Sunday, April 20, 2008

Daily meditation 04/20/08


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.


Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 24, 29; PM Psalm 8, 84
Lev. 8:1-13,30-36; Heb. 12:1-14; Luke 4:16-30

From Forward Day by Day:

John 14:1-14. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Today's gospel text is another hard one. The absoluteness of Christianity is affirmed over and over in John's Gospel and never more disturbingly (to our
pluralistic ears) than in this passage. Jesus declares himself to be "the way, the truth, and the life" that leads to the Father; no one comes to the Father except through him.

This grates on us. What about Jews? Muslims? Buddhists? Agnostics? C. S. Lewis, addressing this concern in Mere Christianity, reminds us that "God has not told us what his arrangements about other people are." We know that no man can be saved except for Christ, but we do not know that only those who know him can be saved through him, Lewis adds. The heart of the matter, then, is not measured by the extent of our awareness. Grace is a mystery, not a formula-and not subject to our prior approval.

The Spirit blows where it will.
The epistle to the Hebrews reminds us that the word of God spoken in Christ is "living and active." In hidden ways we cannot see, control, or imagine-even in other religions-Christ is bringing the whole world home to the Father, one beloved person at a time.

Other reflection's on the day's Scripture:

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Central Ecuador (Prov. IX, U.S.)

Prayers for Easter Season:

Praying for those attending General Convention, 2009:

Speaking to the Soul:

Just like us

Daily Reading for April 20 • The Fifth Sunday of Easter

The disciples were simple people. They were ordinary folks who worked for a living, paid bills, and had to fulfill all the mundane responsibilities of life. Some were married and had to take care of those relationships properly. A few certainly must have had children. They had all the ingredients for the recipe of ordinary, everyday people.

Just like us.

But Jesus called them. He called them to follow him, to be with him and learn from him. He called them to see him heal and touch and transform people’s lives and to hear him teach amazingly simple yet startlingly counterintuitive truths.

Just as he has called us.

So, the disciples followed him, and they were amazed to see Jesus’ astonishing works, to hear his challenging words. They’d never seen anyone do things like this. But Jesus told them that they would not only do the same work he did, but “even greater things.”

Greater things than Jesus did? It’s hard to believe. Yet Jesus really only touched the lives of a handful of people in a very small area of the planet. The disciples who followed him, and those who followed them even until today, have made an impact on the entire world, sharing the message of God’s loving forgiveness and gracious acceptance in word and deed. As a result of their simple acts of obedience, the world is a different place.

Jesus’ words are meant for us too. He challenges us to follow him, to do even greater things for him. It’s not about who we are—our personality or gifts or background. It’s about how willing we are. How touched we are by Jesus’ love. How filled we are by his Spirit.

So, what’s stopping you? Even greater things await you.

From Living Loved: Knowing Jesus as the Lover of Your Soul by Peter Wallace. Copyright © 2007. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

Spiritual Practice of the Day

To maintain the taste for life and feed the zest for living can never simply be taken for granted, just as we cannot take our health as a simple given but have to examine, cultivate, and take care of it.
— Ursula King in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Writings
++++++++++ Reflections

Look Jesus in the Face ... there you will see how He loves us.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians


God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into
the valleys.

St. Tikhon of Voronezh

Daily Meditation from

Readings for Day 20

April 20

Psalm 18:28–9 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. 29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

Isaiah 40:21–4 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. 24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

2 Corinthians 11:26–7,30 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Healing Contradictions

The many contradictions in our lives - such as being home while feeling homeless, being busy while feeling bored, being popular while feeling lonely, being believers while feeling many doubts - can frustrate, irritate, and even discourage us. They make us feel that we are never fully present. Every door that opens for us makes us see how many more doors are closed.

But there is another response. These same contradictions can bring us into touch with a deeper longing, for the fulfillment of a desire that lives beneath all desires and that only God can satisfy. Contradictions, thus understood, create the friction that can help us move toward God.

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

Day Twenty - The Third Way of Service, cont'd

Tertiaries endeavor to serve others in active work. We try to find expression for each of the three aims of the Order in our lives, and whenever possible actively help others who are engaged in similar work. The chief form of service which we have to offer is to reflect the love of Christ, who, in his beauty and power, is the inspiration and joy of our lives.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Walking with Kindness
April 20th, 2008
Sunday’s Reflection

help me not
to walk behind others
or to walk in front of them
but to walk beside them
with kindness.

- Richard Morgan
Settling In: My First Year in a Retirement Community

From p. 138 of Settling In by Richard Morgan. Copyright © 2006 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

etting Go

Question of the day:
How does one give control over to God?

Scripture clearly says God helps those who trust in God, not those who help themselves. We need to be told that so strongly because of our entire "do it yourself" orientation.

It takes applying the brakes, turning off our own power and allowing Another. What the lordship of Jesus means is that first we come to him, first we put things into his hands. Our doing must proceed from our being. Our being is "hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3)

from The Great Themes of Scripture

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

Love what is human

Iappeal to you by the mercy of God. This appeal is made by Paul, or rather, it is made by God through Paul, because of God's desire to be loved rather than feared, to be a father rather than a lord. God appeals to us in his mercy to avoid having to punish us in his severity.

Listen to the Lord's appeal. In me, I want you to see your own body, your members, your heart, your bones, your blood. You may fear what is divine, but why not love what is human? You may run away from me as the Lord, but why not run to me as your father? Perhaps you are filled with shame for causing my bitter passion. Do not be afraid. This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart. My body was stretched on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no loss to shed my blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom. Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds.

Peter Chrysologus

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


"For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen." 2 Corinthians 1:20

Jesus told the parable of the talents recorded in Matthew 25 as a warning that it is possible for us to misjudge our capacity. This parable has not to do with natural gifts, but with the Pentecostal gift of the Holy Ghost. We must not measure our spiritual capacity by education or by intellect; our capacity in spiritual things is measured by the promises of God. If we get less than God wants us to have, before long we will slander Him as the servant slandered his master: "You expect more than You give me power to do; You demand too much of me, I cannot stand true to You where I am placed." When it is a question of God's Almighty Spirit, never say "I can't." Never let the limitation of natural ability come in. If we have received the Holy Spirit, God expects the work of the Holy Spirit to be manifested in us.

The servant justified himself in everything he did and condemned his lord on every point - "Your demand is out of all proportion to what you give." Have we been slandering God by daring to worry when He has said: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"? Worrying means exactly what this servant implied - "I know You mean to leave me in the lurch." The person who is lazy naturally is always captious - "I haven't had a decent chance," and the one who is lazy spiritually is captious with God. Lazy people always strike out on an independent line.

Never forget that our capacity in spiritual matters is measured by the promises of God. Is God able to fulfil His promises? Our answer depends on whether we have received the Holy Spirit.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

April 20, August 20, December 20
Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess

In the constituting of an Abbess
let this plan always be followed,
that the office be conferred on the one who is chosen
either by the whole community unanimously in the fear of God
or else by a part of the community, however small,
if its counsel is more wholesome.

Merit of life and wisdom of doctrine
should determine the choice of the one to be constituted,
even if she be the last of the order of the community.

But if (which God forbid)
the whole community should agree to choose a person
who will acquiesce in their vices,
and if those vices somehow become known to the Bishop
to whose diocese the place belongs,
or to the Abbots, Abbesses or the faithful of the vicinity,
let them prevent the success of this conspiracy of the wicked,
and set a worthy steward over the house of God.
They may be sure
that they will receive a good reward for this action
if they do it with a pure intention and out of zeal for God;
as, on the contrary, they will sin if they fail to do it.

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

St. John 12:1-18 (4/20) Gospel for Palm Sunday: The Entrance of the
Lord into Jerusalem

Near But Not On: St. John 12:1-18, especially vs. 16: "His disciples did
not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then
they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they
had done these things to Him." Being an Orthodox Christian implies
embracing and living correct theology, defending the true revelation,
confirming the Gospel (Gal. 1:8), and treasuring Holy Tradition. Being
a member of the Church does not mean we always hit the mark in these
efforts. Nevertheless, by calling ourselves Orthodox, we imply that we
intend both to uphold the truth of the whole Faith and to struggle to
live and express it rightly.

To carry out these purposes is not primarily a matter of having
answers in neat, correct phrases. Rather, being truly Orthodox means
inner listening: an attentive heart, a spirit that seeks illumination
and wisdom derived from God, a humility concerning one's personal
insight, and a trust in and a resolve to hold firmly to what the Church
always has taught. Today's reading is an account of four persons or
groups who were almost right concerning the mission, Person and teaching
of Christ - but not quite. Like us, they were fallible humans who came
near the truth, but missed the whole through serious errors. Their
miscalculations are preserved by the Evangelists to help us strive on
toward a more complete holding of the Truth.

First, there was Judas Iscariot. Let us not too readily malign him for
asking, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii
and given to the poor?" (vs. 5). The Lord Himself forcefully commends
concern for the needy of this world (Mt. 25:35-40). Judas had learned
some things along the way. His words reflect a degree of righteous

On the other hand, the text reveals that wicked motives lay behind
Judas' "speaking up." There was a deeper, twisted desire lurking beneath
his expressed care for the poor (vs. 6). Note Jesus' reaction: lest
others among the disciples, those of purer motives and with deeper
concern for the poor, should be led astray by Judas, the Lord defended
Mary's action (vss. 7,8). Events would soon prove that she acted very
appropriately, for she had "...chosen that good part, which will not be
taken away from her" (Lk. 10:42), sitting at His feet, listening to Him
(Lk. 10:39).

Next we learn about "the Jews" who "...knew that He was there;
and...came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see
Lazarus..." (vs. 9). The spectacular attracts those looking for
entertainment. One often hears of people flocking to religious
gatherings just to see the miraculous: "Let's go and see!" There's a
certain titillating factor that draws the hungry to the Faith. The Lord
warns against shallowness in His parable of the Sower. The Gospel can
fall on men of stony ground without much depth. Some people come to the
Faith, but "...have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a
time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's
sake, immediately they stumble" (Mk. 4:17). Be cautious!

Consider the crowd who greeted the Lord as He rode into Jerusalem. This
mass of people were close to the truth, but they also missed the whole.
Many greeted the Lord, and soon were in the mob crying, "Crucify Him!"
(Jn. 19:15). Indeed, the crowds turned against Him, because many who
cheered His arrival were motivated by mere curiosity (Jn. 12:18). The
Lord Jesus is intriguing, but, in the end, fascination with the dramatic
is no foundation for eternal salvation. Turn to Him because He alone
can fill you with true love, humility, and self-sacrifice!

Finally, the Evangelist reports that the future Apostles "did not
understand these things at first" (vs. 16). It would take the direct
experience of Jesus' death and Resurrection, and their illumination by
the Holy Spirit to bring them to full understanding and commitment.
Save us also, O Lord!

Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord. Confess to the Lord;
for He is good.


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