Blessed… And the World Went Dark

45 From noon until three in the afternoon the whole earth was dark. 46 At about three Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” which means, “My God, my God, why have you left me?”

47 After hearing him, some standing there said, “He’s calling Elijah.”48 One of them ran over, took a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a pole. He offered it to Jesus to drink.

49 But the rest of them said, “Let’s see if Elijah will come and save him.”

50 Again Jesus cried out with a loud shout. Then he died.

51 Look, the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split, 52 and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised. 53 After Jesus’ resurrection they came out of their graves and went into the holy city where they appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what had just happened, they were filled with awe and said, “This was certainly God’s Son.”

55 Many women were watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to serve him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons (Matthew 27:44-56, Common English Bible).

For weeks, many of us heard about the coming eclipse. That particular day I was at my mother’s home in the Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio. My sister was there along with an elementary school-aged girl my sister has kind of adopted as a granddaughter. When the eclipse was at its height, I took the girl outside to show her the old paper trick where you poke a small hole in one piece of paper and then hold it above another piece and you can see the eclipse on the second piece of paper.

It didn’t get dark on us that day. It wasn’t dark anywhere in Texas, or at least that was my understanding. I did see pictures from the Midwest a little later in the day. These were pictures where it was noticeably darker than we typically see at mid-day, even on a cloudy day.

In my imagination, that is how things looked the day Jesus was crucified. It looked like an eclipse, but perhaps darker.

I have often wondered, why did this not get the attention of the Jews or the Romans. As superstitious as the people of that era tended to be, you would think they might be able to put two and two together. We are crucifying Jesus. The sky just became dark. Maybe, just maybe, God isn’t very happy with what we are doing. Perhaps we need to rethink our actions.

We often tend to be much the same way. Perhaps the signs are not as obvious for us, but all too often, God sends us messages that are both obvious and clear and somehow, despite how easy it might be to see, we manage to ignore it and in doing so, we ignore God.

Could it be, when we manage to ignore God, the sky becomes just a little darker? Maybe, but probably not. I do think God became sad that day. And, when God sends us a sign, obvious or not, and we miss the sign, God becomes a little sad because God knows the plans God has in mind for you, they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11, paraphrased).

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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