Meditations

Fifth Post of Lent – A Ministry of Healing and Redemption

Fifth Post of Lent – A Ministry of Healing and Redemption

These works of healing, liberation and redemption are meant to be held onto not as possible, but potentially unlikely effects of Jesus’ work of redemption in our lives; rather they are the certain end to which he desires to lead all of humanity, indeed all of creation. Everything he has done in his life, death, resurrection and pouring out of his Spirit, and everything he continues to do in us and for us is oriented toward that end; and its certain attainment is meant to be buoy of hope in the midst of life’s storms and struggles (particularly when there seems to be no end in sight), for as St Paul tells his readers confidently “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6, emphasis added)

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Fourth Post of Lent – Testing or Trusting

Fourth Post of Lent – Testing or Trusting
[I]t is important to note that this type of testing is not at all the same thing as struggling to trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness in the midst of darkness or difficulty. The Bible (particularly the psalms) is full of examples of faithful people crying out to the Lord as they try to reconcile their pain or suffering with what they’ve been told about God’s character (my personal favorite is in Lamentations 3). The difference is that, in doing so, they do not judge him a liar or unfaithful, though they may struggle with fears that this is true at times; rather they struggle to hold on, reminding themselves of his promises and calling to mind his past acts of faithfulness in their lives so that these might be a buoy of hope in the midst of the storm. Far from a lack of faith or testing to God, they ultimately witness to a depth of faith that is both exemplary and beautiful.

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Second Post for Lent – Unwavering Trust

Second Post for Lent – Unwavering Trust

Bread is such a minor thing, particularly for the one in whom all things were created. But Jesus’ resistance to Satan in this apparently minor detail demonstrates the most important aspect of his mission: his unwavering surrender and trust in the Father—to surrender so wholly to his will and his purpose, that he would not leave the wilderness until led by the Spirit to do so, nor would he abuse his divine gifts to make bread for himself by his own power.

What are the apparently “minor”—or perhaps even major—areas in your life in which the Father is calling you to surrender to his will and purpose?

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First Post of Lent – True Sonship and Daughtership

First Post of Lent – True Sonship and Daughtership

And here is where we see it all begin to come together for our purposes today. There is a sense in which we are all sons and daughters of God, for we are not only made by him, but also made in his image and likeness. This is suggested by Luke’s genealogy and it is good and right to affirm this. However, because we are made in God’s image and likeness, we are also made for a deeper, richer sonship (and daughter-ship) that cannot be a simple fact of nature, nor can it be obtained by our own efforts. It must be obtained through the unmerited gift of grace, by uniting ourselves to Christ and being baptized in to his uncompromising obedience to God manifested in his life, death and resurrection.

Without this, there is no “best life now”, no true fulfillment. But with it there is life abundant, there is life eternal.

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New Lenten Series! – Sons and Daughters of God

New Lenten Series! – Sons and Daughters of God

Throughout the ages, the forty days of Lent have been a season of focused and intentional devotion. Often those devotions have been centered on Jesus’ own forty day sojourn in the wilderness just after his baptism and before his ministry. Would you join us this year as we offer five meditations, one each Monday in Lent, taken from Luke’s account of the baptism, temptation, and beginning ministry of Jesus (Luke 3:21-23,36b-38, 4:1-21)? I am confident that, if you do, you will gain real insight into you own life, your own ministry, and your own challenges to live out your calling. As Kathleen has written:

“The same Spirit that declared his Sonship at baptism and then drove him into the wilderness for testing is the same Spirit that drove him to Galilee and anointed him for this ministry of healing, liberation, and redemption. And it is the same Spirit that we, ourselves, receive at Baptism when, in Christ, we too are made into sons and daughters of God.”

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St. John Chrysostom’s Sermon on Christmas in Celebration of the Nativity of the Lord

St. John Chrysostom’s Sermon on Christmas in Celebration of the Nativity of the Lord

Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things arc nourished, may receive an infant’s food from His Virgin Mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.

To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost, we offer all praise, now and for ever. Amen.

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A God Who Keeps His Promises – Second Meditation of Advent

A God Who Keeps His Promises – Second Meditation of Advent

During those 600 years of waiting, the cry of every faithful Israelite must have been, “How Long, O Lord, How Long?” But no matter how great the darkness, no matter how impossible the situation seemed, God did not fail in his promises. To the contrary he fulfilled them more abundantly than they could have ever imagined. He fulfilled them in Christ.

As you look to the Christ child this Christmas, see there not simply a babe in a manger, but the supreme and earth-shattering evidence of a God who does not fail in his word, even when we fail him. For he is the God is the God of Love, the God who keeps His promises.

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The Power of Yes – First Meditation of Advent

The Power of Yes – First Meditation of Advent

Mary was confident that, although this call on her life would cost her everything, it would not be at her expense…No, she was central to the purposes of that call because by it, she, too, would not only be saved but also honored. “All generations will call me blessed” she says, in confidence that the fulfillment of God’s call rested not on the whims of man but in His faithfulness, for His plans are not to harm his faithful ones, but to prosper them and give them a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Wherever He has called you, wherever He is asking you to serve Him right here and now, however great the sacrifice to your dreams or even your life know this:…You are not simply His instrument, but His beloved child whom He delights to use not only for his glory, but for your good.

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Instruments or Obstacles of Grace? – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Instruments or Obstacles of Grace? – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

The question is, how would we fare if we were in their shoes? Because there is one thing of which we can be certain—God’s grace is ceaselessly reaching into the lives of the lost, seeking to draw them to Christ. Will we, then, be instruments of that grace or obstacles? Will we help draw others to Christ through the same availability and hospitality we see here in Christ–even to the most despised sinners? Or will we, like the crowd, shut them out from encountering God’s transforming love because we are so conditioned by our own judgments of others that we don’t have eyes to see God’s grace in their lives?

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