MY JOURNEY TO THE WAY- PART 4 – more hope

Father Timothy said he will interested in my thoughts about Lent.  The saturation and poetry of the scripture readings went straight to my soul where they steeped in the deep waters of my being.  I had never experienced Easter in that way before.  It was a journey with Christ from Lazarus  to the Resurrection in Holy Week.  I loved it!

An act of love I will also never forget was that of Nadine sharing her umbrella with me, holding it more over my head than hers so that she got rained on and I did not.  I felt so bad, but she insisted.  I was unworthy of such an act and so receiving that gift was extremely difficult.

The fast itself was difficult at times as well.  Part of it was that I still have yet to grasp the significance of it.  I am willing to learn.

My favorite part of Holy Week was the Friday service where the Lamentations were read.  You know that author who actually puts into words the thoughts in your mind?  This is Lamentations for me.  It is full of the echos of my soul.  I absolutely loved it!  It included Lamentations in the Bible but also had the journey of Christ to the Cross, to Hades to the Resurrection in beautiful language.

There was something special about the Lazarus story that struck my soul. Jesus called to Lazarus  after he was in the grave for 4 days.  Lazarus was indeed dead. No doubt about it.  When they removed the stone, the smell of rotting flesh must have escaped the tomb. There were people standing outside the tomb, as the icon depicts, with their hands over their nose, not in wonder, but because of the smell.  That is reality.

But what strikes me is that Lazarus had nothing to do with Jesus calling His name.  He did not ask for that to happen.  He was helpless to respond. He was dead. He did not want to respond, but neither could he refuse to respond.  He was dead.

The same principle is shown in the story about the 4 friends who let down their sick friend through the roof to the room where Jesus  was.  The story says nothing about the sick man’s desires, condition or status.  It says nothing about his morals or his righteousness.  What it does talk about is the concern and action of his 4 friends.

There is hope, therefore, for the one who has strayed from following Jesus, and cannot even see that they are dead in their sins.  They may be blind in the darkness in which they are walking and may not even have a desire to change.  Worse, they may have deceived themselves and really believe that God would have them happy in the lifestyle they have chosen.

The hope is that the prayers and faith of the ones who love them may be effectual and may avail much.  God may have mercy, give sight to the blind and cause their spiritual awakening and salvation.  This is the hope for every parent who grieves over a lost child. The hope for every lost or wayward soul who is loved by one who knows God.

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My Morning Mantra

Thank you, Lord, that You are in control, that You work all things after the counsel of Your own will.

Thank you, Lord, that you do everything right on time, that my times are in Your hands.

Thank you, Lord, that You are faithful, the same yesterday, today, and forever, that You are the Rock that I stand on, the Song that I sing, my strong Habitation whereunto I continually resort.

Thank you, Lord, that You are my helper, that my help comes from the Lord which made heaven and earth, that You will not suffer my foot to be moved. You who keeps me will not slumber, You that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is my Keeper, the Lord is my Shade upon my right hand.  The sun shall not smite me by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord shall preserve me from all evil.  He shall preserve my soul.  The Lord shall preserve my going out and my coming in from this time forth and even forevermore.

Thank you, Lord, that You are good, that Your mercy is everlasting, that your truth endures to all generations.

Thank you, Lord, that You love me with an everlasting love, that You command your lovingkindness in the daytime and in the night Your song will be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

Thank you, Lord, that You are my life.  You said that if I believe in you, out of my belly shall flow rivers of living water.

For in You I live, in You I move, and in You I have my being!

…taken  from the Holy Bible

Reciting this every morning for years on my way to work has helped me start the day with the right perspective and has enabled me to leave the day in His hands no matter what happens.

“Something Beautiful”

Something Beautiful

“If there were ever dreams that were lofty and noble
They were my dreams from the start
And the hopes for life’s best, were the hopes that I harbored
Down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes, my castles all crumbled
My fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of my life
And laid it at the cross

And He made something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But He made something beautiful of my life.”

-Bill Gaither

Tonight I was watching a man expressing his love to his family while he was on stage singing.  It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  I cried.  I cried for the beauty of it.  I cried for the loss of it, for never having known it.  I cried when I saw the look on his wife’s face.  There really are men out there that love their wives and families with all their hearts and are not only faithful, but live their lives for that moment when they walk through the door to be with their family every night.  These are men who are noble, honest and good.

I can see the beauty of love in their eyes.  I can see it reflected in the faces and eyes of their wives and children.  They glow with beauty.  This kind of man is “one of America’s best.”  He is a man who has been tested, tried, and has been found a winner, a creation of beauty.

Jaded eyes cannot see this beauty.  Bitterness blinds with night and there is no joy in morning.  Castles have crumbled, dreams have turned to ashes, and all is lost. These eyes have known rejection and betrayal, and refuse to believe there is beauty.  All men are relegated to realms of the damned.  All men are liars and cheats.  That is all she has ever known.

Until-

One day her eyes were opened to behold the most beautiful Love there has ever been.  A Love Who is in control…

A Love Who holds her times in His hand…

Who is faithful, a Rock to stand on, a Song to sing, a strong Habitation where she can continually resort…

A Love Who made heaven and earth and yet helps her…

A Love Who is good, Whose mercy is everlasting, and Whose truth endures forever…

Who commands His loving kindness to her in the daytime and sends His song to her in the night…

A Love Who gives her life, Who is her life…

Who gives her sight…

She takes His hand,

And in Him she lives, and moves, and has her being.