Mark 8:34 happens to be one of my favorite Bible verses. This verse popped up at me before I was even a Christian while working on my adventure blog ‘The Adventurist”. A few years ago I wrote an article about a man who decided to take this verse literally. He built a large wooden cross and decided to carry it around the world. He would walk with this life-sized cross and preach to those that would listen. I am not sure that this was completely what was in mind when this verse was written, but God has still used this man to spread his word through the use of a single verse from the Bible.
This past week I put up an update on Facebook that simply said:
What does this mean?? “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34
This has lead to an in-depth study and discussion on this very intriguing verse. We were all in agreement that “he must deny himself” means that we have to walk away from our own selfishness in order to follow Christ. What does it mean to “take up his cross”?
Someone very close to me once said that meditation was anti-Christian. Their thoughts on this was that meditation is generally associated with far eastern cultures, namely Buddhism. We all know that Buddhist monks can spend years meditating, trying to gain their eternal enlightenment. I can see why people generally associate meditating with anti-Christian thoughts. Did you know that the Bible also speaks of meditating?
My curiosity got the best of me today and I decided to do some research on Christians and meditation. This all started out on a blog post about something called “The Daily Examen” that I read on the Healthy Spirituality blog. (This blog has been added to my blogroll.)
The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. (from Ignatian Spirituality)
Basically, this is a concept used to meditate on God about your daily life. This religious activity was developed by St. Ignatius Loyola as a means to get very close with God, while sharing all of your highs and lows pertaining to a 24 hour period. After reading about “The Daily Examen”, I began to wonder if meditating was actually against Christian beliefs. I know that there are Catholic monks in the world, but I do not have a clue as to what their spiritual walk is like and if they meditate or not.
I am writing this post to remind myself of a few things that my family done over the course of this past week. Halloween week is always hard when you have little ones in the family. We decided to take the ‘safe’ route this year and participate in some of the activities that our community has to offer. This basically meant that in today’s society we don’t trust the act of door-to-door trick or treating. I know I am not alone on this. Craig Ferguson, the late night talk show host, went on to add that it is strange that for 364 days of the year we teach and tell our kids not to take candy from strangers–but then that last day, we let them do it as much as they want. I found that funny and ironic.
This year we visited our community’s annual Halloween Health Fair. I know this doesn’t sound very exciting to most, but it was still fun for us and completely free. Our children were able to play lots of games, received free healthy snacks and prizes, and even got to play on a very large inflatable slide. They also enjoyed being able to see all the other children’s costumes. I tried to get them to follow me in to the Healthy Halloween haunted house, but it didn’t quite work out this year. Maybe next year.
After the excitement of the Healthy Halloween fair, Cassie and I were able to follow it up by putting on the preschool “Harvest” party. This is a new concept, but a good one for a church sponsored preschool. We were a few of the parents that provided snacks, games, and crafts for the children to enjoy. We also done all of the planning. The one thing we learned for the upcoming Christmas party–MORE CRAFTS! The kids loved them and so did the parents. The kids all got to dress up and had fun spending the day playing and crafting. They also really enjoyed the ‘mud pudding’ and attacking me with their spider rings. Just imagine a big football pile-up involving myself and 13 preschoolers. It was fun, but they almost got the best of me!
Sunday was our last ‘Halloween’ activity. We took the girls to our local car museum’s ‘Trunk or Treat.’ This basically involved walking around the three floors of antique vehicles and visiting some of the scary folks passing out candy to the children. They also had a game room for the girls, face painting, and tattoos! The girls really seemed to have a good time this year and never even asked when we were going to go door-to-door!
The first and the third things mentioned should become yearly rituals for our family. They are nice, safe, and fun. Ugh. I hate to say this, but CHRISTMAS is on the horizon!!