Christ our PEACE

Twin Brothers in Nicaragua

Twin Brothers in Nicaragua

When I was reading the scriptures in preparation for Eucharist, this passage from Micah jumped out at me:

He shall take his place as shepherd
by the strength of the Lord,
by the majestic name of the Lord, his God;
And they shall dwell securely, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth:
he shall be peace. (Micah 5:4)

Eight centuries before the birth of Jesus the Christ, Micah proclaimed peace. The Hebrew word shalom has a richness of meaning that is hard to capture in English—health, wholeness, well-being, Micah is promising us total peace when the Christ reigns. Continue reading

Prepare ye the way of the Lord

The readings for the First Sunday of Advent set the tone for the season. Richard Rohr, reflecting on Advent, tells us that we must adopt an adult view of Advent and Christmas. We always have a threefold dimension—part, present, and future. The past is the physical birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The present, about which we will say more, is the presence of the Risen Christ in our hearts and our universe. The future is the coming of the Cosmic Christ to bring all things to completion.

Jesus of Nazareth is history, so to speak. Jesus today lives on as the Christ—the Son of Man anointed by the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, the Christ lives in our hearts and in our communities of faith. Merton was fond of quoting the Eastern mystics, “God became human so that we might become divine.” Thus, Christ lives in us as our deepest reality, our true self which is aligned with the will of God as Jesus was during his earthly life. We are created in the image and likeness of God. God is our deepest reality. Continue reading

The Desert

The desert—place of renewal and turning your life around. John the Baptizer went into the desert and preached repentance. People who went to John in the desert expected to see a prophet, a messenger from God. They did not go, as The Message translation says, to see a “weekend camper” or a “sheik dressed in silk pajamas.” Continue reading

Are We Worshipping the Beast?

The Book of Revelation, often mistaken for a book of predictions, is an eschatological book. It is really about the imperial Roman Empire which is persecuting the Church. The eschatological imagery allows the author to critique the Roman Empire without appearing to critique the Empire. Rome is the Beast.

In chapter 20 the author says:

Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment.
I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God,
and who had not worshiped the beast or its image
nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands.
They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Continue reading

Friday 1st Week–The Messiah

From the moment the tenor intones “Comfort ye my people” to the majestic Halleluiah Chorus Handel’s Messiah captures the essence of Advent—comfort, hope, change. The blind will see and the lame will leap. The people who have seen a great darkness will see a great light. Halleluiah!!! Hope abounds for we have seen a great light, Jesus the Christ dwells among us. Rejoice!

Today’s reading from Isaiah (29:17-24) says all this and adds:

The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will be no more
and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
those whose mere word condemns a man,
Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.

The incarnation has a social dimension. It has a political dimension. The poor will rejoice because they will be exulted while the proud and haughty oppressors will be brought low.

Matthew (9:27-31) recounts that Jesus healed two blind men. Jesus heals us. We who were walking in darkness have indeed seen a great light—Jesus the Christ living among us, living in us is us.

We attended the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performance of the Messiah last night. God was there in all God’s glory from the opening “Comfort” to the final “Halleluiah!” The mystery of the Incarnation, Light of Lights, the beauty of the music with harmonious sounds of the instruments and the beautiful blending of human voices served to create glory and praise to our God. The Halleluiah Chorus was magnificent and powerful! It left me breathless. It filled me with awe.

Beautiful music stirs us to belief and hope. Hearing the Messiah, we have to hope. We can envision the lame leaping, the deaf hearing, the blind seeing, and the poor exulting.

As I write this, I realize that words can never capture an experience like this. The only thing to do is to listen to the Christmas portions of the Messiah and to enjoy God’s presence among us.

Awake! Rejoice! Leap for joy! Shout “Halleluiah! Halleluiah! Halleluiah!”