Wednesday, February 27, 2013

That Hand Taste Good


"The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,
'Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,
nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.
And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word.'"
-Jeremiah 18:18

Jeremiah was called to be a Prophet by the Lord and the very people he was called to help sought his own ruination. They sought to trap him in his own words and probably felt if they could show he is wrong in anyway then they do not have to listen to him. Here is a person called by God to help others grow in their relationship with God and each other and the very people he tried to help sought to do him damage. 

How many times do people do this to those who want to help them? Sometimes we are not ready to hear a particular challenge that the Lord is trying to offer through a specific person. So many times we attack the messenger because seeing the Truth can be a very painful event in our lives. Especially when we are stubborn and do not want to confront the issue that can be so obvious to those around us. Thank God I never have to go through this because I am always right and know everything. :0P

So I just wanted to say thank you to all those who have called me to more honest in my life and apologize to those who I might have hurt in that very same process.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Will the Test be Multiple Choice?


"Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good. 
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, 
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. 

Come now, let us set things right..." 

Isaiah Ch 1:16-18

My initial response to reading this was, "hear the orphan's plea! I can do that!... wait a second that is the easy one!" That is the one I would pick on that list that I would feel good about. I could tell myself, "Look at what I did; I helped an orphan today! Look at what a good and repentant Christian I am." This would not be about repentance but about me making myself feel better.
As if that wasn't bad enough I reread the passage and I realized that this was not a multiple choice repentance. There are no options given.

The Prophet Isaiah does not say something to the effect of, "discern on one of the following and see which you would most like to do...please?" He calls us to a REAL change of life. Isaiah wants to show us that one cannot have real change without removing the bad and replacing it with a good. I cannot keep repeating the same sins over and over again and think it will be okay by adding some good acts on top of that. As if the more good I do it will cover up the real problem. Covering up a mess in a dirty room is very different from cleaning up that mess. One actually changes something and the other just hides it.

One of the greatest challenges of our faith in Jesus Christ is this: Am I willing to change my life for God?

I think this question is not a multiple choice one, but a True or False question.

"Come now, let us set things right..." 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Willingly as God Would

I hope he applies.  :oP

The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

“…and witness to the sufferings of Christ.” 1 St. Peter 5:1

What an interesting way to put that… I mean why not say, “...and witness to the saving power/joy/peace/happiness” something to that effect. I remembering hearing that the first letter of St. Peter was his Easter homily to newly baptized Christians. This was written when Christians were being persecuted. This specific passage is directed to the presbyters, or priests, and since we are baptized into Christ; we are also prophet, priest and king.

This is written to me. This is written to you. This is written to all of us.

“Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.” 1 St. Peter 5:2

“Tend the flock” reminds me of what Jesus told Peter at the campfire at the lake after the Resurrection. When I put this passage in a context of preaching to people who are suffering and I then hear it as Peter telling them not to take out their suffering on others. I feel that is my default; my default is that when I feel bad I try to make other feel worse so I feel better about myself. I criticize, say something hurtful, roll my eyes, sigh heavily to let people know I am annoyed they are talking to me, instill doubt, make sarcastic comments etc, etc, etc. The list, sadly, goes on and on ad nauseam. I try to apply a false air of superiority and all of this is un-Christlike.

I think when St. Peter says, “witness to the sufferings of Christ,” he is telling those listening to bear their suffering the way Jesus did. Do not take it out on others. Do not lord it over them. Do bring it to God and let the pain from the suffering end with you. Do not continue to spread shame, pain and suffering.

“Feed My sheep. Tend to My flock. Be an example of the power of My Love in the world and this is how you will make disciples in My name.”

Friday, February 1, 2013

A House Divided

A House Divided

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables,
“How can Satan drive out Satan?
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand;
that is the end of him.”

How important is reconciliation? The two becoming one… Our God loves to unite.

How does one begin to tend to wounds that are festering? Sometimes life is so overwhelming we look at a problem and it seems impossible.

One of my most memorable moments in my time in the monastery is when I was learning how to play the piano and the time spent with my piano teacher. I started off with difficult pieces, (Rag Time music by Scott Joplin) and I remember being so frustrated with myself. He would tell me, “Yes, it is frustrating and difficult. Now how are we going to tackle this?”

After much time, patience and effort I was able to play at least part of the songs pretty well for a beginner.  The healing that God offers can instantaneous and miraculous AND it can be over time like a bone repairing itself. Our wounds and our divided homes can be healed by actively participating in the healing God is offering us in Christ Jesus. Us participating in our healing can look like not feeding ourselves poison, participating in healing and rejuvenating activities and relationships such as prayer and the most basic one that people do not realizes is rest. We have to give ourselves permission to rest and say “The world is still moving around whether I finish this task or not. I need to rest and if I don’t I am allowing destruction to come to the Temple of the Holy Spirit.”

Sometime I like to switch around the words of the Gospel from a negative to a positive (old social work habit lol)

“If a Kingdom is united, the Kingdom cannot fall. If a House is united, that House cannot fall. And if God has brought all people to himself and they are united; they will not fall; that is the beginning of true joy.”