Resurrection Doesn’t Stop There

white lilies

 

Heaven

 

Beyond “Imagine“,

There, You Are.

 

Before me

Unbound Substantive Reality, The Living Word

Lifted from gilded pages to eternity’s masthead: “Alpha and Omega.”

 

He now walks among us with beard and white gown,

A purple sash hides a pierced side,

He is the only Disfigured One among us,

The walking Redeemed.

 

He is Truth Unfiltered,

Full-Colored, not developed black and white,

Heaven’s Endless Searching Light,

Light once diffused and then restored,

Among prisms of white calla lilies.

 

Heaven,

A hope not disappointed, no longer dot-to-dot discovered, And,

A harvest, garnering displaced ones into

The dancing embrace of the Triune God:

“That where I am, there you may also be.”

 

Beyond “Imagine“,

Here I am – a harlot,

My redemption once hanging by a Scarlet Thread,

Now I’m dancing in the streets!

 

Holy, Holy, Holy. Trisagion.

 

Come, Lord Jesus.

 

 

© Sallyparadise.com, 2014, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

White lilies from www.flowers-magazine.com

Wait Here and Watch

After saying these things, Jesus went forth with his disciples beyond the torrent of Cedron, where there was a garden…” (John 18:1) “According to his custom” adds Luke.

“And they came to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I pray.’ And he took with him Peter James and John, and began to feel dread and to be exceedingly troubled. And he said to them, My soul is sad, even unto death. Wait here and watch.’…”

A terrible sadness overcomes our Lord ~ sadness “unto death” says the Holy Scripture. Then Jesus tells also the three to wait~perhaps they are surprised to hear him say they should watch with him; it is probably the first time he has ever asked them to. Alone, he advances a few paces, falls on his face and prays…

 jesus-in-gethsemane

What does faith tell us? Before all else who this man is there on his knees – the Son of God in the simplest sense of the word. For that reason he sees existence in its ultimate reality.

 Wherever we encounter Jesus, it is as the Knowing One, as he who knows about man and world. All others are blind; only his eyes are all-seeing, and they see through to the very ground of human depravity.  The forlornness Jesus beholds there embraces the whole of human existence.  And he does not see it as one who has broken through to spiritual health and clarity with the help of grace.  Jesus’ knowledge of sin is not like that of fallen mankind;  he knows about it as God knows – hence the awful transparency of that knowledge.

Hence the immeasurable loneliness.  He is really the Seer among the blind, sole sensitive one among beings who lost their touch, the only free and self-possessed one in the midst of general confusion.

 Jesus’ consciousness of the world’s corruption is not grounded in the world and therefore the prisoner of existence.  It springs from above, from God, and enfolds the whole globe, seeing as God sees:  around existence, through existence, outwards from existence.  Moreover, Jesus’ divine consciousness, before which everything is stripped and lucid, is not extrinsic, but intrinsic, realized in his living self.  He knows with his human intellect, feels the world’s forlornness with his human heart.  And, the sorrow of it, incapable of ripping the eternal God from his bliss, becomes in Christ’s human soul unutterable agony.  From this knowledge comes a terrible and unrelenting earnestness, knowledge that underlies every word he speaks and everything he does.  It pulses through his whole being and proclaims itself in the least detail of his fate.  Here lies the root of Christ’s inapproachable loneliness. What human understanding and sympathy could possibly reach into this realm in which the Savior shoulders alone the yoke of the world?  From this point of view Jesus was always a sufferer, and would have been one even if men had accepted his message of faith and love; even if salvation had been accomplished and the kingdom established alone by proclamation and acceptance, sparing him the bitter way of the cross.  Even then, his whole life would have been inconceivably painful, for he would have been constantly aware of the world sin in the sight of a God he knew to be holy and all love; and he would have borne this terrible and inaccessible knowledge alone.  In the hour of Gethsemane its ever-present pain swells to a paroxysm.

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Selections from the chapter Gethsemane, from the The Lord by Romano Guardini

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Lord, I will wait and watch with you this day.

Obama is Muslim – The Koran Tells Me So

Christians will, no matter what, encounter evil in all its malignant and dressed-up forms.

Being in the Kingdom of God we are commanded to “not be overcome with evil but to overcome evil with good.” We are also commanded to “pray for those in authority over us.” We must pray for our President. How can we pray for him? See below.

Evil: Here is a profile of our current President by those who have known him and have researched Barry Soetoro’s life. You’ll understand why he wants you to “Lean Forward.”

Obama: Marxist, homosexual, druggie, liar, Mack daddy, closely associated with Frank Marshall Davis and Bill Ayers, in other words, Obama is a “SOJO Progressive” who is willfully filled with the spirit of anti-Christ.

Have you noticed that lawlessness has increased under Obama, as well as, race, class and religious division? In our country there is now more hatred, division, aggression and microaggression (‘hurt feelings’) – all the shaping tools of the Evil One. But then, you decide and pray:

 

 

Obama is Muslim – The Koran Tells Me So – Under the pretext of being a “Social~Justice Progressive”…

Obama has Muslim roots. 

Obama’s Islam brings with it misogyny ~war against women, accepting look-the-other-way jihad (Ft Hood massacre), surrender of our nation to Sharia Law and the disrespect, even hatred, of Jews, Christians and the Judeo-Christian tradition/rule of law.For atheists, Obama’s Islam also makes you infidels.

 Who would finance Barry’s education?  His political life?  Only someone who knew the race card was playable.  George Soros?

 Dinesh D’souza Analyzes His Predictions from “2016: Obama’s America”

 

It is NO lie that Obama lies. See below:  “What can I tell you?”

 

 

A Rascally Witness

During this Lenten season each Sunday our church congregation repeats the Decalogue, The Ten Commandments:

 The First Commandment

 Rector: I am the Lord your God who brought you out of bondage. You shall have no other gods but me.

Congregation: Amen. Lord have mercy.

 

Last Sunday we had the privilege of hearing The Rev. Dr. Michael Lloyd, principal of Wycliffe Seminary in Oxford present a sermon on…

 Rector: You shall not steal.

Congregation: Amen. Lord have mercy.

 The Rev Dr. Lloyd reminded us that the original intent of this command was for God’s people not to steal other people (remember the story of Joseph?). Dr. Lloyd reminded us of the ongoing tragedy of human trafficking.

 

Tomorrow:

Rector: You shall not be a false witness.

Congregation: Amen. Lord have mercy.

 

The book of Proverbs has some interesting observations about truth telling…:

What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars
Prov. 6:12

17 When you tell the truth, justice is done, but lies lead to injustice. 20 Those who plan evil are in for a rude surprise, but those who work for good will find happiness. 22 The Lord hates liars, but is pleased with those who keep their word.
Prov. 12

A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, and the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.
Prov. 19:28

A false accusation is as deadly as a sword, a club, or a sharp arrow. (emphasis mine)
Prov. 25:18

 …and so does history:

 

The following quote has major implications for our present political discourse:

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
― Theodore Dalrymple (emphasis mine)

 

Note how lying and political correctness go hand in hand?

 

Speaking of a “rascally witness“, below is a response to the obvious lies and character assassination of the Koch Brothers spoken by Senator Harry Reid on the Senate floor, from a recent WSJ op-ed:

 

Charles Koch: I’m Fighting to Restore a Free Society

Instead of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination.

“We’re On A Mission From God”

Lent may be a good time for this discourse…

“If you live today, you breath in nihilism … it’s the gas you breathe. If I hadn’t had the Church to fight it with or to tell me the necessity of fighting it, I would be the stinkingest logical positivist you ever saw right now.”
― Flannery O’Connor

I have not read Dr. Thomas Howard’s book “Evangelical is not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament.” A Goodreads description about the book piqued my interest.

After reading the brief synopsis and a thread of comments about the book, I would have to say that I have perhaps made a similar journey away from formal Evangelicalism. My reasons may be similar to Howard’s, but, as mentioned, I haven’t read his book.

My own journey began with seeking wisdom and authentic Christianity. In my thirties I would find a wellspring of wisdom and a dose of ‘real’ Christianity from reading the works of Saint Teresa of Avila and some of the church fathers.

In 1984 I came across “A Life of Prayer” by St. Teresa of Avila. The book, the abridged edition out of Multnomah Press copyright 1983, was one in a series of “Classics of Faith and Devotion.”

The preface, written by Dr. James Houston a University Lecturer at Oxford University and later Chancellor of Regent College, notes that “The goal for the reader of these books is not to seek information. Instead, these volumes teach one about living wisely…Nor are these books “how-to” kits or texts…They guide us to “be” authentic, and not necessarily help us to promote more professional activities.” But I am ahead of myself.

“You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission.”
― Flannery O’Connor

I would like to share some of my journey, a condensed version, from formal Evangelicalism to Anglicanism with you. Where to begin? I’ll start like many of those who commented on Howard’s book: I was born and raised in an Evangelical Christian home.

While my parents were attending Moody Bible Institute as married students I was born. Voilà! Orbiting in such a universe my life rotated around daily Scripture reading, teaching and preaching. The ‘Word’ was heard it everywhere in my world – our small apartments.

The Word resounded from a tiny Zenith radio tuned to MBI’s flagship station WMBI. My mother had the radio tuned in and turned on every day while she worked around the house, prepared meals and changed you know who.

My earliest remembrances of the WMBI were of Aunt Theresa Worman and the KYB club (Know Your Bible Club). Through this and many other radio programs I would became bathed in Sola Scriptura at a very early age.

Later, along with my younger siblings, all of us sitting around the dinner table, my mother would read a chapter out of the book of Proverbs after each meal. And, often a missionary story as well. I also memorized tons of Scripture for Sunday School memorization contests.

With such an influx of spiritual truth each of us kids would become instilled with a desire to become missionaries or pastors or ministry involved from our earliest ages. For me, as I would later surmise, seeking wisdom, knowledge and a good understanding would be my life’s journey. I had to have the Truth – REALITY – and the discernment to know the Truth when I found it. I prayed for wisdom, knowledge and a good understanding every day.

Like my parents before me I attended Moody Bible Institute, in the ‘70s. I mainly studied Christian Education, music (I play the trumpet), Old and New Testament Scriptures and Koine (New Testament) Greek.

In my required first Personal Evangelism course I was taught that Catholicism was a cult just as Jehovah’s Witness and Mormonism are cults. It would be years before I eradicated that thinking from my head. In the mean time, though, I felt pretty proud of myself being an in the ‘know’ “Protestant.” I found out later that this smugness was a two-way street.

“Smugness is the Great Catholic Sin.”
― Flannery O’Connor

Now, after all of the jumbled background I’ve laid out here, let’s get back to the reason I ‘switched’ turf. Reading would play an important role in my ‘change.’

St. Teresa, a Catholic, wrote mainly about prayer and the inner life with God. Her work is filled with imagery, primarily three images:

There is the Journey or Pilgrimage of the soul: the coming home to the Truth, to the Presence.

There is the image of the Castle representing the wholeness of the soul where “His Majesty” dwells. As James M. Houston’s Editor’s Note points out: “For it is God’s presence within the soul of man that gives it such spaciousness and delight. How contrastive is Kafka’s Castle with its fearful absence of the landlord depicting not only the absence of the earthly father of the novelist, but also Kafka’s alienation from God.”
The soul St. Teresa depicts “is the domicile of His majesty.”

Water is the third image. Here Teresa refers to prayer. She will talk about water’s scarcity during the journey and water from a deep well of meditation, water as a conduit or viaduct poured into us as joy or as fresh rain, replenishing the parched soul.

Another image, one that I use often in prayer, is the garden of the soul. I’ll talk about this more in another post.

To put it mildly, back in the day, I wasn’t hearing anything like the above from the preachers or from the ‘Christian’ radio or from…Christians. What I was hearing, every single Sunday in E-Free (The Evangelical Free church) was that if you wanted to trust Jesus as your Savior or if you wanted to rededicate your life for the umptee-umph time to the Lord then raise your hand, walk down the aisle and kneel.

It seemed to me that people just wanted to relive their rebirth experience, perhaps vicariously through someone else. But, please don’t ask those in attendance to drink or eat anything but milk. The meat of the word was left on the side. After many years of this diet I hungered for more solid food.

And what I hungered for was the Eucharist. Not all the parading up and down the aisles.

The Evangelical Free church (E-Free Church) I attended would ‘celebrate’ communion once a month, like an after thought, like something you put on the calendar and can’t forget to do. Saving souls, replaying the salvation message tape over and over again every Sunday, selling hell fire insurance and eternal life real estate was the bottom line. That, and making ever bigger buildings to house wider aisles to accommodate the walking recycled.

Am I being polemical? Absolutely, as my Lord would be.

“I am not afraid that the book will be controversial, I’m afraid it will not be controversial.”
― Flannery O’Connor

Now, there are churches called “Seeker Churches!” What in the world?

When I was involved in the Jesus People Movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s we would hold Jesus Rallies at public high school auditoriums. This was evangelization.

There would be worship music and Street-wise Preachers. We’d invite our high school friends. Many would come to belief in Christ. We would immediately baptize them in a pond nearby. One of them was my best friend Carl.

Today churches are trying to play culture catch-up and it’s a fool’s errand.

Three point sermons? Nope. Sermons as centerpiece of Sunday morning ‘service’. Nope

The church, the ekklesia, the called out ones, are to be fed, ministered to and to minister to one another: gifts, giving, koinonia, and NOT “let’s watch a Jesus flick this morning” or “let’s listen to a raging sermon that really tells someone off” or “You really need my homiletics to get you through the next week.” No.

The church is to gather to worship as One Body the Triune God. The church universal, with those in prison, with those hurting and alone, comes together to feed on HIM. THEN, the church, fed, recharged, goes out into the world to seek the lost. Evangelization is life after Eucharist.

I chose to go to an Anglican church because the Lord had placed in my heart, since day one, the need to receive His REAL Presence through the sacrament. Yes, I have the Holy Spirit dwelling within me. He is the one saying “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” I wanted the Wisdom of God dwelling in me. I need this bread and drink every week, at the very least. Come Lord Jesus.

Yes, I need the liturgy. I am a Romantic-Rationalist. I need to hear the Common Book prayers read aloud and the scriptures read aloud. I need the formal hymns AND the folk songs of the church (I listen to David Crowder at home). I need the formality, the ritual, the pomp and circumstance, the expectation of His Presence leading up to the Eucharist.

Everything that happens within the liturgy points to the Eucharist – The Great Thanksgiving. That is exactly why I attend an Anglican church – exalting His Majestic REAL Presence with us.

There is beauty in the liturgical season colors, the stained glass windows. There is beauty in the spoken prayers and Scripture. There is beauty in the truth of the hymns.

I need beauty wherever and whenever I can find it. We all do. Beauty reveals the Godhead. Beauty reveals the love of God towards us.

And yet, even though most of my spiritual needs (of gift and giver) are met at the Anglican Church, the Body of Christ can be so much more than this. The corporate church has become the church corporate – worldly configured and less Christ-centric dynamism. Think personally involved house-to-house koinonia-laying–on-of-hands-prayer and not sit-back-and-let government (or church) do “social justice.”

I have started several threads in this post. I can’t follow all of them here. Read Saint Teresa’s “A Life of Prayer.” Read the church fathers. Read Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood. Read N.T. Wright’s “How God Became King”. Read Dr. Luke’s The Acts of the Apostles.  Become His Church as Followers of the Way. Feed on Him in your hearts by faith and with Thanksgiving.

“You don’t serve God by saying: the Church is ineffective, I’ll have none of it. Your pain at its lack of effectiveness is a sign of your nearness to God. We help overcome this lack of effectiveness simply by suffering on account of it. ”
― Flannery O’Connor

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Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the ‘most portable’ person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, ‘Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.’ That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

Flannery O’Connor on the Eucharist and Church History

 

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“Highly Qualified to be Completely Useless”

“All who are thirsty come”

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” Isaiah 55:1

The eye-witness account by the apostle John (and also of a disciple named Philip) relates the true narrative of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. jacobs-well

 The well and the field surrounding it were gifts from Jacob to Joseph.  (And you will remember Joseph. He is the one who received good gifts from his father ~a coat ~ and bad treatment from his brothers.) I have no doubt that the well was, pun intended, well-known to many who traveled though the area. 

This oasis would be on the minds of those seeking to quench their thirst, thirst brought about by the day’s relentless heat.  John’s Gospel account tells us that as Jesus was traveling from one place to another he became tired and thirsty. He stopped outside the town of Sychar in the region of Samaria to rest at the well.

 As Jesus sat down on the edge of the well he told his disciples to go and get some food in the nearby town. Being midday the sun was directly overhead and the heat was stifling. The group was thirsty and hungry from their long walk.

Jesus had no means of retrieving the water from the well. Imagine someone being even thirstier when they know that water is just out of reach.

 As Jesus sits resting a woman from the town of Sychar approaches the well carrying her clay jar (I am assuming some things here.).  The woman comes to the well in the middle of the day because, I suspect, no one else will be there during the hottest part of the day. She has her reasons for not wanting to be around the other women of the town:  she sleeps around.

From John’s Gospel account Chapter 4:

 Jesus spoke to her.

“Give me a drink,” he said (The disciples had gone off into town to buy food.)

“What!” said the Samaritan woman.  “You, a Jew, asking for a drink from me, a woman, and a Samaritan at that?” (Jews, you see, don’t have dealing with Samaritans.)

“If only you’d known God’s gift, “replied Jesus, “and who it is that’s saying to you give me a drink,” you’d have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

“But sir, replied the woman, “you haven’t got a bucket! And the well’s deep! So how are you thinking of getting living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, with his sons and animals?”

“Everyone who drinks this water, Jesus replied, “will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I’ll give them won’t ever be thirsty again. No: the water will become a spring of water welling up to the life of God’s new age.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “give me this water!  Then I won’t be thirsty anymore, and I won’t have to come here to draw from the well.”

“Well, then, said Jesus to the woman, “go and call your husband and come here.”

“I haven’t got a husband,” replied the woman.

“You’re telling me you haven’t got a husband!” replied Jesus.  The fact is, you’ve had five husbands, and the one you’ve got now isn’t your husband.  You were speaking the truth!”

“Well, sir, replied the woman, “I can see that you’re a prophet…Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain.  And you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

“Believe me, woman, replied Jesus, “the time is coming when you won’t worship the father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You worship what you don’t know.  We worship what we do know; Salvation, you see, is indeed from the Jews.  But the time is coming ~ indeed, it’s here already! ~ when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and in truth.  Yes:  that’s the kind of worshippers the father is looking for.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.”

“I know that Messiah is coming,” said the woman, “the one they call ‘the anointed.’  When he comes, he’ll tell us everything.”

“I’m the one ~ the one speaking to you right now, “said Jesus.

Just then Jesus’ disciples came up. They were astonished that he was talking with a woman; but nobody said, “What did you want?” or “Why were you talking with her?”  So the woman left her water-jar, went into town, and spoke to the people.

“Come on! She said. “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did!  You don’t think he can be the Messiah do you?”

So they left the town and were coming out to him.

Meanwhile,, the disciples were nagging him, “Come on, Rabbi!” they were saying. “You must have something to eat!”

“I’ve got food to eat that you know nothing about, he said.

“Nobody’s brought him anything to eat, have they?” said the disciples to one another.

“My food,” replied Jesus, “is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to finish his work!  Don’t you have a saying, ‘Another four months, then comes harvest?” Well, let me tell you raise your eyes and see!  The fields are white!  It’s harvest time already!  The reaper earns his pay, and gather crops for the life of God’s coming age, so that sower and reaper can celebrate together.  This is where that saying comes true. ‘One sows, another reaps,’ I sent you to reap what you didn’t work for.  Others did the hard work, and you’ve come into the results.”

Several Samaritans from that town believed in Jesus because of what the woman sad in evidence about him: “He told me everything I did.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked to stay with them.  And he stayed there two days.

Many more believed because of what he said.

“We believe, too,” they said to the woman, “but it’s no longer because of what you told us.  We’ve hear him ourselves!  We know that he really is the one! He’s the savior of the world!”

 This passage from John’s account thrills me every time I read it.  The passage overflows with Kingdom of God thirst quenchers.

Is it me or is there a bit of snark in the woman’s reply to Jesus’ request for a drink?

“But sir, replied the woman, “you haven’t got a bucket! And the well’s deep! So how are you thinking of getting living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, with his sons and animals?”

Jesus doesn’t respond to the snark or try to pull rank.  He speaks directly to the Samaritan woman who is at the well, thirsty herself:

“Everyone who drinks this water, Jesus replied, “will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I’ll give them won’t ever be thirsty again. No: the water will become a spring of water welling up to the life of God’s new age.”

The woman, maybe with a little more snark, says, “OK, give me some of that! water and I won’t have to come back in the middle of the day (to avoid the gossiping women).”  (my unauthorized color commentary)

Now Jesus pulls rank:  “Go get your husband(s).”

 “Oops, I’ve pushed this guy too far!” the woman thought. (more unauthorized color commentary from the bleachers)

The woman, like most of us, wanted to deflect any accounting of her sinful life.  She became polemical and quickly changed the subject.  She pressed Jesus about a heated religious and geopolitical issue of the day – our mountain or yours, our religion or yours.

Jesus poured out some fresh Kingdom of God water:

“Believe me, woman, replied Jesus, “the time is coming when you won’t worship the father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You worship what you don’t know.  We worship what we do know; Salvation, you see, is indeed from the Jews.  But the time is coming ~ indeed, it’s here already! ~ when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and in truth.  Yes:  that’s the kind of worshippers the father is looking for.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.”

Here Jesus reminds the woman of the “truth” (the non-denial) she spoke about herself earlier and about the spirit who is to come so that all who believe can worship the One True God in Spirit and in Truth.  The rivers of living water are beginning to flow freely.  The extremely costly water bill will be paid in full by Jesus.

Now, what did the disciples think when they returned to the well and found Jesus talking to a woman, A Samaritan woman, a well-known (pun intended again) harlot Samaritan woman?  Nobody asked.  “Zip your lip, Peter!”

Jesus begins to talk about harvest time as he sees the Samaritans come running out to see what the woman was talking about.  The fact that the woman, a harlot, told them that Jesus told her everything she had done, made a impression on the town gossipers and on the wives whose husbands had betrayed them with her. It was no easy thing to tell the people of the town her ‘secrets’ but Jesus was like no other.  “Come and see” she told them.

Jesus:  “Well, let me tell you raise your eyes and see!  The fields are white!  It’s harvest time already!  The reaper earns his pay, and gather crops for the life of God’s coming age, so that sower and reaper can celebrate together.  This is where that saying comes true. ‘One sows, another reaps,’ I sent you to reap what you didn’t work for.  Others did the hard work, and you’ve come into the results.””

Fast forward:  the ‘anointed one’ has been crucified.  The resurrection has occurred.  Jesus meets with his disciples and at least 120 people have seen him.  Jesus breathes on the assembled disciples and they receive the Holy Spirit.  Jesus ascends to the Father. The Spirit, in the form of wind and fire, descends upon the praying assembly of eye witnesses.

 All of Jerusalem is now afire with the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God come to earth. Thousands believe the words of the apostles, of Peter and John and the others. The response:   “Brothers, what must we do?”   Peter: “Turn back ~ Be baptized every single one of you ~ in the name of Jesus the Messiah, so that your sins can be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the holy spirit.  The promise for you and your children, and for everyone who is far away, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

At this point the religious SuperPac of Pharisees did NOT like the media message:  Jesus, the Messiah-King, the “King of the Jews”, whom they had crucified, was raised from the dead!  This had to be stopped or they would lose their powerful standing. (sounds familiar ~ today’s political world)

Persecutions began in full fury.  And, a different unequivocal message had to be sent out to counter the Truth. 

The message was sent via Stephen. Stephen, a man said to be full of the grace and power had testified to the Facts of Jesus before the Super Pac. He held nothing back. So, he was quickly shut up by being stoned to death.  His last words:  “Lord, don’t let this sin stand against them.” Saul, the soon-to-be Paul of missionary fame, was the eyewitness of Stephen’s martyrdom.

Immediately after Stephen’s death a Christian Diaspora began.  Christians, except for most of the apostles, fled Jerusalem. Philip goes to Samaria (see The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 8).

The word and the living water gets around. Remember Samaria?

“Philip went off to a town in Samaria and announced the Messiah to them.  The crowds, acting as one, clung to what Philip was saying, as they heard him and saw the signs he performed.  For unclean spirits came out of many of them and several who were paralyzed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that town.”

Rivers of living water” began streaming throughout the world ~ God’s Kingdom on earth.  Souls are being replenished with waters from the deep well cut out of the Solid Rock . Do you see why I find this Samaritan woman’s story so brimful of Kingdom Thirst quenchers?

“Well, let me tell you raise your eyes and see!  The fields are white!  It’s harvest time already!  The reaper earns his pay, and gather crops for the life of God’s coming age, so that sower and reaper can celebrate together.  This is where that saying comes true. ‘One sows, another reaps,’ I sent you to reap what you didn’t work for.  Others did the hard work, and you’ve come into the results.””

As Christians we must “Come into the results!” The message of the Kingdom of God is inclusive:  it is for Jews and Greeks, men, and women ~ for anyone who receives him.

“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”  (John 7:37)

One last thought:  Jesus was poor.  As the above story reveals, his poverty, his hunger did not overcome him or preoccupy him.  He, instead, before all else, willed to do the will of the One who sent him.  That was his food and drink.  That was enough.

Good Company – “He Chooses You”

“Will to do His will”

“Bridges Get Walked On”

“He chooses you.”

Grab some Starbucks and enjoy this incredible Interview with Rosaria Butterfield; January 11, 2013

 

The Collect For the Second Sunday of Lent (and my prayer):

 O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy:  Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your way, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God for ever and ever. Amen

Apotheosis: “Laying Aside” Yourself for the Gospel – Saeed Abedini

Remember the Scripture’s account of the boy Samuel from 1 Samuel Chapter 3?

One night after young Samuel had gone to bed, he heard a voice calling his name. Quickly he ran to Eli’s side, saying, “Here am I; for you called me.”

“I called not,” Eli responded; “lie down again.”

Samuel obeyed Eli and returned to his bed. When he lay down again, he heard the same voice call his name.

Samuel hurried back to Eli’s side, but Eli again denied calling him. Puzzled, Samuel returned to his room. A third time he clearly heard his name called, and again he returned to Eli.

This time Eli realized that it must be the Lord who was calling Samuel. He said, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’”

Samuel returned to bed and waited. Once more the Lord came and called, “Samuel, Samuel.”

This time Samuel responded, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

The Lord then told Samuel that because Eli’s sons were disobedient and because Eli did not control them, they would be punished and Samuel would become the new prophet.

Because of his diligence and obedience, Samuel continued to learn and grow. The Lord was with him, and all Israel knew that Samuel had been called to be a prophet of the Lord. (emphasis mine)

Pour ma mère

 Remembering dad…

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