Christ’s Resurrection Light

 

I posted this prayer on Facebook this morning. It was so popular that I decided to add a photo and post it again here. enjoy!

Christ's resurrection light.001

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Naming Jesus – Who Do We Think That He Is?

Good Samaritan by He Qi

Good Samaritan by He Qi

Today on the liturgical calendar, is the day we celebrate the circumcision of Christ.  Since our cultures are more squeamish than were those of our ancestors, modern calendars usually list it as the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.   Just like every Jewish boy, Jesus as circumcised and formally named on the eighth day of his life, and so, one week after Christmas, while we are still celebrating the wonder and the joy of the Saviour who came to dwell amongst us, we celebrate this occasion  In Jesus day, a name was far more important than it tends to be today.   Introducing a person just about gave you their whole genealogy and sometimes even reflected their personality.

As a celebration of then naming of Jesus why not get together with a group of friends for a party maybe not today but after those New Year hangovers have settled. This could be a good way to shake off those post Christmas blues.  Bring a name book with you.  Look up the names of each person in your group and discuss their meanings.  Get each person to share the story of why they were given that name.  Then ask the question: In what ways does your name reflect the call that God has placed on your life?  Some of you may like to consider a new name that reflects what you believe is God’s call on your life.  One friend of mine changed his name from Bill to Will because he felt it better reflected his desire to use his life “doing the will of God.”

Next spend time discussing the names of Jesus.  Get each person to write down the names that they remember as being applied to Jesus in the Scriptures.  You might like to have a competition to see who can think of the most names.  Or you could write a poem or song that reflects these names.  End your time with a discussion about how you could represent these different aspects of who Jesus can be to those who live around you.

Names matter. What we call Jesus matters. If we see him as Lord it can imply a distant and unapproachable God who is unconcerned for human suffering. If we call him servant, we see him down in the dirty places of our world and we want to join him. I have written about this previously in the post: Sometimes I want to Call God Mother. Think about it for a few minutes and then listen to this powerful 5 minute sermon by Rev SM Lockridge entitled That’s My King.

Or you might like to use this liturgy to reflect on:

Liturgy for Holy Name Day

Greater Than the Bible

I am currently rereading E Stanely Jones‘ The WayIt is one of my favourite devotionals and I find myself coming back to it time and time again. This week I am working through a section where Jones talks about Jesus as being greater than the Bible, greater than the Ten Commandments, greater than the Creeds,  and even greater than faith itself. It is a challenging and thought provoking series of devotionals.

Jesus is greater than the Bible, there is only one mediator, ( 1 Tim 2:5) and one way to God. All scripture, all creeds, all revelation must be viewed and judged through the filter of Jesus Christ – his life, death and resurrection. Eternal life is not in the pages of the Bible, it is in Christ who is uncovered through the scriptrues. The Word is not made printer’s ink, says Jones, The Word was made flesh, not a page buta person.

It is true that we would know little about Christ if it were not for the Bible. The Old Testament is the period of preparation for Christ, the New Testament is the revelation of Christ. We need to remember however that the New Testament is the report of various people’s impressions of Jesus, it is not Jesus himself. Yes it is divinely inspired and it has caught the essential meaning of who Christ is but as Jones says: we always have the feeling that they were trying to tell the untellable and express the inexpressible.

All of life is an ongoing revelation of Christ. We see him revealed in the face of friend and stranger. We see his presence in God’s wonderful creation. We see his miracles in our daily provision, in our healing from illnesses and more than anything in loving acts towards one another. He existed before the Bible was written. His presence fills all things, and holds all creation together (Colossians 1:15-20). It is good for us to remember this and give thanks.

Living Christ I give you thanks for what you reveal,
Something fresh each morning, something new each evening.
You are a constant surprise to me,
I hold my breath as new things unfold in every moment,
My soul tingles with expectancy and I thank you.

I would love to know your thoughts on this.

Let Us Desire Nothing But God – A Prayer by St Francis of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi via Dating God

I was sent this prayer by St Francis of Assisi a few days ago by Jamie Arpin Ricci. It was posted at Dating God: Franciscan Spirituality for 21st Century.  It seemed a very appropriate prayer for me this morning as I have been meditating on what means to keep Jesus always in my sight and to enter into prayer with all my heart and soul and mind.

A couple of days ago in my post Can We see the Face of God and Live, I mentioned that I have been reading  Lord, Teach Us To Pray by 19th century Scottish pastor Alexander Whyte. He reminded me that “prayer is the very highest energy of which the human heart is capable.; prayer, that is, with the total concentration of all our faculties. He goes on to say: Believe me, to pray with all your heart, and strength, that is the last, the greatest, achievement of the Christian’s warfare on this earth.

Therefore,
let us desire nothing else,
let us want nothing else,
let nothing else please us and cause us delight
except our Creator, Redeemer and Savior,
the only true God,
Who is the fullness of good,
all good, every good, the true and supreme good,
Who alone is good,
merciful, gentle, delightful, and sweet,
Who alone is holy,
just, true, holy, and upright,
Who alone is kind, innocent, clean,
from Whom, through Whom and in Whom
is all pardon, all grace, all glory
of all penitents and just ones,
of all the blessed rejoicing together in heaven.
Amen.

If you are wanting a challenging approach to prayer you may like to download a pdf of Whyte’s book here

Ten Truths I Believe About God

Jesus enters Jerusalem

Jesus enters Jerusalem

Over the last few weeks I have spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of God I believe in. This is a practice that I like to do regularly, affirming my faith and my trust in God in the process. Here is a beginning place in my ponderings.

  1. YAHWEH is a God of love and goodness – this is the foundation of my faith. I don’t always understand what God is doing but I am more than ever convinced that, as Paul says, nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:31-39)
  2. In Jesus Christ God took on flesh and dwelt amongst us. He is not the only revelation of God in this world but he is the fullest revelation of God that we have and through him we can come to understand God more fully (John 14:6)
  3. God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, an advocate who will never leave us but will lead us into the truths of God (John 14:15-21)
  4. God’s desire is the restoration and renewal of all things and this will be accomplished through the redeeming work of Christ our Saviour. (John 3:15-17)
  5. God is merciful and forgiving, desiring that all people will repent of the sins that distract and separate them from his presence and longing to draw all of us into a loving and intimate relationship with himself.  God, the good shepherd lovingly pursues and “sheep” that strays and does everything possible to restore each of us to a loving relationship with himself.
  6. God is just and righteous and and is working to establish an eternal world of peace and wholeness in which justice and righteous reign forever.
  7. God is faithful and true and will always fulfill what he has promised, though sometimes the fulfillment of these promises may look very different from what we expect.
  8. God is a God of abundance wh wants to and is able to provide lavishly and generously for all our daily needs.
  9. God is compassionate and caring, with a heart that aches for every suffering person in our world.
  10. God is a creator and not a destroyer, bringing into being all that is good and true and just.

What are the truths that hold you strong in your faith?

Can We See The Face of God and Live?

Held in God's hand

Held in God’s hand

A couple of days ago in my post Why Do We Hide From God  I said:

You cannot meet God face to face and live the Old Testament prophets often proclaimed. God’s greatness passes all comprehension. God’s love and holiness is beyond our imagining.

So my question this morning is – Can we meet God face to face and live? In some ways the answer is no. The light of God’s radiance is so blind, the revelation of God’s character so mind boggling that we cannot see and hear it and live. Fortunately God knows that and does everything possible to reveal the divine presence in such a way that we can face this revelation and live.

It is Jesus Christ, Word made flesh, that enables us to see God. It is the birth, the whole life, the words, the works, the death, the resurrection, the ascension and the ongoing revelation through the Holy Spirit that reveals who God is to us. I love this quote from Lord, Teach Us to Pray by nineteenth century Scottish pastor Alexander Whyte:

There is nothing, in earth or in heaven, to our imagination now like the Word made flesh…. The truly Christian imagination never lets Jesus Christ out of her sight. And she keeps him in her sight and ever before her inward eyes in this way.  (p249)

To meet God face to face we must constantly keep Jesus in our sight. We must lift our faces always to see the compassion and love in his face, to see the heartache and the suffering indelibly etched in his countenance, to see the grace and the forgiveness so lavishly expressed to us through it. Our hearts should ache with longing for this kind of revelation.

Perhaps however the God revealed through Jesus is still too radiant for us to look at face to face. Is it possible to read the Sermon on the Mount fully attentive to what Jesus is saying without looking away in shame because of how poorly we have followed these commands? Is it possible to gaze into Jesus face hearing him say “love your neighbour as yourself” and “love your enemies” without feeling we want to run away and hide?

If when we read the gospels we truly opened our eyes to see the God revealed in Jesus Christ, if we stopped to imagine that Jesus was actually standing in the room with us as we read these words what difference would it make? Or perhaps we need to imagine ourselves in the stories. Jesus healing the leper is our story. We feel the self-loathing, the despair, the uncleanness of our souls and hearts that separates us from God, but instead of crying to Jesus for cleansing we hide. Perhaps we feel like Lazarus in the grave or Mary Magdalene, or Peter disowning Christ, or Judas selling his saviour for a few coins. All of their stories are our stories and the true miracle is that each of these people had the opportunity to meet Jesus face to face. The unnamed leper, Lazarus, Mary and Peter were transformed. Judas could not face the revelation and turned away.

When was the last time you were fully attentive to God? When was the last time you felt God’s heart beating within you, sensed God’s upon you or heard God’s loving whispers? When was the last time you met God’s eye, repented of your sins and listened to the joy that rang through heaven at your renewal?

This morning I know these are questions I need to ask myself and I would encourage you to do the same.

 

April Synchroblog – What If Jesus Did Not Rise

resurrection of Jesus

Resurrection of Jesus

For the April 2012 Synchroblog, we are exploring the question,“What if the resurrection is a lie?”

Make no mistake, we are not challenging the historical fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. We firmly believe in the historical reality of the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus.

But we also know that soon after the resurrection of Jesus, Christians were accused of inventing this story. Some critics claimed that Jesus never died. Others said that the apostles stole the body of Jesus from the grave. Today, there are countless millions of people who still believe that the resurrection is a hoax.

Here is a list of bloggers who contributed to this month’s Synchroblog. If you participated, please include this list of links on your blog!