Today is St. Patrick’s Day. I was just thinking today about a Veggietales video I saw a while ago. There was a short cartoon on Sumo of the Opera about St. Patrick’s Day. It was done in this cute 2-D sort of style. A bit like a flannel board, except that things moved. Anyway, it told the story of St. Patrick and how as a young boy he was kidnapped from England by pirates and sold to slavery in Ireland, where he encountered Druids. Druids, of course, worship trees(I realize that is the short explaination). The cartoon went on to tell how he escaped and studied and became a Priest and dreamed that Ireland was calling him and he eventually went back and shared Christianity with the Irish. He used a shamrock(three leaves) to illustrate the Trinity to the people. This makes me wonder why the four-leafed clover is supposed to be so lucky. This goes back to my daily reminder to myself; I’ll take the grace of God over luck any day. At any rate, I was glad to learn that St. Patrick was essentially a missionary. It is my belief that sharing Christ with people is one of the best things that we can celebrate.
Yesterday I went to the east coast(by which I mean Riverside) to meet some friends, a couple who were neighbors of Grandma Neva’s and here from Iowa. They are staying in Redlands, so my grandmother decided that we would meet them in Riverside. Now, riverside is not somewhere I would normally want to go of course, but I wanted to see these people and Gramma picked this historical hotel called the Mission Inn to meet them at, so it was actually really neat. One of the things that I liked the most was that there were big portraits of all the preisidents that had been there. Here are some highlights.
The first thing I noticed was our neighbor, Richard Nixon.
Richard Nixon was actually married at the Mission Inn. His attempted Assassin has a great monologue but no song in the musical.
Has been to the Mission Inn. He was also Assassinated in 1901. The song about him in the great Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins is The Ballad of Czolgosz.
John F. Kennedy.
Everybody knows about this one. The conspiracy, the drama, the fact that people didn’t notice that C.S. Lewis died that same day just because of a presidential Assassination. An important part of the musical, and a great story, really, but between you and me I think that Lewis was the more important guy. 😉
Also pictured was Gerald Ford who had two assassination attempts on him within one month. I love that scene in Assassins with Squeaky Fromme and Sarah Jane Moore. And there was Ronald Reagan who, as you may know, was the one who John Hinkley Jr tried to assassinate to impress Jody Foster. Great song, Unworthy of Your Love. The rest weren’t related to Assassins, but they were pretty good. Herbert Hoover does have a song about him in Annie, and Teddy Roosevelt was featured in Newsies. William Taft was there, but he’s not in any musicals. He was, apparently, so large that they had to give him a special chair.
19This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
20And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
21They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not ” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
22Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
23He said, “I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
24Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
25They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.
27″It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
28These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
30″This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’
31″I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”
32John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
33″I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’
34″I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
Another exciting passage! John the Baptist is going around baptizing people in water and getting them ready for Christ to come. John the Baptist does some important things here. I love where he first sees Jesus and says “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”. He baptizes Jesus and this is important I think, because he was witness to the spirit’s decension in the form of a dove and the Father’s claiming Jesus.
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2He was in the beginning with God.
3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
The Witness John
6There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.
8He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
9There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'”
16For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
17For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
18No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
This has always been one of my favorite passages of scripture. It’s always so cool how it mirrors Genisis 1:1 by starting with “In the beginning,”. That first verse alone says so much, calling Jesus God and pointing toward the idea that we call The Trinity. It’s a beautiful setup for the rest of the chapter. Of course, the first John talked about is not the John that wrote the gospel of John, but John the Baptist. But then of course he starts talking about Jesus again, refering to him as “the light”. The image of “the Word becoming flesh” really excites me. I often read part of this at Christmas. That’s what Christmas is all about, of course. That’s what John is about, really; The Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. You get a little thrill, don’t you? 🙂