Friday, September 30, 2016

Do Not Be Afraid!

Do Not Be Afraid!

My Beloved Child,
You Belong to Me.
The God, who cherishes You,
Holds All Things in existence.
How then, can you be Afraid?

A Leaf cannot Fall,
Nor a Bolt of Lightning let fly
-unless I Permit it.
All who Call upon my Name I Save.
How then, can you be Afraid?

I Am the Lord, your God.
I Know how Tomorrow unfolds.  
I Know the plan of Hope I have for you.  
My promises Belong to You.  
How then, can you be Afraid?
   
My Beloved Child,
You Bear my Name,
Carry my Father’s Love,
and Possess my Holy Spirit.  

Go Forth then,
-in Faith and Joy.
Share what you Know to be True.  
Tell my People,
                                         “Do Not be Afraid!”

Friday, September 23, 2016

He Saw A Man

He Saw A Man (Matthew 9:9)

As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, 'Follow me'.  And he got up and followed him.”  
         As Jesus was walking on from there…’  Flashback: He had just come from the house where a paralytic was lowered through the roof.  The Pharisees condemned Jesus for forgiving the paralytic’s sins, whereupon Jesus proved the Son of Man has the authority to forgive sins by miraculously healing him.
         ‘…he saw a man named Matthew’.  Jesus beheld a tax collector, a Sinner loathed by all, but saw a Man -whom he had called into existence, whom his Father loves, who is alive by the Breath of his Spirit.  Moved by compassion, Jesus called Matthew into his Fold of Friends.  Matthew was Forgiven before he was Friend.
         Later, while celebrating a meal with his New Friend, Jesus was disparaged for associating with sinners.  He replied, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  Go learn the meaning or of the words ‘What I want is mercy, not sacrifice.’ And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.”  (Matthew 9:12-13)
         If it were I in the body and place of Jesus, I would have seen, not Matthew the Man, but a Sinner.  I would have seen the Tax Collector, the Extorter of Widows -who leeched upon the poor, who ate the bread of hungry children; who forced fathers to labor late hours to feed his greed.  I, who had shared the sins of Matthew, who had been Forgiven and called into The Fold, would have yet still seen the Sin.  At best, in my busyness of doing good, I would have judged him ‘not ready’ for The Fold.  
         But the Truth is, I am in the Body and Place of Jesus.  I have answered his call.  I am sent to Forgive the sin; to Embrace the sinner -to Befriend all into The Fold.  It is for me to say, “My brother, I have sinned and been forgiven -and you can be too!  I was sick and have been healed -and you can be too!”  It is for me to say, “Hey Matt, take my hand -let us follow Jesus.  He’s calling us into The Fold!”
        Jesus, I want to love with your Heart, to see with your Eyes.  Wrench from my soul all disparaging thoughts, pride and condescension.  Shield my eyes from the Problems that I may see the Possibilities.  Let not my inclination to judge blind me of Love and Hope.  
         Lord, whoever is touched by your Spirit is made New.  When you bring before me one sickened by sin, as I behold the sickness, let me see the Life to be.  May your Mercy give me eyes to see The Man you are calling into Being.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Cross

The Cross

In one analogy of the Cross, the horizontal member is our world, and the vertical is God, thus the Cross is the intersection of God with humanity.  Taking this point of intersection into three dimensional image, picture the Cross as an ‘interface’ between humanity and the Glory of God - as a ‘doorway’ between the fallen natural world and the supernatural world awaiting us.
The Cross has two faces.  The face we can see is Black, Dark, Of Death –reflecting our sin.  The face we cannot see, the side facing Glory, is Resplendent –reflecting God’s Light.  
The Cross is about Sin and Redemption; Death and Life.  To go from Sin and Death, into Redemption and Life, we must enter the Cross.  We must enter into Suffering before we emerge into Glory.
But its face of Glory is Hidden.  When we take up the Cross, there is no sense of Victory, only Defeat.  To bear the Cross is to Suffer.  There is no comfortable position.  The Cross only shows us our Sin, our Brokenness, our Smallness.  Even Jesus cried out, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’ as the Cross swallowed him into Death. (Matthew 27:45)
No one submits to the Cross, unless bitten by Death, unless Desperate for Life.  Even then, they must first Believe –that Self, has no power over Death, no source for Good, no claim to Eternal Life.  And if then, so humbled, they yet must Believe, that Glory and Life can only be found in that Darkened Cross –as when the Israelites looked up upon the Bronze Serpent Moses prescribed.   They could turn, to that which was Lowly and Raised High, or die. (Numbers 21:4-9)
If the Cross is cause for Hope, it is even more so a Quandary of Faith.  For, the Tree of Life is Dark Mystery.  The Cross is Mystery because its Work is contrary to its Fruit: Dying yields Life; Suffering yields Joy; Surrender yields Victory; and Obedience yields Freedom.  The Cross is Dark, for we neither taste, nor see, nor feel the Saving Fruit of its Work –we must Blindly Believe we are being Saved.
As when the Hammer Of God beats the Spear into a Plowshare:  Every blow of the Hammer disorients the Spear; each painful blow robs the Spear of its Status and Might; each transforming blow diminishes -with Unrelenting Mercy- everything the Spear once held with Pride.  The Spear is blind to its Transformation.  And even if, the Hammer Bearer should relent a peek of the Plowshare-To-Be, the vision would be reviled.
What, but desperation, would allow the Spear to submit to the hammer of the Cross?  What, but Mercy, could arrange such fate?  Dare the Spear expect to understand the Cross?  No language of words can possibly explain -and to experience the Cross only blurs its meaning.  Are we then, condemned to suffer its Wordless and Unpaintable Blows without the comfort of Meaning?  Was the Son of God spared Darkness in the Sixth Hour?
What mortal possesses such Virtue?  What Sinner can summon this Cross?  Who standing can submit to its Stripes?  “…they were astonished. 'Who then, can be saved?' they asked.  Jesus gazed at them. 'For men' he told them 'this is impossible; for God everything is possible.'” (Matthew 19:25)
In Truth, we do not choose the Cross –in Mercy, it finds us.  In Truth, we do not carry its weight –in Mercy, Jesus still bears its Burden.  “Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.  For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
We do not save ourselves –it is the Dark Mysterious Cross, reaching through time and space, with the Eternal Loving Blood of Jesus, carrying us -as Shepherd with Lamb against breast.  No matter how Weak, or Naked, or Alone we feel in the Darkness of the Cross, the Love of Jesus secures us, as surely as  Nails to the Wood, until He brings us into Glory.
           In the end, it is Love which Calls us to the Cross; it is Love which Bears its weight; it is Love which gives it Meaning; and it is Love which is its Perfection.  The Cross is the Portal of God’s Love.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Desire For God –Psalm 63

Desire For God Psalm 63

“God, you are my God, I am seeking you, my soul is thirsting for you, my flesh is longing for you, a land parched, weary and waterless; I long to gaze on you in the Sanctuary …” (Ps 63:1)


    Lord, your Word is a Love Song –a Revelation of what Love awaits the Soul seeking its Creator.  We are created for You.  Our entire being, body and soul, longs for You as parched earth for water.  Yet our nature is dulled to this awareness, having only vague feelings of incompleteness, as we gaze upon your stars.

“…and to see your power and glory …Your love is better than life itself, my lips will recite your praise; all my life I will bless you, in your name lift up my hands; my soul will feast most richly, on my lips a song of joy and, in my mouth, praise.” (Ps 63:2-5)


When your Grace kisses our Blindness, and we are Awakened from Death -when your Light emblazons our soul- our heart swoons at Love’s First Taste.  When your Spirit fills our soul, as wind a sail, Love’s Joy demands to respond, your Praise must be sung.  Our heart is flung toward You, our journey toward Union has begun.

“On my bed I think of you, I meditate on you all night long for you have always helped me.  I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings; my soul clings close to you, your right hand supports me.” (Ps 63:6-8)


          Having dipped our dry morsel into the Wine of your Cup, we can only desire more.  Our lowliness is displaced with Glory.  Our tears transcend into song.  Love’s Yearning longs to Cling –as a child to Mother, as beloved to Spouse, until two become One.

Friday, September 2, 2016

I Know My Name

I Know My Name

He was a mangy looking dog.  Abandoned as a puppy, he grew up in the streets.  Master found him in the shelter the day before he was to be put down, for he was an unsightly dog that no one would adopt.  Master brought him home, and gave him a bath that made him all shiny and clean.  That is when then he got his name -Toby.
Just as his coat was getting fluffy and dry, Master went to check the barn.  As soon as Toby saw the door open, he bolted out in a flash.  Master called out his name, “Toby!  Come back to Me!”  But Toby did not know his name -he did not know Who he belonged to, and he did not know the plans of His Master. Toby just ran as fast as he could.
Master found him again in the shelter, all matted with filth, but He loved him all the more.  Toby spent time with Master.  He ate with Him, slept at the foot of His bed, and followed Him like a shadow.  He came to love the smell of Master, and his tail now waged at the sound of His Voice.
In knowing the love of Master, Toby grew devoted to Him.  He now understood that he belonged to Master.  When he heard Master’s truck, He ran to meet Him.  When Master called his name, he went bounding to Him.  He sought the touch of Master’s tender hands.  When Master said, “Fetch the sheep!” he delighted in chasing them into Master’s barn.  And when Master said, “Watch the sheep!”, he proudly protected them -he would even die for them.
If Master said, “Come!”, and pointed to the truck, he would be overcome with joy to ride with Master, so much so, that he would act like a puppy.  And when Master said, “Stay!”, Toby’s wag would slow a little, but he would dutifully guard the Master’s house.
At day’s end, Toby would lay at Master’s feet.  It was there, in that time without words, with eyes lightly shut, that he felt especially close.  But if he sensed the slightest stir, the eye closest to Master would peek open, and his tail would begin to wag with expectant joy.
    Toby had become faithful to Master.  Everything he did, he did for Master.  Toby had come a long way since that wonderful, fearful day Master saved him.  It only took a week or so, to learn the name by which he was called.  But now, as the years have gone by, Toby, in his heart of hearts, has come to know the Name which makes him belong to Master!
Until we know our name, until we know who we really are, and who we belong to, we will not recognize the Voice who is calling.  “When that day comes - it is Yahweh who speaks - …I will betroth you to myself for ever, betroth you with integrity and justice, with tenderness and love; I will betroth you to myself with faithfulness, and you will come to know Yahweh.  …I will love Unloved; I will say to No-People-of-Mine, 'You are my people', and he will answer, 'You are my God'.” (Hosea 2:18)
         And as years go by 0f having been loved by Jesus, we can look back and remember that wonderful fearful day when he saved us -when our ears were opened, when we could recognize His Voice, when we could hear his Spirit whisper those Words we are all so desperate to hear, “You are My Beloved.  I created you Good.  You are Precious in My sight, and you belong to Me!”