Aloha Friday Message – May 15, 2020 – Stick with it

2020AFC041520 – Stick with it.

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John 14:21, 23 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” 23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

Proverbs 4:3-4 When I was a son with my father, tender, and my mother’s favorite, he taught me, and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.

Aloha pumehana, a me ke akua ho’omaika‘i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! Warmest Aloha, and may God bless you, Belovéd! Today is an Providential Day of serendipitous synchronicity. This is the Seven-Hundred-Fiftieth post on the Moon Beam Network. It is the twentieth post in the twentieth year of the twenty-first century – 2020 WHICH IS ALSO THE BEGINNING OF THE POST’S INDEX NUMBER and comes on the Ides of May. According to the Urban Dictionary, the Ides of May is “[t]he middle of May; approximately May 15th. This is the general date at which all [sic] high-school seniors have gotten where they want to be and thus, stop caring about high school. This coincides with the point in the grading term in which they can still pass their classes without doing any work from there on out.” Another way to put that is that it is the onset of “Senioritis.” I’ve never quite gotten over that, I guess, as I am still a Senior, and still coasting. Well, not really, but it seems that way sometimes. I don’t waste much energy on worrying or feeling deprived during this episode of World History. “We’re all in this together” seems to me to have been perfectly obvious since about November 20, 1946. I am not lonely, or disconsolate, or in any greater distress than usual. In fact, when people ask, “How are?” I’m pleased to answer, “I’m happy.” Oh, it’s true that I get irritated by kids on motocross bikes, and old men who run a weed-whacker 6 hours a day five days a week right outside our house. I do scoff at movie stars, costly athletes, purported comedians, and other celebrities who think they are medical experts or have the authority to speak disparagingly about our country; or politicians who can’t seem to keep their lies straight; or persons in authority who abuse that authority against the innocent. I am, nevertheless, not weighed down with personal responsibility – or guilt – for the vagaries of angry people. I choose to be happy.

I am happy because I know what JOY is simply because it is deep in my heart (↔ Music Link) and I am so happy (↔ Music Link) so much so that even when I am grouchier than Oscar (↔ Music Link), down deep I am truly, truly happy – and isn’t that what Jesus wanted, for your joy, my joy, our JOY to be FULL? There is after all a New Testament Commandment to love one another and abide in Christ’s love which carries with it the promise of complete joy: John 15:9-11 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

We are together with Jesus in God the Father because Jesus is together with us and with our Father. In this way we are able to Love God in Christ Jesus, and if we love him – that is what he tells us plainly – IF we love him (when we love him), we will keep his commandments. This brings to mind something we are hearing ad nauseum. There are a couple of ways we hear it:

We’ll all get through this together.

Together we’ll all get through this.

Well, here’s what I’d like to hear for a change:

We’ll all get together through this.

When we are reminded every few minutes – literally – that we should be feeling sad and lonely and have no place to go, that is a huge assault on the human spirit! We do have a place to go! We are never alone. Yes, I know that lonely and alone are two different things; I know we can be surrounded by others and still feel lonely. We may long for that human touch but feel we don’t deserve it or can’t bear it. In this pandemic, it is – in a very pervasive way – denied to us. There are times in our lives when we do not want to be touched; these are also times of pain for us. It may be emotional, physical, or spiritual pain that causes us to shrink away from the touch of others even if it is the touch of someone who loves us. We sometimes even shrink away from God’s touch. We may feel that God cannot possibly care about how badly we feel. “If God is really so loving and kind, why has he done this to me?” Intellectually, we can dismiss that rhetorical question by admitting that God does not cause evil; he does permit evil because it is part of his Divine Plan. Knowing that any of us could sometimes feel like God has deserted us, God made himself touchable. He gave us the Man, Christ Jesus, who was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and human in all ways except sin. He is resurrected and still very touchable. There’s song that I recall from the seventies that expresses this so sweetly. Written by Charles F. Brown in 1971, it became immensely popular in all kinds of Christian churches – including Catholic churches. (Yes, just to reiterate, Catholics are Christians!). It is called Reach Out and Touch the Lord as He Walks By. It’s a great way to be closer to God – reach out and touch him like an old friend. Jesus said, “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” (See John 15:15). And he has told us what the Father expects of us. I mentioned New Testament Commands earlier. Let’s look at Jesus’ commands – the ones he told us we will follow when we love him.

50+ commands of Jesus – Repent; believe; follow me; seek the Kingdom first; do not be afraid; do not worry; do unto others a you would have them do unto you; do not judge; love God; love your neighbor; do more than is expected of you; beware of false prophets; take care of orphans and widows – the poor and marginalized; honor your parents; keep your word; be generous; do not swear; let your yes be yes and your no be no; choose the narrow way; forgive your enemies; bless them that curse you; and a whole bunch more! Had enough? How can we ever do all of these things? Do you realize that, by some accounts, there are over 1,000 New Testament commands? (← Check it out!) At least 50 of these are straight out of the Gospels, compiled by various authors, here, also here, and here. While the approach in these sites is not completely in keeping with Catholic Tradition, one can – nonetheless – get a good notion of the absolute fact that Jesus had quite a lot to say about what it takes to serve the Lord, his Father, and if you read the passages listed in context you will see that for the Jews in Jesus’ day, much of what he said was radically different from what they believed. If we are being true to Christian teaching – true to the Gospel – then shouldn’t we also be radically different from the World?

I know some of our readers find it a bit irksome when I take off into the languages of the Bible to show you how God has preserved what HE wants us to know and understand. I’ll try to go lightly through this, but it is edifying to understand the importance of the word KEEP when God speaks it to us. Here are some passages to consider:

John 14:21, 23 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” 23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

Proverbs 4:3-4 When I was a son with my father, tender, and my mother’s favorite, he taught me, and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.

In the Old Testament, the word for keep is often shamar {shaw-mar’} I, keep, guard, observe, give heed. The Greek equivalent of this in the Old Testament is epereidō  to fix, prop firmly, lean or bear upon. In the New Testament a word frequently used is téreó tay-reh’-o  maintain, preserve, spiritually guard, observe, to attend to carefully, to keep intact without variation. Jesus gave us a set of directions to follow. It is the ultimate recipe for success. Like any recipe, it requires that we include all the ingredients. How can we do that if we do not know what they are? “I don’t know what God expects of me.” We can answer that question with one simple sentence which comes from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ And ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Here are some examples of what else we can do

Psalm 119:11 11 I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

Deuteronomy 6:6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.

Psalm 119:165 165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Proverbs 8:13-17 1The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. 14 I have good advice and sound wisdom; I have insight, I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; 16 by me rulers rule, and nobles, all who govern rightly. 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

That’s God’s recipe, His Story is history! And that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Won’t y’all come and get stuck with me while Jesus reveals himself to us? That way we can be happy and filled with JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY DOWN IN OUR HEARTS and truly

We’ll all get together through this.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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