Coughing, aching, sneezing, revealing glory

Just then, a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.

— Matthew 9:20-23

I say this not to be arrogant, but as a simple statement of an observation I have made over the course of …. well, let’s just say my lifetime and not worry too much about how many years that may be. That is that it takes a pretty serious illness to make me stop what I am doing or plan to do. Stuffy nose, nasty cough, chest congestion — you know, stereotypical winter cold symptoms — do little to slow me down. Migraines can do it, but only if its not a particularly busy day at work. If it is, I go to work and head home when the absolute necessities are finished.

But, when I do get sick, look out! The last time I was for real sick — pukey, tired, achey, stuffy, the works — I admit that the only time I wasn’t whining about feeling like crap was when I was asleep. Fortunately for everyone around me, I was asleep most of the time.

Knowing how I react to a real sickness makes me admire the woman in the Scripture passage above all the more. She put up with her illness for twelve long years. It was an illness that carried a stigma for in the Jewish culture an illness that involved bleeding would have made her ‘unclean’ and prohibited her from temple activities and required those around her to treat her differently.

More inspiring than her endurance, however, is the sheer faith she held in the healing power of Jesus. She believed that he didn’t have to turn. He didn’t have to look at her. He didn’t even have to touch her. All she would have to do is get close enough to him to reach out to him and touch the hem of his robe.

When we’re sick, we have it a little easier. We don’t have to fight through a crowd. Jesus is as near as a prayer. We don’t reach out physically, we reach out with a request for healing. We ask knowing that Jesus has the power to heal us, but acknowledging that not our will but his is to be done even in the midst of our illness.

And, in all things, we ask that God may be glorified, even in our sickness.

On the go: Favorite iPhone photos of 2011

Recently, I posted my four favorite photos of 2011. I totally forgot that I used my iPhone as my primary camera for much of the year. Crazy that a phone with a camera now can produce images of better quality than the ones I used at the newspaper when we first went digital! As before, I couldn’t come up with just one so here’s my top three.

1. We all need love
I saw this painted on the side of a factory when I started riding my bike to work this spring. I must have rode past it for a month or two before finally deciding to stop and take a photo. I’m glad I did because they painted the whole wall of the factory, covering the drawing.

2. Snow at Relevant
The only snow we’ve had this year in Central PA was the six or so inches that arrived on the Saturday of the Relevant Conference. These little flowers were still in bloom outside the hotel.

3. Saved in an old Bible
I was writing a post about an old Bible on my Grammy’s bookshelf. Inside, I found this flower or clover or something, carefully pressed between the pages. I played with it in one of the nine apps on my iPhone. {Seriously need to get that addiction under control!}

Images of Passion 2012

I returned late yesterday from Passion 2012, where I served as a doorholder for 44,000 college students who met in Atlanta for four days of teaching and worship. They were also asked to help fund organizations working to end modern-day slavery. The goal was $1 million. They raised more than $3 million.

Words can’t express how amazing the week was, but maybe these images can offer a glimpse …

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2011: The soundtrack

I’m sitting on my couch watching Coldplay on Austin City Limits – a lovely way to ring in 2012 as far as I’m concerned. What better time than to look back at the music I listened to the most in 2011.

Every year I make such a list and it always contains the caveat that the music may not have been released in the previous year. It’s just the music that I seemed want to hear.

Until this year it was highly subjective. Whatever I remembered listening to the most ended up on this list. This year, I got creative. I reset the play count on my iTunes to zero on January 1, 2011. That way, whatever was at the top of the list at the end of the year would be the “for real” music I listened to the most.

Here it is:

Now, a few things to note about this:

1. I didn’t buy a lot of music this year and I listened to Pandora or the single best public radio station around (WXPN!) more often than not. As a result, the newer music I loved didn’t make it to the list. The Civil Wars, for example. Or Adele. Or Foster the People. Or the new Passion CD. All the same, I can’t disagree with what made the list. I definitely stop hitting the next button every time they come on.

2. Clearly I had a British thing going this year. Mumford & Sons. David Bowie. Manic Street Preachers. Coldplay.

Anyway. It’s time to hit the reset button. Let’s see what 2012 brings. In the meantime, enjoy Sigh No More, the first song by Mumford & Sons that I ever heard.