Sunday, August 21, 2005

Something Jesus Could Not Resist

I can't resist smiling when my little son giggles. I can't resist smelling my wife's hair when I hug her. I can't resist an invitation to play basketball with friends (although, sometimes I have to resist). What about Jesus? Did he have anything like that? Did he have anything that he couldn't resist doing?
One of my favorite Jesus stories has turned out to be one that normally gets passed by without much thought. It is found in all three of the synoptics, and in Luke it is in chapter 6. The basic rundown of the story is that the Pharisees are ticked off at Jesus for letting his disciples "work" on the Sabbath by rubbing grain between their fingers. Tensions are high and the Pharisees start to look for something that they can catch Jesus doing so that they can technically get him on a charge and eliminate him from inconveniencing their lives.
Jesus is in the synagogue. So are the Pharisees. So is a man with a withered hand. When the Pharisees see this ailing man, they smile and whisper to each other the good news: "Here's our chance to catch Jesus in the act, healing on the Sabbath."
Funny thing is that this man with the deformed hand was not up front or even in an interchange with Jesus yet. So, how did the Pharisees know that Jesus was going to do something? They knew Jesus' reputation. They knew that this truly was something Jesus couldn't resist.
Jesus couldn't resist giving grace to those in

Jesus did give grace. Before he did he pointed out that no rule, including the Sabbath, was ever meant to keep people from having good done to them. No rule exists to keep people from getting grace. He risked alientation from the Pharisees by healing the man, and his risk blew up in his face because they wanted to kill him all the more. Somehow, though, Jesus had decided that it was worth it. We follow a brave man when we follow Jesus.
What about me? Would others say of Dan Franklin, "He can't resist giving grace," the same way they would say, "he can't resist checking the score of the game if it is on in the background"? Sadly, I think not. What about with the socially needy at church, the financially needy on the street, the spiritually needy next door.
Jesus has shown me what it looks like, and I am so grateful that he fought opposition in order to give grace to people like me. I look forward to following him more in this. And if I can learn anything from Jesus example, it is that grace is something that is worth fighting for. That means not only fighting others who would keep me from giving grace, but fighting my own flesh and my enemy who would happily see me fat and selfish and indulgent.
May we all as believers be people who cannot resist giving grace to others.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Grandparent Visit

Nana Patti and Grandpa Froggy came to visit in late July. It was awesome to see them, but it was even better for Matthew to get to have some time with them. Here are some pics.

Taking turns with Matthew. Grandma. . . Posted by Picasa

. . .and Grandpa Posted by Picasa

Three Generations of Franklins Posted by Picasa

Hittin' the Zoo Posted by Picasa

Karina teaching Matthew about Giraffes Posted by Picasa

Franklin 5 Posted by Picasa

Post-Zoo Sleep Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


My favorite band is U2. In December I am going to see them with my best friend Dave. My favorite song (not just my favorite U2 song, but my favorite song. . .ever. . .period) is One. In my opinion it is the best song ever written by any man, and, when Bono sings it, it is the best song ever sung. It's hard to choose one favorite line in the song, but one that runs through my head, with the thought of Bono crying out from his soul is this:
You ask me to enter,
But then you make me crawl,
And I can't be holding on
To what you've got
When all you've got is hurt.

In this song I hear Bono calling out, begging for us to let go of our hurt and bitterness and pain, and allow others to be a part of this life we live.
One life
With each other

What could be more powerful to a hurting, confused world than to see people walking together through the pain without ignoring that it is there? What could be more appealing to the left, the disregarded, and the given-up on than to see others who have experienced this also giving up their pain to one another and to a man named Jesus?
Jesus is not a concept, he is a person. He is a man who lived as we do.
My favorite thing that Jesus said is at the end of Matthew 11
Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you for I am humble of heart and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.
Who is not weary? Who is not burdened?
Did you come here for forgiveness?
Did you come to raise the dead?

Sometimes I think that it can sound whiny to talk about the hurts we have felt and the wounds that we own. I think this is a valid danger, but there might be something much worse that happens if we don't allow ourselves to acknowledge that even in the best of circumstances, this life has hurt us deeply in ways that we cannot fix. If we ignore this, then our wounds grow more and more unfixable.

Well, it's too late tonight
To drag the past out into the light

This life is beautiful and it is tragic. It is heroic and it is painful. Thank God that we don't have to figure it out alone. Jesus is our older brother who has gone before us. He is our captain and our leader. He is our source and our sympathizer. He is not a concept, he is a man. And life now makes sense and has hope with him walking next to us.
One love, One blood,
One life, you've got to do what you should

While we are all different and have experienced different hurts, we all hold the beauty of God's image, and we all have experienced pain. I wonder if this in itself is enough common ground for us to truly understand and help each other. Maybe this is one of the reasons why Jesus came. . .in fact, according to Hebrews, it was.
We're one
But we're not the same.