Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Wednesday



Matthew 26
The Plot Against Jesus
1When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2"As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."
3Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. 5"But not during the Feast," they said, "or there may be a riot among the people."

Jesus Anointed at Bethany
6While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
8When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. 9"This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."
10Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holy Tuesday



Today begins the feast of Passover. This feast is the annual commemoration of the Israelites salvation. Their passage from the slavery of Egypt into freedom, from exile into the promised land. It is also the anticipation of the ultimate passage - into the Kingdom of God. Christ was the fulfillment of Passover. He performed the ultimate passage: from death into life, from this "old world" into the new world. He opened the possibility of this passage to us.

Scripture for today remembers the Parable of the Ten Virgins from Matthew 25:1-13 (New International Version):

1"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6"At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 7"Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9" 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' 10"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11"Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' 12"But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' 13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.


As it says, we are called to keep watch and be ready. Not just during this season of Lent and Easter but every day...for we do not know the day or the hour!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Holy Monday






Once resolved to come to Jerusalem, Jesus is fearless. He knows only one thing, and that is to do God’s business. And God’s business and that of the religious authorities in Jerusalem are not the same. Holy Monday has been linked traditionally with our Lord’s cleansing of the temple. By cleansing the temple of all its cheating and overall corruption, Jesus was directly challenging the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders. The temple was built for God and for His people to come there to be with Him in prayer. “For thither the tribes go up, ... to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.” (Ps.122:4) However it had become “a den of thieves”. In a sense Jesus threw down his gauntlet!

Haiti Updates

Lest we forget about those still hurting and still in need in Haiti...a beautiful prayer...



More information about the recording and how to get a copy is here.

Prayer is our most powerful weapon...please continue to lift them up.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Irish Blessing

Today is Palm Sunday...as we celebrate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, let us not forget what the week will hold for Him. While we will never face the trials and sorrows of Jesus, we each face trials and sorrows of our own. My wish for you...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Holy Sepulchre

For those of us who have not had the good fortune to visit the Holy Land, here is a 360° virtual tour. The Church sits on the spot venerated as Golgotha. The place where Christ was crucified. It also claims to be the place where He was buried.

It does not matter to me if it is the actual spot...it happened in (or just outside) Jerusalem. It couldn't be that far away...and to know that you may be walking in the actual steps of Jesus the Christ takes my breath.

It is my prayer to someday visit in person...until then, this will do!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mary's Stations...

There is an interpretation of the Stations of the Cross (I posted the Stations on the blog in 2008) through the eyes of His mother, Mary. A unique and heart wrenching perspective.

Read it here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Iraq...

Seven years ago today, the war in Iraq began. Regardless of your position on this conflict, there are those that deserve our prayers...

We ask Lord, that you guide the leaders of our great nation in all their decisions. The burden placed on their shoulders is overwhelming. We ask that with Your infinite wisdom You guide them gently to the right decision.

Protect and guide our military, Oh Lord; strengthen them in their trials; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of Your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.


I do not know the author of this prayer, but felt it fit the occasion.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patricks Breastplate

Last year I posted part of this prayer. But, seeing as I was not quite ready for St. Pats Day to be over and the fact that this is a wonderful prayer, I thought I'd post more of it today:

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Note: "day of doom" is an Old English term meaning "Day of Judgment."

And in song:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Proverb...

May those that love us, love us;
Those that don't love us, may God turn their hearts;
If their hearts won't turn, may God turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping!

Happy St. Paddy's Day!



St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

British-born Patrick was captured by Irish pirates when he was sixteen and taken to Ireland as a slave. During this difficult time of his life when he was forced to herd livestock in the mountains, the youth drew strength from his Christian faith. When he was able to escape six years later he somehow found his way home to England. The young Patrick, much-changed by his years as a captive, decided to study for the priesthood.

In a series of dreams, Patrick heard Irish voices imploring him to return to Ireland. For the next thirty years he wandered around Ireland. In his ministry as an Irish bishop Patrick established a large network of churches and monasteries, trained Irish clergy, and baptized countless people as Christians.

Did he really drive all snakes from Ireland? Or explain the concept of the Trinity with a shamrock? We'll never be able to separate truth from legend, but the evidence of what he actually accomplished is in the centuries of a strong Irish Catholic Church that endures today. He died around 461.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Miracles

There are people who will tell you there are no miracles today. I disagree! There are miracles happening constantly, we just do not see them. God is always active but most time we are simply blind to it.

Does an event have to earth shattering to be classified as a miracle? Does it have to be something that is broadcast? Does it have to be something that can only be explained as "supernatural"? If God uses another human or something from the physical world to accomplish His miracle does it not count? What about the timing of the miracle, do you think it's just a coincidence? There's no such thing.

God created man, animals and the world. He has the ability and the right to use whatever means he chooses. Who are we to classify miracles in the attempt to bring God down to our level?

Open your eyes but more importantly open your heart. See what the good God chooses to do in our world daily, hourly, each and every minute...instead of using your mind to explain away the event, open your mouth in thanksgiving and praise!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Practice makes Perfect...

I can appreciate what he's doing even though I probably couldn't perform one of the stunts! Practice makes perfect!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Judging and Labels

Labels... not product labels, but labels we place on other human beings are always accompanied with judgment. Labels are descriptive and help define our world, but when used on people are they used for good or to limit? Labels either include or exclude. They say you are either like me, or you are not like me; you are one of us, or you are one of them.

A few things I believe:
1. We are all different. God is the God of diversity.
2. I cannot be you. You cannot be me. We are each to be the best "me" we can be to glorify God.
3. Everyone ... everyone ... hear me, now ... everyone is a child of God. Every person was created, designed and gifted with life all in the image of God.
4. When we label God's children, we divide God's family. When we cut some one out, when the label we place makes them "THEM," all God's people are diminished and pulled further from the Lord.

How does it further the building of the Kingdom of God and move THEM closer to God when WE who claim to be God's people are excluding THEM because they are not like US, believe exactly like US, worship like US? When the Lord Jesus calls us to follow are we not being called out of the world, to be different, to live a holy (label) life? Does not the Lord send us back into the world as the people of God to share the love we have found in Jesus Christ?

Any and all judging(morals, ethics, govenmental laws) are to be under girded by love, not revenge, not retribution, but with an eye and a heart towards compassionate reconciliation. Yes, and sometimes tough love is necessary, because some hearts grow very hard. Ones motives and compassion are especially important in these instances.

In other words, the ultimate goal is always to include rather than exclude in a way that leads people to the truth. The truth: The Son of God, Jesus Christ, willingly gave his life to show us the depth of God's love, remove all barriers that separate us from God's love (forgive our sin), and reconcile - bring us back - heal our relationship with this God who loves us more than we can ever imagine.

Once our spirits and lives have been renewed, our job - as much as humanly possible - is to be the Christ-like, God-like love to the world. Tough job, but increasingly possible for those who seek to live lives centered in Christ.

We have all had labels placed on US.
Think about the labels you place on others.
Regardless of what someone else does or says,
how are you embodying the love of Jesus Christ?

- Rich

The Desert Fathers...

God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean (Act 10:28)

A church elder would visit a hermit and consecrate the Eucharist for him. Someone reported bad things about that elder to the hermit. The next time he came, the hermit refused to let him in. Then the hermit heard a voice saying, "Men have usurped the judgment of God." In a vision he saw a leper lifting a golden bucket on an golden rope from a golden well. The water was abundant and the hermit was thirsty, but he would not accept any water because of the leper. The voice spoke again, "Why won't you drink this water? Does it matter who draws it? All he is doing is pouring it out for you." The hermit understood the significance of the vision and he asked the elder to return.

Call no one unclean.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Enter the Worship Circle

I don't get any kickback for this...they don't even know I exist but...if you like praise music that's not mainline praise music and if you like acoustic instruments...you'll love this music

To date I've purchased: Enter the Worship Circle 1st Circle, 2nd Circle and 3rd Circle and Chair and Microphone Volume 1...what can I say...there hasn't been a time that I've played one of these CD's that one of the song didn't touch me, lift me up, focus me or bring me closer to God.

I'm not telling you to buy their music, just check it out...I think you'll like it!

Giving it up for Lent...

I found the following article to be interesting...and a relief!

Cheating on Lenten sacrifice no sin

Trying is the thing that really counts, local priests say
Friday, March 12, 2010 3:19 AM
By Meredith Heagney
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH FILE

Dispatch reporter Meredith Heagney talks with the Rev. Larry Rice about Lenten promises and the possibility of slip-ups.

You can be honest: Today is the 24th day of Lent -- the 21st if you don't count Sundays -- and you have not been perfect.

Maybe you gave up chocolate, but no one was watching when you passed the candy dish. Maybe you gave up taking the elevator, but your legs hurt from the stairs.

You swore off TV, except for that one episode of Lost. Relax, priests say. Sinned, you have not.

A Lenten sacrifice, or "giving something up," is intended to draw a believer closer to God, with the idea that self-denial can enhance spirituality. Catholics and Protestants often give up something they enjoy to reflect the sacrifice they believe Jesus Christ made for them.

Nonreligious people sometimes get in on the tradition for self-improvement purposes.

For those who do sacrifice to get closer to God, what matters is effort, not perfection, said the Rev. Michael Watson of St. Andrew Parish, a Catholic church in Upper Arlington.

"Because we're prone to human weakness from time to time, it doesn't mean the end of the world," he said. Slipping up is not a sin unless the action you committed is itself a sin, he said.

So if you swore off alcohol and had one cocktail, that's not a sin. But if you had five and got drunk, you probably committed the sin of immoderation, whether it's Lent or not.

People who slip sometimes tell the Rev. Jerry Rodenfels of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, as if they have to confess their misdeeds.

He tells them "not to worry. It's not a sin," he said. But they still feel bad. "For those of us who are older, there's something instilled in us called Catholic guilt," Rodenfels said, laughing.

Churchgoers also debate whether they can "cheat" on Sundays, because those days technically aren't included in the 40 days of Lent. The priests say you can. Sunday is, as Rodenfels called it, a "free" day. That's because Sunday is the weekly joyful celebration of Christ's resurrection, said Leo Madden, a professor of theology at Ohio Dominican University. "It is incompatible for a period of time marked by sacrifice to occur at the same time," Madden said. "Technically speaking, Sunday is not a day of Lent." Rodenfels said many people still choose to continue their sacrifice on Sundays out of family tradition or personal pride.

Alyce Salomon, 75, of German Village, broke her frozen-yogurt fast only once, on the first Sunday of Lent. She's diabetic, and the vanilla treat, which she normally bought at United Dairy Farmers three or four times a week, was one of her few dietary indulgences. "The 40 days do not include Sunday," she said. "That's my theory," although "my mother wouldn't have told me that."

Kate Riley, a history professor at Ohio Dominican, has given up beer for Lent the past 15 or 20 years, she said. Normally, she would enjoy three or four beers a week.
She doesn't cheat on Sundays, but she will have a bottle of Irish beer on St. Patrick's Day on Wednesday. Riley is of Irish descent and attended the University of Notre Dame. "I get a dispensation. My brother is a priest," she joked.

Riley keeps beer in her refrigerator during Lent to intensify the challenge. If she removed the beer from her house, she would be forced to abstain, which would lessen the sacrifice. "I think it means more if, every time you open the fridge, you see one in there," she said. "It makes you stronger if you don't take it."

This year, Riley also decided not to drink wine during Lent. She slipped once, at her sister's house. She's not losing sleep over it. "I don't think the Lord would chastise me or consider me a failure because I slipped up one time," she said.

"Besides, my sister made me."

mheagney@dispatch.com

Thursday, March 11, 2010

God and Milk...

The following story is found in a book by Archbishop Anthony Bloom:

In the life of Moses, in Hebrew folklore, there is a remarkable passage. Moses finds a shepherd in the desert. He spends the day with the shepherd and helps him to milk his ewes, and at the end of the day he sees that the shepherd puts the best milk he has into a bowl, which he places on a flat stone some distance away. So Moses asks him what it is for and the shepherd replies, "This is God's milk." Moses is puzzled and asks him what he means. The shepherd says, "I always take the best milk I possess, and I bring it as an offering to God."

Moses who is far more sophisticated than the shepherd with his naive faith asks, "And does God drink it?" "Yes," replies the shepherd, "He does."

Then Moses feels compelled to enlighten the poor shepherd and he explains that God, being pure spirit, does not drink milk. Yet the shepherd is sure that He does, and so they have a short argument, which ends with Moses telling the shepherd to hide behind the bushes to find out whether in fact God does come to drink the milk.

Moses then goes out to pray in the desert. The shepherd hides, the night comes, and in the moonlight the shepherd sees a little fox that comes trotting from the desert, looks right, looks left and heads straight for the milk, which he laps up, and disappears into the desert again.

The next morning Moses finds the shepherd quite depressed and downcast. "What's the matter?" he asks. The shepherd says, "You were right, God is pure spirit and He doesn't want my milk." Moses is surprised. He says "You should be happy. You know more about God than you did before." "Yes, I do," says the shepherd, "but the only thing I could do to express my love for Him has been taken away from me."

Moses sees his point. He retires into the desert and prays hard. In the night, in a vision, God speaks to him and says, "Moses, you were wrong. It is true that I am pure spirit. Nevertheless, I always accepted with gratitude the milk which the shepherd offered me as the expression of his love, but since, being pure spirit, I do not need the milk, I shared it with this little fox, who is very fond of milk."

We should be careful when people offer to tell us of the ways the show their love for God. To us it may be simplistic or make no sense to us whatsoever. But if God accepts their token of love, who are we to question it?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Compassion

As many of you know, we sponsor a little girl in Haiti named Lourdie...we haven't had the opportunity to meet her but have joyfully watched her grow over the last 5 years. Her letters have changed during this time...she used to draw us pictures of animals and bugs...now she's branching out to trees and such. After the devastating earthquakes, we are still waiting for news of her and her family. She is at least 50 miles from Port au Prince, and we pray daily that she is well.

I heard about Compassion through a Youth Gathering of United Methodists and felt a tug to sponsor. It has been a true blessing...Compassion is a wonderful organization...and truly work to better the lives of the children and their families...it's not just handouts.

Someday I hope to meet our "other" child...to look into her beautiful eyes and know that in some small way, we helped to make her life a little better.

I read some posts today about a group who are visiting their sponsored children in Kenya...this was how they were greeted:

Grand Entrance from Ryan Detzel on Vimeo.



If you'd like to read more about this...check here...If you'd like to know more...click on the link at the bottom of the page. You'll be glad you did...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Two Years!




Two years ago today, I posted for the first time on this blog. It has been an eye opening experience...I hope it has been of some use to you...whether to bring you joy and laughter or to provoke you to think and grow. Thanks for reading!

A thought for the day:
"God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the worlds deep hunger meet."
F. Brookner

Friday, March 5, 2010

What if...

This song was popular several years ago but still holds its relevance, especially during this Lenten season. What if we could meet God face to face here on earth? How would you react to Him? 2,000 years ago, living, breathing humans did walk, talk, eat, sleep, relax, pray, worship with God. Their reactions were varied and I suspect ours would be today. Think of it, God in front of your very eyes!


Joan Osborne - What If God Was One Of Us
Uploaded by Pippo-el-peco.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This too shall pass...

People with way too much time on their hands...and a very active imagination!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Love...

Why is it that we tend to be nicer to acquaintances and even strangers than we are to those who love us?

Does the fact that they have committed their hearts to us give us liberty to not always treat them with kindness? They know us best so, they will forgive us when we lash out or are forgetful. They know how we feel, we don't always have to keep reminding them....right? Wrong...It is never right to hurt someones feelings just because you can.

At the end of a bad day of work, it's terribly easy to go home and take out our frustrations on family and friends. I don't really mean it...speaking harsh words or making impossible demands will make me feel better. I have to face it at work, what's the big deal if they get the short end of the stick when I finally get home? Like I said, it makes me feel better...or does it? It may relieve some stress initially but then I see the hurt in their eyes and have to wonder what I have accomplished? Did I make the world (my world) a better place just letting off some steam? I think not.

I am blessed to have people in my life who love me unconditionally. Whether I'm happy, sad or mad. They have made a commitment to me...to love me...support me...protect me...encourage me...surround me with love...don't they deserve a little kindness in return?

I'll never be perfect and that may be one of the things they love about me...no, I'll never be perfect but I can do my very best to never hurt those precious people who mean the most to me...and when I do, I can be quick with my apology. They may know deep down that I love them unconditionally in return and what better way to remind them than to tell them...again and again.

Love someone today...with every fiber of your being. It's a delicious feeling...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Youth Ministry Stereotypes...

Finally, someone says it in plain language...ok, in a rap song but still...it has some important points...too many Youth Ministers trying to look, sound and be like the youth...so not cool.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Music

There are few things in this world that touch us like music. It can cheer us, make us ponder, make us blue, lift our spirits, open our eyes, break our hearts, take our breath, make us humble, remind us, bring us joy. I have had a life long love affair with music. Don't get me wrong, I can't play an instrument and can only marginally sing but I couldn't love it more. No one thing in this world can affect me so quickly and completely as a song. I thank God that He has given us the wondrous gift.

Speaking of gifts, the first time I heard this rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, it took my breath...close your eyes and let the song flow...




My grandson's dance class will be preforming a ballet to this music during their spring recital...imagine hearing this song while watching 4 - 6 year olds at their most graceful...truly an image made in heaven.