Aloha Friday Message – December 20, 2013 – Mercy: Part 4

1351AFC122613 – Emmanuel

Read it online here, please.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore Adonai himself will give you people a sign: the young woman* will become pregnant, bear a son and name him ‘Immanu El [God is with us].

Jeremiah 23:23-24 –  Am I God only when near,” asks Adonai, “and not when far away? Can anyone hide in a place so secret that I won’t see him?” asks Adonai. Adonai says, “Do I not
fill heaven and earth?

Psalm 139:7-14 – 7. Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee? 8. If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol*, there you are. 9. If I take the wings of dawn and dwell beyond the sea, 10. Even there your hand guides me, your right hand holds me fast. 11. If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light”— 12. Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one. 13. You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. 14. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. * Sheol: Sheol is not the same as our modern conception of Hell. It is “the abode of the dead.” It signifies the place where spirits of the deceased were gathered together in a dusty, dark, and silent place. The dead go down into it, some by volition, others are compelled to go; a few are awakened and go up or are taken up from it. The dead continue the activities employing them in their earthly life, but only as “shades,” mere shadows of their physical form; they are the souls of the dead who merely exist without genuine consciousness or emotion.

Today we will look at the fourth “omni” word in our Advent series: Omnipresence. Some folks feel that it’s a bit of a stretch to find Biblical evidence of this theological term, but I think the quotes we have at the opening get to the core of the idea pretty well. The thing we have to be careful about with the term Omnipresence is turning it into a sort of pantheistic cosmology – a belief that God and the material world – indeed the entire universe – are one and the same thing, that God is present in everything in such a way that the Universe is God and God is the Universe. There is another philosophical viewpoint – more acceptable in my understanding called panentheism. While pantheism asserts that “Everything is God for God is Everything,” panentheism goes further to claim that God is greater than the universe; the universe exists within God, who divinely “transcends,” or “permeates” and is thus “in” the universe but not identical to it. I want you to be able to look back at this paragraph to understand why this omni word came last in the series.

When I think of these words we have studied – Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnibenevolent, an now Omnipresent – I think the aspect of God’s Omnipresence is the clearest demonstration of God’s Great Mercy. We started with Omnipotence; God alone has the power to forgive because only God’s perfect power makes Perfect Justice possible. Righteousness, Justice, Kindness, Mercy, and Faith are perfect only in God. We have these potentialities in our own beings because we are created in the image and likeness of God.

We next looked at Omniscience. God alone knows everything about us before, during, and after anything we say, think, or do. How? God is God, unless we deliberately and obstinately exclude God from our lives, thereby  actively excluding God’s magnanimous gifts and refusing to accept the majesty and glory so near to us that we have to work really hard not to see it.

Last week we examined Omnibenevolence, God’s Perfect Goodness. As with the preceding two omni words, the “omni” meaning is closer in connotation to “ALL” than to “infinite.” God is ALL GOOD. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,” as we read in James 1:17, so there wherever there is goodness, it comes from, with, through, and for God. This brings us to today’s Omni word, Omnipresence.

To me, this is the greatest, and at the same time simplest, proof of the Mercy of God. He makes himself known to every living soul in every place, at every time, within everything that is good. No matter where you look, there is evidence of the presence of God. I imagine that some of you, Beloved, are saying, “How can that be?! How can you tell us God is present in the violence of school shootings, the horrors of war, the destitution of famine, unprecedented geological and ecological destruction, and the ravaging distress of disease? How is that Mercy?!” He is indeed present – in us, in those who suffer, in those who sacrifice something of their own life to preserve the life of another. When we try to assign blame to God for these things, we totally miss the point. These disharmonies in our life can be restored to harmony when we learn to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with [your] God.” Micah 6:8

God is so immensely, interminably merciful that his Mercy is beyond our comprehension – as is everything else about God. He is so Merciful that he places himself in everything around us, infuses himself into every aspect of our being, and does these things in such ways that even the least-attentive observer of Creation can see God’s Omnipresence. It takes active exerted effort to fail to see that Omnipresence. He is so merciful that he makes his existence entirely visible through the whole span of creation’s time, space, and matter. He wants to make sure we don’t miss finding him because, “Once we know where he is we know who he is (The Almighty Ever-living God – El-Shaddai-Olam).” Almighty and Everlasting God! That is my God, not just because he is the only God, but because he has revealed himself by being Omnipresent! My God! That is so AWESOME! It is also so sweetly merciful.

I am reminded of a Daddy who keeps his children safe by making sure the house is sound and capable of protecting them. He clears pebbles, stones, twigs, discarded candy and gum, and any other obstacles or dangers from the sidewalk, the playground, or the back yard to protect them from possible injuries. He buckles them in when they ride in the car and then double-checks the latch to make sure it will hold. He sits up with them at night when they are sick or have a bad dream. He is also like a Mommy who gathers her child into her arms for every skinned knee or pinched finger. She prepares meals from formula or breast-milk, to pizza and pot-roast with such love that you can actually taste it in what she makes. She flies in the face of anyone who unjustly persecutes or blames her child, forcing them to back down. And when the child has children, those children share in the extended love of Gramma and Grampa whose love transcends all the love their children and grandchildren experience.

If you do that for hundreds of millions of cycles, you might pick up on the first three notes of the Eternal Symphony sung to God by the Angel of God and the Thee Holy Children in the Fiery Furnace and written down by the prophet, Daniel: “Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord! Praise and exalt Him above all forever!” (See Daniel 3:51-90) This passage is considered apocryphal by most non-Catholic denominations, so I encourage you to read it at the link in the line above or at this link. The Daddy and Mommy conceive, protect, nourish, nurture, educate, cherish, love, correct, and bless their child to save the child from injury, loss, pain, and death. God does that completely for everyone all the time everywhere. He gave that kind of restorative caring a name: SALVATION.

God’s Omnipresence is the stem of the shamrock, the base of the tetrahedron, the Foundation of the Ages. Because he can be Everywhere All That Is Can Be, he is Omnipresent. Because he is Omnipresent, he can be Omnipotent for he is All Power That Is Everywhere for All Time. And again, because he is Omnipresent and Omnipotent, he can be Omniscient for he is All Wisdom, Knowledge, and Glory in All Places At All Times for All Causes. Finally, because he is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient, he can be and forever is Omnibenevolent because his Perfect Justice, Perfect Love, Perfect Righteousness, and Perfect Kindness are shown to us every moment of our lives every way we look, every time we hear, everywhere we live and move and have our being. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Yes, he even lives in you and me! If you know that, then you know him.

Beloved, he’s right in front of you, all around you, right beside you, right inside you. O come, O come Emanuel!” (special thanks to Mary Jane McBride who took me to a Christmas Novena in 1967 which ultimately led to my conversion) And this verse from one of my favorite contemporary hymns sums up the whole series:

The mystery of Your presence Lord,
No mortal tongue can tell;
Whom all the world cannot contain
Comes in our hearts to dwell.

From You Satisfy the Hungry Heart Composer: Robert Kreutz; Text Author: Omer Westendorf

Have a Blesséd and Holy Christmas! Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

We pray that those who fear they cannot or should not be forgiven will find that your mercy exceeds all their fears and will therefore know your salvation.

chick

shamrock.clear           RotatingTetrahedron

 

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About Chick Todd

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

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