Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Seven Celtic Christian Distinctives

1). Hope – Looks first for the good rather than the evil in all things.

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” -Genesis 1:31

“And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” -I Corinthians 13:13

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2). Equality – Of men and women, clergy and laity.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” -Galatians 3:28

“You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” -I Peter 2:5

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3). Mystery – The Infinite God cannot be fully comprehended or explained by finite man.

“Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” -I Timothy 6:16

“Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” -I Corinthians 4:1

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” -I Timothy 3:16

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? …For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” -Romans 11:34-36 __________________________________________________________

4). Environment – Stewardship of God’s Creation.

“Then the LORD God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” -Genesis 2:15

:”Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” -Psalm 8:6-8

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” -I Corinthians 4:2

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5). Holism – Awareness of the sacred in all times and places; refusal to compartmentalize life.

“And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.” -Deuteronomy 6:6-7

“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” -Romans 14:8

“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” -Ephesians 1:9-10 __________________________________________________________

6). Immanence – God is present with His Creation.

“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.” -Romans 11:36

“That they should seek the Lord…though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” -Acts 17:27-28 __________________________________________________________

7). Simplicity – Emphasis on the “main and plain” basic essential doctrines: “Mere Christianity”, The Nicene Creed.

“But I fear, lest by any means…your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” -II Corinthians 11:3

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” -I Corinthians 15:3-4

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” -I Corinthians 2:1-2

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Celtic Prayer 5

You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart’s eternal spark
You are the door that’s open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
You are my Lord and with me still
You are my love, keep me from ill
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Saviour this very day.

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Feeling Like It

I rather like the story Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick once related from his own childhood days. His father had said to his mother, upon leaving the house one Saturday in the morning hours: “Tell Harry that he can cut the grass today, if he feels like it.”

Then, halfway down the walk, his father turned once more to add: “And tell Harry that he had better feel like it.”

Well, in its own rather humorous way, there is something essential about life wrapped up in that. For there is a difference between knowing we are supposed to do something, and ‘feeling like” doing it. There is a difference between a sense of obligation and a sense of generosity. There is a difference between obedience and desire. And the one of those weighs us down, while the other lifts us up.

Christianity says to us, you do not know God, if you know Him only as a sense of authority over your life. Furthermore, you do not know God, if you merely believe intellectually that God is a God who cares and loves.

You do not know God somehow at all, unless the same spirit of His authority and His love captivates you from within, so that you live knowing the spirit of it for yourself. You do not know God, unless all this that we have been saying about Him becomes for you your own way of life and not an obligation imposed on you by the Church, or by the fear of death, or by anything else.

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Who Could be the Messiah?

 I heard a story recently about a Russian Monastery that was dying and declining. The brothers were growing old, many had died. The villagers had stopped coming to visit the monastery. Young men were no longer interested in dedicated themselves to the Monastic order. This decline led to worry and the loss of hope led to bitterness. In desperation the abbot went to visit an old hermit we had heard about. He hoped that the old man might have some wisdom. The abbot arrived after a long journey and explained their problem to the hermit. The hermit prayed for the abbot but said nothing more. The two men sat in silence for a very long time and the abbot patiently waited to hear some word of hope – a blessing, a prophecy, just something simple to try. Finally the abbot could abide the silence no longer and he begged the hermit for an answer. The hermit replied, “I’m sorry, but there really isn’t anything I have to tell you. I don’t know what the future holds for the monastery. I am sorry – oh, but there is this – I believe that the Messiah is in your midst.” The Messiah?, thought the abbot. Among us at the monastery. He rushed back and reported the unexpected news and the brothers began to question, “Who is it?” “Who among us is the Messiah?” Surely not Bro. Nicolaus, he gripes too much. Surely not Bro. Stavros, he is so whiney. But what if …? And on it went.

And in time as the brothers began to suppose that any one of them could be the Messiah, they began to treat each other with respect and kindness and love. That spirit extended into the village and rumors of the Messiah’s presence continued so that everyone began to wonder if their neighbor might be the Messiah. And though no one was ever identified as the Messiah, the monastery was thriving and the village was blessed and young men devoted themselves to the faith.

Since Jesus is with us always, then discipleship is on-going and it is everyday. It is not something for a special day or a special evening or a special program. It is the pulse of every moment lived in the kingdom of God.

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Jonah – The Reluctant Prophet

Some very good thoughts on Jonah.

Jonah was a Man of God and a second generation prophet. Amittai his father was a prophet from Gath-hepher during the reign of kingJeroboam II (786-746 BC). God used Amittai immensely and the same would have been expected of his son Jonah. Since his childhood Jonah would have experienced the Grace and Power of God and gotten to know Him personally.

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ranaway from theLordand headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa,where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from theLord.− Jonah 1:1-3

Jonah MapNineveh is a mere 500 miles from Jonah’s hometown of Gath-hepher but he choose the journey to Tarshish which was about…

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Thursday Prayer 5

A Midnight Prayer

Kneeler and Cross

O Divine Creator

I feel Thy Love enfolding me and surging through me

As it breathes and pulsates throughout the Universe.

Let the Waters of Life cleanse and purify me.

Bring forth in me the fullness of thy Son, the Christ.

As my consciousness is released in sleep,Open for me the door of Divine

Consciousness, And bear me in Thine arms into the Presence of the Most High,

That the Wisdom of Life may be expounded unto me.

I surrender to Thee my thoughts, my desires, my will,

And rest in peace upon Thy bosom.

Amen

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Love,God and My Neighbor

Abba John the Dwarf said, ‘A house is not built by beginning at the top and working down. You must begin with the foundations in order to reach the top.’ They said to him,’ What does this saying mean?’ He said, ‘The foundation is our neighbor, whom we must trust, and that is the place to begin. For all the commandments of Christ depend on this one.’

—-Sayings of the Desert

This saying is based on the biblical record of a conversation that occurred between Jesus and a lawyer. He ask Him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, John the Dwarfwith all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” The fascinating thing about the wisdom of the monk is that he tells us to begin with something we can see. As much as we would all desire, we can’t see God in the flesh. The key to experiencing God is understanding the depth of His love. God loves us at our worst and we are challenged to love our neighbors at their worst.

All too often we go for what is easy, and the foundation of our spiritual house is sinking sand. The love of neighbor is the key to understanding of the nature of God. He is a loving and understanding creator, and not a cruel and harsh master. With a heart of compassion and mercy, He welcomes sinners into His kingdom. They don’t not get the “cheap seats,” but receive a regal welcome. The beginning of that journey is to see God in His creation. Trusting His creation is trusting Him.

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A Quarter

A simple story that is worth some thought.

Morning Story and Dilbert

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
June 3, 2004

Several years ago a preacher moved to Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, “You better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.” Then he thought, “Oh, forget it, it’s only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway the bus company already gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from the Lord and keep quiet.”

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, “Here, you gave me too much change”.

The driver with a smile, replied, “Aren’t…

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Weeping for Ourselves

It was said of him that he had a hollow in his chest channeled out by the tears which fell from his eyes all his life while he sat at his manual work. When Abba Poemen learned that he was dead, he said weeping, ‘Truly you are blessed, Abba Arsenius, for you wept for yourself in this world! He who does not weep for himself here below will weep eternally hereafter; so it is impossible not to weep, either voluntarily or when compelled through suffering.’

—- Sayings of the Desert

ArseniusHow many of us really take sin seriously enough to weep for ourselves. In a world of much rationalization and warped reasoning, it is woefully easy to excuse ourselves from blame for anything. In the early ‘70s, psychiatrist Karl Menninger wrote a book entitled Whatever Became of Sin? Years after Dr. Menninger’s death, his question still remains. Our culture has scraped the idea of sin as glibly as we dispose of our obsolete cell phones and computers. People who attend our churches don’t want to hear anything on Sunday that would upset them or cause just the slightest feeling of discomfort. When the words of the pastor or scripture itself cause introspection, it is time to flee. After all, I come to church to make myself feel better.

Abba Arsenius gives us an entirely different model for this matter. His feeling of sin was so deep that he spent untold hours weeping on his own behalf. Arsenius understood the gravity of the human condition and the gratefulness we should express because of God’s grace. No presumption was made that God loves us so much that we are forgiven even if do not repent. He wept for his own sins, and I believe the world would be a far better place if we did the same.

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