When death comes


Jesus from the Deesis Mosaic

Jesus from the Deesis Mosaic (Photo credit: jakebouma)

As I hear news about the tragedy that has occurred at Kogi state, I am reminded that our walk as Christians is a perilous one.  I am reminded of Columbine and Cassie Bernall, who, when asked if she believed in God with a gun to her face, said yes.  I am reminded of Rev. Willliam B. Petty Jr. a United Methodist Preacher, clubbed and burned to death in Chattanooga TN. I’m also reminded of Rev. Fred Winters an Illinois pastor shot to death.

These events serve as reminders to me that America is becoming everyday increasingly more hostile towards Christians.  To claim the name of Christ is really to incur the potential for some maniac to attach his death agenda to you.  But that’s OK.  Because this is not our home.  This planet in its current state, is not meant to permanently house us who believe.  Our rest will come soon…very soon.  Until then, we have to remain strong, that is run this race with our eyes fixed on the price.  To quote Caedmon’s Call “This world has nothing for me and this world has everything, all that I could want and nothing that I need”.  God has gone to prepare a place for us.  If it was not so, He would not have told us He did, for He cant lie.  God will come back, and He will make everything right.  The beauties that He has in store for us is beyond our comprehension. Even more important and more exciting is that we will finally be able to see our Dad, our God, our Lord.  And I so long to see Him.  To finally put these struggles to rest and to run like a little child unto Him.  That is my dream, that is truly what I dream about.  For me to die is gain, but to live is Christ. I’m not worried about death for I know that I will see my savior when my last breath is taken on this plane.  In some way form or fashion we will all die.  I’m ready for that event because I know that God has redeemed me not by anything I have done but by His sacrifice.  He has called me son.  He has loved me.

I have been called arrogant for claiming to “know” anything about my religion.  How can I be so sure of heaven? they say.  On that day, all will be set right.  I am sure of heaven because of faith.  I cant debate that.  Some will look at this statement and need more in the form of explanation.  But I have no more.  I feel the Lord with me even when I stumble.  I hear Him speak through the spirit and even through life.  I witness daily small miracles that are actually huge, since He’s the one that does them.  For example, the day before yesterday I prayed for God to help me with a paper for I lacked the intelligence to formulate my thoughts.  Yesterday, I looked at the paper and my argument all of a sudden made sense and I wrote with a fervor and an understanding I hadn’t had before.  Some could say, that was psychosis or whatever other psychological word.  Sure, but the fact is, it happened after I prayed.  I asked, and I received  simple.  Doesn’t always happen, but that’s OK too.

At any rate, my bable this morning is an attempt to come to grips with the fact that America is no longer Christian…I doubt it ever was, and that as such, I am but an un-welcomed guest.  But that’s OK.  I will still love my country, and its people.  Because God still loves this country and its people…as He loves the whole world.

Juan Castillo Jr

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2 thoughts on “When death comes

  1. Hi Juan,

    You’re correct in suggesting that the U.S.A. never was a Christian nation. Our “founding fathers” set it up that way to ensure that people of all religions and people with no religion are free to exercise their beliefs, *without* having the beliefs of others forced on them. So, of course you’re welcome. And I’m welcome. The Hindu and the Muslim and the Sikh and the Buddhist and the Jew and the Daoist and the Wiccan and the Mormon and the Catholic and the Jain are all so very welcome.

    I, too, become sad when I hear about tragedies that occur like the ones you’ve described. And I get sad when it happens to Muslims, Jews, and so on. I’m sad now (and angry!) about the recent killings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. I’m sad & angry that a 16-year old atheist girl (Jessica Ahlquist) received death threats after the court agreed with her that a prayer hanging in her public school is unconstitutional.

    It’s easy to feel targeted in these situations…and I think a large part of why we do is because we see it happening to “my people.” “My people” have been attacked, or denied, or discriminated against, whatever, fill in the blank. When it happens to “my people” it feels like it’s happening to me. I strive to keep in mind that all people are “my people.” These crimes may at first blush seem only to be targeted at one group or another, but really they are crimes against humanity. Those perpetrating them aren’t acting as representatives of our country–they’re breaching the laws we have in place that protect Americans.

    When we see humanity as one people, we can better work together as a society to protect *all* people from these horrendous acts. If it happens to one person, it happens to humanity. And one time is already too many.

    Peace…
    ~Valerie

    Lengthy but informative piece about worldwide religious freedom violations and U.S. support of religious freedom, as reported by the U.S. Department of State:
    http://oregonfaithreport.com/2012/08/u-s-releases-religious-freedom-report/

    Brief recap of recent attack on American Sikhs, with observation of media response:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/08/blaming_the_victims

    More on Jessica Ahlquist:

    http://m.npr.org/story/146538958?url=/2012/02/14/146538958/rhode-island-district-weighs-students-prayer-lawsuit

    • Hi Valerie!

      First, I apologize for taking so long to reply. This week has been crazy busy, lol. But thank you So SO much for a fantastic comment (and links). I agree with you. I think that for anyone regardless of their faith, beliefs, etc, to experience persecution as we have seen is heartbreaking. And this persecution is something that sadly, most “groups” of people are guilty of. Christians, Islam, Whites, and blacks…were guilty of it. Nothing makes it right. I believe that if Jesus had taken his bodily form in today’s world, he would have protested malignant behavior towards all groups and faith. As he exemplified with the woman caught in adultery. I guess you could say that the Jewish community under their laws had a right to stone her, but Jesus stepped in and said to them “he who is without sin cast the first stone”….they couldn’t do it because they were as guilty of sin (if not more) than the woman. I also notice how Christ tenderly spoke to the woman who was caught on the very act of adultery (something completely contrary to the way we behave today). So I agree with you Valerie. Any form of hateful intolerance is unacceptable to anyone.

      You also touched on something that God has really been working on me and that is to see all people under the cover of love. I agree with you, I can sometimes target those people that are like minded as me, and easily show them love. However those who are different, well, not as easy. It should not be this way. This is something that God daily deals with me on. Like you said, I need to “see humanity as one people” because I think God see’s humanity as one people. At least when it comes to his love for us. And if He does it, well I need to do it too.

      Thank you for the links btw. HUGELY informative. And it bugged me too that Jessica was threatened and criticized the way she was. That was unacceptable.

      Thanks again Valerie for the fantastic comment,

      In your service,

      Juan

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