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.

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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

Thank you St. Gregory of Nyssa

Πνεθμα

 

Holy wind blow thru my mind, is the lyric’s of a song but I can’t remember who’s. There it was the Pneuma going thru the the church that afternoon. The church building is new the excitement of their new cross. The large cross that was going to be put on top of the church. There was a veneration of that cross before it was put in place. The chanting by everyone, the call, the response the beauty the color the the bells, the smells,the veneration of the cross, the food the family and the community all praising God,as my friend said come for the smells, bells, the Holy Spirit, and food and dancing and I was not disappointed. The childern running to and fro, singing the responces that they liked, but always moving. People always on the move and chanting or singing as they willed. There is a beauty beyond by ability to express, it must be part of the Holy Sprit.

Thank you St. Gregory of Nyssa

Thank you Πνεθμα

 

 

Seem Hot to You?

With the ring of death still in my ears I am thinking of my grandchildren and great grandchildren. What kind of Earth are we leaving them? I am no scientist but the best of the scientist say the time has come when there may be no turning back. It seems to me that the message for humanity and society is simply this: Time is running out. Government officials and top climate scientists say the world will need to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times. Climate change is anthropogenic – caused by human beings, some much more than others. We as people of the Earth live the consequences of that change: the acidification of oceans and decline of many species in them, the slow disappearance of island nations such as the Maldives, increased flooding, drought, crop failure leading to food-price increases and famine. Then how about the increasingly turbulent weather, Sandy, then a typhoon in the Philippines and heat waves that kills elderly people by the tens of thousands. Does humanity have the capacity to admit the problem; can we name it, and then systematically aggressively address the problem? I not sure it may just be the hot weather today and more for tomorrow. I may be a little out of my mind. There may not be a problem after all. Our press would tell us the truth if they knew it, or would they? I was thinking if the island of Japan was going underwater what would happen, or if we lost half a mile of East Coast shoreline. How about lower Manhattan lost to ocean. Seventh floor water front property, what a sale that would be. Ocean view and diving board from my fourth floor apartment, water taxies to down town. Just think about it, new immigrants from the Canal towns of Europe, with new opportunities for them, their boats, and their labor, a true New, New York. It is just to hot I can’t go on.

Dem bones connect where?

 

The readings to day were very long, and in some ways it was hard for me to stay awake and find meaning. Yet there must be something in these as a set. Fist Old Testament Ezekiel, then Romans, and then a reading from John. As Fr. Marshall pointed out in his sermon that Ezekiel is one heck of a Priest. A tad out there, but still a very spiritual man, what seemed to Ezekiel as dried up bones, God’s eye had a different view. What seems to us as dead and dried up God may use for a great cause. Then the first line of the Gospel of John, “To set the mind on flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace”. Now that seems simple, look to the spirit and all will be well, or will it? Death will still be part of the human deal, but the difference is if one dwells in the spirit of Christ then that person will be raised. But what about now, John writes that a person in the spirit is also one who is living a life of fullness.

 

Then we hear a very long story of Lazarus of Bethany, this could be a zombie story, the kind of popular TV or movie. Here is this guy that is called back to life and comes out of the grave, with all the white gauze wrapping. He has only been in the grave for four days so the gauze is new and so his family has to unbind him. It is remarkable to me is no one faints nor none of the teenage girls run off screaming. One other thing about this story that is strange to me is that thru out the whole story it seems as if Jesus was giving a Sunday school class. Just think about it, he asks a question and then Martha gives an answer that seems like it is from the catechism. She said I know my brother will arise in the final day then Jesus says ‘I am the way and the life” Then she says “Don’t remove the stone, there is a stench because he has been dead four days” Jesus retorts “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” and the lesson is over.

 

I have not taken on the hard theological question of how much do I believe in the power of the triune God and to be more specific, how much do I believe in the work of the Holy Spirit? I have pondered these questions. The Pentecostals friends of ours have no problem with the Holy Spirit. For them the Holy Spirit baptizes and gives gifts of tongues. They call on the Holy Spirit to safeguard them by a protective area around them. The Holy Spirit is a part of their every day talk as if they were talking about someone at work or school. An active spirit in the world and their world, when they are moved it is the Holy Spirit. When they have an insight, it is the Holy Spirit.

 

Now I can give the Catechism answer, the “Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, God at work in the world and in the Church even now”. Can that hard to find parking place that just pops up, be the working of the Holy Spirit? The Catechism asks the question, “How do we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives”? Want the answer? Here it is straight from the BCP “We recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and are brought into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation”. Now that’s a lot different form the outward signs that the Pentecostals talk about, bless their hearts. I am growing closer to them as the Holy Spirit moves in me and I see the Holy Spirit move in other people around me. I am not ready to say this story about dry bones coming together and Lazarus is a zombie story or the next great TV show, but has moved me to wonder.

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