This and that

by chuckofish

cccameron

Our grandmother Catherine Cameron 1966

Remember when people received so many Christmas cards in the mail that they could use them as a decorative device at home? Well, times have certainly changed, haven’t they? I get fewer and fewer every year. As of 12/10/14, I have received five.

Mine are ready to go in the mail. Maybe I’ll get a few in response. Some people seem to wait and see who sends them before they return the favor. Please. Oh well, c’est la vie, but I like getting cards! Don’t you?

Here’s a link to an interesting story about Billy Graham and Louis Zamperini, the hero of Unbroken, the bestselling book by Laura Hillenbrand. You won’t see anything about Billy Graham in Angelina Jolie’s movie adaption of the book, but he was the guy who saved Zamperini’s life after he survived WWII. I knew when I read the book that this would be the case. Hollywood would never tell the whole story.

RNS-GRAHAM-LA b

Indeed, Zamperini survived the war and years of incarceration in a Japanese prisoner of war camp against incredible odds, but he was a broken man when he returned to California. He was angry and bitter and could not get back on track. The happy ending came, however, when he went in 1949 to one of Billy Graham’s first revivals and literally had a come-to-Jesus moment.

On the night of Oct. 23, Zamperini heard Graham say: “If you suffer, I’ll give you the grace to go forward.”

Hillenbrand, drawing on more than 70 interviews with Zamperini for “Unbroken,” tells how he recalled all the miraculous moments when his body might have broken and yet did not.

But on that night, Zamperini’s broken soul was touched. He walked down the sawdust aisle toward the Graham.

Over the next six decades, hundreds of thousands heard those words and did the same.

“God has spoken to you,” Graham said then, and ever after. “You come on.”

Zamperini became a devout Presbyterian and spent his life “giving back” and working with young people. What a made-for-Hollywood ending! But, of course, Hollywood no longer sees it that way. Perhaps that is why no one goes to the movies anymore.

And for all you LEGO nerds out there:

LEGO Christmas tree in Sydney, Australia

LEGO Christmas tree in Sydney, Australia

Pretty cool, eh?

And to wrap up this and that, here is a good prayer for the Feast Day of Karl Barth, which was yesterday, December 10:

Almighty God, source of justice beyond human knowledge: We offer thanks that thou didst inspire Karl Barth to resist tyranny and exalt thy saving grace, without which we cannot apprehend thy will. Teach us, like him, to live by faith, and even in chaotic and perilous times to perceive the light of thy eternal glory, Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, throughout all ages. Amen.

Have a good Thursday!