Merry Christmas to you and yours;
May you experience genuine peace … despite your circumstances … this Christmas and all through the new year as you begin to truly realize God’s amazing love shown through his son, Jesus.
John Muir exclaimed, “As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”
I recently enjoyed hiking in the Silver Falls State Park in my home state of Oregon.
To be the first human on the trail in the early morning … approaching a waterfall … the sound of it crescendos as you draw nearer, causing an uncertain yet knowing anticipation … a reward difficult to express, … but certain praise to the Creator … for a beauty so serene that melts “self” and it’s concerns away. Time with my Creator is always well spent.
The “Winter Falls” is a 134 foot waterfall that relies on winter runoff and is its best in winter, spring, and early summer.
“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” (John Muir, 1938) ….. I wonder if John Muir was acquainted with Saint Francis. Happy Trails!
After Jesus identifies Judas as the betrayer and sends him out he addresses his disciples:
“Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.”
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn. 13: 31-35)
This is painting I noticed walking through the Vatican Museum last year while “Chasing Francis of Assisi”. It caught my attention because I thought Pedro Cano was able to create the heart felt emotion of a loving embrace between two men, Pope Paul II and Cardinal Wyszynski.
I came from a family that never hugged or outwardly showed loving affection. But with time well spent around my wife’s family and in our “Christian family” circle I have come to truly appreciate a hug. We all need to be valued and accepted as we are. And I believe that we as individuals are beginning to love one another … no matter what church we are attending … nondenominational, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Franciscan ….
But what about our various church denominations and their leadership? Are our churches really exhibiting the love of Christ? Does the “world” know the collective “body of Christ” by the love we have for one another? Are we working together in our communities to help the poor, feed the hungry, and house our homeless?? Could we not accomplish so much more for Jesus by working together?
Jesus is alive! “Peace be with you.”
Let us break bread together.
And love one another. “The most excellent way.”
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor. 13)
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
“This, this is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable friend,
Whose love is as great as his power,
And neither knows measure nor end.” Joseph Hart (1712-1768)
How can we understand such a deep, infinite, compelling, and transforming love? I can not but only begin to comprehend it in the very same love He has lavished on me through my family and friends. Thank you for your Living Word … may my will be washed in submission … yielding and rejoicing in Heaven’s best for the sake of others and for the glory of your name. Amen
Have a blessed Easter.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
This, then is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from the evil one,
for yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Matthew 6: 5-13
Stand at the crossroads and look;
Ask for the ancient paths,
Ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
And you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
So that we may walk in his paths. (Isaiah 2:3)
Teach me your way O Lord;
Lead me in a straight path. (Psalm 27:11)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge him,
And he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5&6)
I run in the path of your commands,
For you have set my heart free. (Psalm 119:32)
In the way of righteousness there is life;
Along that path is immortality. (Proverbs 12:28)
You have made known to me the path of life;
You fill me with joy in your presence,
With eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)
“What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil — this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing can be taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.” Ecclesiastes 3:9-14