To Walk Humbly…

March 9, 2018

“ In your relations with one another, clothe yourselves with humility, because God “ is stern with the arrogant but to the humble he shows kindness”. Bow humbly under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time he may lift you high. Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you. Stay sober and alert. You opponent is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith, realizing that the brotherhood of believers is undergoing the same sufferings throughout the world. The God of all grace,who called you to His everlasting glory in Christ will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish those who have suffered a little while. Dominion be His through the ages ! Amen.” ( 1 Peter 5: 5b-11)

Horses are beautiful creatures.. They are large and very strong, and at the same time very sympathetic to human emotion/condition. Anyone who has raised animals can attest to this type of response.
If you have never ridden a horse, it is an experience. I personally have ridden a grand total of 3 horses in my lifetime to date ( it’s not in my future plans to do so). To be honest, although it may be ridiculous, being a person of not small stature, I always believed it to be an undue burden on the animal, for the sole purpose of my own pleasure. If it were a necessity, for transportation or work to be done, then by all means, it would be so.

Anyway, if you have ever been on top of a horse, one of the first things you will note is how high up it is that you feel on that mount. A very abnormal feeling , although I am sure it is one you might eventually become accustomed to.

This feeling of being high up, and looking down on all one surveys, feeling the power under your control, is exactly where the idea of “getting on your high horse” came from. In medieval times, a person who was of some nobility or rank, would have owned a horse that was very large and powerful.
His horse would be larger than that of a “commoner”, or a person of lesser rank or state.

This idea, is exactly what it is that Peter is attempting to convey in his message to the people in Asia Minor who needed some organization and to lay the ground work for the larger church. This particular passage was directed primarily to those who were part of the body of the church, not elders per Se. The idea here was to instill humility, and subjugation not only to the church leaders, but for them to be subject to each other. To care, to love and to be present to one another. To address each others needs, and to share each others burdens and to be on guard not to be proud in ones own estimation.

This echos the passage of Micah 6:8 “
* You have been told, O mortal, what is good,

and what the LORD requires of you:

Only to do justice and to love goodness,

and to walk humbly with your God “

In today’s world, we need people of faith, to provide for others not only a witness to God in their lives, but an example of HOLY humility.

May God give you the gift of His peace !


Who Will Separate Us From God ?

March 4, 2018

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ ? Trial, or distress, or persecution or hunger, or nakedness, or danger or the sword ? As Scripture says… “ For your sake, we are being slain all the day long, we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.” Yet in all this we are more than conquerors because of Him who has loved us. For I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers , neither height nor depth nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.”

Romans 8: 35-39

Are you struggling today ? Are you trying to find your footing ? Feeling lost, or depressed ? Unloved by someone, or feeling lost ? Feeling a certain void ?

If I could give you this passage, and have you think about this message. Ask you to take some time and REALLY think about this scripture and what it means for you.

I want to go back for a moment to last weeks reflection, where we talked about salvation. Do you remember how I shared with you that the Franciscan view is that Jesus did NOT come to into the world because of SIN… He came into the world because of LOVE.

For God so LOVED the world … Not for God thought the world was a totally wretched placed and all of humanity was so sick and twisted with sin that letting them kill His son was the only way to fix it all. NO..

Consider this passage, and examine the depth of Love it contains. This , brothers and sisters is a declaration of undying, unending and eternally abiding love. There is nothing that can separate us from the LOVE of God. From the very beginning.

Remember that “ In the beginning was THE WORD, and THE WORD was with God, and THE WORD was God, and THE WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us. “ (John 1:1)

THE WORD is Jesus Christ, and notice that Jesus was not an after thought, not a remedy, but instead always has been and there in Love from the very beginning and was part of the plan of the world.
THAT plan is like a great jigsaw puzzle. Each person, each life, each vocation , each soul, is a piece.
That piece is unique. It only works when it gets put in the place it was meant to be, when it joins together and clasping together with the other parts.

You are like that piece. You are unique ! You have a purpose, a reason , a vocation that only you can fulfill in this life. I don’t mean vocation in a career sense, I mean a spiritual/ministerial vocation, a function in the puzzle of life. And it only works because in that piece, fitting into that puzzle, you are there to touch other lives, other souls. You are grasping together with others.

The picture on the face of the puzzle is the story of salvation. Yours, and theirs, throughout all of the history of mankind. This type of unending, unflinching,, undying love that God has for us that is
there for us every day. God in the Trinity, is the great love of our lives. No matter where you are in your life, there is nothing that can separate us from the LOVE of God. If you have faith, if you allow yourself to experience and share that love with others. You will know that in the end, it will be as it was in the beginning, nothing but the love of God.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

For All Have Sinned…

February 23, 2018

“ The Justice of God has been manifested apart from the law, even though both law and prophets bear witness to it – that justice of God which works through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. All men have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. All men are now undeservedly justified by the gift of God through the redemption wrought in Christ Jesus. Through his blood, God made him the means of expiation for all who believe . He did so to manifest His own justice, for the sake of remitting sins committed in the past to manifest justice in the present, by way of forbearance, so that He might be just and might justify those who believe in Jesus.” Romans 3:21 -26

Like many other points of scripture we have a vast number of instances, this one being one of the more “popular” in usage, where people are quick to note that all people sin, and fall short.. and that is true we do sin and we do fall short. We are definitely sinners.

Too often is this passage or that passage used as a means of taking people down or worse yet, is the source of which people keep feeding their own guilt. People get stuck on the first part of the passage, the part that causes people to look at themselves, and their fellow man as inherently bad, or evil beings. Things that will never change, things that would cause you to enter into this cyclical routing of ones own soul even to the point of despair and grief.

The second part of this passage reminds us that although we are all sinners, and are all part of the human family that has a fallen nature, that Jesus has already redeemed us. The sin you commit today, provided they are not mortal sins, would not separate you from God, and can not separate you from the fact that your sins have already been redeemed by virtue of faith in Jesus Christ.

Now, this passage brings up another interesting point. In the Franciscan view we understand that Jesus was not just merely in Gods plan for the sole purpose of being the redeemer. If that were the case, then God would have seen mankind as bad or evil creatures. We know this is not true. How do we know ? Consider this. IN Genesis Chapter 1:31 – At his point was the conclusion of creation ( including man) and He declares that He looked around at everything he had created and found it to be GOOD.

This being the case we know that mankind was Good from the beginning of creation. We also know that scripture tells us that “ In the beginning was The Word ( Jesus) and The Word, was made flesh ( the Incarnation) and dwelt among us. Now the question is why? Why did Jesus dwell among us ?
God loved us from the very beginning. We were PART OF THE PLAN ! We also know that if even one sparrow falls, God knows. Each person is part of the plan. Each person has a role to play, a very specific vocation to fulfill. Each person is special and loved within the eyes of God…. within the Body of Christ.

God came to Earth NOT because of sin, BUT BECAUSE OF LOVE… For God so LOVED the world, he sent his only begotten son. What did Jesus try to teach us the whole time he was on earth.. He tried to teach us how to LOVE. To love God, and to love our neighbor and even how to love ourselves.

It is NOT OK to sin. Sin is ugly and hurtful, and repugnant. But it is for us to grow, to learn, and to love. To grow in our faith, to both forgive our neighbors, and ourselves, and to grow closer to God, in all that we do.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Miserere Nobis…

February 16, 2018

“ Agnus Dei… Qui tollis peccata mundi… Miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei… Qui tollis peccata mundi… Miserere nobis,
Agnus Dei… Qui tollis peccata mundi.., Dona nobis pacem ! “

Just in case your Latin is a bit rusty, or you have not been exposed to this part of the Holy Mass, this is
the part of the Mass where we say :

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world …. Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God.. Who takes away the sins of the world …. Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God . Who takes away the sins of the world…… Grant us peace.

Now, last Saturday morning I was at Holy Mass, along with my community. I was tired, exhausted and was going in to lead a meeting with an insufficient level of caffeine in my system ( one of my vices I confess). So there I was sort of in a fog, and placing myself in a spiritual place before Our Lord.

I read and listened to the readings, and the Gospel ( currently we are reading the Gospel of Mark).
Shortly enough we had reached the Eucharistic part of the Mass, and the pastor began this chant.
As I sat and joined in, I had a moment of clarity, or at least a moment of inspiration; all centering around this part of the Mass.

In particular, the word : miserere, caused me to stop and ponder. Of course, one of those challenges when I get some pointed inspiration during Mass is that we should be centered mentally and spiritually upon what is occurring in the present. That is important because of the fact that this point in time particularly is when Jesus is present in the sacrifice. To be present to Jesus is the highest calling, and the highest honor indeed. The pull however is that at some point *( this has happened to me personally a number of times) when I will be sitting there, I gain some insight, or some perspective that I consider would be great to share with all of you, and I force my head back into the Mass ( where it is supposed to be) and lo and behold, by the time I get out and drive all the way back home,,
BOOM ! Its gone.. I hate when that happens.

This however was not the case with this one.. This point struck me so that I had no problem remembering. SO, here it is..

The thing that struck me about this Latin word “miserere” is that it has a base for both the English words, MERCY and MISERY. Now think about that for a moment. The root of this word is
MISER whose meaning is “wretched”. Consider the idea that If we are wretched, and by that I mean sinful, which of course we all are, then we have need of mercy, which of course we also all need.

We have of mercy in our daily lives, both to give ( be a vessel for) or to receive mercy. Who among us can not see where we have a brother or sister who is suffering ? A brother or a sister who is in need, even if they are seemingly unaware ? In the process of our daily lives we may be equally unaware, that we ourselves are in need of mercy, to be able to see our own fallen nature, while at the same time we need to be able to see Christ in our brothers and sisters and accept their fallen natures, and accept them where they are.

I have faults as well all do, I fall as we all do.. As part of the Body of Christ, It is not that we fall, BUT HOW WE RISE !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

You Do Not Know The Day….

February 2, 2018

“You know very well that the day of the Lord is coming like a thief in the night. Just when people are saying “peace and security”, ruin will fall on them with the suddenness of the pains overtaking a woman in labor, and there will be no escape. You are not in the dark, brothers, that the day should catch you off guard, like a thief. No, all of your are children of the light, and of the day. We belong neither to the darkness, not to the night; therefore, let us not be asleep like the rest, but awake and sober”. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6 )

In the course of my life, I have lived through many occurrences, where people have predicted the end of world. The end of life on Earth as we know it. Obviously, those predictions have all failed. It all seemed very silly to me. I seem to remember in the early 1970’s there was someone who thought they had figured out when the end was coming, and as usual, there was a great gasp, and people scurried about and worried about this and that. In the end, the appointed time passed, and nothing had occurred.
…. or did it ?

I remember taking some time to pause and ponder my own demise, as well as that of others. My family, friends, and those I cared for. Not too long after I attended the funeral of one of my grandparents. It gave me time to pause and ponder. I am pretty sure that I am no alone in the idea that when presented with a scenario where there is a potential for loss of life, that most, if not all, people tend to take a moment ,or more, to reflect on the greater mysteries of life.

Paul, was certain, that almost immediately after the death of Christ, that the second coming would in fact occur, and it would happen soon and with extreme swiftness… That however, was not the case.
You see he failed to remember that Jesus said that we do not know the day or the hour that He will come again to bring His kingdom. So it has been for lo these 2000 years.

Paul still however gives us sound advice. We do not know the day or the hour, but most assuredly, it will come and in that time, we need to be ready. Sounds about what you might expect… Can you truly ever be ready ?

Remember, that salvation is a process, not a date. The same thing occurs in our call to the Kingdom of God. Our work in this vineyard, is a process. It is never done, until we are called home. We know that our journey is a one of struggle… It is one of triumph, and failure, and having the strength to get up and move forward and continue.

It is through this journey that not only do we learn, and grow, but it is how the seeds are spread for others to gain insight and wisdom, through our witness, in how we live our calling.

If your struggling in your faith life, take heart in the idea that at the times when we struggle the most, that these are the times that God is working most closely with us.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

From Consumer to Disciple..

January 27, 2018

” You likewise know how we exhorted every one of you , as a father does his children – How we encouraged and pleaded with you to make your lives worthy of the God who calls you to his kingship and glory. That is why we thank God constantly that in receiving his message from us you took it, not as the word of men, but as it truly is , the word of God at work within you who believe.”
( 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 )

This weeks reading we return to the book of Thessalonians where Paul is attempting to encourage the community, by reminding them of the things they are called to as disciples of Christ. The first part of that reading says that he is asking them to remember that they are to live lives worthy of the call.

Worthy of the call to the kingship. It is Paul that feels the certain patriarchy, Paul feels , a certain responsibility because he went to Thessalonika to preach and founded this community. By this time the community had gotten quite large. As the community grows, it presents some certain challenges because the humanity of the people grows exponentially as the community grows. . It requires a little more hands on approach to governance.

We as humans, we tend to fall into a rut, we get comfortable… we get sometimes too comfortable. We get into a habit of certain things…. We get into the habit of going to church, the habit, the physical act of going to church, of showing up, of going through the motions, and as a result, can become complacent in our spiritual growth.

We need to take responsibility for our own formation, for our own spiritual growth. We have too often become the “consumer of church” . We go expecting to be entertained. We want it to be comfortable.. we want it to be nice.. We want it to be easy, and we want it to feel good ! absolutely NONE of that is what we are called to. The practice of our faith life is not comfortable, it is not easy, and it takes work.. .HARD WORK.

The kingship that we are called to is to know our selves, to know our failures, to have the responisbility
to the other, although they too are called the kingdom. They too are called to the same work. We have a responisbility to them, for them. Our call is to serve. In order to serve effectively, we must first take a good hard look at the state of our spiritual lives. Our spiritual education.

We have a 2 fold service. service to God, and service to our fellow man. Both of these require us to know and experience God in our daily lives. In our study, in our practice and our works.

In today’s world you don’t just walk into a job, where it is being a mechanic, or being a professor, or doctor… any kind of job and simply expect to begin working with no background. Likewise, you can not advance within that job, without additional study, practice, mentoring. Along with that training there will need to be some hands on work, or practical experience. Our faith lives are no different.

You are called to be Priest, Prophet and King, but you need some basic instruction from where to begin. Faith life becomes a point of practice. You take this basic information, and plug that knowledge into your day-to-day life. You develop understanding where you excel and others where you fail. You make changes and you grow hopefully.

The problem is that all too often people stop there. Sure, they go to church every Sunday. They consume what they are given in the way of scripture and sacraments, which is good and necessary.
It tends not to be enough. It is just enough so that you are maintaining the minimum. Its like going to the mechanics and getting the oil changed. You know you need to do it.. You do it so that you can keep going. It protects you so that your car will keep going. But its not enough.. there is work to be done.

When I first started studies as a Spiritual Assistant, I talked with a priest friend , who gave me this one piece of advise. If you want to grow in your faith. If you want to REALLY know the heart and soul of your faith, study the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

In the heart of the Gospels you will find the true center of our faith. The things we are called to know, to share and to bring to others. You can not ” Go forth and make disciples of all the nations”…. if you don’t know what you’re making them disciples of ? !! Sharing your faith with others means that the people who you are sharing your faith with, will have questions. I dare say, that in sharing your faith, you too might have questions that you do not have the answers for….. AND THAT IS OK ! its GOOD !

The most intelligent thing, the most responsible thing, is to tell them something like :

” I don’t have the answer to that question, but I will find the answer for you, and let you know..”

Why ? It’s being honest, and the person who is asking the question, will hear the ring of truth. AND, honestly, if you don’t have an answer, then this will be a point of growth for you as well.

Too often we have become reticent in our study. To a certain degree, they can become repetitious. You will come to know the answers to these questions. They are usually pretty basic questions. People want to know why you believe this , or that ? Why do you DO this or that ? How do you know that God exists ? Why did God allow this, or not do that ? Give me a reference in the Bible, for your belief in this or that.

But guess what ? THAT too can become commonplace, and a habit. So then what ?

You will have to find answers to your own questions ! GO and seek out new questions, and find the answers, because if you find the questions, eventually someone else will have those questions too ! You can be the laborer who plants the seed of deeper faith and spread God’s kingdom. That seed will eventually bear fruit not only in their lives and in the lives of those that THEY touch, but in your own spiritual life as well.

Keep asking questions, and keep asking questions until you get more questions, deeper questions, until you run out of questions ( You never run out of questions ! ).

By your seeking, by your learning, by your faithfulness, you will answer the call to fulfill your vocation as a disciple of Jesus Christ !

May God give your the gift of His peace !

Because I Bore Your Name…

January 12, 2018

“Remember me Lord, visit me, and avenge me on my persecutors. Because of your long-suffering banish me not; know that for you I have borne insult. When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and happiness of heart, Because I bore your name, O Lord, God of hosts ”
( Jeremiah 15:15-16 )

Here is Jeremiah. Jeremiah is having this discourse with God over what has been going on. He is saying to God basically four things through this process :

First, he saying Hey Lord, remember me ? I’m the guy down here trying to follow all the orders !
Maybe some of you have felt this way. A feeling of frustration with the world, with your life, with what is going on in your life or in the lives of someone close to you. Maybe you feel like you have been down here on your earthly plain, trying to follow all the precepts of your faith, and lets just say that over all, things are just not going the way you think they should because, lets face it, your praying, your pleading, fasting, and performing pious acts, and you are just trying your very best but things are just not working out and your just not getting what you want ?!!! Jeremiah can relate.

Next, he says, well, don’t give up on me. I get it, you have put up with a lot from us over the years, but don’t toss the baby out with the bathwater. Then, just like some child we might all know.. Jeremiah says.. Hey, and don’t forget when I put up with a bunch of stuff just because of you ! Those people called me names and treated me like dirt. ”

You can see that Jeremiah really wants to do what is right and good and holy.. but he is having a really bad , tough day at the office and it’s just hard to be good ALL THE TIME ! Can you please just get this off my plate I am exhausted and exasperated and just plain done. Sound familiar ?

Last week at the office I had a bad day, and there was an issue that was laid at my feet. It was not something I was blamed for, but frankly I had pretty much had my fill of the entire situation, and for just a moment, that nasty human temperament took over, and I growled at the person who laid the problem at my feet because, well, because I was tired of dealing with this particular issue and thought it had been laid to rest and the policies that were in place to keep this from happening, meant that I was not supposed to have to deal with this particular issue.

In the end, I was forced to deal with the same issue again, with the same people involved, and with same headaches, and to be honest, I was fuming. I did not want to speak to anyone for fear the tongue would be set loose, and well, that is never a good thing..

After I had some time to sit with my unhappiness for a time, one of the brothers came to me and said,
just remember all that Christ has suffered for you…

Of course, then the anger gave way to guilt, and dissipated. It didn’t mean that I was happy about the issue that was laid at my feet, or that I wasn’t going to have to deal with shouldering the issue, it was that I could handle it, and would for the sake of peace. Could I have pushed that back to someone else, Yes. But, it would not have been productive for anyone.

The last part of the passage, shows Jeremiah saying I “devoured your words”. I didn’t just nibble and ponder, I DEVOURED them. I went after your word with reckless abandon. Why ? Because “I bore your name …”

OK, This is important. How many of us go after the Gospels, or scripture with reckless abandon ? How much time do we dedicate to educating ourselves about our faith ?

There is a funny thing about studying scripture, and it is sort of the same paradox that is evident in other parts of our faith life. The more you study, the less you know. What I mean by that is that in the course of studying scripture, faith, and life in the Spirit, The more you study, the more you learn, and as you learn more, it becomes evident how much it is that you don’t know. The problem occurs, that in order for you to know, what it is that you don’t know, you need to study.

Ask the hard questions, first, ask them of yourself, then go find some answers, and then keep asking questions until you are satisfied with those answers, AND they lead you to other questions. None of us have ALL the answers. We do however, have places to seek the answers. The important part is to find the questions, and keep seeking answers. This will become your joy !

Why ? Because we bear His name !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

We are Bound to Thank God for you…

January 5, 2018

” We are bound to thank God for you always, beloved brothers in the Lord, because you are the first fruits of those whom God has chosen for salvation, in holiness of spirit and fidelity to truth. He called you through our preaching of the good news so that you might achieve the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. ” ( 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ).

In this passage, Paul is writing to the church in Thessalonika and like most of the other letters that Paul sent to these church communities, he is giving them greetings, and encouragement, and some direction as well.
Like many parts of the church history there are times in various communities where things go a little awry and the church has to step in and make some necessary corrections in a pastoral and fraternal way.

In the background of this reading Paul has a few items he needs to address. First, is apparently there were a few in the community who were not really doing what was in the agenda in the way of work, AND,
they were busy minding everyone else’s business but their own. It does not really tell us much about what it was, but that really was not the point anyway.

Lets take a note of something that I really, love, which is how Franciscan it is.. that when Paul went to Thessalonika to spread the Gospel, what happened ? He worked, and not just a little it says in this passage that,
they strained, they worked hard in order to insure that they were not a burden to others while they were there. They did not come in and expect that everyone would just open their homes and let them stay. It is logical to assume that the time necessary in order to spread the Gospel, to teach, and to develop a church that would have enough of a local foundation to be able to stand on its own would take time and effort.

The story goes, that Saint Francis and another brother were walking through a town in the pre-stated objective that they would be preaching the Gospel. They performed many charitable acts, but the brother was anxious to get to the business of preaching. Near the end of their journey the brother asked when they were going to start to preach. St. Francis said, we already have. ” Preach the Gospel at all times. .and when necessary use words. “.

The apostles certainly did this. They went to Thessalonika and worked and while they worked, this was so that the community there would have an example of what to do, and how to build the church there.

It was also important for Paul to give encouragement which is the point of this particular part of the story. You can tell that the church in Thessalonika is important to Paul.. in a way it is like a parent, whose child has gone away to school or off to work, and they want their child to know of their love for them. It has that familial feeling. In a traditional sort of style, just as we read from the Gospels, the style of instruction to the Jews, there is a history, something that causes them to remember where they are and what they have done, or some part of the prophecy, or covenant that they knew, or possibly some trial or tribulation they went through in order to learn some important lesson.

Here Paul is just giving them a reminder of their bond, and how it is that this community was one of the first, and they are almost obligated it would seem, to thank God for these people., that they were called , that they have the work ahead to get to the salvation this is there for them. THAT is the work, and the standards that they are held to, and the standard we are held to. This does not mean we are perfect, and it does not mean we are not to fail, or be understanding of either our own failures OR the failures of others. It simply means this is the goal we are working towards.

Paul gives is the example in how we are to approach people in a fraternal correction, to do so in a positive light, to do so in a way that is supportive, loving, sensitive and by way of example, we can show others how to do that same thing we are attempting. We should be able to give encouragement, share our own journey, and provide formation in a positive light.

In the same way, I want to encourage all of you, my brothers and sisters, to spend time working on your own formation, your own spiritual development. It is part of the work we are given, as part of our faith family, to learn as much as we can, and discern the meanings for our lives, and apply those things not only to our own lives, but in helping our brothers and sisters along the way.

Remember that the biggest challenge we have, is the battle over our own will, over our own natures, over our own inclinations.

My Father used to say ” What ever you are, be the best that you can be… ask the hard questions, and learn “.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

I Will Give You a New Heart…

December 29, 2017

” I will sprinkle clean water on you to cleanse you from your impurities , and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts, and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statues, careful to observe my decrees. You shall be my people, and I will be your God. ”
(Ezekiel 36: 25-28 )

This passage is part of the fall and restoration of Israel and the Jews. Israel had engulfed itself in sin, and turned away from God. Then Israel fell into slavery and there stayed. In Gods time, he cleansed Israel from all its sin, and its idolatry. This was before the time of Christ. In fact, this time was the preparation of the time of Christs coming. It is before the world is ready for Christ, They had hearts that were hard, and sinful. In order to prepare the hearts of men, God allowed Israel in order to prepare for the coming of Christ.

The heart, that is spoken about in this passage is the voice of God.. ” taking from your bodies your stony hearts…” The stony heart is the heart of sin, it is hard, and unimpressible, untouchable, unreachable. We have all had people that we want to reach, or we really want to talk to , or teach, or gain an understanding of. We reach a point where it is that we are unable to make the connection we so desperately want to make. The other person is not desirous of being reached or participating and happy to be left alone.. So you are forced to leave them to their own devices until they are ready.
This is exactly where Israel was in this process. their hearts were hard, happy to be left in their sin and vice and not ready to hear, and not ready to receive the Word.

Eventually after their exile, once they were spiritually freed, then they could be physically freed from their slavery in order to receive the land God had prepared for them. They were now free to begin the work to prepare the land to receive the Lord.

In this time he brought them ” natural hearts “. These hearts that were impressionable, hearts that were gentile, hearts that were docile, hearts that were spirit filled and hearts that were ready to receive the Word, and then carry the seed God so desperately wanted to plant.

I like to consider this passage in the backdrop of the Advent and Christmas season. Look at the world we currently live in. We are at this time, no difference between Israel of old. and the time we are living in today. We have a world that is full of people with stony hearts. Their hearts are hard, unimpresisonable, unwilling, unyielding, unforgiving. These are hearts that have turned from God, or replaced God in their lives with the idols are greed, materialism, and indifference. Hearts that are full of self-love and self-importance. We have turned from God in our hardness of heart.

In particular, once every year, for a time, we have our stony hearts, that get replaced with natural hearts. During Advent, that special magical time before Christmas, where we allow ourselves to feel, to open our hearts not just to our fellow man, but to God. Sure, there is a vast amount of materialism and greed that goes on as well, BUT, there is still this grand glimmer of hope.

We get the chance to see the spirit work in our hearts, and the hearts of our fellow man. To see the kind of world that Jesus taught for us to live in ALL the time. On the calendar, Christmas is not just a day, but a season. In truth, what is intended, is that Christmas should be a lifetime. Carry your natural hearts you gained this year, through your whole life, loving God and neighbor.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

The World Waits…

December 23, 2017

The world waits..

Waiting in a soul reaching anticipation…
In the cool night air, the slight dampness settled and sky is cloudless…
Not a sound can be heard but the animals near by and hushed tones
The stars showing brightly.. particularly the guiding star showing brightest of all and coming to rest over a stable..

And the world waits..

Exausted from travel, frustrated from not finding a place to rest for the night,hearing the sound of their breath and finally findng a place in a stable.  ALthough its not perfect it is only for one night. Jospeh and Mary rest from their days labors.

And the world waits..

Suddenly, finally ,without fanfare, without robes or linen, without finery, but with total love, the Lord Jesus, King of the Universe, the Son of God, enters the world.
The world never to be the same.. True God and True man.. and then we hear nothing..

And the world waits..

The Lord goes through His ministry.. His teaching, His Passion and His Death..

And the world waits..

Then comes the Lord again, triumphant over death and sin, and shows the world again the lesson to be learned..
He reminds us of His Love and then ascends to Heaven and tells us of His return..

And the world waits…

Then every day in churches all over the world, the faithful gather, weary from their labors, their travels,
They come without fanfare, without linens or robes..
They come from the many, to become one.
Then with the same quiet and love, prayers are said, and the story begins again..
Again the Lord is made present, in the world, and is taken anew into the world to be shared through ministry.
We pray again….

And the world waits….