Friday, February 23, 2018

Lent - Week 2, Day 6

Br. Tristram points out in today's video that not only did the Word become flesh, at the point that Jesus was born, but that when He was resurrected, He again became flesh.  He gave Thomas the opportunity to touch where he had been wounded, and the holes that were created.  So, "the Word became flesh." (John 1:14)

"When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week …Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord." (John 20:19-20)

We know from Biblical history and today's thoughts that Jesus, the Word, becoming flesh, changed the world, changed the lives of the disciples.  Today, think about how different your own life would be if He had not.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Lent - Week 2, Day 5

Br. Woodrum has an interesting perspective in today's video, and the verse from John 4:14:  "And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world."  He points out that there is no such thing as a "self-made" man (or woman, as the case may be), but rather someone who has asked for and received help at points along the way.

Asking for help can be a terribly difficult concept for some people.  My own belief is that God provided me with an opportunity to learn just how to do that when I had extremely active rheumatoid arthritis, and was not particularly pleasant to be around.  I would ask for help, but was so disgusted with myself for having to do so, that I would forget to be gracious in receiving it, and thankful to the person providing it.  It took time, but God showed me that by asking for help, I was also providing opportunities for others to shine, to provide a service, to be God's hands (or mine at times, as the case may be).  Lessons learned, and God allowed the arthritis to go into remission, straightened my hands, fingers and knees back out, and I have a whole arsenal of new understanding from both sides now, and can help others understand. 

So today, ask yourself: 

What in my life needs help?

Where can I not go it alone?

Where do I need God’s help and love and provision in order to take the next step?

Am I ready to ask for His help?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Lent - Week 2, Day 4

Br. Bartoli makes an interesting point in today's video, about Jesus' teaching through not only the Word, but by His actions and presence.  One of His instructions comes in John 13:12-15:  "If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you."

His encouragement "to include in your prayers a prayer to let God help us more fully embody God’s love in the world, to let God live through us, as Jesus did", gives us an interesting challenge.  Perhaps this may help - will people recognize you as a Christian?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Lent - Week 2, Day 3

Br. Maury brings today's video, focusing on the Word made flesh.  John 5:2-6 says:  "Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Bethzatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids, blind, lame and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?"

So there's the question:  do you want to be healed?  Do you believe that God can heal you? 

Listen to yourself during the day.  Set aside a penny every time you make a complaint; every time you ignore Christ's sacrifice for you to be well.  Perhaps a jar is in order.  Add another penny for every blessing you count during the day.  When you decide to stop counting, offer that money as a blessing to someone else.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Lent - Week 2, Day 2

Br. Tristram describes the incarnation today - the greatest gift God could provide to us out of His love for us.  Do listen to the video - Br. Tristram has an awesome voice for reading the Gospel:  "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

As you contemplate your prayers, and your own humanity, be honest with yourself, as you answer, "How honest am I in my prayers?"

And as you try to wrap your mind around that concept, I'd also like to share today's reading from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book Discipleship:  "Following Christ means taking certain steps. The first step, which responds to the call, separates the followers from their previous existence. A call to discipleship thus immediately creates a new situation. Staying in the old situation and following Christ mutually exclude each other. At first, that was quite visibly the case. The tax collector had to leave his booth and Peter his nets to follow Jesus. According to our under standing, even back then things could have been quite different. Jesus could have given the tax collector new knowledge of God and left him in his old situation. If Jesus had not been God's Son become human, then that would have been possible. But because Jesus is the Christ, it has to be made clear from the beginning that his word is not a doctrine. Instead, it creates existence anew. The point was to really walk with Jesus. It was made clear to those he called that they only had one possibility of believing in Jesus, that of leaving everything and going with the incarnate Son of God."

In today's society, where we generally don't leave our vocations in order to follow Christ and become Christians, think about how you can reflect the changes within yourself in your own work.  How you might perform your job as if Jesus were right there with you.  There's a great song, "The Name Lives On" (I've shared it here before, but it's worth sharing again), and while it lets us know that Christ is always with us, watch, and think about Jesus being with you throughout your day, experiencing your joys, your sorrows, your contentment, your fears.  Does your behavior change?  Your thoughts?  Your prayers?  Your feeling of safety?  Your guilt level? 

You're a human through whom God lives - He knows what you're experiencing.  Being honest with Him means being honest with yourself as well.  That's often easier said than done.  Challenge yourself.  One day, with Christ.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lent - Week 2, Day 1

God's love as revealed in and through Jesus Christ - this is the theme for this week, as introduced in the video by Br. Brown.

This week begins with one of the most fascinating verses in the Bible, John 1:1:  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

It's always interesting to realize that Christ is the Word of God, and that absolutely everything we know about God is through Christ. 

Think about what the "Word" means - is it only something spoken?  Is it actions that are visible to others? 

Think too about the following:  The power of the Word – power that spoke the world into being, power that is discussed in two commandments, power that invokes the name of Christ in our prayers – all of these things point to the fact that while humanity may believe that the Word has lost its power, God has made it pretty clear that we must be very careful with our words.

The challenge today is to be conscious of the word choices you make.  Are they reflective of the person you want to be known as?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Lent - Week 1, Day 7

Aha!  Seventh days are recaps. So, if you missed any of the videos this week, you can find all of them in here in one place.

So today, what I'd like you to do is think about each of the quotes and questions the brothers asked this week.  In case you've forgotten, the things to think about are:

Think back on your life. How has God’s love for you been mediated? Through whom has that happened? How has that happened, that you have come to know something about God’s love? And then conversely, where do you find in yourself any resistance? Is there something about you, who you are, how you are, as you are, the way you are, that you think precludes God’s love for you?

So which world is it that God loves? Is it the world, the creation in its original glory, or is it the world that is fallen, broken, imperfect, sinful?

So one prayer practice that you might try is you might come up with a prayer of self-offering, a prayer that offers the wholeness of your self beyond your particular feelings on any given day, beyond your perhaps desire to earn God’s love, and it can just be a prayer that offers your whole self, knowing that grace has prompted you to pray that prayer and that grace will follow upon that prayer after you’ve offered it along with your whole self.

God comes – as our verse reminds us today – not to condemn, but to save.  For God loves you as you are.  Listen for God’s voice to you today.

From what and from whom do you derive your sense of worth, your sense of who you are? How might this be different if you embraced as the central characteristic of your identity the fact that you are a beloved child of God?

Let us pray today for Jesus to grant us memories of those times when our fears have been dispelled by the perfect love which casts out fear, by the remembrance of God which has come to us either in our life of prayer or in our relationships with others.

And my question for you today is, what can you do to help yourself understand and believe that you are loved by God?  Think about the lessons the brothers have shared with us, and contemplate it as you listen to the following: