Paths

The word path in French is chemin, which also means approach. How we approach this Advent season can liberate us from the bondage of our societal prejudices. During Advent, we read our Bibles the enlightening story of the birth of Jesus. What we forget is that His birth is not just for humanity; it is for all of God’s creation.

If we follow the lighted path that Jesus shows us, we are at peace with ourselves and society. We are made in god’s image; therefore, we grow in that image daily. Jesus’s path brings true hope, true peace, and true freedom.

Dear God, may we walk on the way light-filled path shown to us by your Son.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Wandering

Wandering in the Desert

 

We wander through our lives, looking, looking, waiting, waiting. For What? Humanity shares a closely hidden, protected secret; we pretend, we put on a minstrel’s face, hiding the fact that in our society, humanity suffers with the sickness of the human spirit. We care little for those on the bottom rungs of society, as long as we are safe. We ignore the language of the poor which is entreaty. We hide behind our castles, protected by our artificial strongholds against anything that may challenge us, or harm us.

Our lives are like the desert; we wander aimlessly looking for something to soothe our tender frailties. We pretend we know; we pretend we are saved because we are upright members of our local churches. But the strongholds we build are only facades in our minds. We are not protected by these artificial castles. We will never find water in these arid deserts we roam.

We neglect the second greatest commandment given to us by Jesus; “Love thy neighbor as we love ourselves.” Every day I stop my car and give a few dollars to the poor man pleading for help; I wish I could give more; sometimes I do not see them and wonder where they have gone. This is the man, this is the family, that our humanity must open its ears to, hearing the pleading for assistance.

Governments are too greedy to lift these people from poverty. Big business is too interested in giving massive bonuses to the already superrich. And the churches can only give minor assistance; they too have to count pennies to remain alive. Humanity must clothe the poor, feed them, house them, to relieve their suffering. I can afford to give a few dollars each day to the poor man pleading for assistance. Imagine what it would be like if all of us stopped to give these poor people a few dollars from our material wealth. Three hundred and fifty million people giving a few dollars a day to help those in need. That is almost two and a half billion dollars . . . a day.

Imagine what good that could be doing. Imagine what our society would look like if we respected the poor, treating them with dignity, not demonizing them.

Let us stop wandering in our personal deserts.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Soul

When we are healthy humans, we can live well into our eighties, but only if we have the inner resolve to do this. This inner resolve is soul, and this soul is God, or at least God-given. I am a young seventy-eight-year-old man who suffers with chronic pain on a daily basis, but I am blessed to have the living God within me, giving me a strong soul to cope with life.

On a daily basis, I feel a thousand faculties of energy leap into my very being. This is a true gift of life in God’s presence. As Teresa of Avila reminds us, if we want to find God and all his promises, we must look inside ourselves for the divine presence that only God can give. God acts within me; however, I have to remember that my frame of time is not God’s time. Peter tells us that God is not slow to act or keep the Holy promise of eternal life. What we call a day could be a millennium to God. And what God calls a day is a millennium in our collective existence. The promise of God is eternal. Therefore, my soul, which is His possession within me, is also eternal.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Allow Me

I wrote his short prayer in 2019 as a part of my book Prayers and Meditations through the Holy Spirit.

Allow me

Allow me to give my gifts to the world

Sharing God’s Love with all

See all people as equal sons and daughters

Allow me to emanate His divine image

Lifting up my heart and mind to God

As the trees stretch their arms to the heavens

Allow me to be the example of God’s love and compassion

Asking nothing but to enjoy His presence

As those did who were healed by Jesus

Allow me to be consumed by God’s light

And walk in the way of His prophets

Hearing His voice in the call of the birds

Allow me to awaken each morning as the image of God

Seeing the His face in others

As I pray that they see His face in mine

Allow me not to be judgmental

Accepting all who God has made

Respecting all people, animals, and plants as His creations

Allow me to be generous and share Your Grace

Welcoming others to bask in Your light

As Jesus does with all Your children

Allow me to love others as You love me

Allowing me to love all whom I meet

People of all races, nationalities, and economic status

Allow me to turn my face to Your light

As the flowers do each morning

Receiving the life-giving love of Your presence

Strength

I get my strength from God. The scribes of the Bible have a great deal to say about strength.

The writers of Exodus assure us: “The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (15:2)” as with the early Israelites, I also feel like I am in my personal desert and look to God for my strength.

Kind David writes: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore, my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. (Psalms 28:7)” in both scenes from the Bible, there is praise for the one God who triumphs over all trials that we face. I gratefully accept the strength that God gives me every day. Some days it is the only thing that keeps me going. I agree with Matthew when he reminds us that all things are possible when God dwells within. This is trust, not faith. I trust God never to leave me, never to lead me astray.

Finally, I am strengthened by the words of Timothy: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy: 1:7)” We are blessed and fortunate to live as God asks.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Storytelling

We are fast approaching the beginning of the greatest story every told. We Christians share this story every December, every Advent season. Luke forewarns us with this: “Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. (21:27)” Our memories are solid of this exceptional story, but somehow, we are renewed by His story each Advent season, for He is alive and always with us. This story is how God shows eternal Love among us.

There are many other stories that we must share and not just during Advent but yearlong. These stories are ours. These stories are also important. It is vital to our mutual love that we share these stories whenever we can.

My wife of fifty-four years sometimes gets impatient with me because I am forever stopping to talk with people to learn their stories. Their stories are important to me because we all share a common heritage. A short while ago, I was sitting on my seated walker outside of a store waiting for her to make her purchases. There was a young man as a greeter handing shopping baskets to those entering. Naturally, I began a conversation with him, finding out that he was an immigrant from Thailand and was a Buddhist. I began by asking him why he came to the United States; answer – looking for a modern education. I mentioned to him that my sister also studied Buddhism and got me interested in it. As we talked, we both realized that we have more in common than different.

Sharing stories for the ten minutes we had brought us close. We shared a real hug after my wife emerged from the store. I learned I had a new friend because we shared our stories.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Horarium

Some call this the daily office of prayer, but that sounds too church-ish to me, too formal, too demanding. Daily prayer should not be a structured practice, but it should be one that is done daily from the heart. . . without restrictions or structure. My daily practice in prayer is listening, listening for God to listen to me. My prayers are responses from God who begins the conversation. Prayer is a two-way conversation that is ongoing for my lifetime; one that God always begins. I am humbled by this closeness; I am blessed with peace, fellowship, and spiritual abundance. My Horarium begins each day with a new life in God’s eternal presence.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Spiritual Peace  

From St. Paul’s “The Fruit of the Spirit”: we have peace! Jesus promised this to us, for nothing can separate us from the Love of God. As Matthew writes, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life (6:25).” God is my strength; I trust the Goodness that allows my heart to rejoice and praise the presence of the Holy Spirit which lives within me. . . always.

My personal spiritual peace comes when God assists me in helping other people in their times of trial. With God’s help, I try to comfort those weaker than me; I try to be patient with those whose habits may annoy me. I thank God every day for putting the people of need in my life. I am not rich, but my sharing of prayer and God’s Love and peace does bring quietude to others’ lives. I spiritually join hands with them, watching in hope for the Love of God to descend upon us. I know God hears our collective prayers. God is merciful; God is our beloved; God is our faith in prayer; God is our constant companion.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Promise of God’s Love

I promise to love you; that is my promise to you, and that is the God of Hope’s promise to us. God fills us with peace and joy by the presence of the Holy Spirit which dwells within us. Jesus taught us that God is Love and love removes all the fear and doubt in our lives. God uses us as positive influences in the lives of all we meet; there is nothing in us that is wasted by God. We are good.

When we listen to God, the truth of Advent, the truth of our existence, is found in God’s voice coming from the victims of society. Through these voices we know that God cares for them and cares for us. God loves us; by sharing this love with those in need, the promise of our eternal lives is revealed. We reject society’s patterns in this world and are transformed by the promise of God’s presence in our lives.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Spiritual Life

I do not know

what the future will bring.

I cannot worry

of what comes next.

No need to fret

about these insignificant worries.

No need to substitute

knowledge for wisdom.                                         

T’is my big mistake for

there is no substitute.

My benefit of true wisdom,

only comes from me

and my relations with God.

My spiritual life grows

only in the times

when I am silent, praying,

listening for the wisdom to come

from the words of God. Listening

and learning about my spiritual life.

© Russell Kendall Carter