The World’s Toughest Job

On Mother’s Day, I’m reminded that the work that matters most in life is often unpaid.

Mother_the lost gallery.jpg

Photo Credit: MOTHER, by the lost gallery, Flickr

At its core, work is what we do to contribute or add value to others. Hopefully this happens in the context of paid work for you, but any parent understands that mothers and fathers often engage in such unpaid work on a daily basis.

I love this video by American Greetings that captures to the beauty and importance of this work. Enjoy!

20 Quotes from MLK

Martin Luther King, by caboindex, Flickr

Photo Credit: Martin Luther King, by caboindex, Flickr

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and is another opportunity for intentional reflection on Dr. King’s vision of justice and racial reconciliation. In the United States we have a challenging history around racism. From Pre-Civil War slavery, to segregation under Jim Crow Laws, to the ongoing racial tensions felt in our day, it is important to remember from where we have come and where we still need to go.

As a means of remembering well today so we can move forward tomorrow, I offer 20 of my favorite Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” 

“Life’s most persistent and urgent questions is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.”

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

“The time is always right to do the right thing.”

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

As we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, we also want to celebrate his vision of justice and racial reconciliation. May we keep Dr. King’s dream alive in the year ahead as we play our part in working for justice and loving our neighbors.

A Poem for Christmas — Enjoy!

Immanuel, by Daniel Go, Flicker

Photo Credit: Immanuel, by Daniel Go, Flicker

On this Christmas Eve, my thoughts turn once again to the amazing reality we celebrate at Christmas. Incarnation the reality that God came among us in human form. Immanuel God with us. Christmas reminds us that God came near, that God cares, that God initiated a path to restore our brokenness. Here’s a poem I wrote in the early 1990s that helps me focus of the wonder and significance of what we celebrate at Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Immanuel — God with Us

It seems quite strange, that on this day
the Lord of heaven and earth would lay
Amidst the straw-filled stable stall
though He was sovereign over all.

For He was God, yet did not grasp
His rightful place before the mass
Of many laud-filled cherubim
and hosts of holy seraphim.

He rather made Himself to be
a humble servant of His King
And of His Father’s holy will
that offered Him upon the hill.

To pay for our iniquities
and take up our infirmities,
The Lord of hosts did lay on Him
the weight of all our crushing sin.

This is the reason that God gave
to Him the name above all names;
That at the name of Jesus bow
all heaven and earth, for this is how

It ought to be, and I now see
He is the one sure Majesty,
Who reigns forevermore—Adore
this one true King who is our Lord.

For unto us was born this day,
within the humble stall, in hay,
Our Mighty God and Prince of Peace—
the One whose rule will never cease.

And yet, it seems now so profound,
that King of All would cry a sound
Of humbleness, and need for rest—
to lay upon His mother’s chest.

We serve a Mighty God and King
whose humbleness did meet our need;
Through coming as a lowly man,
He met for us God’s just demands.

So worship God, and all He is,
from infant’s birth on up to His
Eternal reign and kingly might,
and live forever in His light.