Aloha Friday Message – March 23, 2012 – Fifth Friday in Lent

1212AFC032312 – Catholic Letter Series

Read it online here.

KJV 1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

NIV 1 Peter 2:4 As you come to him, the living Stone– rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

NAB 1 Peter 2:4 Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, 5 and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Aloha nui loa, Beloved. Today we are going to look at a beautiful letter attributed to Peter, also called Cephas (KAY-phus) which means Rock in Aramaic and is also a Greek word for rock Κηφᾶς.

In this letter, Peter gives us many beautiful images, draws many examples from Old Testament writers, and presents a wide array of topics that address many aspect of life in the early Church. The one I chose for the open in this message is one of my very favorites. In this he makes a connection between Christ, “the stone which the builders rejected,” and believers who have become “living stones,” that is to say like Christ in that they are to be Holy, submissive to God, and to build a holy dwelling which will be a Holy Nation serving God. The word for “living” used here is ζῶντα zaonta {dzah’-on-tah} from za,w zao {dzah’-o}. za,w is the verb “to live,” and ζῶντα is “living.” But it carries a much deeper connotation that being “merely alive.” One example is in the term “living water.” This is water that has “vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul.” It is living that is fresh, strong, efficient, active, powerful, and efficacious. We come to Christ as living stones animated with the same capacity for holiness found in the Apostles because that holiness comes from and through Christ. What a mighty image that brings to mind!

Peter tells us Christ was “chosen by God and precious to him.” Christ, the Messiah is “called ‘elect,’ as appointed by God to the most exalted office conceivable.” And we are called to that same life as his servants. We are called the elect, the chosen because “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Ephesians 1:4) This word is ἐκλεκτός eklektos {ek-lek-tos’} and it denotes the best of its kind or class.

As living stones, we are to be built into a “spiritual house,” a family for generations, offering up ” spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” WOW! That is such a powerful statement, because it describes not only our calling, but also the fulfillment of that calling.

In 1 Peter 1:8-9 Peter tells us, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” What is that inexpressible joy and how do we feel it? How do we recognize it? It is the power of his love as delivered to us in and through the Holy Spirit that makes our hearts and minds leap for joy as we raise hearts and hands and voices to praise god for his generous love, unfailing promise, and awesome presence in our lives.

In 1 Peter 2:9 Peter tells us the reason God has fashioned us a living stone. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” God is Light. We are called to live in the Light, to let our Light shine, to be the Light shining in the darkness. In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

There are dozens of power-packed images like that in this single short letter. Scholars generally agree that it was written by Peter, with help from Silas (who may have been a “professional writer,” helping Peter achieve a very polished Greek text which might have been a bit out of Peter’s reach normally). The letter is addressed to churches planted by Paul and his fellow sojourners in Asia Minor: Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. That may have been the order in which a courier might have delivered the letter to those churches.

The letter mentions persecutions, suffering with Christ as we daily take up our cross, even dying under persecutions for the Gospel and for the joy we have of being so close to our Savior and God. I looked at several analyses of how this letter is put together, and here is a listing based on those reviews:

 

  1. 1 Peter 1:112: The JOY we have in knowing God loves us so much he provided a Perfect Sacrifice for our salvation – his only begotten son.
  2. 1 Peter 1:132:3: God’s love should inspire us to v-be some much like him that we strive mightily to be holy as he is holy.
  3. 1 Peter 2:412: Israel, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was the People God chose to be distinctly his own, the People of the First Covenant. Despite the many times they ignored that, God honored his promises, and not only made Abraham the father of many nations, he also us part of Abraham’s descendants through Jesus sacrificial suffering.
  4. 1 Peter 2:13-23: We can share in, identify with, and submit to persecution and suffering with Jesus and for the Gospel. Whenever we do so, we die a bit to ourselves and to the world, but we also glorify God.
  5. 1 Peter 2:2425: Jesus’ expiation (The complete reconciliation of God and humans brought about by the redemptive life and death of Jesus) of our sins is a powerful, awesome, incomprehensibly valuable gift – it is a gift given through the Grace of God, and that brings us back to the “Shepherd and Overseer” of our souls – our Creator, God. How can we begin to measure how grateful that can make us feel?!?
  6. 1 Peter 3:17: God is community as the Trinity. He established family as a community through the sacrament of marriage. Husbands and wives can honor this sacred vocation by honoring one another, loving one another as God has loved them. Dishonoring one’s spouse is point-blank dishonoring God.
  7. 1 Peter 3:822: This passage begins, ” Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” Peter goes on to say that under no circumstance or persecution and suffering should we seek to harm those who bring about that persecution and suffering. If we suffer for doing what is good, that is so much better than suffering for doing evil!
  8. 1 Peter 4:111: The World wants us to be like them, and constantly entices us to live “in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.” They make fun of us for being “religious nuts,” but when Judgment comes, they will have one hell of a time coming to them. As for us, we are to ” keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins (theirs and ours). Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another. Jesus blood cleansed you of your sins – the ways you have hurt yourself, your community, and your God; is blood also cleansed the sins of those who hurt you, hurt your community, and offend our God. His sacrifice covers all completely, permanently, eternally.
  9. 1 Peter 4:1219: “No matter how you struggle or strive, you’ll never get out of this world alive.” And struggle and strive as we might, we will always be facing situations where our suffering persists. Rather than wail and gnash or teeth, we can rejoice because are blessed, in that suffering when “the Spirit of glory and of God rests” upon us. ” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
  10. 1 Peter 5:16: When the World sees us acting this way – joyous in serving, joyous in suffering – they will want to know more about our joy and more about our shepherd. Those who are chosen for servant- leadership through the gifts of God will serve gladly, equitably, humbly – as did Christ. I probably will never be easy, but Peter tells us ” after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
  11. 1 Peter 5:714: God will do all these powerful and wonderful things to and for us because of his intense, eternal, infallible LOVE. No matter what Satan tries to do to us to destroy our relationship with God, that relationship is always restored when we reconfirm our alliance with God and rejoice in the wonder of his uncompromising love and care.

Share-A-Prayer

M&PC wrote to tell us, “We are praying for whole world for peace, safety, and wellbeing everywhere.” What an excellent prayer intention. Maybe you can add it to your list of intentions. So many places around the world are experiencing terrible weather, terrible acts of evil, terrible acts of violence. Pray that Peace will rule the planet, and let it begin with you.

Please continue to pray for the family of Baby Cheyanne. She lost her battle with multiple health problems. It has been so difficult for Mom and Dad, and for the whole family. They know Cheyanne has found 100% healing in the Light of His Glory and Love. The loss of that sweet child, however, was a hard blow. Pray for them to return to the joy they anticipated the moment she was born.

Pray for those who suffer for their faith. You would think that “in this day and age” religious persecution – even to the point of martyrdom – would be nonexistent. But it is not.

Pray for everyone who suffers poverty, injustice, hunger, loss of work or loss of income; for those who suffer through illnesses like cancer, mental illness, chronic disease, acute or chronic pain; pray for those whose family are falling apart and for those whose families are just beginning or just beginning to heal.

Finally beloved, pray for one another. You know there is a Daily Intercessory Prayer List. Whenever you pray the MBN prayer, that short prayer includes all of the intentions in the Intercessory prayer list – over 100 now.

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

chick

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – HOSANNA! – Sixth Friday of Lent

1115AFC041511

Happy Hosanna Friday, Beloved!

Today I am thinking about Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. What a wonderful story is there. We’ve heard it before, maybe seen it enacted in a movie or a play, and we have a pretty good idea of the events. I want to look at some of the characters and symbols in this story. In Matthew it goes like this:

Matthew 21:1 When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. 3 And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.” 4 This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: 5 “Say to daughter Zion, ‘Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.

7 They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. 8 The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. 9 The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

And in Luke 19 we have these details:

29 As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples. 30 He said, “Go into the village opposite you, and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone should ask you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you will answer, ‘The Master has need of it.'” 32 So those who had been sent went off and found everything just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying this colt?” 34 They answered, “The Master has need of it.” 35 So they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks over the colt, and helped Jesus to mount. 36 As he rode along, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road; 37 and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of his disciples began to praise God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds they had seen. 38 They proclaimed: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He said in reply, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”

In Zechariah 9:9 we read: Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. So the fact that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey was, in part, a fulfillment of scripture. But there’s more. In Jesus day, and in many Eastern cultures, a donkey is seen as symbol of peace. A king who rides in on a donkey is coming peacefully. A king who rides in on a horse is coming in war. It is also significant that the colt Jesus’ disciples borrow is one that has never been ridden. Here the King of Peace is so gentle and so humble that even a young colt never before ridden submits to Jesus’ presence. Instead of bucking him off, the colt meekly carries a full-grown man. It is interesting to me that the disciples who went to fetch it did so without question, and then they put their own cloaks on the back of the colt to make a more comfortable seat. I think it might have also been more comfortable for the colt! And you know, I think that colt’s mama walked next to him on that journey. Read it again and see if you think so, too. But how did this come about?

How did the owner know it was OK to lend his animal to Jesus’ Disciples? The gospels don’t say, but as often as Jesus traveled through that area, he sure must have had more friends than just Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Since this must have been shortly after Lazarus was raised, maybe the guy who owned the colt had told Jesus, “If you ever need anything at all just let me know. It’s yours!” Just speculating about that is kind of fun, but really, we don’t know exactly what happened in that part of the story.

Jesus was in Bethany, close to Bethphage (“Place of new – or unripe – figs”) somewhere perhaps around the Mount of Olives. He gets on the colt in Bethany – about 2 miles from Jerusalem, and heads into town. On the way people who have seen him, who know him – some intimately, some only be reputation – get excited about seeing him, and they begin to remember Zechariah 9:9. They start pulling down palm fronds and laying them on the path in front of him or waving them in the air. The palm was a symbol of victory – even Holy Victory. In addition people were laying their cloaks down in the road and letting the little donkey pass over them. A similar event is reported in 2 Kings 9. [They hurried and took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”] Elisha had just anointed Jehu (“Yahweh is He”) as King of Israel, and had ordered him to go avenge the murders committed by Jezebel’s forces when she had the prophets slaughtered. The king, Ahab, had permitted this, and Jehu was told to destroy Ahab as well.

Spreading cloaks or other object to “pave the way” was a common demonstration of respect for the dignity and power of a person – a King, a general, even a prophet. So now we have Jesus on a baby donkey (my mind keeps hearing the Christmas Carol “Little Donkey, Little Donkey, With a heavy load,”) and everyone is shouting and happy and cheering and dancing and running ahead and coming back and just going nuts over what Jesus is doing. He is finally defining himself as the Messiah, the Ruler of Israel, The Son of David! And, they surely thought he was about to kick the Romans out of town as the Rightful Ruler.

But, he was on a donkey, not a horse.

Can you imagine what’s going on in Jesus’ head? He’s going to Jerusalem in just six day to celebrate Passover for the last time. Then he will die a most horrible, terrifying, painful death. And he will be forsaken by his Father. On the way into town he looks out over Jerusalem and sheds tears because of what they have missed out on while he was with them, and then He just goes into town and busts up … Not the Romans! The Temple!!

Whoa! That was a surprise! And from there on, things sort of unfolded into The Last Supper, The Garden of Gethsemane, the pavement at Gabbatha, and finally Golgotha. In less than a week he went from “Hosanna” to “Crucify him!”

Now you know a little about the story. When you are holding your palm branches Sunday, think about that little donkey and what a privilege it was to carry Jesus. Beloved, you can carry him too; in your heart, not on your back. Spread out your best things for him and invite him to have a seat. Carry him wherever you go and once in a while, just for the sheer JOY of it, shout, I said SHOUT, “HOSANNA!!”

Share-A-Prayer

• A special request from WT to pray for J. Joseph who was admitted to the hospital in her continuing fight with cancer. Pray for hope, healing, and health.
• Our MBN friends I Haiti report that many of the children and the workers too are ill. Sounds like a virus is sweeping through their numbers. Pray for return to health, and that the many new infants they have with them can stay hydrated and be strong enough to recover.
• Thank you for your prayers over the past few weeks. Please go back and look at the prayer requests from the beginning of Lent. I believe as you take the time to look at them, God will move your heart to make a special effort to embrace one or more of those requests.
• Thanks for the family of EW for sharing the news that E had gone to meet his Lord. He was – and still is – a remarkable man. You might remember him here.
• Thanks also from KV who reports prayer has been working for her and she feels pretty darn good!

Thanks everyone. Next week the message will be about Good Friday – sort of. Please watch for it on a computer screen near you!

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

chick

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday, August 10, 2004 – The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

437AFC081004
Aloha, dear friend! Another week comes to an end. For so many people, this has been a week of severe testing – Florida, Iraq and Afghanistan, Sudan and Indonesia. For some it has been a struggle in their own homes, and for others a deeper struggle in their own bodies, or their hearts and minds. How are we supposed to respond to all of this? It is, in all honesty, overwhelming.

These difficulties are so prevalent that we can sometimes feel – and see – hope is defeated. Not so. If you look at the terrible and difficult things that are happening in the world and in our lives, it sort of follow that old Pareto rule, that 80/20 thing. Pareto’s rule states that a small number of causes is responsible for a large percentage of the effect, in a ratio of about 20:80. Expressed in a management context, 20% of a person’s effort generates 80% of the person’s results. The corollary to this is that 20% of one’s results absorb 80% of one’s resources or efforts. And we could extrapolate that to say that 80% of the things that try our spirits are caused by 20% of the things that happen. Or maybe even that 20% of the things that we view as catastrophic are natural physical events – like volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes, lung cancer, plagues of locusts, and the like. The other 80% might be spiritual like war, terrorism, pornography, crack and speed, infidelity, hopelessness, depraved indifference to human life from the moment of conception to the moment of death, and so many other things that often make being alive more difficult than it should be for so many millions of people.

What can we do about all this? Perhaps we can choose to live a spiritual life at home, at work, at school, at play, and even (incredible!) at church. Here’s a little quote from NIV Bible:

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Well, at least there shouldn’t be. We find ourselves confronting those “unwritten laws” that say living a spiritual life is not acceptable; we are out of touch with reality if we believe such things really make a difference. In the world’s views, that is. In God’s view, these things ARE life. And they’re not so difficult to live with either. In a recent article that appeared in THE CATHOLIC HERALD the diocesan newspaper for the Diocese of Honolulu, Fr. William J. Byron, SJ, had this to say about these seven gifts of the spirit:

Love is service and sacrifice.
Joy is balance at the center of the soul.
Peace is good order.
Patience is the ability to endure whatever comes.
Kindness is attentive regard for the other.
Generosity is the habitual disposition to share.
Gentleness is courageous respect for other.
Self-control is a voluntary check on the appetite for success.

We are created in God’s image, and part of the heritage of that image is the gift of self-determination. If we choose to remember what these things actually mean, we can bring that choice, that spirituality into our lives, our world, our 80/20 mix. Here’s the thing: It’s also true that 80% of the good things in this world come from the 20% of our spiritual gifts we share with each other. Today I challenge you to go for 21%. Print out this note, or cut and paste Fr. Byron’s examples into another document you can print out and hang on your wall (I made a really pretty one with fancy lettering and images). It’s just a reminder, but it’s also just a way to change the world and maybe even the future population of heaven.

Love in Christ,

Chick

PS: Here’s a bonus just for you. http://m11.t3media.net/t/15274/8554348/694/0/

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – April 3, 2020 – Palming It Off and On

2014AFC040320 – Palms UP

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

Part of this message is from a lesson in 2014. It’s been updated, but you may have some déjà vu moments. Use the links, feast on the Word, and share with others. I’ve revised it substantially for this difficult time in our lives. More on that later. Also, I am asking that if you have a social media account – Facebook for example – please post this link publicly. I’ve temporarily disabled my Facebook account. PLEASE ALSO COPY AND POST THIS PRAISE REPORT:

AL-G – Diagnosed with breast cancer. SHE HAD NO HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER LOSING HER JOB. PRAISE REPORT: THIS DEAR SERVANT OF GOD IS WELL AND CANCER FREE! SHE, WITH ALL OF THE MBN, THANKS YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS!

    Zechariah 9:9Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Isaiah 53:1010 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.

Zechariah 13:7“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is my associate,” says the Lord of hosts. Strike the shepherd, that the sheep may be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones.

John 16:3232 The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.

This is Friday before Palm Sunday, the Sunday that begins Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter. Jesus has become well-known by thousands because of his miraculous deeds – feeding thousands of people at a time, speaking with authority, giving the blind sight, curing lepers, making the lame walk, making the mute speak, and even raising the dead. Now he enters the city of Jerusalem, riding on a baby donkey. The fact that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey was, in part, a fulfillment of scripture. But wait! There’s more! A king who rides in on a donkey is coming in peace. A king who rides in on a horse is coming in war. It is also significant that the colt Jesus’ disciples borrow is one that has never been ridden. Here the King of Peace is so gentle and so humble that even a young, never-before-ridden colt submits to Jesus’ presence. Instead of bucking him off, the colt meekly carries a full-grown man. It is interesting to me that the disciples who went to fetch it did so without question, and then they put their own cloaks on the back of the colt to make a more comfortable seat. I think it might have also been more comfortable for the colt! And you know, I think that colt’s mama walked next to him on that journey. Read it again (That is in Matthew 21:1-11) and see if you think so, too. (See also Luke 19:29-40) To me, this prefigures Mary walking beside Jesus on the way to Golgotha.

As he rode through Jerusalem, the crowds who recognized him paid him homage: Mark 11:9-10Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”  (See also Luke 19:29-40) That word, Hosanna, is found only in the New Testament, but there are echoes of it in other places in the Old Testament, too. It means to help or to save (See Psalm 118:25 25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success! The root of the word Hosanna comes from הוֹשִׁ֘יעָ֥ה (howosiah’) {hō-wō-šî-‘āh} from יָשַׁע (yasha) {yaw-shah’} for deliver, save, salvation, victorious; it is expressed as Hoshiya na! or HELP ME! It had meant in the past “Please save,” but eventually came to mean “Salvation is come.” In these passages in the New Testament, it means “Salvation is coming! It’s HERE!” Glory to God on High – ʾĒl ʿElyōn עֶלְיוֹן אל‎ – God Most High as spoken by Melchizedek in Genesis 14:19). In Psalm 118:26, it is followed by “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Over the centuries between David and Jesus, the expression hoshiya na had come to mean Salvation is now! When Jesus got on that baby donkey, he started toward Jerusalem to fulfill what had been prophesied about the Messiah, that his death would take away the veil of sin and death. He started out at a place with which we are already familiar, the home town of Lazarus.

Jesus was in Bethany, close to Bethphage Βηθφαγή, (Béthphagé) {bayth-fag-ay’} which is from an Aramaic word meaning “Place of new – or unripe – figs” near the base of the Mount of Olives. He gets on the colt in Bethany – about 2 miles from Jerusalem, and heads into town. On the way, people who have seen him, who know him – some intimately, some only be reputation – get excited about seeing him, and they begin to remember Zechariah 9:9. They start pulling down palm fronds and laying them on the path in front of him or waving them in the air. The palm was a symbol of victory – even Holy Victory. In addition people were laying their cloaks down in the road and letting the little donkey pass over them. A similar event is reported in 2 Kings 9. [They hurried and took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”] Elisha had just anointed Jehu {yay-hu’} (“Yahweh is He”) as King of Israel, and had ordered him to go avenge the murders committed by Jezebel’s forces when she had the prophets slaughtered. The king, Ahab, had permitted this, and Jehu was told to destroy Ahab as well. The people were ecstatic about this and acted quickly to honor Jehu. About 875 years later, they did the same thing for Yeshu’a – ישוע – Jesus.

Spreading cloaks or other objects to “pave the way” was a common demonstration of respect for the dignity and power of a person – a King, a military general, even a prophet. So now we have Jesus on a baby donkey and everyone is shouting and happy and cheering and dancing and running ahead and coming back and just going nuts over what Jesus is doing. He was finally defining himself as the Messiah, the Ruler of Israel, The Son of David! And, they surely thought he was about to kick the Romans out of town as the Rightful Ruler.

But, he was on a donkey, not a horse. And the people understood. They identified with him.

Where is YOUR Bible?

What is it that you might learn about Jesus that would help you identify more with him, feel closer with him? I remember a story I read when I was maybe a fifth-grader. It was about a little girl of about three years who had a wooden doll named Ruth. The Roman soldiers came galloping through her village scattering the villagers. As she ran to get out of the way she fell. Her mom snatched her out of the way just as the cohort reached the place where she fell. The doll slipped out of her arms. An iron-shod hoof stepped squarely on Ruth’s face. Moments later, when the dust had settled, the little girl went back and found the ruined doll. She began to cry.

Then a man’s hand rested on her shoulder and the man’s voice said, “Here, let me have a look at that.” The little girl looked up and saw a young man in his late-twenties. He had long, dark, curly hair in a long, think braid down his back, and gentle, deep-brown eyes. He was smiling. The girl handed Ruth to the man. He sat down and said, “Hmmm, I think I might be able to fix her up a little. Would you like that?” Through dirty tears the girl nodded. The man borrowed a knife from his father who was walking with him. His mother went to sit with the little girl and her mom to comfort them. He started whittling around the hoof mark. Within a few minutes, the evidence of the damage was gone and Ruth had a new face with a beautiful little smile – a smile just like the little girl’s. He handed the little girl the doll, gave her a hug, and returned to the road to continue his journey to Jerusalem with his parents. Around 5-6 years later the little girl saw him again. He was riding into the city on a baby donkey, and people were shouting “Hosanna!” When he passed by her, she held up Ruth for him to see. He winked at her and wiggled his fingers to say hello to Ruth.

Have you met Jesus in a way that made him really accessible to you? Have you heard his quiet whisper on the mountaintop? Did you see him playing with his dog in the park? Have you given him a plate of food at the shelter? Did you buy him a burger and a soft-drink? Did you hear his prophecy in a song on the radio? Did he offer you loving correction and guidance in the heart of your friend? Did he bake you a batch of your favorite cookies? Did he show up at your door with a casserole when your dad died? Did he ride with you through the storm or away from the forest fire? Could you hear the nails piercing his wrists? Did he comfort you when you could not comfort your sick child because of COVID-19 VIRUS? Did someone see Jesus in you when you did these things for others? Then Jesus was present. And you were present with him. (See Contemporaneous Concomitance 5/16/16)

Jesus is with us now as well, and we are with him. How can God allow such a terrible disease to threaten all the Earth? How can God shut the door on humanity and let so many people get sick, many of the sick enough to die? What have we done to deserve this kind of punishment?

We have betrayed our Creator, that’s what. We have clung to false gods and false prophets. We have murdered innocents and celebrated and cheered (← Check these out!) our sinfulness. We have replaced God with human idols, material idols, and spiritual idols. We have been unrepentant. We have refused to humble ourselves, to love justice and mercy, and to serve one another, preferring instead to serve our selves. “Trust your heart,” we say. FALSE!! Trust Jesus!! We might be tempted to think, “Hey! Wait a minute! I didn’t do all that stuff! I’m not a murderer or idolater! God is laying the blame on the wrong person here. I don’t have to be punished because of what everyone else does! I can’t believe in a God like that!” If that is the case, then we believe in made-up gods that conveniently do what we tell them so we can do what they tell us. If we do not want a God who is unchanging, a God who is always with us, then we make up one that can’t do anything to us – or for us. “Is God in charge or not?” That’s what the Israelites said to Moses in the desert. That whole generation died in the desert and never saw the Promised Land! Those who survived that 40 year trek had to fight their way into that land of milk and honey and destroy the thoroughly-evil people who lived there. When they forgot God, they opened themselves up to some pretty bad consequences. Think about it: Have we forgotten God? Let me ask you, have you heard this question lately?

“How can a loving God allow this to happen? That’s not the kind of God I want!” Really? I do. I want a God who is always in control of all things always and all ways. If God is not always in control of all things always and all ways, then that is not “being God.” It is especially not being El Shaddai. Abraham eventually submitted to God’s sovereignty, after several reminders, and El Shaddai did with him as he promised in God’s own time; he was true to his Word. I know so many people whose lives are filled with pain and suffering and yet they can say “God is on his Throne and all is right with the world!” They know the sovereignty of God! In these past couple of weeks with fires, floods, loss of life, treason, persecution, war, martyrdom, COVID-19 VIRUS, being locked in the tombs of our own homes! and all kinds of mayhem around the world, we might ask, “Where is God in all this? How can you say ‘all is right with the world!’?” All is right because God is on his Throne. I would much rather be on my knees before the Throne than standing in the dark kicking a wall. I just have to remember to “Let go and let God be God.” When I do that, I have a much better likelihood of doing what God asked of Abraham: Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. “I can’t do that. I don’t know how. I am doomed because I cannot live a perfect life. I am human after all!” We forget, sometimes, that Jesus was also fully human.

Jesus had all the body parts any man has, plus all the feelings, all the susceptibilities, and all the good things in every human life. He just didn’t have sin. But: For you, for me, for us he became sin and died to take all our sins away. (See 2 Corinthians 5:21) And that, perhaps, is what is the most important and most striking about the ways we can identify with him. I did the sin. He did the reparation. Do you remember the song “When He was On the Cross, I Was On His Mind” (↔ Music Link) which was popular around 2007 and earlier? That is another thing we have in common with Jesus. He knows our sins because he paid for every single one of them. He, and only he, could do that once for all because he loved us that well, well enough for him to lose everything so we could gain everything through his loss. Knowing that, we no longer have any reason to run from his presence. He willingly became the Perfect Lamb, the offering for our sin! If we have turned away and left him, we are still not alone because God is always with us. How and why is that? When we are with him, God is with us, too, because Jesus is “my Lord and my God” to all who believe in him.

Remember, He loved you this much:

I love you THIS much!!

He still loves you that much and more. Do you need to turn around and go back to him? He’s ready and waiting. Look for him. He is passing through our place on Earth. Go to him. Take some palm branches. Hold them UP high!

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

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

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

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – March 27, 2020 – Turn him loose!

2013AFC032720 – Turn him loose!  

    Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

    John 11:43-44 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

May Peace always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd!  We are already at the fifth Friday of Lent, and this coming Sunday the Gospel is about Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. The account of Lazarus’ death and resurrection is powerfully emotionally and spiritually. This family was one of Jesus’ favorites. You can tell by the intimacy he enjoyed there that Jesus loved this trio of believers. It was Mary who anointed Jesus feet with fragrant spikenard ointment and dried his feet with her hair just six days before his Passion and Crucifixion, and this act prefigured his donning a towel and washing the feet of the apostles on that holy might. Jesus was at their house often, and perhaps they had known each other since before he began his ministry. We can imagine how these three people lived in their home in Bethany. There is no mention of other family or parents. Bethany was close to the Mount of Olives. Jesus passed through there on his way to Jerusalem more than once. It was near Bethany that the Disciples witnessed his Ascension. These three, then, were people Jesus really, really cared about. He loved them in a very special way.

Around the time of this event in Jesus’ life, there was a strong movement among some of the people to capture him and kill him. His Apostles, Disciples, and other friends were very concerned about these constant threats on his life. Jesus knew about the threats, and he also knew how it would all turn out, he knew what would ultimately happen to him near Bethany, in the Garden of Olivet. He knew what had happened to Lazarus, too; despite knowing all the pain associated with that knowledge – Lazarus was dead and Jesus would soon be crucified – Jesus stayed with his mission of teaching and healing. When someone tracked him down to tell him about Lazarus, Jesus told them, “He is only sleeping.” They took that to mean Lazarus was resting and getting better. He told them point-blank that Lazarus had died, but his death would not be the end of the story or his life. Finally he says he will go to his friends’ house so that he can demonstrate God’s power and will. That’s when one of my favorite Bible characters pops into view again. Here’s the passage.

John 11:1-45 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”  Thomas fascinates me! He always seems to be a beat behind, or maybe he was just a strong pessimist, “Oh, well, if we’re going to Bethany, we’re all gonna die!” Then again, he might have been the bravest one in the bunch, ready to die with his Master and friend. Later on (John 14:5), Jesus is telling them – in the Last Discourse, “Don’t worry. Everything will be alright. You know where I’m going. I’ll come back and get you.” Thomas pops up again and says, “How can we know where you are going? We don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way?” And of course Thomas is most famous for saying, “I won’t believe he’s back until I see him for myself.” Thomas wasn’t in the Cenacle – the Upper Room – when Jesus first appeared to the 11 after his resurrection, and so he got stuck with the moniker “Doubting Thomas.” Odd that he should doubt Jesus was resurrected because he had been a witness to the resurrection of Lazarus. He stood there with Jesus, Mary and Martha, and all the other mourners as Jesus, his heart stirred emotion and tears in his eyes, and he shocked them all with what he said. You will remember the shortest verse in the Bible – John 11:35 35 Jesus wept.

John 11:38  38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.

    John 11:43-44 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”  Lazarus! Be alive! (↔ Music Link)

Everybody there went, “What?!?! It is not a good idea to move that stone. It’s going to smell really bad, and … you don’t really want to do that now. You should have come a week ago when he got sick and you could have healed him, but now, it’s too late. He’s rotting away in his grave.” Jesus must have given them quite a look before he turned toward the tomb where Lazarus had been placed. He told Martha straight out, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Somebody, maybe several people, maybe even Thomas (although there’s no way to know for sure who moved the stone) had the courage to lift that stone out of the way. Then The Moment:

Lazarus was resuscitated and came out of the tomb all wrapped up in the trappings of death. He came out to new life. He came out to fresh air, sunshine, solid ground, and within a short time – a few weeks, perhaps more – he and Jesus may have been reclining at the table enjoying a feast prepared by Martha and the household would be rejoicing in the presence of the Risen Lord.

Jesus’ tender sympathy for these friends shows us the very human side of his person. His heart is deeply moved, and he groans inwardly because of their pain. He joins them in shedding tears, but he is also hearing the cries of the mourners and sees the impact the loss of Lazarus has on this tiny community of Bethany. Together they had shared in the joys of life, in the happiness of Jesus’ visits, and now they shared in the mourning, weeping, and immense sorrow of these two sisters who had lost their beloved brother, a brother who had entertained Jesus in his home. In fact, these sisters hoped and prayed that they would be reunited with their brother. They just did not expect it to happen that day!

Some of the bystanders had insinuated that if Jesus could make the blind see, he could sure have gotten here in time to save Lazarus’ life. Jesus actions deliberately counter that idea. He gave the something much more powerful that a healing to talk about. He gave them a resurrection in broad daylight in front of many witnesses.

So let’s get to the two main points here. For whatever reason we doubt God’s love or Jesus saving power, he is always ready and able to exceed all our expectations. Whether we go to our death with him is from bravery or loyalty or from a sincere fatalism that recognizes our frailty, if we die with him we shall rise with him. And when we rise with him he will take us where has prepared a place for us. But we need to respond when he calls.

First, take away the stone! The stone in front of your tomb. Move it! Yes, you probably need help getting that thing out of your way. That’s the purpose of an Examination of Conscience – you understand that rock that’s imprisoning you in darkness. Let God and his helpers take away whatever it is you are hiding behind, whatever it is that keeps you in your tomb of death, and step out to meet your Lord in the Light of his Word. He calls you to come away from the death of flesh to be alive in Spirit, alive in your Creator, your King, your Saviour, or as Thomas put it so well, “My Lord and my God!” Come away from the death of sin and come alive, renewed, revived, and resurrected from your former self. Shed the wrappings of death, and the stench of decay.  Listen with your ears and listen with your heart. Strip away the things that bind you to your death. Take away the stone! He is calling you.

Second, loosen that funeral garb, throw it away, and be free. Loosen and discard the things that stop you from walking into his Light, his Everlasting Life. Be freed of the trappings of death. Here again, you can get help from others, especially through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Penance. We can all help each other get loosed from our sins. Turn on that little movie theater screen in your mind and watch Lazarus and his friends and relatives pulling away those bonds of death. Can you envision how totally joyous and totally blown away they all were in that moment? In which would you rather be wrapped: The shroud of death or the arms of Life? In which would you rather reside: In the darkness of death or the brilliant Light of Life? Jesus is commanding you, commanding me, commanding us to turn loose of sin and death and embrace Life and Light. Why would we want anything less than that?

“Beloved, come forth!”

Get past the stone. Shed the trappings of death (your sins). Rise up. Go to him. Live. YOLOF!!

PUUUHLEEZ! Remember that your local church still has to pay the bills too.

Donate regularly online if you can.

Write your checks and put them in donation envelope(s)

to take with you when churches reopen.

Be kind to your Pastor and their family members.

Share-A-Prayer

Pray for each other, Beloved. Your sweet prayers have changed many a life.

  • Pray for all the oppressed, and those suffering from all the disasters that have swept the world. Do everything you can to help them in every way you can.
  • Pray for an end to this COVID-19 VIRUS epidemic, and especially pray for everyone who is infected that they will recover, and pray for those that have died that they will taste God’s Mercy.
  • Pray for the poor, the homeless, the marginalized, the addicted – then go help them!
  • Pray for peace, and let it begin with you.

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.

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

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – March 20, 2020 – Anointed for Good

2012AFC032020 – Anointed for Good

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often. 

    1 Samuel 16:12b-13a The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.

John 9:30-34 – 30 The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.

Aloha pumehana, a me ke akua ho’omaika‘i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! Warmest Aloha, and may God bless you, Belovéd! Thank you for your response to the COVID-19 VIRUS mailing earlier this week. It is our belief that we should do everything within our power to help contain, control, and eliminate this disease as quickly as humanly possible – and the only way we can do that is to count on God to guide and direct, bless and protect everyone who is working on defeating it as well as everyone who has become ill because of it. We are anointed as Priest, Prophet, and King, and it is our role to honor that anointing by serving God and each other every day. That is why today we are going to look at the meaning of being anointed.

You know that I like to look for “first type” passages in the Bible. The first time we hear of anointing is in Genesis 31:13 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth. What is the Lord saying to whom in this passage? Open your Bible and flip back to Genesis 28, especially verses 10-22. Now you remember, right? “Jacob’s Ladder,” the dream – vision, really – that Jacob had where God revealed himself to Jacob. A few pages farther on, Jacob wrestles with a man – perhaps an angel? – and he is given the name Israel. What did the Lord mean when he said, “you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me.”? The answer is in verses 18 – Jacob poured oil on top of the rock on which he had first slept and subsequently set up as a pillar – a stone of remembrance. The vow Jacob made follows in verses 19-22; he promised a tithe of everything he received from God in return for God’s protections. The first thing that was anointed was a stone, and altar of remembrance. Who is allowed to make an altar, and to leave a blessing on a place or person? Who is allowed to make an offering of a vow? The answer is … a Priest. Abraham, Melchizedek, Noah, Moses, Israel – all set up an altar – a stone of remembrance – to honor God’s gifts and blessings. This is one form of anointing that we still see today – the anointing of a thing or place as when an altar in a Church is anointed with oil – the oil is poured and smeared on the altar. We have the anointing of a person when a catechumen is anointed multiple times with oil during the catechumenate – it is smeared (epichrióon) {ep-ee-khree’-on} the forehead or chest. We also have the anointing of the sick – also known as “Extreme Unction,” and “Last Rites” Where the oil is smeared on the hands (palms) and forehead.  What does anointing accomplish?

Anointing is a consecration to God of a person, place, or thing; consecration means to bless, set aside as holy, sanctify, ordain, hallow, and it is an honorific act that bestows on the anointed the Offices of Service mentioned above: Priest, Prophet, and King. Anointing is also a prayerful rite to bring healing. In the history of Israel, anointing was made with olive oil – think of Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. The notes on that passage describe anointing with a perfumed oil – perhaps scented with balsam or spices (See Exodus 25:6) – that is used to honor guests at an important celebration. Oil was poured on wounds, sometimes with wine or “sour wine” i.e., vinegar – to promote healing. The Rite referred to as the Anointing of the Sick is done with pure olive oil. Recall that in James 5:14 we read 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders [=presbyters*, Priests] of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. * πρεσβύτερος presbuteros {pres-boo’-ter-os}. By the time Samuel got to the home of Jesse when following God’s command to anoint a King to replace Saul, oil was also used to consecrate a King, and even though David was only the second King of Israel, he was anointed there in the presence of his father and his brothers. One surprising thing I found as I studied the history of anointing is this passage describing the Emperor, Cyrus.

In Hebrew there is a word “Mashiach.” The root is masach which means to smear, anoint, spread a liquid. The meaning of Mashiach is “Messiah,” which means “the one anointed with oil.” The custom of anointing with oil is a ritual act designed to consecrate  those chosen by God to be Priest, Prophet, and King  such as the prophet Elisha, or the leader of the Achaemenid Empire, Cyrus. That is why we read in Isaiah 45:1 – 1 Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him — and the gates shall not be closed. ALL the kings of Israel were anointed, and Cyrus was a Gentile whom God himself anointed with his Spirit. Now, it’s time to switch gears and think about another material that has been used for anointing – CLAY!  

Our Key Verse from Sunday’s Gospel is part of the story of The Man Born Blind in John 9. I want to take you back to verse 6 – Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud. English Standard Version (ESV) Other translations will read “smeared,” or “applied.” It’s all the same word for anoint. This unnamed blind man became Mashiach because he was anointed with clay by God’s Anointed. This man, who is unnamed, is blind from birth – as was the world in which he lived. He took a leap of faith and asked Jesus to make him see. Jesus’ actions were … well, to me they seem a little unusual. He spits in the dirt, makes some clay, smears the clay on the guy’s eyes anointing him so that he is also “Mashiach,” and sends him to go wash off the mud at a pool in Siloam – a word that means “sent.” The man is sent by the Son of God who was sent to heal the world by washing clean the “clay” from which we are made, by cleaning the World off of us and out of us so the Light – Jesus – can be seen. The Man Who Was Born Blind became a Disciple who did Good because he believed completely and Loved well. At the same time, the people who were supposed to be filled with the Light, to be the servants of I AM, were remaining blind by looking only at the worldly aspect of this healing – the “how” – and totally overlooking the spiritual meaning of the healing – the “who.” Who? A man in darkness all his life saved by the Light because he did as God asked. He went on to follow Jesus and to do what was good and right in the sight of God.

You see, Belovéd, we are anointed Priest, Prophet, and King for Good. We are inspired and empowered to bring Goodness into the world by being Light. “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will.” As we go through the rest of Lent, and as we do what must be done to endure this time of trial, let us always remember to believe, to follow, to pray, and to anoint because we are Disciples of Jesus the Messiah, and as the Blind Man said, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” We are anointed for Good by God. We can do much that is Good because we once were blind, but now we can see (↔ Music Link) The Light of The World (↔ Music Link).

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

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

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

SPECIAL COVID-19 ALERT: Spiritual Communion

Spiritual Communion in This Hour of Need

All across the world, bishops are suspending Mass as Catholics join in the campaign to help “flatten the curve” of the spread of COVID-19 VIRUS. There are still ways for the faithful to participate in the spiritual benefits of Communion. One way that was strongly endorsed by St. Pope John Paul II is Spiritual Communion. This practice is said to have originated with St. Alphonsus Liguori. In addition, St. Josemaria Escriva used this practice beginning in childhood as a way to be in fellowship with Jesus and the Church. St. Thomas Aquinas said “Spiritual Communion is “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament [in Communion at Mass] and in lovingly embracing Him as if we had actually received Him.” Spiritual Communion is a wonderful way to focus on the Divine Presence and spend a bit of our time with the Lord.  It is a pious desire to receive the Holy Eucharist when it is not possible to receive it Sacramentally. Since that is the situation that millions of Catholics are now experiencing, Spiritual Communion offers all of us a way to continue to love, honor, and embrace Jesus.

Spiritual Communion should include an Act of Faith. We renew and affirm our confidence in the Real Presence of Christ. It can be a wonderful way to dispose our soul to receive Communion in the Sacrament of the Eucharist or as preparation for Spiritual Communion.

A second component is to recognize a deep desire to receive Christ Sacramentally whenever possible, and to cherish this moment to be intimately united with Jesus.

We also include a loving petition to ask Almighty God to spiritually gift us with the benefits and graces we receive through Sacramental Communion.

There are several forms of this prayer. Although there is no specific format recommended by the church, St. Pope John Paul II described this practice in his April 2003 encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Chapter IV – The Eucharist and Ecclesial Communion. He stated that making a prayer for Spiritual Communion “was a wonderful part of the Catholic life for centuries and recommended by saints, who were masters of the spiritual life”.

A very common traditional version reads like this:

O my Jesus, I love You, I adore You, I hope in You, my God so good. I believe that You are truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Although I cannot now receive You sacramentally, I desire to receive you into my soul, and ask that You may at least come spiritually into my heart. Lord, keep me always in communion with You, and never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

A form used by St. Josemaria Escriva goes like this:

“I wish, Lord, to receive you with the purity, humility and devotion with which your most holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints.”

Another version that I use daily says:

O my Jesus, I believe with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, and with all my being that You are truly present in the most blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Jesus, I love You above all things and persons, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I am unable now to receive You sacramentally, I ask to be united with You spiritually. I reach out to embrace You, knowing that You are always there, always coming back to me in the Eucharist, and I unite myself entirely to You. Come, then, and inhabit the tabernacle of my heart and make my body a temple for Your Holy Spirit; and then, through the Power of that Spirit, grant me the faith, the discernment, the patience and perseverance, and especially the humility to successfully resist desecrating this temple. I beg You to do this in Your Most Precious Name and for Your eternal glory. Amen. 

St. Padre Pio also recommended this practice, and practiced it often during his day as a way to stay intimately united with Jesus

As with Sacramental Communion, there is additional benefit in using a Prayer Before a Crucifix. The traditional version is often found in hymnals, Missalettes, and prayer books:

Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus while before Your face I humbly kneel and, with burning soul, pray and beseech You to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity; true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment. While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Your five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David, Your prophet, said to You, my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones.”  Amen.

Another version reads like this:

Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while beneath Your cross I humbly pray, sincerely pleading with You to create throughout my whole existence holy and living virtues – all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit – while leading my soul to sincere contrition and effective repentance as I contemplate with great love and tender pity Your five wounds, pondering upon them within me while calling to mind the words which David Your prophet said of You my Jesus: “They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones.”* Glory be to the Father, … Amen.

Psalm 22:16b-17a They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones.

As part of our Spiritual Union with Jesus and His Church, we can also follow the Daily Readings. There are many publications available by subscription that contain all the readings and prayers for every daily Mass. These include, but are not limited to, Magnificat Magazine, The Word Among Us, and Living with Christ. Did you know you can read the daily readings online? In our house, we use the USCCB website. The entire Bible is available here – and it includes introductions to each book of the Bible and notes on the readings. In the upper right section of the page, there is a calendar which you can use to find the readings for any day o f the year – past, current, or future. Toward the bottom of the page there is a subscription option so you can have the Daily Readings sent via email directly to your inbox. On the left side of the page, there are links to audio presentations of the readings, video reflections on the daily Scripture, and guidelines on suitable versions of the Bible that Catholics use around the world. With so many ways to “feast on the Word,” we have an invaluable way to deepen and strengthen our daily walk with Jesus and his Church.

As you know, the COVID-19 VIRUS is seriously disrupting everything everywhere. It can be a very stressful, even worrisome thing for every earthling in God’s Great World. As a People of Faith anointed as Priest, Prophet, and King, we can – and must – carry out the mission Jesus himself gave us. We must be willing to be actively involved moment-by-moment, day-by-day, prayer-by-prayer in making Jesus present “in the World.” The Great Commission tells us, his Disciples, what to do:

In Matthew 24:14 we read 14 And this good news [Gospel] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come. In addition we read in the “Great Commission” (See Matthew 28:16–20), 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. Being made Disciples means learning about Jesus’ life and learning about the Gospel. It means praying in Love with, for, and about our neighbors. It means walking with Jesus “Every step of this Pilgrim Way.”

While we certainly want to always be in our best state of being – in the Grace of God – it is important to know that we can commit to a Spiritual Communion even if we are not in a state of Grace. If we are interiorly disposed to actually receive the Eucharist, by which, if done with a contrite and a pure and loving heart, you receive at least a part of the great benefits you would receive from actual communion. I fervently encourage you to make it a daily practice to

  • Read Scripture – especially the daily readings as described above
  • Offer prayers for Peace, Hope, Healing, and Health in your community and all around the world
  • Follow the advice of St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” Make the catholicity of your life demonstrably obvious.
  • Make an Act of Spiritual Communion at least daily – as described above.
  • Consider sharing this devotion together with family or other small groups so that, as Christ commanded, we will pray in the community of his Church.

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

at your service, Belovéd!

Chick Todd

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – March 13, 2020 – We still have work to do.

2011AFC031320 – We still have work to do.

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

     John 4:3434 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete* [finish – τελειώσω teleiōsō] his work.
*This word is closely related to the word for “paid in full” – Τετέλεσται, (Tetélestai) {teh-TEH-les-tie} consummated, completely fulfilled; or to complete a process all the way through the final step which means everything that needed to be done has been done.

May Peace always be with you and may God bless you, Belovéd! It’s already going to be the 3rd Sunday of Lent! My goodness, time flies! Today we will sift through the Gospel of John and find a few of those skip-it verses – you know, the ones we think we know, we know we’ve read, but we never really registered what was going on. Our Key Verse is an example for me. That second half – and to complete his work – is one of those things that I usually slide past because I’m focused on the “important part” that says Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me. Today I invite you to look at the “other important part.” This one particularly caught my attention because of a very dear friend. We worked together ah Hu Hu Kam Memorial Hospital in Sacaton, AZ. We always call her “Mary Bee.” She’s always busy helping other people, was a night-tech in the lab there, and taught everyone in the lab how to do ceramics. Both of us are getting up there, and staying healthy and mobile is important; it’s something we have to work at. We have hobbies, and friends, and music, and family, and faith to work on. Instead of saying, “Oh, I’m so tired! I just don’t even feel like moving,” we are constantly telling each other “Be well. Stay mobile. We still have work to do. Luv ya!” So here’s the thing. You (hopefully) remember me quoting this aphorism: It’s always good in the end. If it isn’t good yet, it isn’t the end yet! If it isn’t the end, then that also means we still have work to do, stuff that God expects us to clean up before we disembark on that Long Slow Train Coming. God assigned us work – just like Jesus – and we need to keep chugging away at it until it is completed.

It was a big surprise to me to see how many times Jesus said he was doing the Work of God, the Work his Father – our Father – assigned to him. Take a look at these:

John 5:17 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.”

John 5:30 30 I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

John 5:36 36 But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.

John 6:38 38 for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.

John 9:4-5 We must work the works of him who sent us while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

John 17:1b-10 1b “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

 “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.

What do you think of that? One thing is for certain, that completely blows away all those arguments about “Jesus never really knew who he was or why he was here.” Sometimes we try to apply that argument to our own lives – you know, the people who go out to find themselves and look in all the wrong places. God created us. God gave us gifts and talents, and they lead us to skills (things we do that we can learn and improve), knowledge (information we can acquire by study and reason), and abilities (natural traits that make what we do and what we know useful to ourselves and others.)

Jesus never gave up then, and he never gives up now. Can we say the same? We know he is with us, right? It’s sometimes easy to forget that if he is with us, we are with him. I’ve mentioned this numerous times – please, please, take a look at my essay on Contemporaneous Concomitance. It comes up just about every time I mention the Ascension. If you read that short essay you’ll know why my mind, and my heart and spirit, connect it to that extraordinary event in the earthly life of Jesus.

Jesus knew he had work to do. It was the work of his father. If I am with Jesus, I and also doing the work of my Father. I am Jesus brother. God is my Father. Mary is my Mother. The Apostle Paul is another brother from another era, an era which I have experienced with him spiritually in Jesus. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are El Shaddai-Olam who have come into this World to give us HIS Body which was given up for us (See Luke 22:19) and HIS Blood of the [New] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (See Matthew 26:28). At that First Eucharist, Jesus did the work God the Father asked him to do. What happened next? Was that the end of it?

Of course not! What came next was Gethsemane, the betrayal, the rigged trial, the false accusations, mockery, scourging, crowning with thorns, the wretched journey up Golgotha, the nails, the pain, the suffocating death, and the moment when Salvation became our reality. Jesus told us it would happen. After he finished describing the Judgment of the Nations in Matthew 25, we read – Matthew 26:1-2 1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” It happened, just like that, just like he said he would, and we were on his mind because HE did it for us. As he hung there on the Cross in tremendous suffering, fastened by not only nails but also by incomparable eternal Love, he loved and loves us until he has paid the last scintilla of the punishment for our sin. Do you remember?

John 19:28-30 28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

What have we already seen in this essay about the word “finished?” Let’s repeat it from the Key Verse and put it here as a reminder: to complete* [finish – τελειώσω teleiōsō] his work.
*This word is closely related to the word for “paid in full” – Τετέλεσται, (Tetélestai) {teh-TEH-les-tie} consummated, completely fulfilled; or to complete a process all the way through the final step which means everything that needed to be done has been done. THAT is what he came to do. THAT is the work God the Father gave him to complete. But wait! There’s MORE! God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – gave us work to do. Good work, Holy work, earthly work, important work, necessary work. If we are in Jesus and Jesus is in us, our food is to do the will of Him who gathers us and to complete our work. What is the work that is the will of God for us to do?

Matthew 28:16-20 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We have plenty to do! “Be well. DO GOOD. Stay mobile. We still have work to do. Luv ya!”

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd! Let me be your servant (↔ Music Link) by serving HIM who Loved us to his Death. (↔ Music Link)

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

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

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – March 6, 2020 – Do you hear what I hear?

2010AFC030620 – Do you hear what I hear?

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

     Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Belovéd Son; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!

Aloha pumehana, a me ke akua ho’omaika‘i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! Warmest Aloha, and may God bless you, Belovéd! Today we anticipate the Second Sunday in lent, and the emphasis this week is on listening to God and trusting what he says. Abram listened and ultimately became the Progenitor of Nations. David attests in his Psalm 33 that great Joy is found in acknowledging and obeying the Lord. Those who trust and obey him have hope in him, hope in his kindness, and hope for deliverance from death. The Apostle Paul testifies to Timothy that God has given us such Grace through Jesus Christ that it “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” When Jesus is transfigured on the mountaintop (Perhaps Mt Hermon or Mt Tabor?), three of his Apostles are with him and they see Moses and Elijah – representing the Law and the Prophets, conversing with Jesus who has become radiant with Light (some translations say his face “shone like the sun”). It is the time of year for the Festival of the Booths – Sukkot or The Feast of Tabernacles – which begins on the 15th day of Tishrei and ends on the 21st of Tishrei (usually occurs during the month of October). During this Pilgrimage Feast, celebrated by all Jews, the faithful build small booths, and spend time there praying and rejoicing over the harvest as well as the 40-year pilgrimage of Israel in the desert. Peter is so excited and confused about seeing Jesus, Moses, and Elijah that he suggests the three Apostles build a booth for the three resplendent persons they see. Then something happens that literally “puts the fear of God” in them. Let’s go back to the top, then, and see how all of this fits together starting with Moses in Genesis 12:4a So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.

Notice first that this is Abram. God has not yet appeared to Abram and changed his name to Abraham. (See Genesis 15 ff) Notice also that God spoke to Abram, and Abram listened, and then obeyed what God said. Abram set out on a very long, very ambiguous journey which was more than a “leap of faith.” It was a journey of hundreds and hundreds of miles. God spoke. Abram acted. God Loved. Abram reverenced that love. By the time Abram was leaving Haran, he was committed to obedience whenever God spoke. He was absolutely convinced of the omnipotence of The LORD God. Another biblical person convinced of the Power of God was King David.

David tells his people (including us) in Psalm 33:20 20 Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. Belovéd, you know how hard it is to wait – for anything! In this era of instant gratification, instant communication, instant everything – from instant coffee to instant potatoes to instant addiction even to premature (assisted) death – there are so many things for which we refuse to wait because these are things we want. In this verse, however, the Psalmist is saying “wait” as in “longing for.” There is tremendous value in lingering during our journey for a while so that we can be in God’s presence. We tarry awhile, deescalating our lives so busied by wanting, and look to him for succor – support, relief, rescue, comfort – and we trust he will provide this because he is known to be our protector. One of God’s “titles” is Shield of Israel, and the Hebrew word “Magen” is identified with “Magen David” the familiar six-point star that serves as a traditional symbol of Judaism. We know if we just “be still and wait upon the LORD,” his tender love will save us from the coveting of things so that our heart’s desire is only HIM.

I understand love well enough to know how important it is in my life, in your life, in our lives, and even in The World. God’s love is what stirs us to compassion, lifts our spirits, and multiplies our strength every time we give away the love we have received. I do not understand Love, agape love, God-Power Love, well enough to comprehend Golgotha. I can only shudder in awe and dread as I contemplate crucifixus etiam pro nobis – crucified even for us.

Beloved, that is the LOVE to which we are called, that is the cross we are asked to carry. But first, we get to stand on the mountaintop with Jesus, Peter, James and John, Moses and Elijah and listen to God’s voice telling us in tones only a loving father can make, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him.” Later on we are again asked to listen, not by the Father but by Jesus’ Mother when she says, Do whatever he tells you.” Are we listening?

When God speaks to us, do we obey? Does our obedience lead to action? Is our action based on our response to God’s Love? Are you interested in learning more about Hearing the Voice of God? I’m going to invite you to visit Brendan Case’s dynamic course on just that topic – HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD. It is there for you, thanks to God’s generosity and Brendan’s cooperation, FREE. In Matthew 10:8b, Jesus says, “Freely you have received; freely give.” God wants to make it that easy for you; take a free course and learn how to discern God’s voice out of the thousands of voices contrary to his Word. In 1 Corinthians 2:12, Paul says, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” Belovéd, all the benefits assured to David (See Acts 13:32-39 and Isaiah 55:3) are YOURS, freely given to us by God.

I challenge you to hear, accept, and act on The Word. The first challenge is: Do you know someone or someplace where The Word is unheard? Help pump up the volume by delivering it. Do it contemplatively through fervent prayer or actively through fervent evangelization. The second challenge is this: Do you know someone that has heard the Word of Christ but rejected the Grace of Faith? Evangelize them. Give him or her the reward, the gift, the Grace of the Good News. Share your Testimony. If you hear the Word, but ignore or scoff at what you heard, please try again. If someone is telling you, “I want you to know Jesus,” please try to meet Jesus. If someone you love is resisting the opportunity to find faith by hearing the Word, love them enough to keep witnessing, asking, encouraging, edifying – and praying for, with, and about them. Whoever has listened but has not heard has not come to Faith.

Christian Fundamentalist, Christian Evangelical, Orthodox Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Protestant, Universalist, Mormon, or even just “Religion-Curious,” whatever your particular persuasion, you have been called to hear, and by hearing you are called to faith, and by faith you are called to accept the Gift of Love in Christ Jesus. Did you know you can be the voice through which The Word is heard? It is often said, “Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read.” Beloved, consider making your life an audio-book as well as a pop-up action book. Whatever your calling in Christ, honor the Giver by accepting – and sharing – the Gift of The Living Word. “Now hear ye the Word of the Lord.” He is calling! If you listen, you will hear; if you hear, Faith is just a “yes” away.

Do you have a child, a parent, a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or an acquaintance that needs to hear the Word for the first time, or hear it again? Do it now. Both of you might not have another chance later. God himself is telling you to listen to his Son, and upon hearing, do as he says. What benefit is that to us? Ponder these words in Luke 8:21 21 But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” If he speaks and gives us direction, will we obey? If his Word can bring us comfort, will we accept it? If Jesus asks us to follow him, will we leave all behind and go where he goes? I Hear Jesus Calling. (↔ Music Link) Do you hear what I hear? (↔ Music Link) Then let’s get up and go where he sends us. (↔ Music Link)

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

at your service, Belovéd!

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

 

“Listen to Him.”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – February 28, 2020 – First Friday of Lent

2009AFC022820 – First Friday of Lent 2020

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

    Genesis 3:1-5Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Matthew 4:11 11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Today we will take a little journey back to 2014 as we consider what it takes to be a liar. Hopefully no one reading this post will think of that as an objective toward achieving a goal! Let’s start with the first prevarications in the Bible. I chose that word because the episode we’re going to explore is more than just a fancy way to describe a lie. Prevarication includes, or goes beyond lying. It is fabrication, distortion, deception, deceitfulness, falsification, equivocation, misrepresentation, and/or exaggeration. It usually involves a mixture of fact and fiction, truth and treachery. A skillful liar can accomplish remarkable things that benefit the liar and harm the deceived. At times in our society, we might begrudgingly admire a really good liar – the salesperson, for example, who “could sell ice to Eskimos;” or the politician, who can “bamboozle a baboon into voting for him.”  In a way we expect those behaviors, and because we do, we tolerate them. Besides, all of us know that “everyone tells a lie sometimes.” After all we’re human, not perfect, and maybe lying isn’t so bad after all. And that’s a lie right there.

There are two lies in the opening Key Verse. The devil starts out by a twisty turn of words when he says “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” That’s a twisted form of this question: “Is there any tree from which God said you cannot eat?” Or it could also be read “Did God really say you shall not eat of every tree in the garden?” Eve knew – perhaps second-hand knowledge if Adam told her – that they could eat from any tree in the garden – EXCEPT the two trees God forbade. The way the devil said it, it sounds like God forbade eating from every tree – including two that were forbidden and all the others that were permitted.

Eve catches his drift and corrects him by saying, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;” and then EVE tells a lie – she exaggerates with a little fabrication of her own as she says, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” You see where the lie came in, right? God said nothing about touching the trees in the middle of the garden. Hmmm, uh-huh, and who was standing right next to her? Adam was there – probably saying, “Yes, Dear” – and he didn’t correct her. So the devil jumps right back in and tells another incredible whopper of a lie: “You certainly will not die!” He uses a double negative to express this – another clever way to lie – and then appeals to the “benefits” of disobedience – “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” They were already like God – having been made in the image and likeness of the Creator. Their eyes saw only Good because in the Garden, the abode of God and Humanity – only Good existed. The evil they would soon discern was the evil of these lies which were worsened by passing the buck – the devil said it was God’s fault to leave them out, Eve said the devil tricked her, Adam blamed God and said “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” (See Genesis 3:12) Then they realized the presence of conscience, the presence of fear, and the absence of innocence. Human reasoning informed their decision – this tree is beautiful, and the fruit is pleasant to see just like all the other trees, so it must be “just another tree for food.” We’ve been trying to get out of that mess ever since. Let’s look at some Scripture passages that testify to God’s guidance in that quest.

Isaiah 5:20-2120 Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight!

Wisdom 2:23-24 23 for God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of his own eternity,24 but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it.

John 8:44 44 You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Ephesians 4:17-24 17 Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. 19 They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 That is not the way you learned Christ! 21 For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Please consider the following (Originally posted under Aloha Friday Messages at http://www.aloha-friday.org – The Moon Beam Network 1410AFC070714 ) A socioeconomic consensual partnership between two or more persons of the same gender is not a marriage. A marriage is only one man sacramentally united to one woman. You can name it a marriage, but it is not. A family is a mother and a father and their children either by natural conception or adoption. Faith is more than just a personal spirituality. It must be based on something outside of us that is greater than us, truer than us, and eternal. Does that make all non-Christian faiths invalid? Personally, I don’t think so, but only because I believe that God knows everyone who seeks him with a sincere heart; the ability to do that comes to every living soul because of the Power of the Son of God. Does it make a difference at the Resurrection? God knows, but right now he’s not telling. But I do know this: You can’t grow watermelons on a persimmon tree. You will know them by their fruit. The fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil turned out to be Death. The devil lied about that; don’t you think he’d be willing to lie about anything and everything else?

He’s lied so that bad things like communism, socialism, hedonism, immorality, addiction, terrorism, and situational ethics look like virtues. We know people who sincerely believe it’s OK to blatantly and elaborately lie if it is for a good reason. Many of them are in politics. We know people who are wise in their own esteemed opinion and claim to be an agnostic or atheist. They try to intellectualize and rationalize their place “in the Universe” but their arguments cannot begin to approach the perspective of infinite wisdom and knowledge, infinite power and glory. God’s way was to transcend his omnipotence by laying it aside to become one of us. That would be a little like one of us laying aside our nature to become an amino acid chain. Even that comparison is inadequate, but it is not a lie. There is only one way out of this pile of lies: Repent.

Therefore, this Lent, do what God calls upon us to do: Repent. Believe. Sacrifice. Do the right thing. Rejoice with him at Easter. Bring others to the celebration. Together, we can have a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. And here’s a wee lit’le challenge for ye:  Instead of concentrating on what you’re going to give up for Lent (Be clear on whether it is a sacrifice – something to which you plan to return to after Easter – or a repentance – something which you choose to eliminate from your life as a means to come closer to God.), and concentrate of something positive and good you can ADD to your life! It is a wonderful way to discover the unlimited abundance of God’s boundless Grace. That is our Christian responsibility. Neither Adam nor Eve would take responsibility for what they had done; the first sin was disobedience with a nice dollop of lies for a topping. Also note that this first sin for earthlings was strikingly similar to Satan’s first sin – attempting to place himself equal to or above the God who had created him. Oh, Beloved! We still fall for this trick. And we still try to make excuses. What can we say about people who are supposed to be stewards of the earth and all its contents who will not take their stewardship responsibilities seriously? They have generated their own lies, believed their own lies, and resisted Truth. THAT’S NOT WHAT WE’RE SUPPOSED TO RESIST!

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

That, of course, is the reason to include the verse we read at the end of Jesus’ temptation: Matthew 4:11 11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. In the Gospel of Luke we read in Luke 4:13 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. ([kairou] {kah-ee-rou} fitting season, season, opportunity, occasion, opportune time, the right moment). Resist the devil, and he will flee; but he’ll be back! What are we supposed to do when he comes back? Resist the devil, and he will flee. Do we not believe that? Then can we believe that “the wages of sin is death? Look around. What do you see? Is there sin anywhere? “In this day and age,” is there really such a thing as SIN? I recently came across a review of John Corin’s book The Hope of Perfection: Unveiling the Book of Hebrews. The reviewer, Gavin W. Finley MD, gave me permission to use this quote from that review:

“These are days of theological relativism and moral decline. So there is a great need for sound doctrine, clear guidance, and the exhortation to go on with God that is to be found in Holy Scripture. We are also blessed to have the real-time personal guidance that comes from the abiding Presence of the Holy Spirit. This hope of perfection and promise that God to be with us right through to the completion of our pilgrimage in Christ is the very message we need right now. This Word of exhortation is so necessary in the dark days we are now entering. It is the word of the hour.”

The World belongs to the Prince of the Air, and The World lies as he lies.

Every time we sin, we are in the grip of Death; every time we repent, we are in the arms of Grace, born again through repentance and faith in the efficacy of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ the Lord. We are alive again, we have faith again, and we are ready for Christ again. We have faith; we need only to use it. Ask for it, seek after it, open the door to it – keep doing that until Jesus comes, and he will find faith on the Earth. Look to him; he is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. (See Psalm 121) If “seeing is believing,” LOOK!” If you see sin, resist! Then, LOOK AGAIN!! You just might see angels coming to minister to you!

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

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

 

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – February 21, 20020 – Our Hope is Perfect

2008AFC022120 – Our Hope is Perfect

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

   Matthew 5:48 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Today’s Key Verse is really short, but it leads to many additional verses that are also Key Verses. In Matthew 5:48, we have a command that is easily skimmed over because [1] it is short, and [2] it is – in practical terms – pretty much impossible. Who do you know that can be perfect? I’m not asking “who do you know who thinks they’re perfect,” I’m asking if you know any human alive today who is or could be perfect right this very moment. For most of us, the only way to perfection is through the saving Power of the Blood of the Lamb, and even that power is something we ourselves cannot generate, so how in the World does Jesus expect us to be Perfect? To answer that, we need to look at what “perfect” meant to Jesus, to the Apostle Paul, and to us today.

What do you think of when you try to imagine someone – any person who is not part of the Trinity – who is perfect? One of the words that might come to mind is kind of “old-fashioned”: Blameless. That would be someone who is holy, without faults, righteous – someone like we might find in the Bible. Here are a couple of examples we could consider:

Genesis 6:9 These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. צַדִּ֛יק (ṣad-dîq) { tsad-deek’} just, righteous, blameless, innocent

Genesis 17:1 1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]; walk before me, and be blameless. תָּמִים (tamim) {taw-meem’} complete, whole, entire, intact, unblemished, known for integrity, mature

Another characteristic we might think of is the ability to live-through being in the presence of God. In the Old Testament, such a person is Moses. He and his brother, Aaron, gave old Pharaoh quite a lot to think about, and even more gave the Nation of Israel a future. Here’s an example: Exodus 33:9-11 When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. 10 When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and bow down, all of them, at the entrance of their tent. 11 Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then he would return to the camp; but his young assistant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the tent. We know we can talk to God in prayer, but who of us can speak to him “ face to face, as one speaks to a friend“? Who but Moses spoke with God face-to-face? That takes some towering Faith – Faith that is filled with everlasting Grace.

These men acted on the basis of Faith. What is it about Faith, what characteristic do we see in people of Faith, that makes such things possible? It is Hope. Let’s take a look at the Apostle Paul’s take of Faith and Hope: Hebrews 11:1-3 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. And there is even more about hope in these passages:

Romans 8:24-25 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. These two aspects of life – hope and patience – seem to me to be wholly connected. Like that old song “Love and Marriage” says, “Ya can’t have one without the other.” Here’s what I mean.

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. The term “endurance” here is hupomone {hoop-om-on-ay’} which is patient continuance, steadfastness, constancy; not swerving from our deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith and piety; perseverance despite opposition because there is hope to sustain one’s faith that the future holds a better outcome for us. In fact, I have often seen that without hope one cannot be patient, because there is nothing to wait for, no expectation of relief from suffering.

Conversely, one cannot sustain hope if one is not patient. Hope is for those things we cannot see, but can expect because of Faith. Hope and Patience are inextricably bound together. And Belovéd, we have often seen that when we lose one, the other often fails as well. We lose hope because our patience is exhausted when we wait for a long time. We lose patience because our perception of hope fades when we see less and less hope that change will bring favorable outcomes. If we are to be capable of waiting for a very long time, we must be capable of extraordinary patience. Think of the Hebrews in Egypt. They went down to Egypt during a famine while Joseph was the Vizier and named as Governor of Egypt. They waited for a very long time for God to take them out of Egypt and restore them to their ancestral lands. Do you remember marveling at this passage in Exodus 12:40-4? – 40 The time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41 At the end of four hundred thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. That is an outcome of patience borne out by hope and hope that bears the spiritual fruit of patience. There must have been a HUGE hope sustaining and nurturing their patience! FOUR-HUNDRED-AND-THIRTY YEARS LATER, So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. (See Exodus 10:3 and 5 other passages in Exodus 5 – Exodus 13 – the story of the Plagues in Egypt) What could be so inspiring that a nation would wait 430 years for it to happen? How about returning to God; returning to the land God had given them; to holiness in life, and blessings from their Creator? That would be a perfect outcome.

Aha! Finally the connection between being perfect, hope, and patience! God had given them the Land of Milk and Honey, Canaan. God had been the source of their military victories. God had sent them to Egypt to mature into a Chosen and Holy Nation:

Exodus 19:5-6a Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. This is later confirmed by the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. God has called to Perfection everyone who has become his child: John 1:12-13 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. Because of this, the Apostle John later says in 1 John 3:1-3 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Those who are pure are blameless, holy, without faults, righteous – someone like we might find in the Bible. We could imagine – or even better recall – that God has given us foreshadowings of this perfection by showing us people who are complete, whole, entire, intact, unblemished, known for integrity, and mature in their face-to-face, and Heart-to-heart, encounters with Jesus, the Lord.

What did God require of Noah, Abraham, and Moses? He commanded them to walk before him and be blameless – perfect. HE IS COMMANDING US TO WALK BEFORE HIM WITH THEM! Is that BIG enough to hope in, to walk under the gaze of God for all eternity? Is that BIG HOPE enough to make us patient, patient enough to wait 2,020 years and more for him to come back in Glory to take us to the Place he has prepared for us? John 14:2-3 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. Jesus IS our Hope and our Hope is Perfect. Read about it in Hebrews chapter 7, especially Hebrews 7:18-19 18 There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand, the introduction of a better hope*, through which we approach God. * a better hope = the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.

Belovéd, it is my hope that your hope will be complete in your patience as you do justice, and … love kindness, and … walk humbly with your God. Be, therefore, Holy in the sight of your God! (See [again!] Micah 6:8)

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

at your service, Belovéd!

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

Go ahead and read John 17:11 and 1 Peter 3:13-15

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

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

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – February 14, 2020 – Let’s Fix This

2007AFC021420 – Let’s Fix This

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

     Matthew 5:23-24 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Right at the outset I want to acknowledge that today is Valentine’s Day. A special shout-out to my lifetime Valentine Crucita with this very Special Post from the past. You romantics out there might remember this one. There is also this post from last year that tells about our “secret” for a Blesséd and Happy Marriage. Those of you who are married know that staying married requires work, and sometimes that work includes conciliation as well as reconciliation.

Let’s begin by looking at what those words mean and how they are used.

Conciliation and reconciliation are often cited as synonyms. When we try to conciliate, we try to counteract the anger or discontent in another person; we want to appease that person or persons, to soothe their feelings. Conciliation is an act of negotiating agreements with the goal of restoring peace and harmony by putting an end to discordant conflict. It is might be used in situations to describe the initiation of a peaceful relationship. Re-conciliation is quite similar in that the goal is to reclaim a relationship that has been injured by some offense that imperils the beneficial, pleasant, and compassionate relationship between persons. So, if we make concessions to people who feel we have wronged them in some way, we are being conciliatory. If we try to make recompense for some injury or insult, we are exercising the act of reconciliation as a restoration or renewal of good will where there had previously been antagonism or indifference. We try to make things better between us and others and at the same time try to make things better within our own life so that the causes of our offense(s) are eliminated. That’s a lot of language to take in, so I’d like to go back to something from The Moon Beam Network called …

Seven Key Words of Faith in God’s Forgiveness

The 7 R’s  (← Check it out!)

  1. Recognition
    • See there is a problem
    • Know that it is sin
    • Know that I am powerless against it
  2. Remorse
    • I regret the outcome of my actions
    • I trust in God’s understanding of my sorrow
  3. Repentance
    • I make a conscious decision to correct my thinking, my communications, and my actions
    • I make that decision public through my actions
  4. Reconciliation
    • I am resolved to restore the relationships with God and with my community that I have damaged through my sin
    • I seek and accept forgiveness from God and my community
  5. Reparation
    • I am willing to atone and to offer compensation for the damage I have caused
    • I gratefully acknowledge expiation of my sins
  6. Renewal
    • I am transformed by the renewal of my heart, my mind, and my actions.
    • I make it my resolve to avoid the kinds of circumstances that enabled me to sin
  7. Rejoicing
    • I rejoice in the restoration of a right relationship with God and my community.
    • I share my rejoicing freely and still, with due humility, show respect for others.

Here we can better understand that it just really isn’t enough to be sorry. Judas was sorry for betraying Christ, but he didn’t do anything to restore his status as an Apostle and a friend of Jesus. The termination of hostility, malicious acts, or betrayals of trust is only part of the process of reconciliation. Being sorry gives us a beginning toward admitting we acted wrongly, which then should prepare us to make an effort to make reparation for the offense(s) that damaged our relationships with others and with our own inner sense of Peace. We seek to offer atonement – apology, compensation, and amends – for the damage we have done. We are sorry for our errors and we make it our resolve to correct the behaviors that caused the offense. When we fail to respect common or prescribed standards of behavior, that is offensive, and we are to be accountable for such actions.

Now let’s go back to our key verse and see how Jesus’ instruction about reconciliation is structured. He begins with something his contemporaries would have found shocking (not surprising because much of his teaching upended the religiosity of the time). He tells his Disciples that if they are about to offer their gift at the altar and there recall that a brother or sister – and this means someone who is a Disciple, a member of Jesus’ church – has something against you, then they are to  leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. In that society to whom Jesus preached, the external functions of worship were paramount and generally without regard for the internal motivations and irreverence of the individual. Jesus tells the Disciples that it is a greater impropriety to offer a sacrifice to God without first being well prepared externally and internally to offer sacrifice. The Apostle Paul spoke to this point as well when he said in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For all who eat and drink [in an unworthy manner] without discerning the body [of Christ] eat and drink judgment against themselves. Jesus words to the disciples about being reconciled first and then making an offering is the foreshadowing of what Paul later wrote to the Corinthians.

When we feel contempt or anger toward a fellow Disciple, that is a sin of Pride resulting in harsh and unwarranted judgment. Jesus, as always, takes it a step farther and tells us that if a brother or sister believes or has stated that we have wronged them, even if we feel certain that is not the case, we must make peace with that person; we must make amends for that actual or perceived harm. That is atonement.

“Atonement” is another term for reconciliation and comes from a Latin construct aduna – meaning “at one,” – and menta which forms a noun as the result of an action. Adunamenta there for is “at-one – ing” or unifying. Atonement is the unification or reunification with another. Jesus gave us a process for this type of reconciliation within the Church in Matthew 18:15-20 15 “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Note that verse 20 applies to resolution of offenses within the Church, although it is usually quoted as an affirmation that Christ is with us wherever we are. Some scholars point out that there is an old tradition related by Rabbis that if two people were together discussing the Law, then the Sh’khinah was present and rested upon them – real, actual, but invisible – and just as true as when the Sh’khinah rested in the Holy of Holies. (← Check it out!) Note that it was just as true as when Jesus appeared to the Disciples after his resurrection, and this indwelling of God is what we can experience as presence of the Holy Spirit in and around us. That is why noting can separate us from the Love of God.

In the Holy Spirit, then, we can and should attempt to reach out to another entity – a person; a sibling, relative, or child; the Lord and his Church. First and foremost, we must do this when we know we have sinned against another; however, we also need to take notice that we are obliged to be aware of the perceptions of others in our community (family, work, church, school, etc.) who “has something against us.” Like many things Jesus said, this is hard! It requires humility (like HIS) to admit to ourselves that we might have offended someone. The temptation is to say, “Well, that’s her/his problem.” Jesus tells us it’s our problem, too. How can this be? “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Why should it be my responsibility to reconcile with someone else’s judgment of me?

As I started thinking about this message last Saturday, the topic and arrangement of the message began with yet another of the Old Timey Hymns I love so much. You may remember this one, too. In my heart it resonates as an instruction manual for The Great Commission. It’s called Rescue the Perishing. Please watch and listen. This presentation has the lyrics along with it. I’ve included the lyrics in the online version of this post if you’d like to take your time reviewing them. What a beautiful way to express how lovingly Jesus asks us to bring others to him, to be reconciled with each other, and – most importantly – to be reconciled with God. And what joy that brings to us and to those who hear the Word through us!

As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 5:10 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. It is also our mission as the Apostle Paul explains in  2 Corinthians 5:17-19 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. WOW, that’s so awesome!! The Apostle Paul uses an interesting word here for reconciliation – katallage {kat-al-lag-ay’}. It is an accounting term referring to the business of money changers and the exchanging equivalent values; or an adjustment of a difference, as in a restoration to favor. In the Gospel, it is the restoration of the approval by God of sinners who repent,  make reparation, and put their trust in the forgiveness of sins through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.

     Our sins are completely and totally (← Check it out!) paid for in exchange for his sacrifice. Everybody Ought to Know (↔ Music Link), don’t you agree? I mean He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills (↔ Music Link) and because My Sins are GONE, (↔ Music Link) I want everyone I know to know what Jesus can do – he can reconcile us with God: Colossians 1:15-23 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

Our unity with God was broken in The Garden, but Jesus has restored it in us. We broke it. He fixed it. What a beautiful gift we are given to share!

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

at your service, Belovéd!

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

Here are the lyrics for the hymn Rescue the Perishing

  1. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
    Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
    Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
    Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

    • Refrain:
      Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
      Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
  2. Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
    Waiting the penitent child to receive;
    Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
    He will forgive if they only believe.
  3. Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
    Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
    Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
    Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
  4. Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
    Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
    Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
    Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.

Frances J. Crosby, 1869

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

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

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aloha Friday Message – February 7, 2020 – Shining a light on Light

2006AFC020720 – Shining a light on Light

Read it online here, please. And please, when you visit there, use one of the social media links at the bottom of the page to share this post. Thank you! And remember, we now have a READER VIEW available, so share this link or this email often.

   Matthew 5:16 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.  This word is phos {foce} and is used to describe anything emitting light.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Alright now, all y’all, we are going to a hymn-singing-Bible-studying revival! Buckle up, because here we go. Turn your radio on (↔ Music Link) and Light up the World! (↔ Music Link) Everybody wants to be a star, right? Then consider this: Philippians 2:14-15 14 Do all things without murmuring* and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. *In both the Old Testament and New Testament, this word indicates people who secretly confer to discontentedly complain – griping gossipers. Don’t be like them! Be a bright star in this crooked and perverse generation! WE know the Light, the True Light, and that Light is our Light.

2 Peter 1:16-21 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

19 So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining (↔ Music Link) in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

The Prophets spoke about God by the Power of God, and their words are to be our Light. Psalm 119:105 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 27:1a1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

Psalm 56:13 13 For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of life. (↔ Music Link) Listen carefully for this stanza in the song:

Some people are scared to let their little lights shine
So we must share our light divine
Cause they are lost down in the valley
Trying to get home

John 8:12 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have* the light of life.”

*This verb means “to have” as in to hold one’s self to a thing, to lay hold of a thing, to adhere or cling to or to be closely joined to a person or a thing.

Matthew 5:14a 14 You are the light of the world. This is from the verb “to be” in the present indicative mode which normally describes an action taking place at the present time. Normally, this action is a continued action taking place right now. Doesn’t that seem like what should be happening now? Should we be more conscious of being the light?

Ephesians 5:8 For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. (↔ Music Link)  Live as children of light –

Psalm 112:1 & 4 Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in his commandments. They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

Isaiah 60:1-3 1 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, (↔ Music Link) and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Proverbs 4:18 18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

Isaiah 58:8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring  up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Well, Belovéd, that was quite an adventure, so let me now ask you a question based on what you have seen and heard:

Is the Light within us, emanating from us like light from a lamp; or is the Light outside us, reflecting off our souls like light in a mirror? I’ll count to 10 while you think about that.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10! What do you think? Is Light inside or outside? Did you say BOTH? So did I. Do you remember this?

LIGHT ≡ GOD ≡ TRUTH ≡ WAY ≡ LIFE ≡ ETERNAL ≡ LOVE

It is certainly true that God is Light and his Light is within me, and it is also true that his Light shines on me. Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12), but WE are also the Light of the World (Matthew 5:14), so that is why he said let your light shine before others. We are created in God’s image and likeness and God is Light. Wherever God is, there is Light; wherever Light shines, there is God. If we think back to Genesis, Chapter 1, what is the first Creation spoken into being? Genesis 1:3-4 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. And what will be Light in Heaven for all eternity? Revelation 22:5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. How do we get that Light in and around us? We’ve been here before, so give a listen to Alan Jackson again as he sings Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus. (↔ Music Link). Yes ʻŌmea, it is Jesus who will Light up our lives, (↔ Music Link) and how bright is that Brightness!

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

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

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

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

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
Pages Email Newsletter Categories Archives Connect