Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Third Sunday of Advent Meditation 12/12/2010

church in winter -click for source-

 

(from the online Book of Common Prayer)

Third Sunday of Advent

Stir up thy power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let thy bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and
the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end.
Amen.

160    Collect:  Traditional

O God, who hast caused this holy night to shine with the
illumination of the true Light: Grant us, we beseech thee,
that as we have known the mystery of that Light upon earth,
so may we also perfectly enjoy him in heaven; where with
thee and the Holy Spirit he liveth and reigneth, one God, in
glory everlasting. Amen.

Do you have any reflections for this Sunday?

My song today, is Mary’s song

The Visitation in the Book of Hours of the Duc...

Image via Wikipedia

This is the season of ADVENT.
Today, I want to focus on Mary’s Song (also called the Magnificat) from Luke 1:46-55.

When I first read this, as a kid, I thought, “Wow, Mary’s getting all charismatic…” I wondered if she would be dancing, or waving her hands, or twirling a flag. Would Elizabeth be worrying about getting poked in the eye?

But today, I rejoice, because I see so much better that God provides. I notice that in this Spirit-filled moment of joy, Mary gets what God is all about. She realizes what God is like, and what he does for people. She comprehends that God remembers (mind you, this does not mean God recalls, like finding a lost memory, but this specific term “remember” connotes that God “keeps in the front of his mind”).

God helps the ignoble Mary’s of the world, and will pick them to play the big parts. [Probably the least likely to be important was an impoverished, young, teenaged girl, from a small hill billy mountain village in the Middle East, right?]

The Magnificat speaks to me personally today, because I feel blessed; and perhaps it will be meaningful for you today. 

I hope you share your thoughts with us today.
Thanks.

46“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

It seems God has a weak spot for the underdogs of the world.

12 Fruit of the Spirit that never made the cut

Tom Cruise drawn in Photoshop

Image by Roberto Rizzato ►pix jockey◄ Facebook resident via Flickr (aka "Mr. Intensity")

WARNING: This post is for humor purposes. If you take it seriously, and get offended, it’s your own fault. Go away today if you don’t like funny things once in a while.

Fruit of the Spirit that didn’t make the cut:

High Metabolism: (or Calorie Burn-Ableness) This is one of those qualities of which people can be envious. Yet, the ability to eat a whole pizza, or a half a dozen Krispy Kremes, and not pay for it according to the bathroom scale does not cut it as a Fruit of the Spirit.

Wrapping. (Giftedness) Because such things given by God are called “gifts” of the Spirit, some have connected this to the qualities associated with wrapping presents, for holidays, birthdays, and such. Cute paper, ribbon, and creative and crafty items to give items away are a way to show off talents, but let’s not get carried away. I’m glad I could clear this up.

Drinking your Coffee black. (Beverage purity) If you think the potent and bitter taste of coffee without creamer has something to do your spiritual gifting, I need to break it to you. The answer is “No”. And it doesn’t mean you love coffee more than other people either. (another related tip: Keep a toothbrush handy.)

Fanciness. Sure, good style is laudable. Though fruit-like, it doesn’t make the cut, and it’s not a gift of the Spirit to be fancy, per se. It can also be incredibly distracting.

Holding your breath. (Lung capacity blessed/breath-worthy) Long sought as a way to intimidate cream puff parents, and impress pool-goers, holding one’s breath for quite a while is a skill mastered with practice and techniques. I’m surprised you would even bring this one up.

Balance. One’s ability to walk with agility on a 2 x 4 does not appear to directly connected to the Holy Ghost. On this one, though, I could be persuaded with the proper argument “for”. Have at it.

Bluffing. (or in fruit language, bluff-tastic-ness) I think this term -bluffing) is used in games, meaning innocent falsehood to get ahead in a harmless game. (And, yes; In the gun-toting old wild west, this wasn’t always the case.. Obviously.) Good bluffers are admired in poker, and loathed in politics and golf. Either way, I’ve decided that, though it’s a close call, it’s not quite fruit-worthy for my purposes here. HOWEVER, perhaps you can weigh in on this story about when Jesus (perhaps) pretended to walk past the boat on the stormy lake of Galilee, shortly before Peter asked to walk on water to meet him. Was it bluffing? TEll me what you think.  (You can read John’s text here John 6:16-22)

Staring. (or stare-Able) Do you win a lot of staring contests and think God has something to do with it? Well, then you’re fooling yourself. The ability to stare well, just means you aren’t too bothered as your eyes get dry. This sensation drives many other people crazy, as a creepy itchy feeling makes it unbearable to not flip out and blink like mad. Plenty of people connect patience with this, but that’s total bologna.

Intensity. Closely related to the above (Staring) in terms of endurance, this quality is perfectly exemplified in Tom Cruise‘s acting performances, much to my chagrin. It’s a poor substitute for Christian maturity, and would no doubt  displease the powerful Xenu, at least in the long run. Plus, it’s so, gimmicky sometimes, ya know? MAYBE YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH-YA KNOW?

Jumping rope like an accomplished boxer. (Jumpishness) Yes, this one looks a bit superhuman sometimes, but it’s only the branch of a deeper issue. Basically, these people don’t care how sweaty they get, and also enjoy a repetitive sound. If you can do it, good for you, but I can’t work my way into respecting you for it, in a spiritual sense. Plus, the exegesis here is spotty at best. I repeat: At. Best.

Pen Tricks. (dexterity) Like Fanciness, this near-Fruit can be positive and appealing, but once you’ve spent hours learning them, to show off in Sunday School class, as you pretend to be thinking about the topic at hand, don’t think it makes you a better Christian. It could just mean you’re obnoxious and have way too much time on your hands. Your über tricky hands.

Swimming. (buoyancy) Walking on water, yes, of course. Obviously that’s totally backed up by Scripture as a spiritual gift, with some Fruit of buoyancy needed (Okay, yes. I’m still researching the buoyancy Fruit or near-Fruit). But, listen to me. Swimming is something even a dolphin can do. Nothing supernatural there…once you throw off the terrifying thought of drowning.

Fruity stuff from Paul Cheng. (The bananas look like horns because...?)

 

 

Please Note: Some of items here (nearly Fruit) that didn’t make the cut, are helpful to us in a general sense. Some may even coincide with certain biblical spiritual fruit. In themselves, however, they have here been identified as not really what Paul (the writer of Galatians, not the fruity artist above) was talking about.

Galatians 5:22-26But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

This is a formula I made up (after rigorous hours of study). When used it will take you far…like a camel in heat:

{GIFTS – FRUIT = corruption }

Bear in mind, this refers to the things of God, not Gift Baskets.

SO, my sweet readers,

What other things could make this list of Spiritual Fruit that couldn’t or didn’t make the cut? Share your suggestions. One lucky winner will get a humorous fruit of the Spirit t-shirt.

What is a Living God? (part 2: 8 Qualities)

How easy it is to forget that there is (exists) a Living God. Maybe this is so because we are surrounded by dead ones. Since the things we need and “serve” are not consistently life-giving, I think we lump everything to together and get along with that sort of paradigm. A “less-than Living” take on life.

The originator, Creator God, is never-ending, and a not relegated to some notion of goodness, or idea we get to keep in the back of our minds.

Here are 8 attributes to this Living God:

1. A Living God embodies Love not Apathy (the opposite of love).

2. A Living God makes a worshiper like him/her (God transcends gender).

It should be noted that dead gods, in their way, do the same thing. Nevertheless, a Living God refines and purifies, and dead gods foster forms of decay/destruction, and of course selfishness–which cannot lead to life. (Examples: the (dead) god of career, of drugs, of overeating, of anger, of popularity, and so on.)

3. A Living God has a personality (is a being), and relates to others (has the true quality for connecting in relationship) as a primary undertaking and desire.

4. A Living God is interactive in human history, and perpetually involved in common life with regards to people, events, and circumstances.

5. A Living God is wise and forbearing.

6. A Living God is everywhere, unconquered, and vigorous (spirited).

7. A Living God may display displeasure or delight.

8. A Living God has no pride, (because pride is delusional and also leads to deadened life).

In light of this, what is your response to God?

I’m asking for you to take a minute, and comment on your response, one (or more) of these 8 mentioned traits, or bring up something I didn’t mentioned.

Thank you very much.

Like A Virgin Soap (No Shame)

OKAY-It’s possible something was lost in translation on this cosmetic.

Perhaps white or pure was translated as “virginity”. Maybe the English word “virginal” threw off the dictionary. You might have a better guess than me.

This so-called “skin-whitening” soap is supposed to make the skin inviting to touch, so it actually, um. maybe it could end virginity.

But I wonder if the idea of purity, cleansing, and ridding us of our shame is so wrapped up together, that longing for a kind of “virginity soap” isn’t all that big of a stretch.

On some level, doesn’t everyone want a second chance?

Doesn’t everyone want their sin to be “washed away”?

Do you have a memory you wish you didn’t have, or a past sin that plagues you?

Christianity has promised this same thing with “Jesus Soap” for quite a while now. But is it that simple? And, do we co-opt with the renewing power of the Holy Spirit enough to live in a “washed clean” kind of way?

The spiritual discipline of confession works a bit like “virginity soap”. It is an imperative to confess and turn away from sins. And we are told to confess to each other. It gives us a real life engagement with grace, via the willing and trusting ear of another.

Do you have a confessor to whom you can confess your shame? If not, why? Do you think it would help you?

Thanks for you thoughts on this.

The small door- update

The irony of the small door

I’m researching gatehouses and “doors within doors”. It’s fascinating! England was sure fortified back-in-the-day!

Do you see a metaphor when you see this visual?

What are your thoughts or perspective?

(This is no quiz; there are no right answers. Just looking for your take on this visual)

Update– p.m.

The visual/sense I got from this door image was unexpected. The metaphor was of the big door being too hefty to push open, but the small door–the less grand–the meager entry point is the truest way in. It’s the humble door, and going inside will require a blow to the pride, or be what some would considered undignified. For growth and progress, the small door is needed. We don’t have the strength for the huge one, but a way  is provided for us,–if we can get to the point of seeing it.


The Man Upstairs Fallacy

I have a body, you have a body, and…..

we’ve gotten used to God (the Father) having one too. “The Man Upstairs” We’ve heard this dysphemism, right?

This almighty person* of the three-in-one Godhead, who is the center of Reality, is the One Jesus invited us to respectfully, personally, and literally, address as “Dad” in our prayers.

Yep, this is probably why the male depictions crop up. And, it’s not surprising that since God has been around for quite a while (okay. That is hyperbole….it’s been forever and ever) that he would be depicted as elderly. There’s the white hair, wrinkles, and, of course mad skillz at wisdom etched in the contours of his face. He’s usually shown as robed (relaxed fit clothing , perhaps), light-skinned (really huge shock, right? Thanks, Rome.), and bearded. There’s a verse about Jesus having the hair in his beard ripped out, but God the Father having a beard, well, maybe he’s just too busy to shave? Did famous Greek Stoics look like this, so it was a jumping off point for artists? God, so many questions…

AND-Yes, curiously the depictions appear very much like Father Christmas (Santa Claus). If you think about that bit for too long, it will start to get creepy; especially with those holiday songs that include lines, “he sees you when your sleeping…” and such.

Here’s the part where I pop the fantasy bubble, like it or not.

God is not a man.

God does not have a body.

“He” isn’t “upstairs”.

That deity in art, and in our minds, looks like a human, and acts as such. It’s human created. The street term sadly, I’m sorry to say, this is, an idol. There, I said it.

More importantly to our spiritual growth, those types of pictures of God are bitty and short-changed. God does not have body parts, or biology to make God one or another gender. Jesus, and others may say “he” for God because it is a term of relationship. It is a gift of grace, goodness, and love toward us (as children) that no human father can accomplish perfectly well. But God can. God displays qualities most often distinctive to both genders respectively, and in perfection and holiness.

God is everywhere. Let’s just try to wrap our brains around this a bit, because we are not at all everywhere. I’ll just repeat it: God is everywhere. This is one big benefit a Spirit Being has, someone like “the man upstairs” is only, well, upstairs. And sometimes downstairs, but not both at the same time. This is where Deism is straight out against the Trinitarian percepts of the Bible. Deism, separates God from his creation: God-The Watchmaker. Distant, Aloof. It’s just dead wrong, because Jesus called him Father, and invited us to do so, too.

To perform an act of God in the flesh (in human form) Perfect God needed a body. So, yes, God incarnated a real human body to heal and redeem humans, body and spirit.

That incarnation: Jesus, the Anointed One.

The Holy Spirit, also a full member of the three-in-one Godhead (not just a pale bird in flight above a placid, pasty, bearded white guy often seen in artistic depictions), is the full power of God that is with us who receive God and Jesus. This Being, works on us to teach us, and transform us into Jesus’ character, what we call “Christ-likeness”.

In a recent survey, Two out of Three members of the Trinity prefer being body-free.

From Jesus, written by John in Chapter 4. Verse 23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

*(person here does not signify a human person (i.e. human individual), but instead, one with a personality. personality |ˌpərsəˈnalitē|noun ( pl. -ties)1 the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character)

Now it’s your turn.

Like me, have you ever thought of God the Father as a man? Or an old man in the sky?

Or a Being with a body?

How do you image God?

Which artistic depiction of God (shown above) do you find the strangest, or most fascinating?

All Comments welcome.

thank you.