Jesus & The Red Carpet

I was going through my pictures from Sydney and I came across an interesting picture.

MTSY511213334934

This picture was taken at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Sydney. My roommate and I went to enjoy some of facts, poses, and celebration with the stars of the museum. This picture is part of the “red carpet” experience in which you buy the photos of you taken in front of a green screen…you can see that I bought them. Thinking of this brought an interesting thought to mind. Jesus wants us to REJOICE when we come to Him and to live it up on His Red Carpet!

Luke 15 is an amazing chapter to read about being lost and found. Three parables. Three celebrations. Three times in which REJOICE was used. One definition of “rejoicing” is great joy and another is jubilation. How many remember a few year’s back when Great Britain through a week-long jubilation for Queen Elizabeth?! It was a week long of amazing celebrities in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. And it was televised both in Britian and here in the United States. Why is that? That’s totally another post, but you get the picture, we are hooked on celebrities and the red carpet is the time to discuss what one is wearing, thinking, and hot gossip. Jesus loves a good celebration on the red carpet and Luke 15 helps us understand that.

We have the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin in which we find out what happens when ONE sheep or coin being found (metaphors for the disbeliever coming to Christ). Verses 7 & 10 use the word rejoice in the Scripture and at times, we just speed read over it and forget to look at the importance that Jesus was going to come to in the rest of the chapter with the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Again, remember Jesus is telling these stories for a purpose and now the Prodigal combines the main reason of these other parables.

As many know, two sons are helping their father on the farm when one asks for his share. His share then goes out is lost in a matter of a few months, years and soon this son is homeless and hungry and realizes that he could have more working for his father, as a servant & not his son, and comes home. We have a beautiful conversations between father and son in Luke 15.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

It’s rather interesting to see that Jesus did not use “rejoice” in this part of scriptures, but instead, use the synonym here to make what I think is an important point: CELEBRATE! Jesus wants our salvation to be something worth getting out on a red carpet and celebrating in. Too many of Christians decide that salvation is solely their own and make it something that is boring and not worth investing in lives of others; however, Jesus taught us that we should celebrate when the Gospel is received into the hearts of the unbelievers and then I also think, that Jesus wants to celebrate and party daily!

Awards season brings lots of pre/after parties. Let’s celebrate with Jesus in our and other’s receiving of salvation. Let’s walk the red carpet. Let’s meet with the celebrities–the sons & daughters of The Almighty and see ourselves as amazing creations of God in which we are entitled to so many things–the heirs of God, found in Romans 8:17.  

Advertisements
Posted in Christian Journey | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Knows…

It’s been a rough week for our country. It has been a rough week for me as I continue to ponder and listen to where I need to be in life right now. It’s rough hearing a lot of things in the world of instant gratification, notifications on my iPhone, text messages, TV, radio; just typing all of these words, it’s exhausting!

For some, worship is their time away from the sounds of life and able to set aside that weekly worship time to get to know the Almighty even better. Other disagree that it needs to be daily–I’m not trying to debate. I’m simply offering a new perspective: JESUS KNOWS.

Last week, a despicable act occurred in which 49 lives were lost in Orlando, Florida. Generally, I would think that this would bring the United States together; but instead, our government leaders could not find middle ground. Televangelists have told people that it was imminent because of the young people’s sexual orientation.

Today, in the United States, a celebration of Father’s Day–a day of remembrance, celebration, and thanksgiving for the male parental guidance. Today, the 49 victims of Orlando cannot tell their fathers “Happy Father’s Day” and the victim’s fathers cannot celebrate their fatherhood as the “average” celebration entails. It’s sad, angry, and frustrating that a tragedy like this cannot seem to bring people together and allow people to heal in their ways.

Jesus knows this pain. He knows how we feel in times of not being able to celebrate our fathers and Jesus knows that it is traumatic when a father/child are abandoned. Look at the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 or Jesus yelling out, in agony, “Father, why have you forsaken me?!” (Matthew 27:46).

In the midst of this troubling Father’s Day for some, and in the celebration of Father’s Day, may we look to Jesus–that He knows! Jesus knows our pain–God became human to know our pain. Jesus knows that we are hurting when people die–Jesus wept when Lazarus died. Jesus knows what it is like when government cannot agree–He called out the government several times. Jesus knows what it is like to be abandoned. Jesus knows.

This brings me comfort in this sad, frustrating, and crazy country we call the United States. Comfort in knowing that Jesus knows where I am in my thinking and Jesus knows that it is okay to feel this way–that’s why God also became human. Jesus says that we can come to Him because we are weak, and heavy laden, in which we can find rest. Honestly, it’s difficult for me to come to Jesus on this Father’s Day; however, Jesus also shows that we can take out time in returning to Him (my interpretation of the Prodigal Son).

In the midst of this time of unrest and troubled landscape, may we call upon the unconditional love of Jesus and show that to everyone we come across. May we share the love to the people of Orlando. Share love over hate to the LGBT community. Share love to the people who have been tossed about in the church. Share love to our Muslim brothers and sisters who are being unjust victims in our media. Share love to our pastors who don’t know how to respond in a clear and understanding way. Share love to our political leaders who don’t see an issue. Share love with the leaders when they can’t seem to show love and compassion. Share love to our presumptive presidential candidates when they may say/do things that we don’t agree. Love is an action word that is disciplined over time. Love the fathers who have lost their children in Orlando. Love the fathers who have not taken responsibility for their actions. Love the children who are lost in the foster care system. Love. Simply love.

Let us pray. 

God of peace and comfort, we come before you seeking courage and hope as your people. 

We pray for your church, that our voice may be strong and clear, as we strive to bring an end to violence and hatred. Give su courage to act in love, mercy, and peace in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Open the hearts and minds of those who are in positions of power, and grant us faithfulness and perseverance in our cause to create a safe and just world for all. 

We pray for first responders, for police and EMTs, for heath care workers, for citizens who response to those in need, and all who sacrifice much to service the common good. 

We pray for our Muslim brothers and sisters, that in this time of tension and unrest we remember that we are all beloved children of God. 

We pray for those who inspire hatred, for those governed by fear, and for all considering acts of violence toward others that their hearts may be changed. We ask forgiveness for the violence we have committed in our lives in thought, word, and deed. 

We pray for all who are afraid, and all who mourn. we pray for those throughout history who have suffered violence and death because of their sexual orientation or expression, remember especially those who were killed in Orlando. 

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races and sexual orientations and genders may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Posted in Christian Journey | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vocation:Purpose

Parker J. Palmer (2000) states, “Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about-quite apart from what I would like it to be about- or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.” (p. 4).

Legally, I am Matthew Lee Cape. I am a Kentucky resident and United States of America citizen. I am the son of two young people, and a grandson from a small southern city in Kentucky. Legally, that is who I am. Systematically, I am a young man belittled by the system of being an orphan, a young man who should not have access to higher education, and a young man who has so many mixed emotions about things that just seems to be a face in the faceless. However, I define me! I will not let the system or anyone define who I am unless I feel that the adjectives and information described is me.

I am Matthew Lee Cape—a son with great promise. I am Matthew Lee Cape—a mind of determination. I am Matthew Lee Cape—a fighter for equal rights. I am Matthew Lee Cape—a Christian who understands, “God has made of one blood, all peoples of the Earth (Acts 17:26).” I am Matthew Lee Cape—a person who understands the importance of cooperation and teamwork. I am Matthew Lee Cape—a registered Republican with a full Democratic heart. I am Matthew Lee Cape—lover not a fighter. I am…me.

As corny as it may be, I find myself reflecting upon who I am and I what I am to others—a friend, a colleague, a caring soul, a willing helper, a romantic, a movie then cuddle type person—maybe just a bit too far but you get the picture.

I do agree with Palmer about how one can feel vocation. I agree so much with the following quote, “Some journeys are direct, and some are circuitous; some are heroic, and some are fearful and muddled. But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need (36)”. I think that it is my nature to be the caring person who wants to help people in any way—and even give people the shirt off my back if needed! I am a giver, fighter, and person who wants people to be treated fairly and equally. These characteristics are my nature.

When I see someone getting upset or mistreated, I do everything in my power—without being asked—to accommodate that person’s needs because they need the same privileges that I am entitled to! Sadly, I also understand that it is like to be on the end in which you are being denied your rights, or worse, being considered an outcast. The society in which we live determines who we act and I refuse to act like the self-centered and psychopathic society in which we live. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live. Dr. King and Palmer share the commonality of being pastors and scholars of self-reflection. Dr. King wanted people to reflect on their inner selves with the aforementioned quote and Palmer asks me—who are you? I’ve discussed who I am legally, I’ve discussed what my nature is and I can say with great confidence that I am willing to die in the fight for equality and justice for all. I am willing to be a voice to the voiceless and willing to share in the oppressions if it means that freedoms can be given to all. It’s odd thinking about who I am yet I think the following poem written by Glee star, Blake Jenner, expressions who I am:

I am the guy who will persist in his path
I am the guy who will make you laugh
I am the guy who strives to be open
I am the guy who’s been heartbroken
I am the guy who’s been on his own
I am the guy who’s felt alone
I am the guy who holds your hand
I am the guy who will stand up and be a man
I am the guy who tries to make things better
I am the guy who’s the whitest half-Cuban, ever                                                                

I am the guy who’s lost more than he’s won
I am the guy who’s turned, but never spun
I am the guy you couldn’t see
I am that guy, and that guy’s me.

Almost to a “T,” this poem describes me: I am and no one can take that away from! That’s who I feel I am and that’s how I feel that I can grow and mature in my thinking with this train of thought through this term as I prepare for the “real world.”

Pax tecum (May peace be with you)

References

Palmer, P.J. (2000). Let your life speak: Listening for the voice of vocation. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

Posted in Personal Development | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Last Words

How you lived? How you died? Let my life be the proof of Your love! ~for King and Country, The Proof of Your Love

On Monday, May 23, 2016, my Grandfather passed away. I was still in the process of returning to Jamestown, Kentucky from Sydney, Australia. I had made a stop in Berea, Kentucky–the town in which I graduated from Berea College and a place where I was able to gather some fundamental insights aimed at coping with my Grandfather’s passing. When someone is sick for a long time, we have time to come to terms with the unfortunate, yet blessing of death. In that time of funeral services, memories come and flood and our last encounters, last conversations, come to mind.  All of our “lasts” with the loved ones who pass, matter, but don’t let them be how you remember the character, interactions, and delicate, amazing memories of the deceased. Instead, look at the proof of their love for you. That’s what I am doing now, even a week after my Grandpa’s last breath on this Earth.

As a Christian, I can look to the Last Words of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20 and look to how we can manage with our Loved Ones not being with us, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'”

Jesus commanded His disciples to be ACTIVE (go, baptizing, teaching) after His ascension. Jesus didn’t seem to be one who wanted people to be inside, teary-eyed and agonized with what to do next–although, this is normal and okay to do following death. Jesus wanted His disciples to be active in His last words to be able to go out and bring others into the Kingdom of God. It is my belief and my understanding that humans are created for a divine purpose and one of those purposes is to actively search, and be the proof of love of Jesus Christ. This of course, was an unconditional love that was sacrificial in it’s actions that continue even after Jesus’ ascension to be lived out on Earth by the followers of Christ.

Following the command, Jesus made comforting last words to everyone, “I am with you, always.” That’s powerful to hear that even in the midst of my hardship, obstacles, and in the major crosswords of my life, Jesus is standing right beside me! Jesus is with me now, and Jesus, a Son of God, brother to me in my Christian journey and my Savior, is supporting me in my endeavors and helping me along the way. Jesus’ last words are words to smile and be grateful for but like I said, look to the one’s entire actions and find the amazing comfort of death.

May we find comfort in reflecting upon death. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it is scary. Yes, it can bring more pain and frustration than before. But, everyone us has someone who loves us even in the midst of the absent body from the present Earth. We all may have difficult encounters, but somewhere along our lineage, past or present, someone prayed and sacrificed their love to bring you safe and sound to your current circumstance.

Last words are okay to look to for comfort or healing in time of death. But look to the person’s actions of love that came to you from their encounters with you and look to their proof of love for you and continue on with life–perhaps dedicate your actions to their memory. Whatever the case, their love is present, I promise. Look to their actions, continue moving, honor their memory and let them walk beside you as Jesus is walking beside us everyday.

Posted in Personal | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Just a Relaxing Thought

It’s the small things that matter in life. Small things, added up over time, can create bigger things. Those bigger things are what we then worry about. However, sometimes, we just need a relaxing thought that helps us hit refresh and continue on in our life’s journey. If we can manage to hit refresh–even a restart–then we can prevent  those bigger thoughts, events, whatever from harming our mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

I just arrived back from Sydney last Friday. Sydney was fantastic, but I realized that I missed a few things about being in Kentucky. I left Sydney at the end of autumn to arrive at the end of spring. The country roads of Kentucky, how I missed them. The smell of honey suckles, the whistling of the grain fields, the beauty of small town living. Things that I didn’t realize would be missed. 

As I have arrived back from Sydney and have allowed these senses to return, I have had a reset–a relaxing thought. I have come to a few conclusions about my future five year plan and a re-evaluated my philosophy and attitudes. This of course, is a daily discipline that will grow as I put it into practice. For now, I’ll enjoy the relaxing thoughts of the country and be at peace with where I am in life, anticipate and prepare for my future, and just let it be. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We’ll Get There

Hello,

To the handful of readers who come across this page, know that this is written out of insights that I have gathered from reading other blogs, books, websites, or the old-fashioned mentor talks. This page is going to be set up as means of expression of the rabbit holes that come to mind as I write about a particular subject, conversation, or life event. Think of this blog as means of my stories and neurons coming through across with words–kinda like the TV Series, How I Met Your Mother.

I’ll have short and long posts. Simple and complicated stories. Ramblings, but mostly, meanderings to help with the connections. As with Ted in the TV Series, “We’ll get there.” For now, I’ll simply sit back, relax and write a few thoughts to see how the thoughts come alive in the words and I invite you comment as you see fit. Let’s start this journey together.

With eagerness and warm regards,

Matthew

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment