That ‘let-it-all-go’ Love of Jesus

Let all that you do be done in Love.That ‘let-it-all-go’ Love of Jesus

Brother Keith Nelson of the Society of St. John the Evangelist began today’s Lenten Meditation saying, “We’re made strong by the model of self-spending love – that ‘let-it-all-go’ kind of love of Jesus – so that we can go out into the world and practice the same kind of love.”

This is a powerful statement that directs us in the way that we are taught to follow Jesus. This means that in communities of love, such as St. George’s, to whom we’ve made faithful commitments¸ it means to practice vulnerability, the vulnerability we see and recognize in others and in ourselves. We lay down our lives by volunteering to do the things that need doing; even if we are unsure of how to accomplish what needs to be done’; we risk our reputations on an unsure thing, not knowing how it will help others, if at all. We ask if we have the means and the volunteers to walk with us, but we walk the path anyway to serve others.

When we find ourselves in a place where we feel we are called to sacrifice for others, we say a prayer, a prayer to assist us in our quest, a prayer asking for guidance. This action, this prayer, is Love. It is that Let-it-go-Love that Brother Keith speaks of.

This meditation, led by Brother Keith, is very apropos this morning, considering that last night was our monthly meeting of our Grace in Action Commission, formally called our Outreach Commission. The twelve people around the table reported on the different ongoing activities this commission is presently conducting or participating in with others. From feeding those struggling to keep their heads above water, to our call to provide understandable church services to our deaf community, to our call to help dress the underprivileged children in our local schools, all around the table were deeply concerned, deeply committed to sacrifice in Love for our neighbors, for our brothers and sisters in need.

I speak of this not in a braggadocio way, but as an example to others as to how with a little daring, we can help the person next to us in the light of God’s Love.


Prayer to Save Ourselves



We do not pray in vain – even when everything seems to be hopeless. We are truly concerned for salvation and bring our problems before God; He will bring us under His special care, so that – perhaps before we are even aware of it – miracles can happen, even when we had already given up. I remember the story of Jesus with the crippled man by the fountain: “When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’”

The question I always ask myself, especially after feeling that the whole world is on my shoulders crushing me, is: am I ready to be cured, am I ready to be made well. This usually occurs after several days or even weeks of feeling sorry for myself, whether it is a psychological or a physical problem.

Why do I, why do we, always do this to ourselves? We know that God is on our sides, yet we continue to torture our minds and bodies.

Why is it that we are not generally living by what is happening today. We spend too much time, too much effort, worrying or planning about tomorrow. We also waste time worrying about what has already passed. Neither one of these fruitless exercises calms our souls. By living fully in what is occurring today, understanding and accepting that god is with us, we can be much more relaxed, much more focused on living our lives to the fullest. For years, I beat myself up over the fact that I let my 85-year-old father die, rather than go against his religious beliefs. Now that I am 75, I think that I can truly understand how his faith was the one true concept that he could and did understand. To challenge that, to go against his will, would have been wrong.

This is another example of holding on to what has long happened, and cannot be changed.

God is on my side. I pray that I can remember to put aside any unfortunate things that happen and realize how special I am in God’s eyes.



A Lesson from Hildegard


A Lesson from Hildegard.

Hildegard of Bingen once said, “You understand so little of what is around you, because you do not use what is within you.”

Our actions towards the younger generation borders on the criminal. What we have made of them resembles a lost generation. We have made them into cowardly little persons lacking youthfulness, courage, joy, originality, and curiosity. They fear trying anything, fear of failure. We have not given them the tools to try something new, fail, pick themselves up, and try again.

Our youth are not social creatures. Visit any school from middle schools, to high schools, to college campuses. What do you see? There are students everywhere, not socializing, not communicating. They have buried their heads in their cell phones, avoiding eye contact and conversation with the very people around them who will be their co-workers and companions in the future.

Their education has been cursory, at best. We are so enamored by standardized tests that we have forgotten to teach the youth how to think for themselves. I teach freshman composition at a community college. The purpose is to write. Most struggle, regally struggle with this concept. The most asked question is “What do I write about?”

It is bad enough that at the college level, I have to teach them the use of commas and semicolons, but when we spend two weeks discussing a current issue, be that gun control, sexuality, poverty, or education, these student lack the ability to relate to the subject at hand. “What do I write about?” I aske them what in our discussions has tweaked their interest; what in our discussions has turned them on, or upset them to the point of anger and frustration. Too often, the answer is “nothing” or “I don’t know.”

When did we stop challenging our high school students to think for themselves. Before teaching in college, I was a high school AP history teacher. My main purpose was to help my students think for themselves when approached by a question that they were not completely familiar with. I gave them the practice of writing on a topic closely related to what the question was. This gave them the opportunity to write an essay that made sense, was historically correct, and related to the issue at hand. Most of my students excelled on the  AP tests.

We don’t do this any more. And don’t tell me that the fact that I am teaching in a community college is the reason. With the high costs of a four-year institution, we see many highly rated students come through our doors, taking the core courses before transferring to a more expensive school, where the succeed getting their bachelor’s degree. These students also have a hard time discerning what to write, but they are equipped intellectually to learn rapidly. Others get left behind.

When I was in college, fifty years ago, I had a hard time getting into the grove. I was not successful my first time around, but when trying again, I was helped by understanding professors and ended up getting a bachelor’s masters, and doctorate degree. I was reminded by my professors how to read a question, how to sort our possible responses, and finally how to put my answers on paper. I repeat, I was reminded. This is important because we were taught this in high school.

I talk with high school AP teachers today, and they give very few essays; the reason – a lack of time both in class and out of class due to the requirements of teaching students to pass the SOLs. What a shame!

What a waste for our youth.

We need our youth to be able to fail; we need them to communicate; we need them to join forces; we need them to continue the communities we all grow to love. We need our youth to be as determined as the youth in Florida struggling to get our leaders to hear them. They are our future. Let’s help them succeed. We have learned something in our years together. Let them learn something in their years together.


Love defeats Trauma


Listening to and reading the news is always a traumatic event, one that seems to be occurring daily. It seems that mankind is again forcing a calamity upon itself for no reason other than ignorance, or at least a lack of proper analysis. Or, better yet, a lack of sufficient understanding and love to carry us over difficult times.

None of us own anything that is worth killing or dying for. Selfish ownership creates hate. When we give up this thought of mine, not yours, we rely on love and goodness to enter the picture. This goodness does not depend on ownership. No one can own goodness; it is something that is freely given to us, and in turn freely passed on by us. Just as with

Gods grace, it is given, not earned. Every one of us is born with a pure heart, free of hate, free of racism. Every one of us begins to learn this at an early age. Whether we realize it or not, all whom we come in contact with help us keep hate and racism alive. This could be in direct actions, a misspoken word, or the selection in school for teams in gym or in the classroom. Some children are selected last only because the look or act differently than others. By passing this negativity on to our youth, we are all guilty of keeping this struggle alive in our society.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to put a stop to this regeneration of hate and racism. We need to give the next generation a head start on loving, not hating, on acceptance, not exclusion. The loneliest people I know are those who are incapable of loving someone or something other than themselves. Anyone who has truly loved another is never alone. For the one he loves is always present in his heart. He treats others with respect and dignity just because he loves another. Because I love, I am never without companionship. My love for one individual creates a fertile ground for me to love all whom I meet.

As with grace, as with goodness, this love is freely received and freely given. I pray that our leaders will step back from their closed minds if only for a chance for others to offer the gifts love and goodness.

The True Meaning of Intimacy

intimacy with GOd 

“The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.” 
John 5:20

This passage from the Gospel of John offers a view of the view of that special relationship Jesus has with God. It is a relationship based on the deepest intimacy possible.

A married couple, be they heterosexual or homosexual, share a similar intimacy, an intimacy based on unfettered trust. This takes years to reach fruition, but when achieved the benefits for both members are immensely gratifying, providing a sanctuary for each member of the relationship to expose the ego to accept the strength that only this type of intimacy can provide.

Each person grows in self-assurance and in communally-responsible actions. Love for each is strengthened both within and outside of the relationship, offering the chances for that love to grow throughout the community, affecting each other and those around them. The support from one partner to the next assures each of the understanding that he or she is loved, respected, and cared for. Over time, this relationship grows into a bond that even death cannot defeat.

Throughout my lifetime, I have seen elderly couples face the realities of life and death with a strength that is unsurpassable. Is there fear? Yes, but this fear is not debilitating; it is accepted and the strength of their love and relationship carries each through this inevitable journey. There is both sadness and strength, love and disappointment. Tears of happiness and tears of loss. The relationship that these couples share is a thing of beauty and a thing of eternal strength and comfort.

This love is a direct reflection of the love God has for us. If we can be as Jesus is, we can share this same intimacy with God. Think of how terrific it can be, not only be trusting, but knowing that the relationship we have with God never, ever fails, never, ever is forgotten or placed on a shelf in the pantry only to be searched for in times of physical or psychological stress. The relationship we share with God is the most intimate and the most rewarding experience we can ever undergo. We do not have to wonder if God will be by our side when our semi-orderly lives get upset by societal interferences.

As with the special relationship with a spouse, our relationship with God never ends and is always in the forefront of God’s Love and comfort when we are troubled.

As with any relationship, this takes trust, at trust that is very difficult to build, at least on our part, not God’s. Many times, this can be much more difficult than forming that special unwavering relationship with our spouse. And, it can take a whole lot longer to build. Our society rears us with the necessity to question and distrust everything. But it need not be this way. Where the special relationship with a spouse involves two (sometimes) opposing viewpoints on many issues that get resolved over time, our relationship with God is instantaneous. Any hesitation is on our side, not Hers. If we listen with our hearts and not our ears, we can bypass years of indecision and distrust. I can only dream how different our world would be if centuries ago, we were entrusted with the knowledge that God is with us, not against us. That God is that special lover who cares only for our well-being, not anxious to punish us, as is written many times in the Bible. He is with us to support and nurture us, as Jesus is; as Jesus knew and teaches us. . . if we can only hear Him.

Who and What We Are


Who and what are we

I believe that we are created by an entity who made us in Her image, His likeness. Although our bodies are not perfect, our images are. What we sometimes forget is to walk the walk and talk the talk. We are to impressed by our own imagined importance to remember that we are all created this way, not just a few of us. We ignore the Christian teachings of loving our neighbor and we love ourselves. Or, perhaps, we no longer love ourselves. We are all creations of God, and therefore, we all deserve to revel in Her image.

To understand this fully, we must listen to what is right in God’s eyes. We must stop listening with our intellect and begin listening with our hearts.

Just because someone looks different from us, speaks a different language, or worships God, calling Her with a different name, we must accept that these others are not our enemies; they are our brothers and sisters. We need patience to fully realize these differences mean nothing.

One of my regular concerns and regular displeasures is that our leaders are more caring about what their own images are than what the images of the people who voted for them are. They forget that they are hired to work for us, not work for themselves. This bothers me . . . always. However, our leaders are also made in the same image as we are, and therefore we cannot treat them as if they are our enemies, even though it seems that they are. I am not passing the buck here, but when we continue to elect the same people year after year, no matter how well they perform, these people lose respect for us. They see that we elect them regardless of their performances. We get what we deserve. With the power that they have, and the seeming lack of interest we show in their performances, it is no wonder that they seem to be corrupt in all that they do. The fault lies with us. We must change to have them change.

Presently, we are on the precipice of a tragic future, both nationally and internationally. We are standing looking at a great divide between ourselves and others living around the world. We are not showing respect, to them or to ourselves. We blame them for our problems.

We are continually being subjected to mass shootings by people who are in no condition to own any gun, much less one that is designed to rip a body into an irreparable condition. This is what assault weapons do. They are designed to completely destroy, and/or immobilize, an enemy on a field of war. They are not designed to be owned by inexperienced teenagers who really have no idea what they are doing and what damage they can cause.

I am overjoyed to see the students in America rallying to bring awareness to our leaders that this has to stop. I am not confident they will listen, but I am confident that these students who are demonstrating today, will elect new leaders when they can vote in a few years. And voting is the key; they will vote, while we are often too lazy to stand in line to vote.

I despise the constant slaughter occurring on our streets and in our schools and churches. Stop pointing the finger at these mentally deranged people; stop pointing the finger at our leaders who are concerned only with their positions in government – power. Look in the mirror and then point your fingers. We get what we elect; we get what we pay for. Shame on us for repeating and repeating this over and over.

Personally, I turn to God for my own comfort; I pray that others will also. There are many who say that prayer does not work. I am living proof that prayer does work. God listens to my prayers. I don’t always get what I want, but I do always get what I need. Please notice the difference!   God acts among us only to the extent that we ask for his action and accept it with our hearts and lives. This is the secret of God’s intervention in history. Ask, believe; believe and ask. She will listen. She does not want us to fail. We can only fail ourselves.

We are made in God’s image; let’s act that way.

Love in Our World – Lacking?

Let all that you do be done in Love.

Love in Our World

Jesus brought Love into the world. We should emulate Him. I don’t mean that we have to literally die on a cross to bring this to others; however, we can allow our materiality-driven existence to wither away to nothing, and instead, adopt a life of service to others. Think of the advantages that would be realized by giving up a minor physical luxury and giving the money we would spend on that to a cause that would benefit our less advantaged brothers and sisters.

In our life of Keeping up with the Joneses, we feel that we must have the greenest lawn, the largest SUV in our driveway, and the 66” curved-screen tv, displayed so that the neighbors can see our affluence.

No, we cannot give up these luxuries; we are too programmed to do that. But, if we scaled down just one of these and gave the money to a cause to help a person living on the streets, or a family of 4 who cannot afford fresh vegetables, that money would go a long way helping these people.

To paraphrase Isaiah, the ox knows its master, and the donkey its manger, but we do not know, nor do we understand. We are weighed down by injustice and act atrociously; we have abandoned Love. We have abandoned respect for each other, respect for ourselves. We need to defend the poor, help them achieve a level of living that is worthy of a human being, worthy of a brother or sister, worthy of a child of God.

The choice is ours to make; God will love us regardless of our actions. But will we really love ourselves. Love’s self-offering means that we love ourselves; after all, didn’t Jesus mention that when he told us to love others as we love ourselves. We do not take the teachings of morality in the Bible seriously; I’m not talking about religion. That is the culture we are forced to be a participant. We can change it.