Freedom with a Yoke

Jesus asks us to share His yoke. This is not a constricting device that the term implies; it is more of a voluntary union that we can accept, a union built on freedom. I again must change the meaning of a word; freedom does not mean running amok from one idea to the next; the freedom I speak of is the freedom to know that our cares are not solely our own. When we walk on the lighted path shown to us by Jesus, we are freed from the mundane worries that try their best to crush us under a load of false promises.
Our true personal freedom becomes a reality when we humble ourselves, recognizing that there is a power greater than us. This frees us spiritually to investigate what lies ahead. When we believe that God will provide, as the Bible repeatedly offers, we are relieved of the fear of what lies ahead. Jesus repeatedly invited us to the realization that God always gives life to those of us willing to listen. Our world is full of people who hear, but do not listen. God’s rivers flow with living water.
The Psalmist repeatedly reminds us that God knows us, knows what we say before we utter the words. This should be a comfort for us. I don’t think there is a person alive who really thinks he or she knows themselves. We think we do, but too often we find that we are doing things we never thought we would do. How many of us begin planning one career goal, only to find that we are heading in a different direction? There is not a word that I say or a step that I make that God does not know about beforehand. God may not make us do a certain ting, but he does open doors for us to go through. 
God always gives eternal life to all who are willing to listen. When we encounter Jesus in our prayers and daily lives, our hearts swell, giving us the promise of God’s eternal life. God is not some distant imagined deity sitting on a mountaintop sending down selfish edicts to his minions. God is the living truth within, comforting us in times of trial, and lifting us above the mundane pressures of our world. Once we accept this, we are enriched with a comfort, an unexpected ease in our hearts and souls. 
When we accept God’s true light, love, and presence, our lives are enriched and eased by an inner emotion of confidence.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Personal Ministry

     One of the gifts of Easter is the invitation to serve one another. This is made truly clear in the scene in the upstairs room when Jesus kneels to wash the feet of his apostles. We need this scene; we need this scene to stay in our minds, otherwise our need, our need, will never be truly realized. 
     This is not to say that we serve others for our benefit; we serve others, for Jesus showed us the way. Our compassion for others always, always leads to something greater. When we sit with our brotherhood and sisterhood, we are emulating Jesus in being a servant of God to the needs of others. And, in doing so, we establish what I call our personal ministry.
     I have found that when ministering to others, the pain they feel, and the pain I feel, turns our heartaches and sadness to the richness of community and love. We are all in one Love, the Love of God. It is the foundation of humanity and the only way we can build universal love for mankind and for all of God’s creation, this pea-sized orb floating in space, our bright light that brings warmth to our bodies and ourselves. 
     We are trees loving and living beside the clear, flowing rivers . . .  growing love and spiritual nourishment in God’s Eden of Love. God’s compassion for humanity allows us to share this holy compassion with all mankind; we are spurs driving life to move forward. The love we share through our ministry is the fruit of the love and healing power of Jesus. We are invited to bring His fruit to His people.
     We may weep for the loss of our communities during this time of isolation, but may we also use these tears to enrich God’s tree of love.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Easter: Not Just a Day

My hope-colored glasses
shadow my outlook;
resurrection is merely the beginning;
I observe, I notice, I listen for
His presence these 50 days. 
My gratitude for Him gives
power to my mission of love.
His eternal residence in my heart
offers hope, reason, and promise.
In my mission of prayer,
I walk not with scorn or derision;
my future is with God both day and night.
I am but a leaf on His tree of love
that will not wither after 50 days;
as Jesus continues to love, so shall I.
His 50 days – a bridge for my life.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Hope Calls

I’ve been beaten . . . severely,
yet God loves me and
does not bring me to death,

I Love today,
t’is the day given by God;
I rejoice and am glad.

By God’s grace,
I am what I am;
I will be what he allows.

God’s grace is within -
He allows me to work hard,
and shields my spiritual path.

His grace,
a call to hope, 
my strength, my salvation, my song!

© Russell Kendall Carter

Diamond Beach Walk

Calmness of the dawn greets,
soft breezes mellow the mind; 
terns floating aloft;
bubbles in the newly submerged sand;
sand crabs scampering into secret hideouts.

A lonesome fisherman
casting into the surf;
wicker creel empty, lifted by the surf.
Jogger leaving ephemeral footprints,
decomposed by indefatigable tides.

Sun-filled brightness aloft;
azure sky luring us to tranquility.
Joining hands with my soulmate,
remembering another diamond beach -
fifty-five years ago . . . with a ring.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Hope Lives!

I am in no hurry to celebrate Easter Sunday. It is a day of glory, a day of completed promises. However, this day of interim, this Saturday,  is a time for reflection. Why be in a hurry for our resurrection and new life. The Christ will rise on the morrow, but our meditations on the meaning of Easter should be in the front of our minds today!

As we settle into our reflections today, we feel the Spirit of God upon us. As we await the storm of violence to pass into a time of love, we learn to dance in the rain, learn to give our troubles to God. The storm preceding the Cross has quelled. Our wait for God’s promise is soon upon us. The clouds depart; the glory of heaven is our true home, our lives with Jesus our lives with God.

Martin Luther King, Jr. re-opened the way of Jesus, when he gave us the vision on the mountain top. This was and is the meaning of the life of Jesus. If we allow it, if we open our hearts to the truth, we also will reach the mountaintop. We share the vision of Jesus proclaiming God’s omnipotence. When God brings us to this glory and wonder, we no longer walk in darkness. The light of the loving, living Christ is upon us.

We accept that our life, our times, are in the outspread hands of Jesus the man on the cross, Christ the God. We are challenged to walk in the world . . . as Jesus walked. If we accept this invitation to follow, we are led, we then lead others to the lighted path of forgiveness and love.

Jesus teaches me that my life is a lily. Each year I am reborn with new beauty to be shared with others. My rebirth each Easter, each coming of spring, exudes the gifts God has given me, the confidence of His Truth and the wealth of His Wisdom. God invites me to walk from darkness to light, from dormancy to life, His Life.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Jesus is Prayer

He whose kingdom is . . .
not of our world;
He prays!
God issued forth Him from Mary.
From His terminal anguish,
His light leads us.
He is oppressed,
yet merely offers prayers.
God lifts Him;
we praise Him.
His dominion is God,
given to us. . .
He prays,
and offers forgiveness.
He invites prayers;
He gives us a heart - 
a true eternal soul - 
through prayers only He offers
and blesses.
Jesus is prayer!

© Russell Kendall Carter

Take This Cup

Jesus washes feet;
challenges us to acts of humanity.
His form - a servant!
Gives a new commandment: 
love one another, 
just as I have loved you.

Abba, Father,
O my Father, 
if possible, 
take this cup . . .
from me: 
yet . . .
not as I, 
but as thou wilt.

This cup of salvation,
this blood,
this deed of redemption
this sacrament - 
I remember.
I rejoice.

© Russell Kendall Carter

What Binds Us.

For all people, we are driven into our own person wildernesses, that barren, harsh, unfriendly space between where we should be and where we are. We bring this on ourselves and refuse to examine what pulls us from serving humanity less than the promises of God. We ignore our better, inner selves to jump for the brass ring and hoard what we have grasped in our hands.

This is not the way God wants us to live, wants us to treat each other. What brings us together is God’s love, for God is Love and Love is God. in these times of separation, physical, emotional, and ideological, we absently fall to distrust and sometimes hate, when dealing with the other. This is unfortunate. God knows us by how we treat each other, how we show love to one another. If we are not together, not one with each other, it is impossible to be one with God.

We pray in our churches and rooms and the depart our spiritual meditations and revert to the prejudices and oppressions of society. We must reverse this trend, or we will not be able to live free. Our aggressions many times turn to violence, violence in our streets, and violence in our hearts. If left unchecked, this accelerating violence turns to open warfare; then we are all lost.

It is God that binds us to one another; it is God’s Love that brings us together; it is God’s Love that invites us to forgive those who have overstepped accepted boundaries. It is this Love that we must use to overcome. As the Negro spiritual says, “We shall overcome!” Let us remember what binds us.

© Russell Kendall Carter