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Love Begins at Home

Chapter 44

Good Monday Morning to this week 44 of 2022

A bit overwhelmed by the circumstances, stress and turmoil around me, I decide to keep it short and simple this morning. Here is a beautiful short speech by Mother Teresa – on receiving the Nobel Prize in 1979.

Love Begins at Home 

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do. It is to God Almighty. How much we do it does not matter, because He is infinite, but how much love we put in that action. How much we do to Him in the person that we are serving.”

Wishing you all a good start to this new week.

Philemon

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Re-enchantment

Chapter 43

Good Monday Morning to this week 43 of 2022

Now therefore, we do not know a person by the body, and if we have known the Messiah in the body, from now on we do not even know him so. All that is in the Messiah is therefore the New Creation; the old order has passed away to such. 2. Corinthians 5: 16-27 Aramic plain English

The Gospel is an enchanted story — hence our need for imagination. But it’s not just a story. We love redemption stories because we were created to inhabit such a story. It is enchanted, but it is real, this story Jesus is writing as He makes all things new and invites us to see the world with new eyes

Christianity is both a myth and a fact. It’s unique, it’s the true myth. C.S. Lewis.

‘Everyone can agree that one of the big differences between us and our ancestors of 500 years ago is that they lived in an “enchanted” world and we do not.’ Indeed, a great many theorists have argued that the defining feature of modernity is that people no longer believe in spirits, myths or magic. C. Taylor 2008

Madeleine L’Engle, (our patron saint of Wondern Awe). She writes in A Circle of Quiet ,

“Our children… have a passionate need for the dimension of transcendence, mysticism, way-outness. We’re not offering it to them legitimately. The tendency of the churches to be relevant and more-secular-than-thou does not answer our need for the transcendent. As George Tyrrell wrote about a hundred years ago, “If a [man’s] craving for the mysterious, the wonderful, the supernatural, be not fed on true religion, it will feed itself on the garbage of any superstition that is offered to it.”

As the famous Chesterton quote points out, we know there are dragons, so the fairy tale does not create the fear of big bad things. Rather the fairy tale structure gives the thread that leads through the battle with the dragon and leads to the hope of returning home safely. And this is a hope that does not disappoint because this hope is true and trustworthy.

Is it not the basic formula what Romans 5 lays out for us?

And not only this, but we also boast in tribulations, realising that tribulation brings forth endurance, and endurance brings forth character, and character brings forth hope. And the hope of God never makes us ashamed because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us.

Wishing you an re-enchanted week!

Philemon


Mayday

Mayday in the sacred shadow

Chapter 42

Good Monday Morning to this week 42 of 2022

But he was pierced for your transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Finding the power of the sacred, not despite suffering, but in the midst of it. Through this alchemy, grief moves us from sorrow for what we’ve lost to gratitude for what remains. Fear of life’s fragility is transformed to the joy of living fully, with openness. And even despair becomes the ground of resilient faith – not just an opiate for our pain, but a profound commitment to life as it is. Miriam Greenspan

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Wishing you a blessed week, as you find strength in the sacred shadow of resilient faith.

Philemon

Our place in the story

Chapter 41

Good Monday Morning to this week 41 of 2022

Place is fundamental to human existence. However, we have lost the very human sense of place in today’s postmodern and globalised world.

It is rootlessness and not meaninglessness that characterises the current crisis. There are no meanings apart from roots. Walter Brueggemann

Place is a spiritual phenomenon, integral to our relationship with God in Christ. We often have had a tendency to separate the spiritual from the physical, earthly, and spatial. Even those of us who deny this separation have not consistently worked toward an affirmation of place and place-making. This, I would suggest, is what Bartholomew challenges us to do.
A few thoughts from finding our place in the Biblical story by Craig B. Bartholomew

Where is your and my place in this story?

When God set out to redeem his creation, his ultimate purpose was that what he had once created good should be utterly restored, that the whole cosmos should once again live and thrive under his beneficent rule.

From the beginning God’s people are to be “missionary.” They are chosen to be a channel of blessing to others. But in order to be a missionary people they have to be formed to be like the promise they carry.

If our lives are to be shaped by the story of Scripture, we need to understand two things well: the biblical story is a compelling unity on which we may depend, and each of us has a place within that story.

John’s vision in Revelation, indeed, in the whole New Testament, does not depict salvation as an escape from earth into a spiritualized heaven where human souls dwell forever. Instead, John is shown (and shows us in turn) that salvation is the restoration of God’s creation on a new earth. In this restored world, the redeemed of God will live.

The way we understand human life depends on what conception we have of the human story.

The world of the Bible is our world, and its story of redemption is also our story. This story is waiting for an ending—in part because we ourselves have a role to play before all is concluded. We must therefore pay attention to the continuing biblical story of redemption.

These quotes from C. Bartholomew encourage us to recover a sense of place and articulate a hopeful Christian vision of placemaking in today’s world.

Wishing you a good start to this new week as you keep seeking to find your place in the story!

Philemon







Cruel Optimism vs Contentment

Chapter 40

Good Monday Morning to this week 40 of 2022

Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,

God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?
Hebrews 13:5-6 / The Message

A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. Lauren Berlant addresses what desire really means from a personal perspective and how it is interconnected with our optimism and attachments. She affirms that desire should be tied to things that indeed bolster one’s flourishing rather than impeding it. The assertion is an inquiry into how humans view the present as something to overcome for our desires to be achieved. Further she affirms that life should be lived on life’s terms, thus to appreciate the beauty of the present we should not let attachments and hope distract us.

Is the sheep better that has two or three mountains to graze on than a little bee that feeds on dew or manna, and lives upon what falls every morning from the storehouses of heaven, clouds, and providence? Can a man quench his thirst better out of a river than a full urn; or drink better from the fountain which is finely paved with marble, than when it wells over the green turf? J. Taylor

There is a fable told about a king’s garden in which the trees and all the flowers began to make complaint. The oak was sad because it did not bear flowers; the rosebush was sad because it did not bear fruit; the vine was sad because it had to cling to the wall and could cast no shadow. “I am not the least use in the world,” said the oak. “I might as well die, since I yield no fruit,” said the rosebush. “What good can I do?” said the vine. Then the king saw a little pansy, which held up its glad, fresh face, while all the rest were sad. And the king said, “What makes you so glad when all the rest pine and are so sad? I thought,” said the pansy, “that you wanted me here because you planted me, and so I made up my mind that I would try and be the best little pansy that could be.” Let us all try to do our best in the little spot where God’s hand has placed us.

What a beautiful example for all of us is the resolution of the old lady who, from a crabbed and anxious body, became quite the opposite! When asked what had induced the change, she replied, “To tell you the truth, I have been all my life striving for a contented mind, and finally concluded to sit down contented without it.”

Wishing you a week full of contentment!

Philemon