Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Body and Blood

You teach us how to be at peace by trusting in you. You gave the example in Gethsemane. “Your will be done, Father.” After that surrendering prayer you remained calm. You didn’t struggle or resist. You allowed those whom you created to torture you because you needed to show us how much you love us. There is so much to learn from the example you gave us. The world cannot contain your goodness. We humans do a poor job of being your reflection. I thank you for your Word, which instructs us, and to which we can always turn for guidance. So generous of you to leave us with something we can pour over and reflect on.

I thank you too my very giving Lord for allowing us to connect with you so intimately by consuming your very Body and Blood. How much closer could you allow us to be? So simple these gifts are but so immensely profound an act – to eat your Body and Blood in bread and wine; thereby becoming one with you. Divinity and humanity co-mingling. Is that allowed? Can it be done? Do Kings share their lives with paupers? Only in You, my God. You are glorious and worthy of all praise and thanks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Prodigal Son

I've been reading the book by Henri Nouwen called: The Return of the Prodigal Son. The Father loved both the younger and older son equally and unconditionally. His love was not dependent on their behavior. Somedays I act like the younger son and search for happiness someplace other than my Father's house. Somedays I'm the older self-righteous son who follows all the rules and expects special attention because of that. But its not about me at all. Obviously, I need to shed this schizophrenic response to my redemption and get it together. But if I do or don't, God still loves me and would "kill the fatted calf" for me. He celebrates me - whether it be upon my repentence of sin and reconciliation or on a day of pure obedience and self denial. God loves me completely.

Somedays I can receive that love with certainty and it fills me to the marrow with confidence and praise. But other days my schizophrenic spirituality continues and the Father's love for me is just too much to believe more or less accept.

Thank you Lord for giving us the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15: 11-32. Thank you Lord for Henri Nouwen's book on the topic. Thank you God for Rembrandt's painting called Return of the Prodigal Son. Thank you for giving us all these opportunities to get the message about your unconditional love. It's just another example of your generosity and your relentless attempts to offer us your grace.

Praise and thanks to You, my Lord and my God!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Best Gift I Could Give You


My primary interest in the previous story (Chapter 9 “Give Them an Impression of Who I Am” from the book Bread That is Broken by van Breemen S.J.) is the issue of getting to know Jesus. “You must waste time in prayer” the author writes. To spend time with Jesus is the only way to get to know him.

Hang out with Jesus. Watch him. Watch how me moves, what he says, how he acts. You can examine him in the New Testament or in you own life. You can try to imagine what Jesus did during the hidden years of his life, those non recorded years. You can look at Jesus’ actions in the church. I like to contemplate his face. I probe into his relationship with his mother and his father. The more time you spend with anyone, the better you get to know them.

2 Cor 3:18 How can we reflect what isn’t seen?
Phil 3:7 Why would we want to miss out on a supreme advantage?

I pray Ephesians 1:17 for you. It’s the best gift you can give someone, so…

I ask God to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation to you may know him better.”

Friday, February 08, 2008

Let Me Tell You a Story...

In chapter 9 of Bread That Is Broken, a book written by Peter B. von Breemen, S.J. there is a story called “Give Them an Impression of Who I Am”. It is the story of a king who summons a boy – not yet born – and gives him a job. The boy is to give the inhabitants of the town an impression of the king. When the young man arrives 25 years later the king gives him a crown, a scepter and a robe before sending him off to fulfill his duty.

The man is quite perplexed as he doesn’t know anything about the king. “Why me?” he questions, and “how am I supposed to make a living?” The young man’s questions are answered by a wise man. “Why NOT you? The king chose you before you were born.

And if you want to know about the king examine how he called you and the gifts he gave you. As far as how you are to make a living just do what you know how to do. You’ve been a farmer. Keep doing that.” So that’s what the young man did.

So, what is the point?
The question of giving people an impression of who Christ is is essential to our calling.
Phil 3:7 “Nothing can outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
2 Cor 3:18 “We reflect like mirrors the brightness of the Lord as we turn into the image we reflect.”
In prayer we turn into the image we reflect. Van Breemen writes “This is indeed the work of the Lord who is spirit. The process is a long one. It takes time – time wasted in prayer. There is no other way to know Christ. ”

Examine the gifts. In this case the gifts describe the giver.
The crown – his crown of thorns.
The scepter – was in the form of the cross.
The robe – mocked and gambled for by the soldiers
We are given the gifts we need to accept a life which involves suffering and ridicule.

How do I make a living?
No one can take your place in this area. You can only do what you know how to do. Accept your limitations humbly and do joyfully that which you know how to do.
(part 2 is called TheBestGift)

Friday, February 01, 2008

You Remind Me Of Someone...

Mirror by Misspiepie

Jesus, some people say couples begin to look alike after many years together. I can only hope we reach that point. Amy Grant sang a great song in the 70’s called “My Father’s Eyes”. She wanted people to say she had her Father’s eyes meaning that she saw things as God did. If I had my Father’s hands and feet I’d do what he did. Lots of kids follow in their parents’ profession. Lots of couples venture into business together.

It’s sometimes said, “Those two are always together. You never see one without the other.” Could they say that about you and me Jesus? Would my friends and family ever think that? Do I know you well enough and intimately enough that I could imagine what you’d do or say in any situation? Do I love you enough to want to daily please you or to be told I remind people of you?
When people look at me would they ever say, “You remind me of someone…”?

1 Eph 17. “I pray that you may know Him better.”