Interfaith Love  

I read and meditate on several Bible passages each day. I believe in the Trinity as promised. There is only one god! Therefore, God blesses all people. . . all people! God makes no distinctions. Jesus sent his disciples into the world to proclaim the glory of God. He did not say eliminate certain groups of people. Jesus wanted all people to hear the good news, what we call The Gospel.

Couple this with what we learn from the Wisdom of God, the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and the Wisdom taught by Jesus, we know that to serve God is to offer Wisdom to all people, to keep our hearts open to this Wisdom as we share it, as disciples of Jesus. God created Wisdom as part of His holy creation of which we are an essential part. He did not say that creation is available only to Christians, but to all peoples, regardless of what name they give God.

My life is blessed every morning I awaken to a new sun, a new creation, for each new day is a new creation in my life. I pray that my words and deeds will glorify God as Jesus taught me. I embrace this truth with all of my being, my mind, my heart, and my soul. I embrace this as a necessity, because if I do not, I am not living up to the life that God wants of me. I depend on God to help me do this and God depends on me to continue spreading his love to all people regardless of what church, synagogue, or temple they attend on their holy day.

My prayer for the day:

Heavenly Father, allow me and all people in your creation to follow the Wisdom you have taught us through the words of Jesus and the many other prophets we learned of from your teachings, whether they be in the Old and New Testaments, the Qur’an, or the many other spiritual books studied and prayed over all around our small planet.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Church of Contradictions

Sometimes I think that we prefer rituals instead of down to earth mercy from God. Church is not complete without ritual. Some of the rituals and some of the liturgy is filled with fear, especially when reading the Old Testament, which is an integral part of liturgy. Deep within us we know that church is really not fear or trepidation. Church celebrates love, God’s Love. Fear brings with it a lack of trust, and trust is the basis of faith in God, especially in God’s true Love for us.

Love and compassion, combined with Wisdom, is God’s Creation, the order of life we follow. Wisdom is the pathway to God, and when we gather together,

God is with us. This is the promise of Jesus. Church can bring us out of the wilderness that we sometimes live in. Our congregations give us the support we need when we have trouble finding the truth. We search for this on our own, but many times we need the support of others . . . when two or more. . .

Individually or with church we are called to be grateful and trust in the Love of God.

Our church of many contradictions are a blessing we share with our brothers and sisters of faith. God bless us all for our loving congregations.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Words of Love, Holy Words

God has created us that we, His children, are made to live a life that does not have to endure the world’s expectations of greed and insincerity. Even though we face many times of trial, we will never be without His holy support. We do not allow ourselves to be affected by those who claim to be holy; only God is holy, only God’s words are holy. And His words are words of Divine Love.

In my meditations this morning, I kept thinking about the Love that Jesus taught; His parables demonstrate salvation, Grace, and compassion. Compassion (Love) is the key to God’s Love and God’s Grace! It is this compassion that we practice when listening to people who do not agree with us or are always complaining. We ignore the bad advice of these false prophets, those who say they know what is best for us. Often, these people are thinking only of themselves. I remind myself that God’s vision is much greater and much more glorious than anything they can offer, or I can imagine. There are no boundaries for God’s Love. We need to be as open, kind and loving as the Good Samaritan.

Prayerfully, my words of love can promote a holy common peace for all.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Grace

Every morning, after I rise, I ask what act of Grace I will do today. My daily study of wisdom increases my understanding of the parables of Jesus and the enigma of the Christ. Perhaps, the only act of Grace I can do is to share God’s Wisdom, not my own. When I awaken, I remember that God’s Glory and Grace will be with me throughout the day; God’s Light shines through me and sharing this light, this Grace.

I awaken from the darkness of night to a wonderful morning star of light shining through my bedroom window. I am humbled by the beauty of God’s new morning. I ask if I will continue to be a gracious blessing to those I meet in the upcoming day, even though I may be suffering inside. But my thoughts quickly turn to my trust in God, and I read from Isaiah 51: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

And I begin my day of Grace.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Centers – Mind, Body, Heart

I awakened this morning with my usual aches and pains. With my spinal fusions and herniated discs, I can allow my mind to concentrate only on my body. And believe me, I do that some days. But sooner or later, my mind turns to things not connected to the body. My physical body does not represent who I am. I am reminded of the thought by one of the great thinkers of Western theology that the foundation we are built on is not our own. We are built on a more perfect foundation, that of God.

We stand on this foundation as holy representatives of God. When I awaken from my body-centered mind, I begin to build on the gift of life that God gives me each morning. In my meditations, I always re-discover that it is my job to build on what God has given me, love, determination, service. And so, I set our on my day to do so.

I ask myself to allow my light to shine ever more clearly to others; this reflects on Matthew 5:16, where Jesus asks us to allow our light to shine, glorifying God. What a wonderful mission! I thank God for allowing me to be a part of his group project, called mankind, this wonderful mission. I am truly blessed to trust God as I do. I pray that others around our small planet can also be confident in the Grace of God.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Spirit and Body

The Buddha says: “the body dies, but the spirit is not entombed.” Although there is much wisdom in this, I agree with what the Bible says, “When you receive life from the Father, it will create a vitality on the inside of you that is contagious and fruitful!” This is so emboldening that I can break free from what troubles me, what habits I have, and rise from whatever problems I have, out of the pain I suffer. This is the free will, given to us by God who Loves.

I know that I am forgiven for what mistakes I make, for the healing and justice promised by Jesus are gifts for a shared life. We live together; we cannot avoid this. When Jesus asks us to love our neighbors, this is not just a commandment; it is a sensible way to live. My neighbors surround me. It would be untenable for me to not have a good relationship with them, not share the life we live.

Our body is the life we share with others, the community of respect and hopefully love. The spirit within us and the Holy Spirit within all of us, complement the body, our personal body, our communal body, and the body of Christ. The Spirit and the Body cannot be separated. What a blessing!

© Russell Kendall Carter

Zeal  

An interesting word, Zeal! Its basic meaning is enthusiasm, which can be good or bad. Basically, good zeal is passion, passion for something worthwhile and good for all; bad zeal is fanaticism, fanaticism that lacks respect for all creation. From the Bible, I learn that God will do new things, things that spring forward; all I must do is feel it, recognize it within me. God promises to make an easy path in my own personal wilderness, bringing me into His glory.

When I have love and respect, I share God’s love for all; I put aside my personal plans and resentments to those ahead of me, or behind me. I await recognition of God within and my position in society’s line matters not. Today, I turn my zeal to pray for those harmed by natural forces, suffering from illness and loss of family, and those stoned to a near death by society. I have to come to a place in my life where I say, “O Lord, give me strength to help my brother!”

© Russell Kendall Carter

What If?

Two of the most powerful words! What if. . . we could end poverty; what if. . . we could end hunger; what if. . . we elected leaders who truly cared about the people? I could go on and on and on. I am a retired school teacher, living on a small pension and Social Security; I enjoy the benefits of Medicare and AARP supplemental insurance. Compared to most of the world, I am rich. But I am not; I do contribute where I can, and I do give money to those homeless people on the streets.

But there is something better out there; here is my dream:

We are terrified by what lies ahead; but we are healed by the love of God; we are renewed by His glorious presence within us. We are blessed to share this gift. From a prayer in the Bible: “For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.” This is the greatest gift for humanity. This, however, is just the beginning. Our prayers and efforts must lift the poor out of poverty. . . with God’s help. We are given wisdom to create better lives; it is time to use this gift!

This is clearly the meaning of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. “We with our unveiled faces will gradually reflect like mirrors the brightness of the Lord. All will grow brighter and brighter as we are gradually turned into the image that we reflect” (3:18). With God’s help, we do this on earth; not just for our country, but for the entire world. Our president has shared the vaccines for the Covid virus; he must do the same with food and material goods to boost all from poverty.

I pray that we discard all wasted efforts supported by personal greed to open our hearts to our brothers in sisters. This is an exciting time, so let us to begin. We must save humanity and reflect God’s will for us. If we each do one thing to help those in need, the ripple effect around the world would be tremendous. If the flutter of a butterfly’s wings in India can create a storm in Nebraska, then an act of good will in Virginia can create a flood of kindness and grace to people in Patagonia.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Open Minds

Wisdom needs an open mind. In my morning meditation, a thought appeared, reminding me that when God asked Solomon what he wanted, he asked for wisdom. He did this to enable him to judge people as God would. Wisdom is a gift from God, and it is one of the gifts that must be shared, or it is worthless. We have been given this gift as the light and love of Jesus. And as He did, we are asked to share our gift with all whom we meet. Each new day, a new age of congeniality is possible.

Practicing Wisdom, which is discipleship, we will demonstrate the glory of the Holy Spirit, and as when a pebble is thrown into a pool of water, the ripple effect spreads this glory throughout the world. Remember the only thing that does not change is change, and we must make the change to improve the world; this is an invitation to act now, not later or someday, but now. Let us make our gifts count, make this one of the changes that benefits all. I think this is a good New Year’s resolution!

© Russell Kendall Carter

Twins

One of my favorite images is in the story of the twins; I beleive it was original told by Henri Nouwen. Many of you are familiar with it; if so, enjoy the imagery; it is everlasting, and I consider it a modern parable:

Once upon a time twins were conceived in the womb. Weeks passed and the babies grew. As their awareness grew, their joy increased. “Isn’t it fantastic that we have been conceived? Isn’t it wonderful to be alive?”

The twins began to explore their world.
When they discovered the umbilical cord that bound them to their mother and nourished then, they sang for joy. “What great love our mother has for us. She even shares her own life with us!” However, as the weeks grew into months, they suddenly noticed how they had changed.
“What does this mean?” one asked.

“It means that our stay in this world will soon end” the other replied.
“But I don’t want to leave”, the first retorted, “I would rather stay here forever.”
“We don’t have any choice” the other replied, “but maybe there is life after birth!”
“How could there be” the first asked, doubtfully. “We will lose our lifeline and how could we live without it? Besides, others left the womb before us, and no one has ever come back to tell us that there is life after birth. No, birth is the end!” So, one of them went into a state of deep anxiety, asking: “If conception ends in birth, what meaning has life in the womb? It is absurd. Maybe there is no mother behind all this.”
“But she must exist”, the other protested, “otherwise how could we have got in here? And how could we survive?”

“Did you ever see our mother?” asked the first. Maybe she only lives in our imagination. We invented her, because in this way we can better understand our life.”
And so the last days in the mother’s womb were filled with thousands of questions and a great fear. Finally, the moment of birth came.

When the twins left their mother’s womb, their world, they opened their eyes.
They cried out.
What they saw was beyond their greatest dreams.

One day, at last, we will be born.