Tag Archives: Trinity

Sunday Meditation – A Celtic Prayer

Celtic Knot by Denise A. Wells

Image by ♥Denise A. Wells♥ via Flickr

• Carefully read this prayer, and meditate on it today. You may reflect on it in the comments section, if you feel so moved.

O God of the weak

O God of the strong

O God of the righteous

O shield of homesteads

 

O may I find rest everlasting

In the home of Thy Trinity

In the Paradise of the godly

In the Sun-garden of Thy love.

from Carmina Gadelica

Resource:
pg 19 Celtic Prayers to Guard and Guide You

Good Books Publisher ISBN 1-56148-335

 

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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.

Meditation to Contemplation – Kataphatic to Apophatic Prayer

Prayer Exercise

(a.k.a The 3 x in 7 days invitational)

First, a bit about Meditation-

Meditation: In prayer-

The half-way house between thinking and contemplating.

(Worship) Meditation is Recollection (a re-gathering):

No more and no less than the subjection of the attention to the control of the will. –Evelyn Underhill

Read her book “Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People” –free here:

Book Cover: "Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People," 1914

From Meditation one may move to a stage of Contemplation.

The two contemplative purifications at work:

The purification of sense, and the purification of will.

For millennia, fire has symbolized the Spirit of God.

If your prayer time has lost some of its richness, please enjoy this prayer exercise:

Meditation Prayer Exercise (7-20 min)

(Please note: It may take several, or many times of disciplined meditation, (as a spiritual practice), to move into a more contemplative prayer experience or mindset. I challenge you to have the courage to keep at it.)


1. Read through this exercise the whole way. (You will likely need to refer back to it during your meditation time, as well.)

2. Light a candle to represent the Spirit of  God.

2. Slowly Read and Reflect on a portion of Scripture, or the following poem:


All our knowledge, sense, and sight,
Lie in deepest darkness shrouded.
Til Thy Spirit brake our night,
With the beams of truth unclouded.

Beginning this time of prayer and worship:

First, surrender to the influence of the Object of your meditation, [in this case, through the vehicle/aid of the poem words, visual aid (candle), plus symbolism (flame = Spirit)]. Surrender to The Divine exhibition of unexpected meaning, beauty, and power. Pray on these things.

Focal Point:

Not if, but when, your thoughts wander, or your attention wanes, bring your internal, (and external) gaze back to the flame of the candle before you. The chatter of your mind will be ceaseless at first. Refocus. Recall what the flame symbolizes, and the goodness of God, (Trinity-Creator, Savior, Spirit). Center, again, your awareness on the Object of your worship (God), in thanksgiving and grace.

As you continue to meditate: See your self distinctly from the Other, and, in time, transition to observing your connectedness; Move from a “multiplicity to a unity”.

Once you have been vested in the experience of meditation for a time:

You may notice how your efforts of trying to focus and worship God, may adjust to a resting or receiving from God, in silence of the mind, and spirit. In this case, there is no effort on your part, but a loving dispensing, from God, into your heart and mind.

Enter and enjoy this time as though receiving an inpouring of God’s love, healing, and grace.

This contemplative stage of prayer cannot be forced, and for some, it is a difficult experience to come by. If you never approach this stage during your exercise, the discipline of prayer and meditation, done routinely, can aid in the apprehension of this mysterious reversal called contemplation. This is the stage where praying/thinking, moves to determined focus, which may transform into surrendered contemplation–which is a nourishing and awing spiritual communion with God.

Thank you for reading.

Please share your thoughts.


(If you tried this exercise, now or in the future, please mention that here, as well.)

Thank you.

(Jesus Doll) Oh, no, you didn’t… (updated)

 

This “toy” begs a few questions:

Batteries and Holy Spirit included?

Will he be found eating among the trampy Barbies?

If you hold the toy while praying, does it count as an idol?

Can he heal other toys?

If he breaks, will the toy fix itself after 3 days?

What’s your caption, or headline?

Reflections-On a Missions Essay/Deism

Below is the paper I did about world Christianity. The author of the essay I am reflecting on is from Sri Lanka, and I was surprised to find some interesting similarities between American culture and Indian culture.

Missiology Essay Paper 3

about

Essay: God: the Source, the Originator, and the End of Mission

by Ajith Fernando

November 20, 2009

Submitted by Lisa DeLay

Ajith Fernando in his essay, God: the Source, the Originator, and the End of Mission, presents the church as a mirror of the Trinity, and surmises the challenges of missiology in the second half of the 20th century, and in his current context of Sri Lanka. He first looks at Paul’s epistles as a study of theology to discover a Scriptural missiological telos.

Fernando speaks of fear as a dominant emotion for the world population–whether they are rich of poor. The rich fear economic reversals or harsh business environments, and the poor fear destitution and oppression by demonic forces. For both groups, the power of God in atonement, and the gospel is vitally important to impart to them. These principles include God’s sovereignty, his gloriousness, righteousness, God as the source of revelation and salvation, God’s gift of salvation, God’s will for our lives, and God’s post-salvation blessings to us. Our response to God is met in the acts of belief, worship, commitment and obedience, godliness, and accountability to God.

As Fernando moves into some of the crises of the church in his region, I sense that many of the same issues plague the body of Christ in the U.S.A. in many similar ways–though a unique American twist is apparent. The “magical view of God,” is common for Fernando’s people, where they are used to apprehending God similar to the way they had understood their originally worshiped deities. These prior deities were considered powerful and would do favors for them. Eventually, the people first came to the Almighty God for things like healing from a sickness, for demonic deliverance, or relief in a financial crisis.

Here, in the U.S. many also view God in an immature, or simplistic, light as well. Many may understand him to be something like a magical genie that should comfort them, fix their problems, and help out in crisis. Christian Smith offers a term for American youth, which I believe to aptly to many adults as well. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:

1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”

2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”

3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”

4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”

5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”1

Fernando mentions that to people in Sri Lanka, many times the subjective blessings, rather than the important implications of holiness, are what the Christians are more focused on. I sense a great similarity here, with many American Christians who are stunted in their spiritual formation. The, “what is God doing for me,” mentality, or “what can I do for God so he favors me more,” is a common notion in quite a few Christian circles.

In (his) church, Fernando says prayer requests, and testimonies tend to be about temporal matters or needs. This rings true for my church, as well, and I am sure in many other American churches too. When one reads our church’s prayer listing, requests are most frequently for sickness, physical safety (such as for those in the military, or traveling), or for temporal, or tangible/material needs, (such as finding a job, family stability, fundraising, good weather, or an upcoming event.)  I do not ever remember hearing of a prayer request that included something like, “learning peace and patience during a trial or loss.” I do not remember anyone in my church requesting prayer that his particular suffering would bring him closer to God. Many personal testimonies, as well, or prayer requests revolve around tangible blessings, alleviating personal suffering, meeting temporal needs, or the satisfaction of acquiring personal preferences, (such as healing, or a desired answer to a temporal need.)


1 R. Albert Mohler, Jr.| “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion” Christian Post. Accessed November 16, 2009 from http://www.christianpost.com/article/20050418/moralistic-therapeutic-deism-the-new-american-religion/index.html

 

Artwork – Trinity (Holy Bible Mosaic)

JesusartworkThis is a peek inside the NLT Holy Bible: Mosaic to one of the many beautiful artworks published inside. I was really drawn to this one. It’s of Jesus at his baptism, where the Trinity was recorded as all being present. (Visually, Audibly, and in the Incarnation of Jesus)

Perhaps this image could be used in your time with God, as you reflect on the gift of the Incarnation, in whom the Father was well pleased.

Leave any reflections you have.

Book update–

To update visitors, friends, and fans, old and new…

3 chapters, an overview, and a new author bio is in my agent’s hands, Chip MacGregor. Editors at one place have mentioned their initial interest, and it seems there are other interesting leads as well.

The book is heading on a bit of  different path than I first imagined, so I felt the great need to revamp the subhead. The working title for the manuscript now is the following: Life As Prayer: A New Paradigm for Contemporary Spirituality Based on an Un-religious God. It is sure to be eye opening, stumbling block removing, burden lifting, and revealing how enjoyable our Creator is. I will keep you posted, so check in for more info. Also, I greatly enjoy comments to any posts, so feel free to put in your two cents, as long as it’s not spiteful of anyone.

Also- The Holy Bible: Mosaic, Tyndale’s new New Living Translation Bible is coming out in October 2009. I’ve lined up a radio spot on WGRC for the show called, “The Matter at Hand” with Larry Weidman, to speak about this project, and the meditation I wrote for it on the Trinity. This is going to be a really neat layout for the Bible that hasn’t been done yet, with readings, reflections from every century of Christianity, gorgeous artwork, 52 meditations, room to write, and more. Check this one out!