Advent at our Door

Advent at our Door.

 “Through the call of Jesus people become individuals. Willy-nilly, they are compelled to decide, and that decision can only be made by themselves. It is no choice of their own that makes them individuals: it is Christ who makes them individuals by calling them. Every person is called separately, and must follow alone.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Our video cameras observe a strange figure approaching our home. He is dressed in robes with filthy sandals on his feet. He is unshaven with scruffy brown hair covering his head. He uses a staff to guide him as he walks.

I fear this stranger; he does not belong in our community of finely dressed lawns and properly manicured houses. Hasn’t he read the proclamation that door-to-door peddlers are not allowed. So much for our gated community. I wish he would just go away; maybe I will ignore the Christmas song, when he rings my bell.

But where did he go; he has disappeared! I can no longer see him.

Someone calls to me; the voice is inside the house. No, the voice is in my head. It beckons me . . . to what I do not know. I am suddenly ashamed of my lifestyle. Why? I worked hard for this. Why am I suddenly concerned about the welfare of that robed stranger? My mind says, where is he God; protect him. He is a special, but I do not see him; I do not know him.

The voice calls back to me. Look in the mirror; he is within you, always.

 

God of All

God of All

“Trust in the Lord and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you

the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:3– 4

How weak our relation to God

Is today is our last

Are we ready to face God

Are our hearts clean

God asks us to resist

Evil and greed

And hatred

The Sun warms us

Brings us light

Roses smell the same

Be the nose a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim

The Sun, the rose, God

Are for all people

And all living things

We all share His grace

I Listen, await God’s joy

I deny enmity

I praise God and his creation . . .

Us!

We can only Understand the Past

We can only Understand the Past

 

We cannot know what lies before us in our lives; nor can we understand why the future happens. The only thing we can understand is what has already occurred; for this reason, philosophers argue that life can only be understood backwards, but we must live life forward if we are to be successful in our quest to life the life that God wants of us.

We hope that our lives are filled with goodness and purity and a strong faith in our God. We find God, only when we recognize that God is in everything we see, every person we meet. If we cannot see God in the face of others, or in the plants and animals we see, then we are not of faith, we are of derision. The more we want to find God, the easier it becomes, because He is all around; and, He is within us.

We feel that God has deserted us, when we face hardships or perils. The dark days we face are made easier when we realize that God is always with us, and the only way we survive these times is through the guidance that God gives us. In every turn of our lives, God defeats the evil that lurks around the corner to catch us in its grasp. We only have to accept God in our lives.

Paying Attention

Paying attention

            Many times, I ask what I pay attention to; most of the time I am at a loss. There are so many distractions that surround my life that I often think that if I were a swimmer, I would be accused of treading water; in other words, getting nowhere. When I was teaching, I knew where I was going and what I was doing; it was easy. I had many students that I was mentoring, preparing them for college, or while teaching in college, preparing them to complete their majors successfully. However, now that I am retired, I often wonder what purpose my life has!

            About one year before I retired, I devoted my life to helping others, and not as a teacher or professor. I have always been active in prayer in my church, so I asked God if this is what He wanted for the remainder of my life. I have not heard from Him. At least, magic words were not whispered in my ears. But, I am writing prayers and poetry devoted to prayer. I am a member of three different prayer groups at my church. And, I am a Stephen Minister, who prays daily for several of men and women in church who are suffering.

            God has delivered many messages to humans; most we ignore. He calls us His children; all of us. We cannot be infantile children and ignore His words; His words are life. If we heed His words, our lives will be turned upside down by goodness, which is much more valuable than any other thing. When we listen to what God says, we find the promise of peace within ourselves. When this peace is within us, we bring this peace to others, just by our actions. Living with this peace in our hearts, is its own consequence; everything is viewed through this lens of calmness, giving the appearance of everything a new outlook for us.

            We can only do this by paying attention to what God says to us. I find that meditation allows me to do this. Meditation allows me to recognize the reality of life in its simplest form, without the influence of troubling news, judgments of others, or the actions of those who want to destroy man’s relationship with God. Pay attention; find peace within.

Silent Listening

Silent Listening

 

Do you hear it, or

is it too noisy?

Are your thoughts

yelling, telling you

to get busy, no time to waste?

Is your cell phone buzzing

bringing unimportant tweets?

Listen now . . .

Is that a bird singing softly,

awakening you at sunrise,

bringing a message of life?

Are you tranquil enough,

to hear the silent knocking

at your door,

bringing comfort to your heart?

Can you sense the whisper

that we do not hear,

the whisper we can only feel,

deep inside,

so soft that you know,

you can only hear it in silence?

Listen in silence, for

these noiseless shouts

are God, loving you.

My Sabbatical

My Sabbath is Here.

My wife and I are taking a well-earned rest this weekend, enjoying sitting on the patio of our hotel at Virginia Beach. I am presently watching two teams playing volleyball just below our patio. Many people are walking the boardwalk and the surf line. I will do that later. I am also listening to the jets fly over us from the naval air station behind us, as they go out to sea for maneuvers and ship landings. They’re loud but not intrusive to my meditations of the beauty of God’s creations.

Not being a scientist, I am always amazed that the ocean and the tides continue day in and day out; I remember from my high school science that the position of the moon controls the tides. Although, I am probably remembering in error.

What I am thinking is that the beauty of the ocean, and the people enjoying the calmness of life in such an Edenic setting, is what brings us all to His majesty. I sit here watching and listening. The cawing of the terns reminds me that just because I am relaxing, the birds are in their constant search for food. Nature never rests.

We are very fortunate as humans to be able to store food to eat later; although I am watching a homeless man being escorted off hotel property. He entered to perhaps have a little food. We are too selfish to allow him to survive without paying. This is not God’s will. I am reminded of Jesus’s saying that what you do to the least of these, you do to me. I was Hungry and you did not feed me. Our Christian world is not following Jesus.

I thank God for his presence in our lives; I thank Him for the opportunity to sit back and relax. I pray to him that modern societies will discard the harsh covetous practices it has perfected and open our hearts to those left behind by greed. Please God, help us find our way.

Believing in Life

Believing in Life

In troubled times, it is too easy to be deflected and succumb to all that is wrong, all that is dreadful in the world. Remove these thoughts from your mind, forget those things that are not in your control, and believe in the wonderful majesty of something that is always with us. Feel the presence of God in your life; God is Life!

Every one of us is armed with two blessings in life. Primarily, we have the power of Love; this is not something that can be touched, but it is something that can be felt, internally. When we meet a person, who becomes our soul mate, we cannot shed, we do not want to shed the glorious feeling of completion in our very being. This is a blessing bestowed on us from God. It is magnificent.

The other gift we have is the power to comprehend. We are born with thinking brains and, through experience, we learn to distinguish between good and evil, between right and wrong. We are guided by parents, clergy, and God, but not necessarily in that order. We do learn that sometimes the first two try to lead us on the wrong path, but God never does. We must put our intellectual abilities in focus to accept the truth that God offers. There are many naysayers, but they only have superstition and fear on their side. God has Love.

When we surrender to the true path of Love, and I know this is a radical idea, we discover that this is the path of true Life, the Life that God gives. This is an experience that not only satisfies our intellectual ability, it also gives us that all over tingling feeling of true love.

I was born to parents who were totally different; my father was a man of faith, and my mother was an atheist. My father attended church every Sunday, and I never saw my mother enter a church except for the day I married. And, for years, I wavered back and forth between the two. I loved them both but could not follow either.

Eventually, I chose the path of my father. It was then that I learned true comfort, true serenity in my life. I no longer had disturbing sleep; I turned away from my addiction to cigarettes. I became the man my father always wanted me to be. I discovered Life; I discovered Love. God’s Life and God’s Life.

Intellectually, I continued my education ending in a doctorate degree in literature. I read just about everything, but I mainly read the writings of the first century Christians who were not influenced by 2000 years of western religious aggression. My faith increases every day, due to the knowledge, love, and life that these early prophets wrote of.

I believe I Life!  In my intellectual searching, I discovered that God is not the subject of my life, God is Life itself. Physically, I may be limited by the confines of my human body, but spiritually, I am powerful, knowing that the life of live is the Life God offers.

 

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Rich Man & Lazarus

The rich man is condemned to an eternity in the burning river of Hades. Lazarus, a poor man, ridden with sores across his body, is welcomed in heaven, enjoying all the goodness that God graces us with. Lazarus was a beggar, whom the rich man ignored all his life. When they both died, they received their just rewards; as Jesus taught, the first will be last and the last will be first. The rich man did not listen.

He learns from Abraham that he is to spend an eternity n the burning river and cannot be helped by anyone in heaven. He begs but he does not received God’s grace. He then asks that someone visits his brothers to warn them to be righteous and not so greedy. He cannot save himself, but he is trying to save his brothers.

He is denied this request with the answer that if they do not believe the prophets, even a messenger who returns to life after death, they will not heed the advice. How true this is; there are many in this world that deny the resurrection as a fable. They neither listen to the teachings of the prophets nor do they believe in the goodness of God. They do not share their blessings with others.

Nothing can save them. Like the rich man in this parable, they need to face an irreversible catastrophe to see the truth. Irreversible is the key.

To bring this to modern day, we have been warned by the experts on climate (i.e. the prophets) that our human civilization is destined for a catastrophe if we do not heed the messages that our out-of-control weather is sending us. The Earth is giving us forewarnings every day with greater intensified storms, earthquakes, and the ice caps at the poles melting. Soon, our coastal communities will begin to disappear; is this the irreversible catastrophe that we need to experience?

We are the rich man and the Earth is Lazarus. Let us reverse our present course and be good stewards of God’s world.

 

Serving Two Masters

Serving To Masters

We live in the kingdom of God. This is a kingdom that is perfect, if we allow it to be. We often confuse ourselves when we accept the worldly practices of humanity over the spirituality of the true existence. Many of us look to the wealthy and think that they are good people; we ask ourselves why else God would reward them with such wealth.

Their god is not the god of creation; their god is money. Wealth is truly the thing that separates us from ourselves and from God. It is what causes world-wide oppression, wars, and racism. The wealthy think that those who are not wealthy are not worthy. According to them worth is judged only by how much money a person has.

But this is not God’s plan. To live a happy and contented life, we assume the attitude of the open heart, determining what is best for everyone, and denying that there is a group referred by many as the other. The future of our humanity that we take up the cross of God’s passion for us, being shrewd stewards of His entire creation. We ignore the false importance of wealth and build our riches on the greatness of God.

If we have money, use it for the benefit of all humanity, not just a few overly egotistical minds that deny the existence of God’s great creation. We reject the attraction of egotistical wealth and enjoin our resources for the benefit of all. Our future and the future of our children beg that we ignore the pressures of the modern world and make an effort for a closer relationship with God. We are his stewards; let us act responsible.

 

 

It is Time

It is time.

Jesus hands a stone to those leaders and people who were ready to stone a woman for infidelity, asking, “He who is without sin can cast the first stone.” The crowd, the angry hypocritical crowd, disperses quickly, their tails between their legs in shame. Jesus then tells the woman that God forgives her, and she is to go and sin no more.

Is there a sin so heinous that God will not forgive? God loves all, accepts us all, and forgives all. Can we do any less? God forgives those on death row for the murders they commit. We should too, as Jesus did, forgive them so they will sin no more. They may still be incarcerated, but a stay in their executions will change their mental conditions so that they can benefit others also incarcerated.

This brings a greater question: do we live on God’s earth alone, in our own subliminal society? We sin when we allow our unwise decisions to overpower our duty to each other. Many people denounce, or ignore, the existence of God, saying that the goodness they do is not a gift of God, or from God. We do not live alone on this planet; we share our world with all other people, all other creatures, the hummingbird, and the butterfly, even with the lowly slug in our yards. We live with the newborn puppy, the kitten, the cockroach, and the rhinoceros. All creatures and plants in God’s creation are good. All the world is God. We can accept and respect all life. Our country violates every one of God’s commandments. We can change this.

It is time, Lord; it is time for us to reevaluate and reexamine our lives on earth; it is time to undo our selfishness. It is time, Lord. It is time for beg for your eternal forgiveness for the sins we have done.