The election is over; now we start on the days to come

Throughout the day I have been logging into my Facebook page and generally checking in with everyone I connect with on social media for their reactions and responses to the surprising results of the election. I do not chose/use the word “surprise” as my own description but as it was described by others. For some it was a pleasant surprise and for some it was not. Amongst the circle of people I connect with through social media and face to face, the majority feel it was not a pleasant surprise but something they feared and continue to fear. And is so often the case, when one fears, one lashes out. And I have heard/read a lot of lashing out. But I have also read/heard voices of hope and determination to make the best of it and work towards compassion, acceptance and unity.  And that is good.

But . . . but . . . these voices of hope and determination also tell me there is great pain and fear underneath. That they have not turned to anger but love and caring is a good and positive thing. It still, however, speaks and indicates the presence of pain and fear.

I have written a time or two about fear and that God does not call us to a life of fear. Not that the Divine does not acknowledge that we fear, but that the Divine does not wish us to live in fear, but in hope and courage. And not because we fear, are afraid and act out of fear but that we banish fear and replace it with trust in God/the Divine.

This is not the first time the nation, individually or as a group, has feared for itself and others. And without being a pessimist or doomsayer, it will not be the last. We, as a nation have lived in fear and through fear. Fear may be out hope, determination and courage – but it does not always bring out the “best” of us. That is what I hope in the days, weeks and months to come we can do – bring out the best of ourselves and bring out the best in others. We can do that by not letting our fear spread and multiply; no, our fear must be set aside in favor of traits that lead to care, compassion, acceptance, understanding, and unity.

This is not “new” exhortations or encouragements. In fact, this sort of encouragement is pretty biblical. I do not have any bible verses to back this up, and these are not reflections that come from the Revised Common Lectionary. Indeed they are kind of extemporaneous in nature. But written from the heart. And these are comments not just from a national perspective, but global. While this election took place and directly impacts the United States, the U.S. is part of the global community and what happens has impact in other parts of the world. The days, weeks, and months to come will be played out against the backdrop of the global community, and the global community will also impact us.

Living in the United States but being a Canadian citizen means I did not have a part in the election process but I still live in the outcome of the election. It has been a interesting position to be in. I feel both a part of the global community and a resident of the United States – not having a voice but still being a presence. In other words, my opinion did not and does not much matter. So I have not shared much as to what I have felt inside.

What I hope has come across is hope in the Divine, and a desire to see love, compassion, caring and peace spread to all people. In the grand scheme of things, a very simple desire. It is my hope and pray that those traits are what fill our nation and the global community. And I hope and pray, beloved reader, that is your desire too. Selah!

 

Monday of Holy Week: Christ’s journey begins. How will we travel?

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.” (Isaiah 42:1-4)

I was reminded of these verses when we were reading the Passion story. Remember I said there were so many things I wanted to say and comment on? One of those things was to point out that Jesus did not say much to Pilate or Herod, that he did not defend himself when mocked. But took all those things upon himself.

Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.” (Verses 5 – 9)

This is the purpose of Jesus Christ, to take on all things for our sake. And Christ then, and our Lord God for evermore is faithful in this.

“Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart! Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me, or the hand of the wicked drive me away. ( Psalm 36:5-11)

From the beginning of God’s relationship to humanity, the Divine has sought to teach and instruct humanity how to live, and how to follow God. God desires above all things to dwell amongst as it was in the beginning. But we, through human flaws and missteps have made gaps between us and the Divine that the Divine has tried to bridge and mend. And to find a new way for humanity to enter into relationship with our Lord.

“But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God! For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. ( Hebrews 9:11-15)

It is during the days of Holy Work that Christ came ever closer to time that the gap would be bridged and mended – from the Lord’s end. We still need to reach out to God in our spirit and in our hearts. Listen to the two ways, out of many ways, that humanity relates to the Divine.

“Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus. ( John 12:1-11)

There are those who hate Jesus, and all that he stands for. And seek to destroy that which the Lord does and instructs us to do. And there are those who remain faithful to the Lord, not letting anyone or anything come between the Lord and themselves. And then . . . there are the rest of us . . . who try to do what we should. Failing at times, and succeeding at other times. We continue to try to make wise and God- filled decisions. Oh beloved reader! Let us chose carefully what we do and say. Let us see clearly what our Lord and our God desires of us. Let that be our plan and intent for the first day of Holy Week. Selah!

Short Note of Welcome

I have noticed in the last few days several additional people have “stumbled upon” this blog. I am very glad you came by and am honored if you have decided to follow. I am pretty busy myself and do not have much chance or time to visit other blogs/websites.
And if you have been a long time reader, I apologize that I have not done more in the way of greeting and welcoming you. While it is gratifying just to have a place to put down one’s thoughts, having others interested enough to read it is an extra blessing. Please “wander around” as you would like. This blog has been running since 2006 and has had various contributors over the years. So look around in our “Blogroll History” which is our archive section. And again, welcome!

Ahem . . . .

I suppose those of you who have been visiting this site for a while have noticed it has a different look. I was just browsing around (actually for another blog that I have started) and saw this theme. I could not resist it, and as WordPress made it easy to switch to I thought “why not?” If you think of a reason, please let me know. And if you encounter any problems with this new theme, please let me know.  Otherwise just sit back and enjoy the new visual. I promise you the content has not changed.

As to my other blog, I am still working out some of the details. It is called “Pondering From the Pacific”. Once I am more sure of what it will look like, I can reference a link. Shalom!

The Shewings of Julian of Norwich

I’ve been meaning to make a weblog of The Shewings of Julian of Norwich available for sometime, and I’ve finally done it:

http://shewings.wordpress.com

Consider it a Christmas present.

Julian (or Juliana) lived in the English village of Norwich in the fourteenth century. She received sixteen “Shewings” (or “Revelations”) which she later wrote down; these were separated into 86 chapters. This weblog will post two chapters, one on Saturday, one on Wednesday. This translation from Julian’s Middle English was done by Grace Warrack and published in 1901. The text was reformatted from the text provided by the Christian Classics Ethereal Library; the text version is used by permission; the content is in the public domain. More recent translations are available, although they are in copyright. Julian’s clear and elegant prose is reasonably easy to read even in Middle English; and Georgia Ronan Crampton’s edition of The Shewings (originally published in print by Medieval Institute Publications of Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1994) is also available on-line, with notes.