And I will dwell!

Chapter 30

Good Monday Morning to this week 29 of 2020

I’m still reading the book “When bad things happen to good people”  Here a few quotes:

“To believe in God is not to affirm His existence. To believe in God means to trust God, to rely on God to be there for you when you are afflicted by despair, to light your path when you are uncertain as to what to do.” Harold S. Kushner

I find God, not in the tests that life imposes on us, but in the ability of ordinary people to rise to the challenge, to find within themselves qualities of soul, qualities of courage they did not know they had until the day they needed them. God does not send the problem, the illness, the accident, the hurricane, and God does not take them away when we find the right words and rituals with which to beseech Him. Rather, God sends us strength and determination of which we did not believe ourselves capable so that we can deal with, or live with, problems that no one can make go away.

It isn’t God’s job to make sick people healthy. That’s the doctors’ job? God’s job is to make sick people brave, and in my experience, that’s something God does really well. Prayer, as I understand it, is not a matter of begging or bargaining. It is the act of inviting God into our lives so that, with God’s help, we will be strong enough to resist temptation and resilient enough not to be destroyed by life’s unfairness.”

The idea that God gives people what they deserve, that our misdeeds cause our misfortune, is a neat and attractive solution to the problem of evil at several levels, but it has a number of serious limitations. As we have seen, it teaches people to blame themselves. It creates guilt even where there is no basis for guilt. It makes people hate God, even as it makes them hate themselves. And most disturbing of all, it does not even fit the facts.

God is the light shining in the midst of darkness, not to deny that there is darkness in the world but to reassure us that we do not have to be afraid of the darkness because darkness will always yield to light. As theologian David Griffin puts in, God is all-powerful, His power enables people to deal with events beyond their control and He gives us the strength to do those things because He is with us

Or to Psalm 23 he writes:

The central theme is that the experience of going through the valley of the shadow teaches the psalmist what God is really about, and he wants to share that with us. He changes from an almost paternalistic understanding of God, almost a parent-child relationship, to a genuine relationship with God.

I never appreciated the last line of the psalm until I had to write a chapter about it. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” God is inviting him into a permanent relationship–it’s much deeper and richly textured than just shepherd and sheep. In Judaism, the mitzvoth [commandments] are a way of retaining a relationship with God, so that everything you do–the way you eat, the way you use words, and the way you treat other people–is a way of spelling out your relationship with God. The sense that you are living every moment of your day in God’s presence–that’s what it means to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He causes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even as I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You set a table before me in the presence of my adversaries; You anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.
May only goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Wishing you a good start to this week.
Philemon

 

 

Endurance

Chapter 29

Good Monday Morning to this week 28 of 2020

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy. Colossians 1.11

It’s already mid-year and all this Corona trouble that started earlier this year just doesn’t
seem to pass or go away, so it’s a bit without hesitation that I think of endurance this morning.

Endurance:
More then toleration or just bearing, or patient suffering, more than the acceptance after resignation, a large portion of resoluteness and tenacity, accompanied by perseverance and filled with determination. We also develop resilience, continuity, longevity with the strength, force, and muscle to continue. In all, you will find the bouncebackability but often not just due to motivation, but to the backbone of life, a faith to carry, hold on and press forward.

Abundant the verses,  as many Biblical authors knew the concept, spoke of all the trials and the rewards.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12.12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1.12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 12. 1-3

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16.33

Another favorite that has accompanied me since the very early days of my life:
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isiah 40.31

Endurance, a willingness to stick with things. J. Peterson

Paul takes another angle at endurance and calls it the fruit of trial and the works of faith, therefore resulting in steadfastness and patience.

According to Colossians, God tells us, that since He has chosen us to be His children that He loves, we have a responsibility to clothe ourselves in tenderhearted mercy and kindness.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

I summarize to the following statement:

Endurance of faith is what carries us through!

Wishing you a blessed week.
Philemon

 

The filling of the reservoir

Chapter 28

Good Monday Morning to this week 27 of 2020 

The Nile River, the longest river in the world, called the father of African rivers. It rises south of the Equator and flows northward through northeastern Africa to drain into the Mediterranean Sea. It has a length of about 6,650km.  Its most distant source is the Kagera River in Burundi. The fact that the Nile, unlike other great rivers known to them flowed from the south northward and was in flood at the warmest time of the year was an unsolved mystery to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks.

Now comes an immensely bold but also problematic project to change history.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a gravity dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia that has been under construction since 2011, about 15 km east of the border with Sudan. The dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed. The filling of the reservoir is scheduled to begin in July 2020. Once completed, the reservoir could take anywhere between 5 and 15 years to fill with water. A decade of arduous talks involving the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, and upstream Ethiopia have reached a deadlock with Egypt,  which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its freshwater supplies. So now each country have built their own dam trying to control the river, be it the Assuan of Egypt, the Merowe dam of Sudan, and now the GERD of Ethiopia.

Speaking of the Nile:

The life of Moses had a very moving start in connection with the Nile:
Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it.

or later:
Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood.

or even later
And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile.

then came the lamentations from Isaiah 19.5-8
And the waters of the sea will be dried up, and the river will be dry and parched, and its canals will become foul, and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up, reeds and rushes will rot away. There will be bare places by the Nile, on the brink of the Nile, and all that is sown by the Nile will be parched, will be driven away, and will be no more. The fishermen will mourn and lament, all who cast a hook in the Nile; and they will languish who spread nets on the water.

or Jeremiah 46.7
Who is this, rising like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge?

Of course all over the region, there is endless history to the Nile!
The Nile begins in minuteness but ends in magnificence. C.C. Colton

Egypt! from whose tombs arose forgotten Pharaohs While the dark shades of forty ages stood like startled giants by Nile’s famous flood. L Byron

Back to the famous vers of Jeremiah used as a promise over so many lives  might just have the same relevance then as today:

He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Taken for this week, this “water-mass” or “river of light”,  “river that will shine”,  speaks of a creator that is here to stay in the long run. He planned and created something unbelievable and incredibly enduring and outlasting wars, famines, kings, rulers, and even all the attempts to control the waters.

This creator is in control over your life, your situation.

Wishing you a blessed week!
Philemon

 

 

A door of hope

Chapter 27

Good Monday Morning to this week 26 of 2020

And I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. Hosea 2.15

Maclaren writes in the commentary:
The Prophet Hosea is remarkable for the frequent use which he makes of events in the former history of his people. Their past seems to him a mirror in which they may read their future. Hosea foretells ….

– God speaking in the wilderness to the heart of Israel.
– Barrenness shall be changed to fruitfulness.
– Sorrows will become sources of refreshment.
– Gloomy gorge of the valley of Achor will be a door of hope.

In one of the discussion groups I frequent, I  read the following text.
Don’t the writers’ feelings, A Garner, echo to some of the things we read and see right now?

To be honest, I often have doubts and get discouraged, because this world does not feel in any way like we’re living a Kingdom currently. Where is our king? Has he abandoned us? And why won’t he communicate outside of texts written thousands of years ago in languages that the vast majority of people on this planet will never understand? I know all about the Kingdom concept of “already/not yet”, but it’s not entirely satisfactory. Is this the best we can do? Christianity has never been more fractured. There are tens of thousands of brands of Christians interpreting the Bible in tens of thousands of ways, but God Himself is silent. Churches that focus on futurism are booming, while churches that focus on inaugurated kingdom theology shrink.

Sounds a bit like Hosea actually.

The narrow gorge stretches before us, with its dark overhanging cliffs that almost shut out the sky; the path is rough and set with sharp pebbles; it is narrow, winding, steep; often it seems to be barred by some huge rock that juts across it, and there is barely room for the broken ledge yielding slippery footing between the beetling crag above and the steep slope beneath that dips so quickly to the black torrent below. All is gloomy, damp, hard; and if we look upwards the glen becomes more savage as it rises, and armed foes hold the very throat of the pass.

But, however long, however barren, however rugged, however black, however trackless, we may see if we will, a bright form descending the rocky way with radiant eyes and calm lips, God’s messenger, Hope; and the rough rocks are like the doorway through which she comes near to us in our weary struggle.

For us all, dear friends, it is true. In all our difficulties,  great or small; in all our perplexities; in the losses that rob our homes of their light; in the petty annoyances that diffuse their irritation through so much of our days; it is within these opportunities to turn them for a firmer grasp of God, and so to make them openings by which a happier hope may flow into our souls.

These vineyards and valleys would be the first installments of God’s promise, and a prelude to the possession of the whole so that the door of hopeful expectation and of joyful anticipation would be thrown wide open to them.

From between their narrowest gorge, if you will, the guide whom God has sent you, and that Angel of Hope will light up all the darkness, and will only fade away when she is lost in the brightness of that upper land, where our ‘God Himself is Sun and Moon.

Achor, trouble, a valley near Jericho, in consequence of the trouble which the sin of Achan caused Israel. The expression “valley of Achor” probably became proverbial for that which caused trouble, and when Isaiah refers to it he uses it in this sense: “The valley of Achor, a place for herds to lie down in;” i.e., that which had been a source of calamity would become a source of blessing. Hosea also uses the expression in the same sense: “The valley of Achor for a door of hope;” i.e., trouble would be turned into joy, despair into hope.

The valley of Achor a large, fruitful, and pleasant valley near Jericho, and on the very entrance into the land of Canaan, where after forty years’ travels and sorrows Israel first set foot on a country such as they expected.

The valley former a valley of trouble, of consequences,  became the door of hope to Israel. A valley of humiliation, of trouble and defeat, shall become the initial point of a next journey through the door of hope.  This hope does not disappoint because it is appointed by God Himself. It opens up for you new opportunities; for much which was lost shall be restored. A sign of God’s tender mercy towards you as He walks ahead of you.

Wishing you a great start to this week!

Philemon

 

 

When bad things happen to good people

Chapter 26

Good Monday Morning to this week 25 of 2020

For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 2 Corinthians 13:9

This weekend I discovered a great book, though it has been out there for quite a while. I really like the way Rabbi Kushner puts difficult theological thoughts in word and application. Here a few highlights …

“There is an old tale about the woman whose only son had died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and said, ‘What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?’ Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, ‘Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.’ The woman set off at once in search of that magical mustard seed. She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door and said, ‘I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me.’ They told her ‘You’ve certainly come to the wrong place,’ and began to describe all the tragic things that had recently befallen them. The woman said to herself, ‘Who is better able to help these poor unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?’ She stayed to comfort them, then went on in her search for a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, hovels and in palaces, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune. Ultimately, she became so involved in ministering to other people’s grief that she forgot about her quest for the magical mustard seed, never realizing that it had, in fact, drive the sorrow out of her life.” Harold S. Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People

God is the light shining in the midst of darkness, not to deny that there is darkness in the world but to reassure us that we do not have to be afraid of the darkness because darkness will always yield to light. As theologian David Griffin puts in, God is all-powerful, His power enables people to deal with events beyond their control and He gives us the strength to do those things because He is with us.”
Harold S. Kushner, Overcoming Life’s Disappointments

People who pray for miracles usually don’t get miracles, any more than children who pray for bicycles or good grades, get them as a result of praying. But people who pray for courage, for strength to bear the unbearable, for the grace to remember what they have left instead of what they have lost, very often find their prayer answered. Harold S. Kushner

I wish you a good week as you wrestle with life’s contradictions and difficulties, yet in all that receiving the strength and grace to bear the unbearable.

Philemon

Hope amidst trials

Chapter 25

Good Monday Morning to this week 24 of 2020

Revelation 1:7 “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”

Revelation announces that God is still in control and that he will conclude this stage of history the way he has promised. Craig S. Keener

“If we must “feel” God’s presence before we believe he is with us, we again reduce God to our ability to grasp him, making him an idol instead of acknowledging him as God.”
Craig S. Keener

There can be no true peace, where there is not true grace; and where grace goeth before, peace will follow. Matthew Henry

“God alone is God, and he alone merits first place—beyond every other love, every other anxiety, every other fear that consumes us.”

The Book of Revelation speaks to many things – it enriches our understanding of the God as the beginning and end who reveals the meaning of human history, it provides a vision of heaven as a great wedding, it ensures us that our prayers rise to God, and it also depicts the heavenly liturgy as the climax of history.

The overarching message of John’s visions, however, is one of hope amidst tribulation. This is a message we need to hear today.

After the trials, plagues and ruin of human history have run their appointed course, after the beasts and kings who fight against the King of Kings are defeated, comes the judgment of each person according to his conduct. John then saw a new holy city where there is no more pain or death and he heard God say, “Behold, I make all things new To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son.

Throughout the suffering of the human condition, we rejoice in this hope, this promise of God. The definitive coming of the Lord is invoked with the prayer: ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’

This is our prayer too. We live with an expectation, confidence and joy, active and vigilant in anticipation, “Come, Lord Jesus, come,” as we continue to build up His Kingdom coming to be among us.

Wishing you a blessed week.

Philemon

 

The gospel is polyphonic!

Chapter 24/2020

Good Monday Morning to this week 23 of 2020

The image of God at Pentecost is multilingual, multicultural and multiethnic, not for a politically correct agenda, but because the gospel demands it. The gospel is polyphonic!

… I rediscovered the blues these past weeks …. speaking about guitars being polyphonic!

I’ll mostly quote from Luke A. Powery out of a sermon he held not too long ago. His speech has immense meaning.

Pentecost is the human experience of the first fruits of the Spirit. Worship has become informal, and ethnic diversity in congregations is on the rise. The present state of the changing church would have been more welcoming to B.B. King, the “King of the Blues.” In his early days, there was tension between blues music and the Pentecostal church. Some viewed the blues as the devil’s music and believed it had no place in the church. The church was a religious gatekeeper of who’s in and who’s out, but what Pentecost reveals is that that which is different or foreign may actually be the gift we need. Pentecost has many meanings, but at the core of its meanings is the idea of a gift.

Pentecost suggests that the ground of our spiritual life is fundamentally a divine gift. The coming of the Spirit is a gift, and all we can do, like the disciples, is wait for it (Acts 1:4), wait for the promise to be fulfilled. A gift is not something of our own creation; it just comes.

“And suddenly from heaven, there came a sound …” (Acts 2:2 NRSV). The sound came. The Spirit came on divine volition. The Spirit is God’s gift to us. Divine agency is the prelude to human action.

We hear that “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability” (2:4). The Spirit gives people the ability to speak in other languages.

“The first gift of the Spirit is the gift of speech”, multilingual speech, affirming the tight connection between word and Spirit. The gift of words is a gift of the Spirit, and the words we speak are about someone else, not ourselves.

The gift of speech is not given in order not to be understood. Why would anyone speak in an unknown tongue if they knew they would never get a hearing, another gift of the Spirit is obvious — the gift of hearing in one’s own language. The speakers were not of the same ethnicity and culture, yet they heard and understood. Understanding is gifted to us, because we don’t have the resources to manufacture it. There must be a Giver, without whom we would not receive a gift.

The word must be “native” to the hearer. Context is inescapable, because you can never escape your own skin or even your own native tongue, and that is a gift in and of itself. In the Spirit, the gospel incarnates through human languages such that people hear and understand in their own particular cultural language the universal message about God’s power.

Pentecost is the creation of a particular kind of human community, a God-centered community. The cultural particularity of the Spirit’s gift is not contrary to a universal quality. As one French theologian writes:

“The distinctive aspect of the Spirit is that, while remaining unique and preserving his identity, he is in everyone without causing anyone to lose his originality. This applies to persons, peoples, their culture and their talents. The Spirit also makes everyone speak of the marvels of God in his own language” (Yves Congar).

The Spirit will not allow us to forget about God, because “through the pouring out of the Spirit, God effects a world-encompassing, multilingual, polyindividual testimony to Godself. In this way God attests to Godself in a process that unites people in a way that causes them both wonderment and fear” (Welker).

The Spirit leads us to different views and voices, a different way of seeing the world and God. The Spirit leads us to embrace diversity as a gift of God while the Spirit moves us toward integration, collaboration and mutuality between different voices as a way to form community.

Pentecost suggests that the Spirit opens us up to the possibility of hospitable relationships across cultures, as opposed to closed systems and practices that restrain the full scope of the gospel of God. This means Bach and Brahms can be in the same spiritual family as B.B. King and Branford Marsalis. Hymns and hip-hop may actually commune with each other when the Spirit blows.

The church is called to be unified, not uniform. We are not the church when we are uniform; we are the church in the power of the Spirit when we are unified, a unified diversity focused on God!

Pentecost points us to a new order in the Spirit, a reordering of our priorities.
The image of God at Pentecost is multilingual, multicultural and multiethnic, not for a politically correct agenda, but because the gospel demands it. The gospel is polyphonic.

In other words, your voice matters, and you are a gift.

Wishing you a blessed week!
Philemon

 

One crumb of Thy grace

Chapter 23/2020 – Storytelling

Good Monday Morning to this week 23 of 2020 (week 11 with restrictions)

Waking up after the shoulder operation last week, I had this intense urge for music. I’m not sure what it was, but you can’t imagine how desperately  I wanted to get back to my room and put on  a mix of music I had with me, varying from Worship to African and more.

You might have missed this news of the passing of great musician this week. If I’d play the tune you’d immediately recognize it: “Bi sounkouroun lou la donkégna ah ah” … One of the biggest hit songs by an African music artist, “Yé ké yé ké” is sung in Bambara, an official language of Mali (Kanté was born in Guinea to a Malian mother). Originally a success across Europe in 1988, with the dance remixes up to the mid-1990’s.
Guinean singer Mory Kante, helped introduce African music to a world audience in the 1980s, died in the capital Conakry on the 22.05.20, his family said. He was 70. “Guinea and the whole world have lost a great personality,” Kante’s son Balla Kante told The Associated Press on Friday. “My father was a great personality. We lost a large library today.”

We lost a library …. an interesting quote. Since the 13th century, when Griots originated from the West African Mande empire of Mali, they remain today as storytellers, musicians, praise singers and oral historians of their communities. Theirs is a service based on preserving the genealogies, historical narratives, and oral traditions of their people.

Storytelling … music is storytelling, with or without words be it through tone painting or many other ways. Just imagine the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman and Jesus in Mark 7.24-30

Immediately as a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at Jesus’ feet. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. Jesus says first, let the children eat all they want, he told her, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs. Yes Lord, she replied, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs. Then Jesus told her, “for such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”. She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Just imagine this story and encounter composed for storytelling and singing. The song leader directing the group, accompanied by a traditional drum, thumb piano and hand shaker, the emotion of a woman’s pleading for her daughter highlighted by style and rhythm of the song. The words matched the rhythmic syllabic space, the context in a form of liturgy, and recognized as an open courtyard. Appellations are exchanged as she addresses Jesus: Lord, Teacher, Respected Leader. The song leader then guides the music to the woman’s riposte with an additional accentuated rhythm led by drums with an occasional silence. A final turn comes as the storyteller finishes the story with the woman’s daughter greatly relieved and freed from demons. An incredible proclamation of the nature of God in song and deed. This experienced performance opens up an opportunity for liberation as a community interacts with the powerful biblical message.

One crumb of power and grace from Thy table shall cast the devil out of my daughter.” Oh, what lightning quickness, what reach of instinctive ingenuity, do we behold in this Syrophoenician woman! Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

One crumb of power and grace from Thy table!

Wishing you a good story of God’s grace this week.

Philemon

 

Inconsistencies

Chapter 22/2020

Good Monday Morning to this week 22 of 2020 (week 10 with restrictions)

We’ve seen a lot of this currently going on with the restrictions we’re facing, following
the advice of our leaders and recommendations of health experts, yet seeing how much it does affect our beliefs or values at times. For example the ban on churches to meet in larger groups.

I was in hospital for a few days this week, having some shoulder surgery done. Sharing the room with an elderly man suffering from dementia was quite challenging at times. Various times a day we were checked on, at least every four hours someone came in and asked how we were feeling. If was often asked in regard to the level of pain on a scale from 1 to 10. With my room companion they just asked if he was doing well. He mostly had two answers. I am doing well. Or, I am not doing well. I went on to try to give my specific answer and mentioned the numbers – a level 3 or 4 or 5 of pain. One day it was again mentioned that my blood pressure was very low, to which I would answer that I was aware of it and and coffee would be one solution to that problem. Ordering a coffee quite loudly, he would join in and say oh yes, me too – could you bring me a coffee.

And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who give all their passion and strength into seeking him. Hebrews 11:6  (TPT)

The apostle Paul writes that anyone who comes to God must believe that He is and diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

… back to the situation in the hospital room … a bit harder to imply  … not to fall asleep, or become distracted, hard having our minds wander when to pray, study, or meditate. Inattention and mind-wandering, although they are related to double-mindedness, do not seem to be what James had in mind.
So what is this then this Greek word  “double-minded”  or “double-souled,” like having two independent wills describing one divided in mind, that wavers between two opinions.

Maclaren puts it this way in his commentary:
If you hold a cup below a tap, in an unsteady hand, sometimes it is under the whole rush of the water, and sometimes is on one side, and it will be a long time before you get it filled. There will be much of the water spilled. God pours Himself upon us, and we hold our vessels with unsteady hands, and twitch them away sometimes, and the bright blessing fall to fill our cup.

I sat there at times thinking of how much we had in common, not just in the daily routine of questions to our feelings, but also to the way that God was with us in phases of struggling, how little we contribute to our well being and how much less we can contribute to the fact of God’s Grace and presence in “our room” and lives.

Still I fully agree, HE is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. The best reward that God, the Rewarder, gives is when He gives Himself. Enoch sought God, came to God, and so he walked with God. The reward of his coming was continuous, calm communion, which gave him a companion in solitude, and one to walk at his side all through the darkness and the roughnesses, as well as the joys and the smoothnesses, of daily life.

I wish you a blessed day and start into this new week, independently of how much
inconsistency or dissonance you face in your daily life and walk.

God is with you!

Have a great day
Philemon 

 

Can God end the conversation?

Chapter 21/2020

Good Monday Morning to this week 20 of 2020 (week 9 with lockdown openings)

There’s an old story that a Rabbi shared:

A listener to the story of Rabbi breathed in deeply and said: The way Christians read the Bible that doesn’t make sense to me as a Jew!  “We don’t read stories in the Bible looking for beliefs. We read them for meaning…to guide us in the predicaments in life, and help us know who we are, why we’re here, where we’re going, to help us be better people, so we can heal the world. And we never let one interpretation end the conversation. We see our sacred stories as bottomless wells of meaning.” That perspective seems like a much richer journey.

The story goes that there were a group of Rabbis arguing about the meaning of the Biblical text and they came back, day after day. The argument raged on about who had the right meaning of the text.

Finally, there was a voice from heaven and God spoke and said:

Here is the true meaning of the text…”

Well, all the rabbis stood up and looked toward the heavens and said, “Now you be quiet. If you gave us this book, then it’s our responsibility and our right to hash out its meaning. You aren’t allowed to come in and end this conversation if you gave us this text.”

hmmmm

food for thought!

Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Mark 9:4

Nice! They got to have a conversation, a very special one, with Jesus!

Might we be more than just a little part of God’s unfinished future here on earth?

Maybe it’s also our turn to tell God, no you can’t end the conversation! We’re in it too!

Wishing you all and end to the restrictions, solutions to battling the virus
and most of all, a continued and on-going conversation with God!

Philemon