Aloha Friday Message – July 18, 2008

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Yes, it happened again. It is FRIDAY, and time to share some news and a few scattered thoughts. Today Crucita ends her 25 day sojourn among family and friends. She will be back at our house in about 10 hours and there will be pictures to see and stories to tell. It has been a good time for her to reflect, to relax, and rejuvenate. For the kittens and me, it’s been 25 days of trying not to make so big a mess we couldn’t get it cleaned up in time, and 25 days of continuing to trust God to keep his hand around her while she is traveling. In other words, even though we missed her terribly, we pretty much stuck to what we always do: Try to stay out of trouble and thank God for all His blessings.

I also give God thanks for each and every one of you who hosted her during her visit. I appreciate everything you have done to share your lives, your thoughts, your homes with her. How good of you! And how wonderful to know that you are vessels of His love which you have poured out into our loves.

I have been thinking about a real-life little story I heard in church a couple of weeks ago. I little child was praying her night-time prayers, and as she was finishing up she asked for God’s blessing on her family, on the soldiers, on her dog, and then finished up by saying, “And God, you take care of yourself, too, because if something happens to you, we’re all in trouble.” As our saying goes, “From the mouths of babes….”

Well, of course, in years to come the child grew in wisdom and in stature and learned more about God’s omnipotence; but, I suspect that the caring love, so innocent and personal, that she felt for God as she “admonished” Him also grew to a deeper and even more personal relationship. I believe she now knows with the certainty that comes from personal experience that God understands our burdens, our joys, our thoughts, and the desires of our hearts.

Many of us in the MBN know that as well, don’t we? The Gospel reading that week was from Matthew 11:25-30. It’s the one that ends with “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I AM meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In the Epistle from that Sunday, Paul was telling the church in Rome that the Sprit gives life to our Sprit and to our mortal bodies as well, “if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.” That phrase landed in my ear in a new way during the homily. I had always heard it as “if only” like “if after all the Spirit of God….” That is the meaning in the Greek word ei;per eiper {i-per}. That Sunday, and even now, I heard “if only the Sprit of God Dwells in you…” Ah. Another moment of, “oh, my!”

Do I ever let a spirit of discouragement, or doubt, or meanness, or coveting, or greed, or unjust anger, or despair, or any contrary spirit interfere with my relationship with the Holy Spirit? “Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” [NAB] So I ended up with something new, another handle on the Word: “… if after all the Spirit of God [and only the Spirit of God] dwells in you…”

I think that may be part of the way God responds to the child’s prayer. He takes care of Himself in us; within us He takes care of the love, the Spirit in our spirit, the Body in our body, the Life in our life. And He asks us too to take up that task, to follow the command that we love one another, that we put balance in our lives between spirit and flesh, and with him, that balance is easy because he is meek and humble of heart and only the Holy Spirit dwells in him.

Many of us who are reading this now have physical or spiritual burdens; some of us have both. I have found much solace – and lightening of my own burdens – in your lives, in your meekness and humility, in your willingness to help God take care of Himself in His children. Perhaps MBN members C.W. & G.W. say it more clearly: “God is on His throne and we’re hanging tough.” That is balance. That is the way to endure, and not only endure, but prevail.

Thanks for the love you share among us all, “for the love we have comes from God through Christ Jesus by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.”

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

chick

Pray for one another, especially those who are dealing with long-standing burdens of illness whether in body, mind, or spirit.

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About Chick Todd

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

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