The wind blows wherever it pleases...       John 3:8
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Mike Leno
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Messiah

              Heavenly host, warrior angels.

‘Twas the night before doomsday and all through the land
People just needed someone to lend them a hand.
The pundits all said the other party’s to blame
And church folks said you just have to believe and claim.

But the terrorist attacks, and rumors of war,
Caused all the people to fear and bleed even more.
Some said its right to make our enemies suffer.
They better respect us; we’ll show them who’s tougher.

The answer, said others, is to protect ourselves.
By keeping our jobs at home, and food on our shelves.
But economists said, it’s supply and demand,
The market decides who will fall and who will stand.

So while millionaires shot hoops, their contracts all signed,
Some lost jobs and insurance; no help could they find.
Then prophets of doom said we could not run or hide;
There’s no hope for anyone who’s not on our side.

Everyone, it seemed, had made their own special list
Of the nice, and the naughty who would not be missed.
In the end we failed to find a real solution.
Our faith, misplaced, had been in an institution.

Whether a church, parliament, a priest or a king,
All had failed to change what humanity would bring.
Even our religion was a means to an end.
In Gods name we conquered both enemy and friend.

So on the night before doomsday we stocked our shelves,
Knowing now we were about to destroy ourselves.
But then there appeared as a rescue from above,
Good news, for a change, full of mercy and love.

He seemed rather small, just a babe in a manger,
How could he help us in our self imposed danger?
But to the surprise of sleepy shepherds that night,
A chorus of angels displaced the darkness with light.

It was awesome; it was frightening; it was doomsday.
Now we would see divine fury on display; but…
“Fear not,” said the angel, “for I bring you great news!
Our God does not react in the way you would choose!

So to you this day a savior is born, instead…
Of the doom you would have brought down on your own head.
And we heard them proclaim as they rose out of sight:
To all God grants peace; goodwill prevails from this night.

Isaiah 9:5-6
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

By Mike Leno

image

 

“What is truer than truth? Answer: The story.” – Jewish proverb.1

As Jesus often demonstrated, good stories tell the truth in a way nothing else can. Stories can help us see God and the universe in new ways, and also motivate us to be better people. So how does sucha good thing often go bad? Continue reading

By Mike Leno

PM JesusAccording to Popular Mechanics, this is the way Jesus may have appeared. It’s still an artists conception, of course, but it has the advantage of being based on archeological evidence and forensic anthropology techniques.[1]

A couple of months ago I posted a blog (See “Inventing Jesus” at www.gracenotesblog.com) that included a relatively modern portrait of Jesus; the point being that the way we imagine Jesus, and the reality of Jesus based on the evidence we have, are often two very different things. We now continue that same general theme, noting in more detail why Jesus did not match the messianic expectations of many, including the most prominent leaders of his time. And although it seems disconcerting at first, seeing Jesus as he really was, gives us confidence that the New Testament character was not simply invented out of convenience or necessity. Furthermore it turns out that our inventions of Jesus are not what we really need anyway. Continue reading

By Mike Lenoimage

A Facebook friend recently posted this portrait of Jesus, who in spite of a darkened complexion (the lighting perhaps), exhibits Caucasian features, styled hair and a trimmed beard. His bluish eyes do have a certain intensity and the overall effect seems quite dramatic. But you don’t have to be a historian to realize that this is not how Jesus appeared in the 1st century. I’m guessing, however, that historical accuracy is not what the artist was going for. And we can sympathize. It must be extremely difficult to create a Jesus that appeals to everyone.

In good humor, my friend added the caption, “Kenny Loggins, perhaps?” I saw the real Kenny Loggins at the Hollywood Bowl a few years ago. And although he’s in his 60’s—it’s been nearly 30 years since his popular album photos were published—I suppose there are worse models for the face of Jesus. Continue reading