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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Red sky in the morning...

I"m not much of a sailor; God didn't give me inner-ear stability I guess. But we've all heard the proverb that begins Red sky in the morning...

Since I'm usually arriving at work around dawn, I can use the old sailor's wisdom to determine what our weather will be. This morning, it was definitely red:

                              Red in the sky and red on the map...

As we approach Christmas, I thought a little bit about the larger context of Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning. Can we take that simple proverb and expand it to encompass other parts of life? In Matthew 16 Jesus said, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." 

This was in response to a request by the Pharisees and Saducees for Jesus to give them a sign from Heaven. At this point, Jesus had accomplished many things and the signs of who He was and what He was about were there for all to see through His work; yet the teachers of the Law were not convinced - they wanted a sign. It's interesting that all the miraculous things that Jesus had done already were overlooked - or ignored - in an effort to get our Savior (to paraphrase the book and film wizard Gandalf) to perform parlor tricks like some cheap conjurer. If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, you'll remember that Samwise had no doubt that Gandalf could turn him into something unnatural, he didn't need to ask for a sign.

In a sense, we haven't progressed at all in the last two thousand years or so. We all seek signs from the world around us; signs to aid us in making decisions. I already knew it was likely to rain today and had my umbrella in the car as I drove to work. The radio weather person confirmed the storm front you see in the picture above from The Weather Channel that also predicts - no doubt accurately - that we'll have some serious rain today. Red sky in the morning...

But that was exactly the point of Jesus' retort to His inquisitors. We, all of us, can easily read the signs in the sky: Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning; red sky at night, sailor's delight.

                     Which way do I go?

And that's my thought for today...what signs do we follow in our own lives? What signs do we look for in order to make wise decisions? Do we act and then wait for positive or negative feedback from our friends, family and co-workers to validate whether a particular action or statement was wise? Do we seek out Dr. Phil or Oprah and listen to what they have to say on a particular subject before making up our minds?

                                  Beni and the charms...

This seems to be my day for film 1999's The Mummy, the smarmy ex-legionnaire Beni is confronted by the mummy. In true Red sky in the morning fashion, Beni pulls out a handful of bling that would make Mr. T blush and one by one begins chanting prayers based on each amulet's origin. I don't remember each one but Beni had something representing Buddha, Jesus, and who knows what else. However, it's the Star of David and the Hebrew prayer that arrests the mummy. Hebrew was the language of the slaves in Egypt - and the mummy needed a slave...Beni was saved...for the moment.

Sunday we'll celebrate Christmas. Christmas gets more and more airplay with each passing year. Christians get up in arms about how society is taking Christ out of the holiday; secularists wish the Christians would lighten up. Erstwhile peacemakers are running around trying to create all-inclusive holidays that we can celebrate together.

What's your sign this year? As you celebrate Christmas, are you truly honoring the birth of Jesus or are the tree, presents and meal plans taking priority? What sign are you seeking that the road you're on is the right one? What color is your sky this morning?


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