Morning Musing: 1 Thessalonians 4:13

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Last week we talked about the Netflix series, Virgin River. I don’t usually come back to talk about the same series so soon after hitting it once, but as I watched the penultimate episode of season three last night, I was bothered enough I couldn’t ignore it. And I was going to wait until tomorrow like I usually do, but events in my own life lined up such that today is the right day for it. We’ll go back to Mark tomorrow instead. Today, we need to talk about a funeral.

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Digging in Deeper: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things that has always made Americans different from the rest of the world is our fierce spirit of individualism. This has long been one of the identifying hallmarks of our culture, and in our own myths and mythologies, one of the virtues we celebrate above all others. Just think through our most popular heroes and the stories we tell about them. They all include some element of someone going on a long journey or overcoming some great challenge all on their own. While nearly the entire rest of the world is much more community-minded, we try and do things by ourselves. A Netflix show we have been watching now for three seasons puts this on display while at the same time offering a reminder that doing life alone isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Let’s talk this morning about the hit series, Virgin River.

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Morning Musing: Mark 12:38-40

“He also said in his teaching, ‘Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes and who want greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher judgment.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Last night I finished watching the first (and likely only) season of the Netflix series, Cursed. It is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur focused in the first season on the character of the Lady of the Lake. It was fun seeing a new backstory of the characters I’ve read about and watched in more iterations than I can count, but one thing about the series bothered me. The writers had a pretty clear axe to grind against the church. Throughout the series, while there are several villains, the church is the chief, led by the Red Paladins whose singular mission is to ruthlessly stamp the fey people out of existence. One scene from early on in the series featured a close up of the leader of the Red Paladins talking to small child about the love of God, and then zoomed out to a scene of chaos and destruction and mutilated bodies all brought by his shock troops to an innocent fey village. The clear charge of rank hypocrisy was glaring. The attack throughout was unfair, inaccurate, and unfortunately too often entirely justified by purveyors of religion since the dawn of time. While Jesus wouldn’t have appreciated the depiction of His church in Cursed, He offers His own warning against similar excesses here that we do well not to miss.

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Morning Musing: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When God was creating the world, everything was good. Again and again this refrain echoes across the unfolding drama of creation. Each thing God makes He pronounces good. Then He gets to us and says it is very good. It’s really a beautiful picture. That’s chapter 1. In chapter 2 we get a more intimate look at the story of creation focused in on the creation of people. There, once God has created all of the world and just the man something suddenly changes. God says, “It is not good.” And what is the thing that isn’t good? It is not good for the man to be alone. We were not made to do life on our own. And while marriage is one way to make sure we don’t have to try it, this morning I want to talk about another, equally valid and more broadly available option (since not everyone is called to marriage): friendship. And I want to do this through the lens of a recently concluded Netflix series. Here’s why you need to watch Alexa and Katie.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 5:43-45

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One more recommendation for you this morning. This time a show from Netflix that started out on YouTube. This one combines great writing and acting, a terrific story, martial arts, and a heaping dose of nostalgia to make it even sweeter. The language is once again awful and it’s pretty violent, but the picture of redemption we are given along with the power of love over hatred once again shows why the Christian worldview is right and true. Today, let’s talk about why you should watch Cobra Kai.

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