The beloved disciple wrote, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched, we make known unto you regarding the Word that became Life." At one time, the Word was with God. It was God and the Word became the Life of man. That life was Jesus, the Christ, and the Son of God. While He was on earth, He touched many lives directly and indirectly. He touched them with His presence and His absence. He touched them with His words, with His hands, with His feet, with His eyes, and even with His prayers. Whoever came in contact with Jesus, whether they were for Him or against Him, they all were touched in one - way or another. They all took from His fullness grace and truth. No one ever spoke or lived like Jesus and no one ever will. That is why His life was the most solitary in the world and that is also why He impacted humanity more than any other man.
Jesus leveled this charge against his legislators, "They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger" (Mt.23: 4). Paul stressed to the Galatians, "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Gal.5: 13-14).
I am a Greek woman and I lived in Tyre. It was a Syrian and Phoenician country. Alexander the Great had left some wounded behind and I was one of their offspring. I was also one of the misfortunate mothers that had a sick daughter. My little girl had serious mental problems. She was diagnosed has having a demon. This demon tortured her day and night by throwing her about as if she were a piece of furniture. She would rip out her hair and scream in agony, "Mommy, Mommy help me!" Mommy was helpless and began to hurt with her. I would grab her and hold her tightly while her little body shook like a leave in the wind. And when the seizure stopped, she would throw herself on the floor and then huddle in a corner in fear of the demon that was getting ready to attack her again. I had tried all the healers and magicians, even exorcists and soothsayers. I prayed and sacrificed to many gods to no avail. The demon was too strong and I was at the end of my strength and wits.
I was a sinner. That was what every one called me. I was not permitted to use my name in public. I lived in a man's world. Women, particularly my kind, were treated with disrespect and ridicule. We were not even regarded as chattel. The streets and dark alleys were our abode. Some more than others would be taken into some home during the night and spend a few hours in a warm bed. In the dark, we could barely make out their faces. In broad daylight, these upright citizens would pass us as if we had never met. These men were the saints and we were the sinners, not by choice but by coercion and necessity. I had to humble myself and submit in order to live. Then, I was not always paid for my service, neither was there anyone to defend or protect me. My kind just had no rights.
My comrades and I lived in isolation. We had no home and no country. We could not be seen in any town or village. To keep us out of town, people would leave food for us in designated places. They were afraid of us for a reason. We were contagious and incurable. We were lepers. We wore bells like lost animals and shouted, "unclean" when some other human came too close. Lately, we heard that a Man called Jesus had marvelous powers over all diseases, including leprosy. We also learned that He intended to go to Jerusalem. The road that He had to travel was between Galilee and Samaria. We decided to meet Him just before He would enter a small village. We sat there, I do not recall how long and kept our distance. We were very nervous as to how we would approach Jesus. We could not just run up to Him. People would stone us. But we could use our voices and cry out. We did not even know what to call Him. One of us must have whispered a prayer saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." So we cried as loud as we could, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
Debate is more acceptable than a big stick. The Bible does encourage us to reason. However, there has to be a reason for a debate (Isa.1: 18). At the age of nine, the Nazis indoctrinated me and showed me how to debate on their behalf. Before that the Poles tried the same. The debate ended when war came. These sweet Poles began to throw stones at me and accused me of doing things I did not do and the Germans called me Polak. Listen to our politicians and news people. They debate to have a debate. They remind me of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning or Eve debating with a serpent while they were losing Paradise. What do we do when we face our own demise?
We are class conscious. It is not based on character or education but on what we can afford financially. We have the rich, then those that earn below $250,000 and those that survive on handouts. Mathematically we have 5% wealthy, 45% wage earners or income producers and 50% that do not earn or receive enough income to pay taxes. For the convenience of socialistic endeavors, 95% of the people are regarded as middle-class. Those of us that are at the bottom of the income level are being led to believe that the rich can be coerced legally to equalize our standard of living. In the past and even in the present, such attempts have been met with chaos and revolutions.
King Ahab of Israel coveted Naboth's Vineyard. Naboth refused to trade or sell his family's inheritance. The angry king went to bed sulking and refused to eat. Jezebel, Ahab's Queen, learned about her husband's tantrum and told him to get up and eat and behave like the king of Israel. She urged the king to cheer up and promised to deliver the Vineyard to him (I Ki.21). Jezebel lived by deception and would feel quite at home in much of the politicking in our time. If we cannot find fault, then we create it. When we reject "the law of the Lord Almighty," then we can "call evil good and good evil" (Isa.5: 20,25). Without the Ninth Commandment, lying becomes a synch (Ex.20: 16). And without the Tenth Commandment, exploitation and confiscation becomes a way of life (Ex.20: 17).
Betty was one hundred and two. It was a rare privilege to be present at her memorial service. She was a person that was gifted with a young mind. When our church had to separate tradition from innovation, she sided with the young. She was not sacrificing principles; rather, she enjoyed worshiping in ways that enhanced her understanding of the message of salvation for today. Betty was always ready to renew her mind so that God could become more and more real to her (Ro.12: 2). She reminded me of Proverbs 23: 19, "Hear, my child, and be wise, and direct your mind in the way." What other way is there but Christ? (Jn.14: 6). With the mind of Christ, Betty led by example and was a breath of fresh air for many of us (Phil.2: 5).
The Russian word for a collective farm is "Kolkhoz." At first, the Bolsheviks disowned all the owners and coerced them into joining a collection of farms into one. Like the first Christians, they had all things in common (Ac.4: 32-37). Unlike the Christians, party members saw an opportunity to benefit financially. For instance, my father in-law was in charge of the horses, but he was not a member of the party. Some one paid the Comrade in charge of the Kolkhoz twenty-five Rubles and my father in-law disappeared and so were many others.