The Octave of Easter

 

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Matthew 28:16-20 was our early morning reading. The disciples show up where Jesus had directed them. When they met him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Not just one, but also some. Wow what does one have to do for these guys? I guess it is like anything else people need something to spark belief. I just think of all the people that see what is happing with the weather and still doubt that it is caused by global warming. When the Pope talked about these men (disciples) he said, “They were a sorry lot but Jesus believed in them”. We do not need to be curtain because Jesus believes in us and that is enough for me.

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We Will Know Them by Their Snakes

Mark

17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

 

This is a part of the Gospel for Morning Prayer this morning. I have never met one of these people who can drink deadly things, or preach with poisonous snakes in their hands. I have heard of them in the South part of the United States, where they preach. The laying on of hands for cures of all types of sickness I have seen on TV, but have never talked to a person that has been cured. I have been to a service where the people were talking in tongues, but no one could interpret what they were saying. They did sound good and did add to the service, but it did not benefit the hearers. I have talked to people who have been cured from Cancer by a community of prayer. Also those who say that the surgeon told them that they felt the prayers of their community and it had helped the operation. These cures are few and I look for solid manifestations when I am very tired. When the work I am doing seem to be worthless. When my energy is low and I am weak, then it is at those times I need a good story about direct intervention of God. It is at those times that I need a message from my community that prayer has worked that Christ is alive and assured of his resurrection. This kind of healing I have been a part of. I have seen whole communities healed and given new life in Christ. I know that a praying community has the kind of healing that Mark is talking about. So I will continue to take my seat in the congregation and pray within the community for healing. ForJesus s confirming the message by signs to this very day.

“O Pretty Moon”

“ O pretty Moon, you shine so bright!

  I’ll go to bid Mamma goodnight,

  And then I’ll lie upon my bed

  And watch you move above my head

Ah! There, a cloud has hidden you!

  But I can see your light shine thro’;

  It tries to hide you—quite in vain,

  For—there you quickly come again!

  It’s God, I know, that makes you shine

  Upon this little bed of mine;

  But I shall all about you know

  When I can read and older grow[1]”.

 

Early this morning the alarm went off and I said to my self “this is a mistake” it can’t be morning already. But it was morning and I need to get up. The moon is long gone and the sun is coming up. As I sat in my chair with hands turned up and my head straight I thought, “What do I think about God, and who is my God”?

Here is my early morning list of my God at any given time.

1) A God of heaven and hell

2) A God that is mostly nice

3) A God that is very compassionate

4) A God that is always working for social justice

5) A God sometimes of requirements and judgments, with rewards

6) A very generous God

I wonder how many people think about who their God is. Have I slipped into an undefined orb of thinking? Do I need to think about this in my late years? Should I have not worked this out earlier? It could be that looking into the empty grave gave me time to reflect on what kind of God this is that proclaims resurrection and life. Looking into death yet found a place of life. The character of God shapes my sense of what faithfulness to God means to and to the life I live. So more shaping is in order and it is not an undefined orb of thinking or thinking in circles. The tomb is empty there is no more death.

 

 

[1] Excerpt From: Edmund Gosse. “Father and Son: a study of two temperaments.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/avBUD.l

 

Easter Day 2014

Easter Day 2014

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What can I add to all of the pomp and beauty of high Easter Mass? How can I even grasp what has happen since last Thursday? St. Symeon “The New Theologian” writes,

“For that which the eye has not seen, or ear heard, which has never entered into     the heart of man, how shall it fall within the scope of sensation”?

All I know is that I was with my brothers and sisters in sacred space. In that sacred space something happened I know not what. The presents of God, or the Holy Spirit I know not. Christ in a special way for sure, but I know not how.

St. Symeon goes on to say, “The man who has received from above the grace of having the praise of God always on his lips opens his mouth to breathe the Spirit of life”.

Even the praise is from God the most generous God, the freely giving God. He seeks us always. John put it this way “Whoever is born of God does not commit sin, for the divine seed abides within him/her and he/she cannot sin because he/she is born of God”. (1n3: 9)

The Lord has risen indeed, Alleluia!!

 

What When Where?

 

This morning when I turned my computer on nothing happen! Panic! And more panic! Then I just sat down and gave into the situation. I turned all power off to the desk and waited. Then I turned power back on and then waited, then turned the computer on and it started. This whole episode started me to think how much I question things. Question that lead to nothing or do they. In the book Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke gives this advice to the people who question.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer”.

Not too hard for me as I live in my questions all the time. Yet I do not write my question down to often. Not sure about the answers and how I will live the answers. It’s not easy being a heretic. Always sitting on the edge of the next question and never spending much time in any of the solutions. So if you would like to join me and ride the razor blade of life, then start asking the grand questions of your life. You know the ones, “Why do I __?” “How can I ___?” Reflect on what it means to love these questions. Come with me on this disjointed venture and try like me to make sense of it all.

In My Leisure

 

 

 

 

 

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In my leisure this spring break I have read “The Origin of Satan”. By Elaine Pagels. Along with my assigned reading for when we return to school. In reading the Gospel of Matthew there is a lot said about Satan. Also Matthew says we have a lot of freedom as Christians. Satan has already been beaten and the war is won. It is the evil in us that hold us back. Yet Matthew has Jesus call down divine wrath upon “this generation”(23:36), and Matthew does vilify his opponents. The scribes and Pharisees he calls “hypocrites and children of hell” very strong words in his time as well as ours. Matthew always puts forth a very Jewish Jesus. A Jewish Jesus that fulfills the Torah, by this he means the deeper meaning of the law. Matthew’s Jesus calls the coming of God’s judgment; the divine king will gather all the nations, some to enter into haven and the others will be thrown into the lake of fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. (25:34-46)

This week we will be dealing with the sacred stories of the last days of Christ life and the crucifixion. A lot of dark (en de nux, “is was night”) and it was a crisis (κρισις) or in some translations “judgment”. I think of evil, darkness as the same and the betrayal was in the garden at night. I wonder if my mind has slipped a cog, as I think of Eden. The betrayal was in the garden during the day or was it? Who knows I may be a heretic. I keep asking questions, “Whence comes evil”, “Why is evil permitted”? Tertullian a contemporary of Irenaeus (180 c.e.) has no time for those who asks to many questions. He even called some heretics who deviated from the majority consensus. Tertullian quotes Paul “all should speak and think the very same things”.

Wow I am a heretic according to that definition of heresy (ηαιρεσις) literally meaning choice. To Tertullian heretics actually pride themselves on the ways they differ from the majority, regarding these insights as proof of their deeper thinking or insight. Here is a small excerpt from Tertullian’s writings “Wherever they (heretic) have hit upon any novelty, they immediately call their presumption a “spiritual gift”, since they value not unity but diversity”. Even today those who see diversity as a form of division have trouble staying in unity with the Church. There is still a fear of unity as well as diversity in the modern church. Christ prayer that we all shall be one may someday come true. I just don’t see it happing in my lifetime.

 

Matthew tells us to knock and to seek (7:7) and all shall be revealed. So what will come of me if I keep asking all these questions will I stray from orthodoxy? Will I end up in the camp of the enemy? Or will I on Easter Morning see the light of the everlasting love shining forth in the risen Christ? The great empty tomb as God’s love for all of mankind. Well that is my hope. I look forward to Easter Morning as I do most sunrises with anticipation of color, light, and beauty. I look for Gold, Sliver, and light. So bring out your Gold and Sliver and God will provide the light and we shall all shout “Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia”

 

 

Because they cry out

Because the needy are oppressed and the poor cry out in misery, I will rise up, says the Lord and give them the help they long for.Image

This past weekend I went with others to hand out palms. We had a table set up in a Mall, and the youth of the parish helped with the palms. We were very visible and some people walked way around us, and others came up to us with a yearning in their eyes. We did not give out all the palms we had with us nor did we have many conversations. To some this may have seemed a failure, yet it is so hard to tell what is failure or not in spiritual endeavors. For if just one person starts to think about coming back to God or just one person thought about God that morning the whole project was a success. If just one person that was needy that morning and was given some hope then it was a success. Each time I try to judge spiritual matters with my secular brain I cannot make sense of it. The Lord will rise up, and give them the help they long for