Saturday, April 24, 2010


Do you pray?  And if you do, what do you ask for from God?  I don't want to know your answers, but I want you to ask this to yourself.  Many simply don't like asking anything of anyone, let alone a God whom we probably see as irrelevant to our life because he is invisible(?) and does not speak to us clearly(?) if at all. I find that many times the problem lies with me and not with Him.  It is my pride and my pre-conceptions which get into the way of a clear communication line. 

Interestingly, in Proverbs one finds that "Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall".  (Prov. 16:18) clearly indicating that proud people take little account of their weaknesses and do not anticipate stumbling blocks. They think they are above the frailties of common people. In this state of mind they are easily tripped up. Ironically, proud people seldom realize that pride is their problem, although everyone around them is well aware of it.   Ask someone you trust whether self-satisfaction in your life has blinded you to warning signs. He or she may by God's tool/messenger to help you avoid a fall.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The math of miracles

As I post this, Pope Benedict XVI will be arriving for his first, quick, weekend visit to my country.  I am therefore using this opportunity to write about how God can help one to face his challenges, even if they are among the largest that man has to face...and how God has solved them without our help (of course).  It will deal, in a way, of list of mathematical miracles of all time that centres around the Pope and the followers of Jesus on the one hand, and Moses and the people of Israel on the other. 

I am sure you will recall that there were about 3.5 million people following Moses through the desert. Their story is well documented and clearly narrated in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. It says that they crossed the Red Sea in one night with the Egyptian army hot in pursuit.   So let's picture this in its real perspective. 

> If they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days and nights to get through.  So, there had to be space in the Red Sea 3 miles wide so they could walk 5,000 abreast.

> Feeding 3.5 million people requires about 1,500 tons of food each day.  To bring that amount of food each day, today we would need two trains, each a mile long

> They would need firewood to cook.  This would take 4,000 tons of wood and a few more trains, each a mile long, every day.  And remember they were forty years in this transit in the desert.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Communion on the Moon?

How often have you looked up at the Moon and had romantic thoughts.  Shared an intimate moment with your loved one. Perhaps even looked at its perfect shape or even wondered about "those" stories of old about the man in the moon.  Yet when man walked on the Moon for the first time in the Sixties, the astronauts' thoughts were not only on science but also on their God - or at least one of them was thinking this way.   But what happened before astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it. I'm talking about the fact that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the surface of the moon.

The background to the story is that Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church in Texas during this period in his life, and knowing that he would soon be doing something unprecedented in human history, he felt he should mark the occasion somehow, and he asked his pastor to help him. And so the pastor consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine. And Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth's orbit and on to the surface of the moon.  

He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement: "This is the LM pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way." He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion. 

Some months after his return, he wrote about it in "Guideposts" magazine. It's also quoted in the book "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask)". Here is his own account of what happened: "In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, 'I am the vine,  you are the branches. whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.'

I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O'Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility . It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements."

Sunday, April 4, 2010


The case of the lost body 

Breaking News: Jerusalem, April  4th – this morning - There was consternation in the city today as rumours that the Nazarene who was crucified last Friday was not found in the grave where he was laid after being certified dead by the Roman commander of the execution, Longinus.  There were rumours that this dead man had risen from the dead.  Others claimed that his body had been stolen to simulate his resurrection.  There were no immediate confirmed facts of the events.  A guard had been placed outside the tomb that had also been blocked with a big stone rolled across the entrance.  The guards are said to have disappeared, perhaps run away. 

The reasons for the execution of this man had been shrouded in mystery.  The Roman Governor Pilate, while claiming to find no wrong in this man according to Roman law, even consulted the Jewish leader Herod before issuing the sentence, and both agreed there nothing in the evidence to condemn the man. Yet the Roman leader was somehow forced to bow to pressures from the Jewish religious leaders who wanted this Nazarene, popularly known as Jesus,  eliminated at all costs in the worst possible manner – by crucifixion – even though their own laws do not permit this.   The death of the Nazarene too had a lot of the unusual about it and a spokesman for the Roman Pretorium would not confirm an eyewitness report that at the end of the crucifixion the Roman commander at the site commented that this man must surely have been the Son of God. It is said that his comment came after supernatural incidents occurred immediately after his death. 

Asked about this morning’s incidents at the grave, the Roman spokesman refused to be drawn into the argument and would not accept that the guards on duty who had actually run away were Romans.  “They know that this is the equivalent of an immediate death sentence for them if proved to be the truth” he commented. “We do not do this sort of thing. On the other hand, if the guards were mercenaries or were from the Temple Guards, ah then, that is a different matter and explains why they didn’t stand their ground.”

The rumours started to circulate around Jerusalem early in the morning when some women from among the dead man’s followers went to the grave to anoint the dead body as is customary.  The tomb is situated near the hill called The Skull just outside the city walls, and is owned by a Pharisee symapatiser from Arimathea.   Our reporters were not able to clearly understand what happened. One woman said that when she went this morning there was no one there, no guards, no stone blocking the tomb, no body. Only the cloths that were used to wrap the dead body.

  In other reports, a group of other women including one Mary, not clearly identified whether it was the Nazarene’s own mother or not, claimed similar events, an empty tomb and no one around. Another Mary, this time from the Galilean town of Magdala,  claimed that she to went to the tomb this morning and there she met some men who asked her why she was looking for the living among the dead. Confused at this she said she left in a hurry and bumped into the gardener who looked after the area around the tomb and demanded to know what he did with the body. But she said he only looked at her and called her name, “Mary”, making it, though, sound like he meant “Don’t you recognise me?”  In this confused state she said she thought the gardener was the dead man come back to life. 

The followers of this Nazarene quickly got wind of these rumours and in an attempt to try to quash them, their leader Peter and another named John, rushed to the grave area to see for themselves.  They too confirmed that there was no one there but folded grave clothes.  Peter told us that this was proof that his Master was alive and had come back to life again as he had predicted in the Temple some days before. "Our religion does not allow us to touch a dead body directly so it is inconceivable that one of us - or any Jew for that matter - could have stolen the unwrapped body, naked as it now was, leaving behind the cloths that were wrapped around him. He either unwrapped them himself when he resurrected himself, as he said he would, or someone else above our law did it for him", explained Peter.  Asked to elaborate as to who he was referring to, he said: "his angels perhaps?"   

There was disbelief to this claim and sources close to the Temple leaders were quoted as saying that they did not know how to handle this rising situation.  There was already some talk of further action against his followers to silence them once and for all but one leader, a certain Gamaliel, widely recognised for his wisdom, was cautioning them not to hurry.  An eyewitness stated that Gamaliel told the Sanhedrin (the Temple wise men) that if these incidents were of human creation then they would soon die away naturally, but if, on the other hand, they were from God, then they should be wary not to go against the Divine.

We will continue to monitor this breaking news and update you with reports as and when they come in.

Emmaus, April 4th – this evening –

New, hot reports of sightings of the Nazarene being seen in the town of Emmaus were also filtering in tonight, giving life to further speculation that he is, somehow, truly alive.  Two men walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a few miles away,  are claiming they met the Nazarene this afternoon on the road out of the city.  They said he joined them and walked with them discussing the events of the last days in the city.  They didn’t recognise him immediately as the dead man especially since he questioned them about what the fuss was all about in Jerusalem today. They said he seemed to be the only one not to know what was going on.

At sun down though, when they went into an inn to have something to eat and a rest, they claim that his actions gave him away and they recognised the Nazarene.  In their enthusiasm they don’t exactly know what happened to him. Reports reaching us from Emmaus state that these men are claiming that he actually disappeared in front of their eyes.  
Jerusalem, April 4th – tonight  - 
A report has just reached us that the Nazarene’s disciples have received news from their Master directly when he joined them for dinner in the abode where they were in hiding fearing for their lives. He is said to have appeared in their midst suddenly, with closed doors, and told them he was hungry. They offered him a piece of roasted fish, for which he thanked them and ate it. We are awaiting further news from our reporters on site for further updates.  

The Last Word?

Make yourself at home here, come back and read some of the older cappuccino posts too, relax, reflect.... and comment if you wish....there's a comment button at the end of each post!
I hope to see you again in a few days time. Enjoy.