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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taking it up a notch

Taking it up a notch.

I often think we are looking, we're searching. By reading God's word, we come closer to finding it. The readings from Sunday included the one from 1 Kings 3 (note that Solomon referred to himself as servant):

"Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong."

I think we all may have this prayer at some time. God gladly answered King Solomon's prayer. He could have asked for anything, because God had promised to answer the request before he knew what it would be. I am not called to judge anyone, in fact the converse is true. But I do pray for the understanding heart and the discrimination from right and wrong. And I fully believe this will be granted. Part of this includes the knowledge of appropriate action to take with my Christian brothers and sisters in regard to faith.

For most of my years I have experienced church as a very lukewarm ceremony. My actions are predetermined and do not deviate from liturgical outline. I sing, I stand, I sit, I kneel. Actually this is the right thing for this situation.

When there are situations where a more intense spiritual experience is possible, I will calmly discern their presence. Possibly an impromptu sermon by a person of God. Seeing good works in action. Kindness that will not be returned or rewarded. A need that I can fulfill. A family member who is hurting that can be comforted. These are not planned things. They are not actions that I am seeking in advance. They will present themselves and when they do I pray that I demonstrate an understanding heart and the knowledge of right and wrong.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ordinary time

"Hi, I'm Dave, welcome to my web site. I remember the first time I seriously
contemplated the possibility of God's existence. I was 13 when my parents became "born again" Christians. The change in their relationship and life style was dramatic. They began to love each other and showed a love for me that was not there before. I either had to give them credit for changing themselves or accept the possibility that God existed and that he cared enough about my parents to help them. If he cared about them, maybe he cared about me and everyone else, as well.

This was the beginning of my spiritual journey."

From Dave Matheson's website,

The first of the readings from today's mass is from Wisdom. It brings to mind questions of the nature and existence of God. It also illustrates the power, justice, and dominion of God. I then found interesting links to the above painting from Michaelangelo, of God. I often picture Him in this way but my relationship with God must be in an early stage of development.

I am often fascinated though, by arguments to prove the existence of God. I applaud them while at the same time find this unnecessary, sort of a non-sequitor. If one has the consciousness to discuss God at all, that is all that is necessary for the basis for one's faith.

The second element that I see essential to faith is the Christian community. That is illustrated by Dave's first paragraph of his biographical reference. His parents became born again Christians. He witnessed the change in their lives and that influenced him. From that time onward Dave has been on his Christian journey. God bless Dave for bringing his faith for all to view on the internet. The many "Daves" that I have encountered throughout life are my proof that God exists, he loves us, sent his son to redeem our sins, and reigns forever!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Sunday 7/10/2011, the gospel from Matthew 13:1-23 is a long reading. However, it is simple, easy to follow. I fall under the category of one "who hears but does not understand" often, by which I mean that complex messages nuanced by high level philosophical arguments leave me unsure and confused. This gospel is straightforward and describes various responses to Christ's word, which depends on the state of mind of the listener. Even when still alive, Jesus had many followers who listened to his message. Some of the seed fell upon fertile soil, which multipled a "hundred or sixty or thirtyfold." At one time I would say I strove to be intellectual and associate with intellectual type people. They are to be commended for their higher academic achievements. But if the truth requires a course of study of many semesters and analysis and microscopic examination, I would find the applicability to be very limited. I don't think God seems to present his Kingdom to such a restricted field. His message in the Gospel is full of love for all of us. His requirements, to listen and follow his word, are not conditional upon our independent scholarly research to the meaning of the original Greek texts. I have been taught that scripture is divinely inspired. I trust the translators who came before me. There are many people in my world who have inspired me not so much by their correct avoidance of the great fallacies of logic, but their simple Christian example of love, kindness, and service to their fellow men. By the way, I am thinking of taking a course in philosophy just in case I want to pursue some of these more abstract lines of reason and analyses of scripture. But I won't be basing the core of my faith on this alone.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Matthew 11:30 is unquestionably a verse of comfort, invitation, and care. This was the Gospel today. We had a surprise and Father Jack was back for one more mass! His sermon was per his habit, insightful and inspiring. The sermon was framed in the form of a question: are you really free on this day before the celebration of the 4th of July? Are you free from the burden of addiction, of overwork, small mindedness, etc?

I think I am journeying towards greater independence from a number of things. Once I accomplish a small success in this area, the feeling of liberation stimulates me to work further toward the goal. I have to be mindful of many of the other lessons gospels on past Sundays have taught which carry themes that do not necessarily coordinate with this theme. There is a time for a call to peace, rest, and relief. Then there are times when we are called to action, to put father against son, in the name of Jesus. I think these differing ideas can coexist, and greater Bible knowledge and the blessed tincture of wisdom from the Holy Spirit are the reconciling forces.

Another issue that was presented was Parish Council discernment. I would like to participate in that, and possibly be chosen to be on the St. Agnes Parish Council. I feel, however, that I will need to do some reading and study to learn more about the issues that are facing parish councils and try to get information about recent business at St. Agnes.

The other 2 readings today are good to ponder, the second reading which was Rom 8:9, 11-13. Here Paul wrote "you are not in the flesh." Additionally, the first reading was Zechariah 9:9-10. This message proclaimed the coming of the king, "a just savior is he."

Next up: overdue to write several book reviews. Please check back often for new posts!