Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Search and Find Poem


On the beach, in the woods,
or a crowded mall
Little ones wander off,
till they're really lost.

Fear is felt in the search
Jubilation in the find.

What are we looking for?
Love, comfort, peace of mind
Search the book, the Bible book
No need to search, no more no more
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Tells us whom we're looking for.
Believe and read
Our Savior Divine.
Fear not fear not
You were lost and now been found.

Jubilation in the search
Salvation in the find.


Words from a Journal - #19

Words from the Journal of a student of spiritual discipline

September 7 - 8, 2011 - As I have indicated in previous writings, I long for and watch for affirmation of the words that come to me. This week I experienced one of the strongest so far. The story has three parts. On 9/7/2011 I wrote in my journal and, as shown below, focused on discipline. I then decided that these words definitely were to be posted as soon as possible. So that afternoon while waiting in my Dentist's waiting room, I composed an introduction, which as you will see below, also focused on discipline, entitlement and a society with no limits. The next morning, 9/8/2011, I decided to continue reading in a book titled, "Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life" by Richard Rohr. As I continued my reading on pages 49 and on, I see my introduction coming right back at me. Words like entitlement, no limits and too many folks wearing "I am special" buttons - in essence no discipline. So I know that the words were given to me in order to share with you, the reader.

The introduction: While in my journal this morning, I once again became aware of my lack of discipline. I then dwelt for awhile on how discipline is probably different for everyone. I reflect back on a Spiritual Discipline class I participated in several years ago. Most of the class gave up! Not to criticize anyone, but I think the D word - discipline - has a bad connotation in contemporary America, First we have been led to less and less "discipline" of our children by, in my opinion, a bunch of nut case sociologists and psychologists. Our society is and will continue paying a severe price for our misguided ways, Secondly, we have also become impatient and unwilling to spend the necessary time in learning a trade or business. No one wants to be an apprentice anymore. Everyone wants immediate gratification and expects big paychecks without the necessary skills. Our entitlement society is crumbling around us. Thus, not surprisingly, we don't have the discipline to study, pray or even read our Bibles.

From the journal: "... My dreams last night were standard dreams of frustration - how to progress when every step in every direction comes up short. I awoke and came to write! I know I was guided through the dreams to get up and come to the Holy Spirit for guidance and my words for this time. Not just for today, but for years to come - for others to read, digest and act upon. Of course, the "me in me" gets in the way. My lack of discipline has weakened my connection with Sophia (Holy Spirit). I am as a stranger! We talk and understand different words. It is only through discipline and concentration that one's spirit is released to soar with the eagles - to receive the love of God. Pastors tend to push "staying in the word (Bible) or staying in prayer." Both good and excellent, but I believe that we have all been given spiritual gifts - those listed in the Bible plus others that we can't even understand. We must use our personal gift to approach God thru Sophia, I know that mine is to journal! It is a form of prayer for me and of communing with the holy ones. It is how I "see" into the great beyond. But back to discipline - one must practice - long and hard! We must use our spiritual muscle constantly to make it strong. A muscle we can rely on when the going gets tough. It's a matter of faithfulness. Not that we are denied because we wander away, but our ability to receive and accept is diminished. Our window to God's guidance becomes dirty and clouded when we lose discipline! Exercise your spiritual muscle! all the time! Amen"

R. Jeremiah

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Words from a Journal - #18

Words from the Journal of a student of spiritual discipline

August 9, 2011 - Oh, Sophia(Holy Spirit)! where is my discipline? I just read several days of Merton and read one I missed last year. It was for August 4th and was titled "Getting Things Done" from his book titled "Contemplation in an World of Action." This one really hit me at my core; it is short, but profound. "Let us start from one admitted fact: if prayer, meditation and contemplation were once taken for granted as central realities in human life everywhere, they are so no longer. They are regarded, even by believers, as somehow marginal and secondary. What counts is getting things done." That is me - that is always my excuse. Interestingly enough I am here at this place because of attending a class on "Getting Things Done". I have spent my life reading books on efficiency and Getting Things Done. I spent the most rewarding part of my business career helping manufacturing folks become more efficient in of all things cleaning large 6 story chemical facilities between product change overs to avoid contamination. What a coincidence that yesterday out of the blue Pastor switched our Bible study topic and moved us back into a contemplative mood to do "Lectio Divina." A slow deliberate reading of scripture.

Sophia, I know that I have wandered away from my discipline and in some not so subtle ways you are putting me back into my Jeremiah mode. Recently Pastor asked me about my vision for the church. At first I drew a blank and then it hit me - a transformed church that will contrast with the traditional model! I see famous old church buildings standing empty and deserted or with just a few parishioners. The buildings are not the church! The people are the church! We have created our own idols. Why have we not learned? The building has always been a distraction down through the ages. In contrast to the Old Testament we find very few, if any, words from the Lord about building "temples" out of mortar and wood. The temple is within us - in our hearts. I envision a church unhampered by "erroneous" traditions. Free to commit its time and treasure to doing God's mission. A change - a transformation - in mind set and focus is required!

R. Jeremiah

Saturday, September 3, 2011

MAtthew 18:15 - 20 A Recipe From Scripture

September 4, 2011
Matthew 18:15 – 20

God’s Recipe for Discipline and Forgiveness in the Church
Let us pray:
Merciful God, who of us has not experienced frustration? Who of us does not meet with experiences which baffle us? There are hindrances all along the pathway of our lives. At best, we cannot see far ahead. Every day impresses the fact upon us that we stand in the need of your grace. May we ask that we approach your throne today with this fact uppermost in our minds, and at the footstool of mercy, let us bow our heads in prayer for the divine guidance we so sorely need. Amen
A prayer by the Rev. Mark Ralph Gilbert, 1941

Last week we moved our daughter into her semi – completed apartment in Baltimore. The storms prevented me from being able to use the word “completed”. Despite the delay we found ourselves in good spirits until we got to the boxes of furniture from IKEA all needing to be assembled. Each box had a different set of directions and tools. Each box was as confounding for me as the next. Every page of instruction doused my hopes of ever getting her furniture put together. “Why can’t they just write out easy step by step instructions?” I consistently murmured to myself.
As I was reading today’s text this memory of instructions, these recipes for putting together furniture came to mind. How easy our Lord has made life for us! His directions for living in a forgiving community are so very clear in this text and then I began to wonder…are they as easy as I think they are?

Discipline and Forgiveness in the Church: A Recipe
Step I
a. If a brother sins against you .............. go to him and show him his faults

This step is only between the two of you
Step 2
a. If he listens .............................. all is well!
b. If he DOES NOT listen :
Go to him with 2 others who can provide testimony
c. If he refuses to listen ............................. take it to the church
d. This step is an example of something called:
“Above Ground” Church Community
“ Underground “ Church Community
e. If he still does not listen to the church:
Shunning occurs
Step III
The final product of this recipe is either
Binding (Unforgiving) or Loosing (forgiving)

What the Community does on earth is reflected in heaven

Why is this recipe, this set of instructions a necessary part of Holy Scripture? They are important as getting the correct nail length in the book case shelf which will insure stability under even the greatest of pressures. They are important because interpersonal relations especially in the church should reflect the love of God in Christ at all times. Being in community means forgiving as we hope to be forgiven; realizing the power and impact that the church as a forgiving people of God has on the greater world. Christians who pray “Our father” presuppose this sacred community in Christ. Therefore, Matthew offers a recipe, a set of instructions for reconciliation which first assumes that the church’s identity is as a community founded in and actively practices the forgiveness as seen in Christ. A church community has the power to heal by modeling forgiveness.