good enough. When God repeats Himself twice, we had better pause. But when God repeats Himself three or more times, we are without excuse if we neglect what He says. And God said again, only this time to Abraham, “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you” (Gen. 17:7). Likewise, God repeated Himself to Isaac (“…to you and your descendants…” Gen. 26:4) and Jacob this same way (“…to you and your descendants with you…” Gen. 28:4). This is why we find Jesus' apostles baptizing parents and their households, without any further explanation. Further explanation is not needed if salvation is viewed in terms of God's covenant. The apostle Paul illustrates this pattern in Acts 16:31 when he proclaims to the Philippian jailer, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." And verse 33 says, "And immediately he and all his family were baptized." Shortly thereafter in Scripture we find a woman named Lydia becoming a believer. But not only was she herself baptized; "her household" was also baptized (Acts 16:14-15). Likewise, on another occasion, Paul mentions that he baptized the "household of Stephannas" (I Cor. 1:16).


So let's step back for a second, zoom out, and take a look at the big picture again. When God looked at Adam and Eve, He spoke of families that would be in covenant with Him and families that would not. When God graciously chose Noah and Abraham and their descendants, he invited and chose families, not just individuals, to be in covenant with Him. The same was true of the Mosaic and Davidic covenants, but I’m hoping this point has been sufficiently made already. This is why Peter, without any further explanation, can proclaim loud and clear at Pentecost:

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins... For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself. (Acts 2:38-39) 
Now that we understand that God's promise is not only to individuals from outside the covenant, but also to the households of believers, I want to go back to a point I made earlier: God initiates everything. This point can’t be stressed enough. God initiates, as seen in the words of Peter in Acts 2:38-39. God's promise is for "everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself." God initiates, which is precisely the outward, visible sign on display when a child is baptized. This is also true of a grown-up stranger and “outsider” of God’s covenant who is baptized. God’s sovereign initiation is on display in baptism. But since no one reading this post is seriously concerned about grown-ups choosing to receive baptism, and this discussion is really about the ramifications of baptizing infants, I want to discuss a little more about children that are born into believing families – families already in covenant with God.

Many Christians today argue that one must believe first in order to be identified among God’s people; that is to say, to be in a covenant relationship with Him. This proposition is offered as a dilemma for those who wish to baptize infants because it's very difficult to identify the expression of faith in an infant who barely expresses anything other than being hungry and wanting a diaper change. But is belief a prerequisite? Is this really the way God reveals membership into His covenant? Even under the Old Covenant, God required participation from Abraham and his children, without the children's consent:
And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised." (Gen. 17:9) 
If Abraham was to be faithful to the covenant with God, he and his sons would have to bear the "sign of the covenant" (verse 11), which, at that time, included circumcision for every male. Every male of every age who was not circumcised would be "cut off from his people" because "he has broken My covenant" (Gen. 17:14). As a result, male Israelite children who received the sign and seal of God's covenant (i.e. circumcision) truly became heirs of God's promises, without ever first demonstrating true faith or "making a decision for themselves."

Some Christians still think that this evidence isn't convincing because it isn't practical enough. As a counter argument, they insist that faith in God is a prerequisite for baptism because that way the believer should be held accountable to God based upon his own free choice of entering into that covenant relationship. Allegedly, if an infant is baptized, it would be unfair for that infant to be held accountable because he entered into a covenant with God without his own consent. However, upon further reflection, this really isn't a helpful argument either. Not only does it ignore the very clear teaching of the Scriptures that God chooses parents and their household to be in covenant with Him, but it also assumes that someone should only be held accountable to God if they first agreed to enter into the covenant, which an infant does not do. But what we find in the Scriptures is that God does in fact hold covenant children accountable to Him in order to remain a member of His household. Everyone we find in Scripture who is in covenant with God had to be faithful to Him. That includes children too. They had to repent and they had to believe in the God that set them apart to serve them. The Scriptures overwhelmingly testify to this fact. If a member of any age would later manifest himself or herself as apostate (i.e. rejecting God’s covenant), the result would be a loss of inheritance. Even the Mosaic economy of redemption which God designed was replete with laws pertaining to the inheritance of God's people. The symbolism of such revelation is obvious too: not all members of God’s covenant are regenerate in heart, but all members are set apart with covenant obligations. They must embrace God’s promises and exercise faith, or they would inevitably lose their inheritance with God’s people.

Today, baptism is the sign that marks the covenant people of God, the worldwide Christian Church. It would take too long for just one blog post to demonstrate the relationship between the old covenant sacraments of baptism and circumcision, and why circumcision no longer remains a sign and seal of God’s covenant, while baptism does remain. (Yes, I said that right. Baptism was an old covenant sacrament, along with circumcision for males.) Perhaps I’ll need to discuss those tedious details in a future post. But the bottom line is that baptism is the sign that marks the covenant people of God under the New Covenant, and that same covenant-keeping God still works within the context of families already in covenant with Him through faith, not just with outsiders who know nothing of or about Him and His covenant.

This means that Christian men and women are required to raise their children as Christians. When God looks at the children of baptized men and women today, He sees children who are in covenant with him because He has promised to be God to His people and to their offspring after them. Baptism simply ratifies the covenant into which the children were born. Like the Israelites before them, children of the New Covenant still have to repent and believe in the God who calls them to be holy like He is holy (I Cor. 7:14). Each child has a choice to be faithful to the living and true God that has graciously saved their parents, and by extension, their household. Until covenant children reject God, they ought to be treated as heirs of God’s promise because God has identified them as heirs of His promise. Notice carefully that the apostle John addresses "little children" as Christians (I Jn. 2:12), and likewise, when Paul addresses "the saints" in Ephesus (Eph. 1:1), he includes children among those saints (Eph. 6:1). In other words, Christian parents have every right to treat their children as Christians, identified as being in a covenant with Him, because God treats them as Christians.

As Jadon grows and matures, he will learn a lot about the God of the Bible. We will teach him that God knew him before he was born, and that God chose him to be our son, knitting him in the womb of a Christian family for the purpose of serving Him and raising up another Godly family in the future to serve Him. Jadon will know that our family worships The Creator, Lord, and only Savior of the world, the triune God revealed in the Scriptures. He will know that God sees him as His child, and that he needs to trust his Heavenly Father in all things. My wife and I will model what it means to repent and confess our sins to God. We will model a life that belongs entirely to God and will teach Jadon that his life also belongs to God, and there is nowhere he can run or hide to escape that reality; and to pretend otherwise, suppressing the truth of God, rejecting His promises, despising His grace, will bring the sure covenant faithfulness of God: the loss of inheritance with the family of God. Instead of treating Jadon as an outsider, Jadon will be loved as a child of God. He will be nurtured and admonished as a child of God. He will receive a happy, worshipful, loving, and Godly environment in which to live as a child of God. At no point in Jadon’s childhood will he be raised to think of himself as anything but a child of God. And unless he proves otherwise, we have every right to embrace God’s promise that he is a true child of God. Jadon will grow up knowing that God graciously chose him, and that any response of faith on his part, is because of God’s grace in choosing him.

So why are we going to baptize our son? In short, we are not. God is going to, because God is the one who always initiates. We’re just embracing His promises by faith, and trusting in His grace.



1.  Different sources will provide different nuances of meaning, but whenever I use the term "Covenant" in this post, I am operating with a definition provided by the philosopher and Christian apologist, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, who stated that the Biblical concept of a covenant is:  "A mutually bonding compact between God and His people sovereignly transacted by the Lord wherein a promise is made by God which calls for trust on the part of His people and entails obligations of submission which are sanctioned by blessings and cursings." -- Greg Bahnsen, PhD, Outline of Systematic Theology,  http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/system.pdf

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Welcome to the Covenant




When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, 
for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
-- Jesus (Jn. 16:21 ESV)






Welcome to the Covenant, Jadon Enoch Sedlak
09-02-12   4:39a.m.   8 lbs. 11oz.   20.5in.