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I thank you Lord, with all my heart… I thank you for your faithfulness and love. (Psalm 137)
Living a spiritual life requires a change of heart, a conversion. Such a conversion may be marked by a sudden inner change, or it can take place through a long, quiet process of transformation. But it always involves an inner experience of oneness.
The Spirit of Truth will be my witness. And you too will be my witnesses…I have told you all this so that your faith may not be shaken. (John 15)
The Spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it.
Jesus said, ‘I will ask the Father who will give you another Advocate to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth…I will not leave you orphaned’. (John 14)
As soon as we set our hearts on [the things of God: truth, life, and light] our minds stop spinning because we enter into communion with the One who is present to us here and now and is there to give us what we most need. And so worrying becomes prayer, and our feelings of powerlessness are transformed into a consciousness of being empowered by God’s Spirit.
Jesus, the Blessed Child of God, is merciful. Showing mercy is different from having pity. Pity connotes distance, even looking down upon. When a beggar asks for money and you give him something out of pity, you are not showing mercy. Mercy comes from a compassionate heart; it comes from a desire to be an equal. Jesus didn’t want to look down on us. He wanted to become one of us and feel deeply with us.
When Jesus called the only son of the widow of Nain to life, he did so because he felt the deep sorrow of the grieving mother in his own heart (see Luke 7:11-17). Let us look at Jesus when we want to know how to show mercy to our brothers and sisters.
811 Burke Street
Saturday, June 11, 2011, 2 -5 pm
Everyone is welcome.
Jesus, the Blessed Son of God, hungers and thirsts for uprightness. He abhors injustice. He resists those who try to gather wealth and influence by oppression and exploitation. His whole being yearns for people to treat one another as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the same God.
With fervor he proclaims that the way to the Kingdom is not saying many prayers or offering many sacrifices but in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the sick and the prisoners (see Matthew 25:31-46). He longs for a just world. He wants us to live with the same hunger and thirst.
Jesus, the Blessed One, mourns. Jesus mourns when his friend Lazarus dies (see John 11:33-36); he mourns when he overlooks the city of Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed (see Luke 19:41-44). Jesus mourns over all losses and devastations that fill the human heart with pain. He grieves with those who grieve and sheds tears with those who cry.
The violence, greed, lust, and so many other evils that have distorted the face of the earth and its people causes the Beloved Son of God to mourn. We too have to mourn if we hope to experience God’s consolation.
Jesus says: “Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for uprightness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness” (Matthew 5:3-10). These words offer us a self-portrait of Jesus. Jesus is the Blessed One. And the face of the Blessed One shows poverty, gentleness, grief, hunger, and thirst for uprightness, mercy, purity of heart, a desire to make peace, and the signs of persecution.
The whole message of the Gospel is this: become like Jesus. We have his self-portrait. When we keep that in front of our eyes, we will soon learn what it means to follow Jesus and become like him.
Jesus is the Blessed One. The word benediction, which is the Latin form for the word blessing, means “to say (dicere) good things (bene).” Jesus is the Blessed One because God has spoken good things of him. Most clearly we hear God’s blessing after Jesus has been baptised in the river Jordan, when “suddenly there was a voice from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him'” (Matthew 3:16-17).
With this blessing Jesus starts his public ministry. And all of that ministry is to make known to us that this blessing is not only for Jesus but also for all who follow him.
Bill and I left home Tuesday May 3 and returned last night about 10 pm,
and while we visited Bill’s family in Knoxville, TN and mine in Joplin, MO,
while we celebrated Mother’s Day and my Mother’s 90th Birthday, with High Tea (Thanks to Pam Howerton, Kim Jones, Amy DeArmond, and Amanda Stone)
while I read at the Main Street Rag Showcase at the Writer’s Place in Kansas City with Paul Corman-Roberts (Thanks to Shawn Pavey)
while we chased trains and traveled home,
the Winston-Salem Journal ran a feature article in Relish on me and the publication of my new book Seriously Dangerous, (Thanks to free lance writer Andrea Brill)
Willows Wept Review published my poem, “What People Do,” (Thanks to editor Troy Urquhart)
Rusty Truck published two poems, “The egg that flew out of the bush,” and “Ode to Niceness, Low & High,” (Thanks to editor Scot Young.)
The Wild Goose Poetry Review published a poem, “Of Summer Lovers, Winter Storm-Clouds,” (Thanks to editor Scott Owens) and the first full length review of Seriously Dangerous by a literary magazine, (Thanks to reviewer-poet Nancy Posey)
and I was invited to read (as one two featured writers) at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill on August 11. (Thanks to Stan Absher and Debra Kaufman). YES!
Life is good,
and while we were gone, the earth did not stand still. Imagine that. 🙂