If ever I would leave you
It wouldn't be in summer.
Seeing you in summer I never would go.
Your hair streaked with sun-light,
Your lips red as flame,
Your face with a lustre
that puts gold to shame!
But if I'd ever leave you,
It couldn't be in autumn.
How I'd leave in autumn I never will know.
I've seen how you sparkle
When fall nips the air.
I know you in autumn
And I must be there.
And could I leave you
running merrily through the snow?
Or on a wintry evening
when you catch the fire's glow?
If ever I would leave you,
How could it be in spring-time?
Knowing how in spring I'm bewitched by you so?
Oh, no! not in spring-time!
Summer, winter or fall!
No, never could I leave you at all!
I have the privilege of teaching 11th grade bible every year. 11th grade was my favorite year in school and one of my favorite in life… which is good because I’ve been stuck in 11th grade for 16 years now.
It’s a tremendous time of experiencing new freedom, rich life experiences and great personal growth. The class this year is taking full advantage! You have to admire their can-do, never-give-up attitude. Just finding a date to the banquet that you’re not related to takes some doing, but several managed to accomplish it! Of course, there’s a similar problem state wide, but a new law recently passed in Alabama should help: When a couple gets divorced, they're still brother and sister.
I love the theme for tonight: Masquerade
I wanted to come as Dr. Olson. I had the perfect mask – I just made a few slight alterations to a Fred Flintstone mask -- but I couldn’t figure out how to make myself 5 inches shorter. It’s hard to fake short!
I thought about coming as Coach Duke. Mr. Duke our Assistant Principle has taken on many additional responsibilities over the last few years. The other day I was walking down the hall between classes and there he was, leaning his head against a locker and saying, “How did you get yourself into this?” Concerned, I asked if I could do anything to help. He said, “I’ll be fine as soon as I get Will Brown out of this locker.”
I wonder if the theme for the banquet wasn’t inspired by the Phantom of the Opera:
Masquerade! Paper faces on parade...
Masquerade! Hide your face, so the world will never find you!
Masquerade! Every face a different shade...
Masquerade! Look around - there's another mask behind you!
We all learn to act or play a role, and that is something that can serve us well. When I was little we’d pretend to be superman or batman, or soldiers, or cowboys and Indians. A role may not come natural to us, but we learn from the experience. – to play a role on a sports team. In basketball, a shooter learns to play the role of passer, a passer to play the role of a rebounder, etc.
In our spiritual lives, acting is not good: Hypocrite is from the Greek word hypocrite. It’s one of those words in the Bible where the translators just got lazy. If it were actually translated, it would be “actor”.
○ Jesus said that hypocrites “are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bone Matthew 23:27
○ Lay aside “hypocrisy…as newborn babes…” (1 Peter 2:1)
As we look at the masks around us tonight, we are looking at life. People sometimes wear masks to hide their identity, or their perceived faults and imperfections.
There are two things to remember about the masquerade of life:
(1) Learn to look beneath the masks of others.
Our masks deceive us (the wearers) into thinking we are something we are not, or making us wonder who we really are -- Like the lyrics of "Shattered" -- "All that I feel is the realness I'm faking" (Shattered by O.A.R.)
In the Phantom of the Opera, the Phantom wears a mask to hide his marred face. [This was not portrayed as terribly hideous in the movie; at one point we see the Phantom’s mask come off, and I found myself saying, “Oh look, he has a pimple!”] But he thought himself vile and hideous. Often, our real selves are not that bad; they are in fact better than the foolish mask we wear. But the Phantom could not see that. Only Christine Daae could see beneath the mask, into the soul of the Phantom and see something beautiful. And when she kissed his face, he saw it too.
(2) Take off your mask and look to Jesus.
There used to be a tradition at masquerade parties that at the stroke of midnight everyone dropped their masks and revealed their true identity. As you mature, I hope that your masquerade comes to an end and that you too have the wisdom to drop the masks.
Our goal here in this life is to wind up looking like someone else, but not someone we invent.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” -- 2 Corinthians 3:18
Heaven is like a come-as-you-are Masquerade Party, and the only ones who are admitted entrance, look like Jesus.
I've been thinking about how to reason with people of the world to encourage higher standards of morality in our culture -- how can this be done, aside from making strictly Scriptural arguments which the world will not respect? The Tiger Woods situation presents an opportunity to broach the subject.
It seems to me that when we say something like "it doesn't matter to me what Tiger does in private" or "I don't care about the morals of public figures," there are some things we may not have considered. The morality of one person in a society may seem to be none of our business and not worthy of concern, but if the society as a whole takes that attitude then the message is that anybody can do what they want -- no rules, no standards no commom moral framework. I think this attitude may in fact be at the root of our current banking and economic crises, as well as several other current societal ills. It seems to me that in a free society, when one person's moral choices affect others in the society as a whole, the society as a whole has a legitimate right and responsibility to condemn the choices and limit their damage.
If the morals of public figure "X" don't concern us because they don't affect us directly, what about the morals of "Y" and "Z", where "Y" is your boss and "Z" is your bank president? When does it become the responsibiity of society as a whole to be concerened? I believe that if the moral fabric of our culture is the responsibility of any of us it is the responsibility of all of us.
If the response is that it should be a private matter, between Tiger and his wife, I'd ask what about his wife's parents? Tiger's children? Friends and support network of these people? What about Tiger's sponsors -- not just the fat cats, but the people on main street who've invested hard earned money in retirement funds holding shares of these companies. What about those who work for the sponsors? What about Tiger's consorts -- one reported an aborted pregnancy. Each of them made choices that could affect their health and wellbeing, not to mention their sense of self worth. Tiger's actions affected a lot of people -- all of us really --economically, morally and in other ways.
I guess my real question is, if we're not supposed to care about Tiger's moral choices, at what point do we start caring? How close does the person have to be to us? Are we only supposed to get involved when someone's choices affect us personally, no matter how they may affect others?
There's a chance of snow here on Thursday. The TV weathermen are referring to it as a potential (and I quote) "snow storm" with accumulations of up to one inch.
We regularly see news and weather reports of snow in other parts of the country where accumulations are measured in feet instead of inches. This doesn't seem to impress us much. But when WE get an inch, it's a STORM!
Isn't that the way we are. Our small problems and trials are monumental. The monumental struggles of others are insignificant.
Dear Lord, give us better perspective!
I preached a sermon Sunday night entitled "Simon's Similes," based on Peter's use of similes in 1 Peter. By popular demand, here is an excerpt from the introduction to the lesson:
Even bad similes can vividly illustrate truths, making them easier to conceptualize and remember. For example...
He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, like the sound of a garbage truck backing up.
She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli, and he was room-temperature ground beef.
Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree
The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.