Saturday, September 01, 2007

09/01/07 Sat. in the week of the 13th Sun after Pentecost


Blessed are those for whom Easter is...
not a hunt, but a find;
not a greeting, but a proclamation;
not outward fashions, but inward grace;
not a day, but an eternity.


Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O God of unsearchable wisdom and infinite mercy, you chose a captive warrior, David Oakerhater, to be your servant, and sent him to be a missionary to his own people, and to exercise the office of a deacon among them: Liberate us, who commemorate him today, from bondage to self, and empower us for service to you and to the neighbors you have given us; through Jesus Christ, the captain of our salvation; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 20, 21:1-7(8-14); PM Psalm 110:1-5(6-7), 116, 117
1 Kings 7:51-8:21; Acts 28:17-31; Mark 14:43-52

From Forward Day by Day:

Mark 14:43-52. The one I will kiss is the man.

Lies come in many varieties: Out-and-out untruth, stating the opposite of what is really the case. The "white" lie, told to spare someone's feelings or to weasel out of a trivial scrape. Politicians' lies, slanting facts to make a false case for a favored policy. Worst is the lie that says something true, but in a way that makes actually telling the truth impossible.

I once said something I meant as a declaration of loyalty to an organization, but when the remark was relayed to the group, it was put in a context and given an inflection that made it sound like a vow to take them for whatever I could get out of them. I could not deny that the report of my words was accurate, but I was horrified at the way someone had manipulated them.

When Judas kisses Jesus to identify him to his enemies, it tells the truth--a kiss is the right greeting for his Master. But to use a true gesture to betray the beloved is to pervert something deeper than facts. It makes life itself a perversion, in the case of Judas's lie, even unto death.

Today we remember:

David Pendleton Oakerhater
Psalm 96:1-7 or 98:1-4
Isaiah 52:7-10; Luke 10:1-9


Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Sittwe (Myanmar)
++++++++++ Reflections

The spirit of God, insofar as it is hidden in the veins of the soul, is like soft refreshing water which satisfies the thirst of the spirit.
St John of the Cross
Living Flame, 3.8

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Isidore went one day to see Abba Theophilus, archbishop of Alexandria and when he returned to Scetis the trethren asked him, 'What is going on in the city?' But he said to them, 'Truly, brothers, I did not see the face of anyone there, except that of the archbishop.' Hearing this they were very anxious and said to him, 'Has there been a disaster there, then, abba?' He said 'Not at all, but the thought of looking at anyone did not get the better of me' At these words they were filled with admiration, and strengthened in their intention of guarding kthe eyes from all distraction.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)
Claiming Our God Given Selves

When we have been deeply hurt by another person, it is nearly impossible not to have hostile thoughts, feelings of anger or hatred, and even a desire to take revenge. All of this often happens spontaneously, without much inner control. We simply find ourselves brooding about what we are going to say or do to pay back the person who has hurt us. To choose blessings instead of curses in such a situation asks for an enormous leap of faith. It calls for a willingness to go beyond all our urges to get even and to choose a life-giving response.

Sometimes this seems impossible. Still, whenever we move beyond our wounded selves and claim our God-given selves, we give life not just to ourselves but also to the ones who have offended us.

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:

Day One - The Object

Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor." (John 12:24-26)

Upper Room Daily Reflection

You Are Blessed
September 1st, 2007
Saturday’s Reflection

peer into another person’s soul,
we see ourselves.

- Anne Crumpler
Alive Now

From Alive Now, January/February 1999, page 61. Copyright © 1998 by The Upper Room. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"Beatitudes People"

How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are the gentile: they shall have the earth as inheritance.
Blessed are those who mourn: they shall be comforted.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness: they shall have their fill.
Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognized as children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you. (Matthew 5:3-12, NJB).
(Recorded at Lourdes) Something is happening at Lourdes. And God wants to give us the eyes to see it and the ground to receive it. What are all these crippled and handicapped people telling us? What is the witness of all these nurses and life-bearers? It seems God wants us to live a vulnerable life, a life dependent on other people, a life that is unafraid to cry.
Happy are those who hunger and thirst for justice, Jesus says.
The little ones are able to see what is happening. These are the ones who, when there is something more, will be ready. Because the numb do not notice. The sophisticated will not suffer. The comfortable need not complain. But Jesus teaches us, in effect, how to suffer graciously. He actually increases our ability to suffer graciously. He actually increases our capacity for pain. This is the central message of the eight Beatitudes.
What kind of God is this? It is a God who increases our capacity to feel the pain of being human, a God who allows deformities and tragedies so we can all be bound together in a sisterhood of need, a brotherhood of need.

from On Pilgrimage With Father Richard Rohr

From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.

True lovers of God

Love opens the eyes of the soul to the vision of God, and confirms it in the joyous love that springs from that vision. It comforts a man so much that he has no anxieties and is quite indifferent to what people say or do against him. The greatest harm that could come to him would be to forgo the vision of God, and he would suffer any injury rather than that.

When a true lover of God suffers at the hands of his fellow men, he is strengthened through the grace of the Holy Spirit and is made so truly humble and patient and peaceable that, whatever wrong or injury he suffers, he always retains his humility. He does not despise his persecutors or speak ill of them, but prays for them with pity and compassion more tenderly than for those who never harmed him. And he does indeed love them more, and more fervently desires their salvation, because he sees that he will have such great spiritual gain from their evil deed, even though they never intended that he should. But this kind of love and humility, which are beyond human nature, are only brought about by the Holy Spirit in those whom he makes true lovers of God.

Walter Hilton

Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers


"Ye shall be holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16 (R.V.)

Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is. The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. Nowadays we have far too many affinities, we are dissipated with them; right, good, noble affinities which will yet have their fulfilment, but in the meantime God has to atrophy them. The one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God Who will make him holy. At all costs a man must be rightly related to God.

Do I believe I need to be holy? Do I believe God can come into me and make me holy? If by your preaching you convince me that I am unholy, I resent your preaching. The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it must reveal that I am unholy; but it also awakens an intense craving. God has one destined end for mankind, viz., holiness. His one aim is the production of saints. God is not an eternal blessing-machine for men; He did not come to save men out of pity: He came to save men because He had created them to be holy. The Atonement means that God can put me back into perfect union with Himself, without a shadow between, through the Death of Jesus Christ.

Never tolerate through sympathy with yourself or with others any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind - every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God. Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

January 1, May 2, September 1

L I S T E N carefully, my child,
to your master's precepts,
and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).
Receive willingly and carry out effectively
your loving father's advice,
that by the labor of obedience
you may return to Him
from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

To you, therefore, my words are now addressed,
whoever you may be,
who are renouncing your own will
to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King,
and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

And first of all,
whatever good work you begin to do,
beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it,
that He who has now deigned to count us among His children
may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds.
For we must always so serve Him
with the good things He has given us,
that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children,
nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions,
deliver us to everlasting punishment
as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.


Dynamis is a daily Bible meditation based upon the lectionary of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Saturday, September 1, 2007 Conclusion of the Rahab Series
Prophet Joshua the Son of Nun
Kellia: Joshua 6:21-25 Epistle: 1 Corinthians
4:1-5 Gospel: St. Matthew 23:1-12

Rahab the Ancestor ~ Holocaust: Joshua 6:21-25 LXX, especially vss. 21,
22, 23, 24: "Joshua devoted it [Jericho] to destruction, and all things
that were in the city, man and woman, young man and old, and calf and
ass, with the edge of the sword. And Joshua said to the two young men
who had acted a spies, Go into the house of the woman, and bring her out
thence, and all that she has....and they set her without the camp of
Israel. And the city was burnt with fire." The English word,
"holocaust" derives from Greek, 'kaustos," meaning, "burnt," with the
prefix, "holo-" meaning, "wholly." The word refers to sacrifices
offered totally, consumed either by fire or sword. By extension
holocaust also refers to all total annihilations, as in the Ukrainian
Holocaust, when fifteen million Ukrainian citizens were starved to death
or murdered during the winter of 1933-1934 as part of a Soviet drive to
collectivize farming in Ukraine.
As today's reading reports, the entire city of Jericho was devoted
entirely to God through the execution of its people and livestock and by
the burning of all its buildings and furnishings. Only precious metals
were reserved for melting down and later use in the portable Tabernacle
or in the future permanent Temple, whenever such a shrine might be
constructed. The exception, of course, was the deliverance of Rahab and
her household, who were brought out by the spies she had earlier hidden
from the officers of the king of Jericho and had helped to escape.

As the account in Joshua continues after today's reading, there is a
report concerning a military force sent against the city of Ai, a force
that was resoundingly defeated (Josh. 7). The defeat at Ai is a sharp
contrast to the unimpeded conquest of Jericho. The plan was to take Ai
and offer it also as a holocaust. Following the Ai defeat, however, God
revealed that the defeat was caused by Achan, a man who held back a
beautiful festal garment and some silver and gold from what should have
been holocausted at Jericho. He had hidden these devoted things in his
tent, making the whole people of God into "an accursed thing" (Josh.
7:12). He and his family were stoned and their remains burned, becoming
thereby a holocaust (Josh. 7:25,26). Later, Ai was taken with no loss
of life to Israel and made a holocaust to the Lord (Josh. 8:1-29).

The exception from the holocaust at Jericho, by all appearances, was
Rahab. However, it even Rahab was part of the "total sacrifice," or
holocaust there, for by assisting the spies, she completely severed all
bonds with her former people and community and wholly sacrificed herself
and her family on behalf of Israel. Rahab, "the harlot of Jericho,"
died to the persona of prostitute and citizen of Jericho. Thus she
became worthy to be a lifelong dweller "in Israel until this day" (Josh.
6:25) and an ancestor of our Lord Jesus. Observe: when Rahab and her
family were led out of Jericho they were "brought out...and set her
without the camp of Israel" (vs. 23).

Following the campaign at Jericho, they all were then initiated and
pledged as members of Israel and taken "into the camp," at which point
she was married to Salmon and became the mother of Boaz, the worthy
ancestor of David and therefore of our Lord (Mt. 1:5).

Let Rahab be an example to all of us who are Baptized into Christ and
have put on Christ: "renouncing," or "severing," all ties with "Satan,
and all his angels, and all his works, and all his service, and all his
pride." By our breathing and spitting upon the Devil, each Orthodox
Christian is thereby holocausted and becomes a complete sacrifice to the
Lord, one worthy to be united to Him as a "member and partaker of [His]
death and resurrection." Like Rahab, each member of Christ is cut off
from life in the flesh, having received "a life of regeneration."

O Lord Jesus Christ, our King and God, by Thy mercy may each of us
preserve our baptismal garment and the earnest of the Spirit undefiled
unto Thy dread Day of Judgment.



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