A Christmas BLessing

In Him is Life, and the Life is the Light.

The light of all people shines on a bright Christmas morning. As the shepherds I the fields, the world is filled with wonder, the wonder of a grace-filled God born among us to suffer the hardships of mortal life. This is not just an experience for those of us who are called Christians. This light is for all people, all of God’s creation. Nothing can separate us from God’s Love and Grace. The Love that Jesus brings is so massive and so bright, we must close our eyes and see it with our hearts.

Only the majesty of this loving God can invite us to understand it, then, and only then, can we out our trust in the message that Jesus brings. As Christians, our God-given duty is to pray that others will be opened to realize and be strengthened by this Love. We must not force them to do so; we must only offer God’s invitation to do so. The Spirit of God is within us all to realize when we listen for His words with our open hearts.

Jesus asks that we love God, love ourselves, and love one another. We cannot love God, nor can we love Jesus, if we do not love one another. That means that no matter what a person looks like, what religion or gender that person is, or what color that person is, he/she is invited to hear the light of Jesus and the light of God wit their open hearts. If we do not love one another, we cannot absolutely love God, for God created all on this earth and love and respect for all His creation is all He asks of us. Remember, Love is the very character of God.

We spiritually climb to the heights of the His holy mountain to truly feel the warmth of Love that is all around us. We step carefully to show respect for God’s creation. We feel the warmth and bask in the light that only God can give, and Jesus can bring to us. The Lord our God will keep us from all harm and watch over us for eternity. This is the message of Jesus.

Oh! The Great, Unique Experiment

 The Land of Opportunity;
 The United States of Actors;
 Hypocrites all, pruning,
 posing before cameras;
 Taking firm stands on issues;
 only changing -  
 when the weather does!
  
 Called a Christian nation
 praising the rich, the powerful;
 oppressing color, gender;
 oppressing the poor;
 following Jesus to the bank - 
 not the Temple;
 turning it to a den of vipers;
 turning churches into places
 of money changing, places of trade;
 the selling of tithes
 to the dealers of the
 Three-Card Monte!
  
 Calling to defund education;
 defund healthcare;
 lower the minimum wage - 
 all practices approved by Jesus!
  
 So . . . they say!!! 

© Russell Kendall Carter

Sunlight

 Sunlight
  
Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.” Matthew 11:2-5
 
 
     We search in the darkness for answers that are at our footsteps, but we know not to look for them. We enter through the secret doors of our wardrobes only to find a barren wasteland of snow and ice; this is not what we desire. 
     However, we do meet enlightened messengers alone the way, perhaps it is Tumnus leading us to the warmth of permanent summer or Jadis bringing a long winter. If we only believe in Truth and those whom we share this with believe also is when we see the brightness of the sun. But, no, we turn our backs when offered with finery: jewels, warm meals, comfortable homes. We find ourselves dwelling in the lands of the wicked princes, who only serve themselves.
     We search for God; we search for Jesus; we search for the house of God, the one with many rooms. We trust princes who promise us salvation, but we do not experience the calm and love brought by the Son of Man. We love calm, but constantly enter the quarters of the wicked and the self-serving princes. 
     Find refuge in the eternal love of the living God. As the cloud recedes from vision, we are blessed with a rainbow of chances illuminated by the God’s true sunlight.
  
   © Russell Kendall Carter 

Jesus Wept

 
 And still does; the poor are still with us; the infirm are still ailing; and we live under non-caring rulers - both political and religious. Many leaders on the local level are very caring and attentive toward those who suffer, but those populating the upper ranks of leadership are more concerned about their images and their jobs that they forget about the people.
 Jesus wept when hearing of the death of Lazarus; we weep because in the United States, there are almost 500,000 people who have died unnecessarily. Jesus lifted Lazarus from death to life; we cannot do the same with the many who have died from this pandemic, who die from poverty and starvation, who die from exposure, living homelessly cuddled in thin rags beneath the bridges of our cities.
 Jesus weeps for all those who die without the love and comfort afforded the by well-to-do. As with his disciples, Jesus invites and challenges us to turn our backs on greed and envy and lift our brothers and sisters from their society-induced oppression. Perhaps during this 2021 Lent, we should begin listening to Jesus and listening to the voices crying in the wilderness and do God’s will.
    
  
 © Russell Kendall Carter 

Cats

Cats

The variety of cats are unimaginable. I think of the grandeur of the magnificent lion with a mane so glorious. The beauty of the coats of the spotted leopard, the stripes of the Bengal tiger, the shining ebony coat of the panther, and the purity of the snow leopard. All are glorious in their own right and in their own habitat.

I have three versions of these in my abode, just as wild at heart, but seemingly comfortable in my habitat. Cats are truly gifts to enjoy, but only on their terms. They are like potato chips; you cannot have only one. At times, the three that live within my walls are truly Jellicoe cats; except for feeding times, they hide in their hidden corners only to emerge at night to prowl the house.

The queen of our pride is Lucy, our bringing of light to the house. She is our snuggler, again on her terms. She is our oldest and boxes with talon-less forepaws with the alpha male. Lucy is a Russian Blue with a cat so soft that the pillow manufacturers are jealous. Too old to jump, Lucy sits at our feet begging to be lifted to a lap. If you don’t pet or scratch in the right way, she lets us know with a friendly nip. Lucy is a gift from our son.

The little princess is Noelle, our mackerel tabby cat and like her name a true gift of Christmas. Lies next to my dinner plate, begging for an ear scratch or a long scratch down her back. But don’t lift her up. She will not be held. She almost smiles when next to me, but sheer panic shows when I pick her up. She is our symbol of daintiness, with a peep more than a meow. Her coat represents prettiness beyond compare. Lucy is a gift from our daughter.

The wannabee ruler of the pride is Sebastian our venerable hunter, wanting to rule the pride, but spars with Lucy, sometimes hourly. He is our black panther cat sitting by the window, chirping at the birds in our feeders outside his private window, will come for a periodic ear scratch but fights a snuggle or lift. Will race around the house talking with himself and sometimes crying out like a lost cat in an alley. Sebastian is another gift from our daughter.

According to ancient Egyptian culture, cats are godlike. There are so many instances and Egyptian gods associated or symbolized by cats that their importance cannot be overstated. Many ancient cultures revered cats as protectors of both man and gods. Which means, cats, like chips, you need more than one. Our three, independent, singular in nature, all independent, all singing in different voices. Cats, all gifts not from children, but from God.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Hope in Lent

 
 We live in a very convoluted and troubling world. Each day we awaken to a new threat to our existence causing us to separate our everyday lives from our spiritual lives. Furthermore, this separation is worldwide. The last time this separation rose to the same degree was in the 1930s during the Great Depression, and we all know what followed that tragedy, a greater worldwide tragedy costing millions of lives and lives tragically living confinement forced by intolerant governments.
 During this Lenten season, I will spiritually enter a desert to rid my mind of all troubles in my world and in the world at large; I will allow my self to be challenged by those elements in my circle of interests and to deny the importance of them in my life. Also, what I mean by my life is my true life as a creation of God. in God’s world this is no duality. There is no separation between what is and what it should be. I am one within God’s creation.
 I want to grow in my relationship with God; we are created to grow, to evolve during our life. We need to grow; we need to change. If we don’t, we cease living; our lives disappear for others to grow. During this 2021 time of Lent, I am delighted to walk with God in my personal spiritual desert, where I will grow in comfort with God’s holy presence and grow in spirituality which I can then share with others as they also grow in their personal deserts.
 Those who walk in this self-imposed spiritual deserts this Lenten period can truly appreciate the beauty gained by the experience. It is enjoyable, but it is also a promise and gift of love, the love promised by Jesus. God is that which was, that which is, and that which will come to us.
 I am a simple blog writer; but my meditations on life are gifts of love given to me by He whom we all should follow.
  
  
  
  
 © Russell Kendall Carter 

The Beauty of the Divine

When I think of the Divine, my attention immediately turns to God. God is the ultimate divine; God is Life, Love, and Truth. God is Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence. God is Transcendence, celestial, and mystical. God . . . the Sacred.  

I live in a world of strife and anger, but my life is neither led nor affected by these outer forces. My life is a spiritual existence that brings me closer to the Holy Spirit that dwells within me. When I sit and meditate on my life, I feel all of the attributes that make up God.

The beauty of the divine is all around me and it is all within me. I look at the birds voraciously attacking the feeders in our yard. I look at the squirrels and groundhogs foraging what the birds drop to the earth. All are fed by the feeders, but all are fed by the divine. As I look at the snow on the ground, I remember how much I enjoyed romping in the snow as a young boy.

Although I am not as giddy with the snow, I recognize it as part of the climate of the Earth that God created. I don’t know why God created snow, except maybe to allow young children to play eagerly. When I was a freshman in college, there was a young man from an African nation. The first time he saw snow, he ran out of the dorm, wrenched his face to the sky and cried. He was overwhelmed by the feeling of snow falling on his face. What a beautiful image of God’s divine world.

So, I sit here as an old man, writing in my blog, praying that some of the words that God puts in my mouth mean something and bring the beauty of the divine into reality for all.

© Russell Kendall Carter

The Sacred Feminine

 
  
 
 There are many names and ideas of the sacred feminine; I, however, prefer the image of Sophia, the giver of wisdom. This is the epitome of the divine feminine. Our first experience with woman is our mother, before our birth. She is the giver of life; all that we have is from her. She nurtures us, teachers us; from her we gain intuition and empathy, two vital aspects of our ability to live in society. She is the ancient voice of creation, bringing us the wisdom of centuries of knowledge, intuitively.
 The Sacred Feminine provides a natural access to all of our spiritual qualities. She is the lifeforce of humanity, rooted in earthiness, but elevated in spirituality. As a white male, I cannot perceive the greatness of the sacred feminine; I can only bask in the warmth that I feel when bringer her into my thoughts.
 I think of the woman at Jacob’s well. Why is she portrayed as a sinner when she has been subjugated to nothingness by those around her. Jesus saw her as strength; can we do any less? Jesus forgave her and told her to go and sin no more. She leaves our sight after she calls her neighbors to come see the Lord. But I sometimes wonder what happened to her. I can only dream that she remained in her outer stage of subjugation, but inside her, the strength of God brought her to eternal life. Her innate natural qualities of patience, receptivity, and care blessed all who came into her life after her time at the well.
 By our experiences of the two women who found the empty tomb of Jesus, we awaken to from the repressions of a patriarchal society to the interconnectedness of all life, male and female, human and animal. This only comes through the love of Mary and Mary, one a mother, one a devoted disciple of Jesus. We feel their energy and they report of their experience to others. These two symbols of the Sacred Feminine bring us the spiritual force of eternal family connectivity. All are disciple of Christ, as we live our lives, sharing the wisdom of the two Marys and spread the word of God’s love to all.
  
  
 © Russell Kendall Carter 

Anger

  We are mortal human beings; we are not perfect, even though we are made in God’s image. If I think if a mirror image, the flaw is that both left and right are reversed. What is reversed in our composure that is flawed? 
  
 We anger at things large and small, but in reality, all are small when we are in God’s image. God asks us to master our anger so that we will not allow it to commandeer our good intentions. When I recall stories from the Bible, I am reminded of the treachery involved between the brothers Jacob and Esau. Even though it took many years, when the bothers met again, there was love, not anger exchanged.
  
 If Esau does not hold anger toward Jacob, how can we hold anger against our neighbor? We cannot say we love if we hold anger toward another. By shedding anger and raising love, we add to the greater good of society and God blesses the world and humanity. Jesus told us to let our light shine on our good works, glorifying God. God watches us from inside us, in our heart, in our soul. 
  
 Let us love indeed for love revives a hurting world.
  
  
 © Russell Kendall Carter 

Blindness

 
  
 Being Blind 
  
 We turn our heads to not see;
 we are blind to those in need;
 we are blind to compassion;
 we leave them in the dark.
 We must recognize the pain,
 as Jesus did among us; 
 He was moved by compassion;
 Compassion that we lack;
 He witnessed the hurt, 
 the deprivation,
 and wept.
  
 Jesus came to world, 
 to be the source of light,
 the source of compassion and goodness.
 Jesus entered to light a darkened world,
  
 Something happened to society!
 We looked within and found ego; 
 It is time to reach those in need,
 the poor, the migrant,
 the homeless, the addict
 The widow, the orphan.
 We must serve the disempowered, 
 open our eyes, cure our blindness, 
 as did Jesus.
  
  
  
  
 © Russell Kendall Carter 

God is a Verb

 God as Verb not an Object
  
 In our prayers, we pray through Christ; we do not pray to Christ. Jesus did not want it this way. He spoke many times about not getting to the father except through Him. This gives us clear indications that Jesus did not want praise; He invited us to use Him to pray to God, the living God.
 Like Jesus, we ourselves are mere conduits to God. through our prayers and meditations for others, we are bringing ever-loving God into the lives of those in need of spiritual blessings. God enables us to bring His love to all we meet; this is an eternal love that Jesus promises will never end.
 As with all conduits, I pray that I will have the strength to understand and bring the depth and dimensions of God’s eternal Love to  all whom I meet on my daily journey through life.