Archive | June, 2012

Bring Down Goliath

24 Jun

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 4 After Pentecost

Bring Down Goliath

I noticed that in the Gospel lesson for today the disciples wake Jesus up in their panic over their boat already being swamped in the evening storm which had kicked up on the lake (Mk 4:37), and that Jesus simply rebuked the SEA (not the disciples.)  The boys were afraid for their lives and in their fear they assumed that God did not care. (v 38)  In the midst of the panic, Jesus does not react to their panic.  He rebukes the SEA with the words “Peace! Be still!” (v 39) Then he asks the boys, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” (v 40)  We all live in a “sea” of energy that is constantly being stirred up.  We can sense this energy in our bodies and spirits, and our minds have studied it and done scientific experiments on this Life Force energy that swirls like an invisible sea all around us.  Jesus’ questions are still valid for us today: Why are we afraid?  Have we still no faith?  Our world is experiencing biblical-proportion turmoil and storms in every sector of society (ie political, social, educational, financial, religious, …) but why are we still experiencing SPIRITUAL storms?  Where’s our faith?  God has already laid out in amazing detail what these times would be like and the way they would play out in blessing; (I say ‘blessing’ since we ultimately do get what we really want.)  And according to The Angelic Times [tongue in cheek to the times]: “God IS In Control!”  Things are progressing the way God said that they would.  And yet the spiritual storms are still frothing and foaming with a vengeance. 

If we trusted the Father and were sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we would be able to bring Christ’s peace and calm into our own storms by rebuking the sea and not the people.  I propose that what is hindering the expansion of peace and calm into our world is two-fold: 1) the focus must stay on GOD and not on man, and 2) we don’t yet quite seem to understand the dynamic of what SUPPORT means.  There is still a watery delusion that confuses entitlement with support.  When entitlements run out, then we humans test the people by worthiness standards, which no one can measure up to, and then when the structure weakens further, we cement a more rigid caste system in place to compensate for the weakness.  In our culture we are proficient in testing each other, but we can’t seem to understand how to support each other.  We must open wide our hearts (2 Cor 6:13) if we are to “go across to the other side” in this “evening” season of our collective growth cycle. (ref Mk 4:35)  Part of being supportive is recognizing, trusting, and leaning on each other’s gifts in a dance of interdependence without vamping the gifts of the other person or breaching the integrity of self or other. 

We can learn a thing or two from the shepherd boy, David, in combination with today’s Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings selected by the Committee who chooses them.  The Committee posts what passages the Spirit is leading them to select.  The Spirit leads the mainline pastors who use the RCL in what God is trying to teach each congregation through those passages.  The Spirit may or may not be invited by those pastors to remain with each congregation, because the invitation must be received, wanted, accepted, believed, and cherished.  The Spirit is available, nonetheless.  When the Lectionary Barons pick and choose what passages to include and exclude within each holy day, their inclusions and exclusions create a bass-relief portrait.  Today’s was quite revealing.

Every picture has a starting point.  The Lectionary Barons started with the inclusion of 1 Sam 17:1.  The Israelites gather for battle against the Philistines on Judah’s turf.  [Judah = ie The Church] 

Excluded: v 2-3.  These verses describe the two sides drawing up the battle lines.  [The Church’s own “battle lines” are rather fuzzy, so the exclusion is telling in itself.]

Included: 1 Sam 17:4-11.  Goliath is described and how he taunts the Israelites.  The Israelites are dismayed and greatly afraid.

Excluded: v 12-16.  This portion tells the reader where young David was during this time (v 15) and who his dad, Jesse, was.  David spent his time running back and forth between Saul and tending his dad’s sheep at Bethlehem.  For forty days Goliath continued to taunt the Israelites on the battle line every single morning and evening.  (Taunting bullies are exhausting people to be around!  David is not at the frontline so he is not caught in that energy.) 

Excluded: v 17-18.  Jesse’s character of hospitality is exemplified by how he gathers roasted grain, ten loaves of bread and cheeses and asks David to bring the goodies to his brothers on the battlefront.

Included: 1 Sam 17:19-23.  David leaves the sheep with a keeper, takes the provisions his dad had given him to give to his brothers.  David arrives at the battlefront just as the warriors are shouting the war cry. (v 20)  David leaves the provisions with “the keeper of the baggage” [And note that Christ is the keeper of our baggage!] and runs to greet his brothers in the ranks.  As he talks with them, Goliath steps to the forefront of his own ranks.  Now David gets to hear Goliath’s insults for himself. (v 23)

Excluded: v 24-31.  The Israelites retreat from Goliath in great fear. (v 24)  They offer the reader their take on things:

1 Sam 17:25 Do you see how this man keeps coming out?  He comes out to defy Israel.  The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him.  He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father’s family from taxes in Israel.

Since David hadn’t been at the camp to hear what the men were saying, he didn’t know the situation or the king’s reward but he must have sensed something was up.  He asked the men standing hear him what would be done for the man who brought down this Philistine and removed this disgrace from Israel and who defied the armies of the Living God. (v 26)  They repeat to David what they’d been saying. (v 27) 

When David’s oldest brother, Eliab, hears him speaking with the men “he burned with anger” and asked David, “Why have you come down here?  And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert?  I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” (v 28)  At this point my own righteous indignation flared on David’s behalf.  What his brother said to him was not fair!  David was there on a mission of mercy sent by his own father.  Eliab didn’t know the backstory.  He only knew the feelings of anxiety spreading like infection through the ranks.  He did what a lot of oldest brothers would do: question the youngest’s motives, question their sense of duty and obligation, question their sense of responsibility, and then state how they know the other’s heart (because they probably do from experience!) but that does not mean they are correct in fitting every assumption into every situation.

Excluded: v 29-31.  David’s reaction to his brother: “Now what have I done?  Can’t I even speak?” (v 29)  David turned away to someone else and brought up the former issue of bounty reward.  He’d already heard it laid out, but he probably asked again so that he could refocus.  Saul’s men overheard what David said, and reported it to the king. (v 31)

Included: 1 Sam 17:32-37.  David offers to defeat Goliath himself.  He explains to King Saul that he’s battled and won against bear and lion who have attacked his father’s lambs.  David stands firm in front of the king, exalting God for God delivering him from the paw of the bear and lion.  Going up against Goliath would be no different.  God would deliver.  So Saul agreed. (v 37)

Included: 1 Sam 17:38-39 Saul clothes David with his own armor but David can’t move in it for he wasn’t used to them.  So David removed them [!-We can’t wear someone else’s baggage well!]. (v 39)  David goes to the wadi and selects five smooth stones to put in his shepherd’s bag, takes his sling in his hand and goes off to face Goliath. (v 40)  Goliath draws near to David with his shield-bearer in front of him. [Isn’t that exactly how the ego still works?  Our shield-bearers go out in front of us.]  Goliath cops a bigger attitude of arrogance because he feels invincible and David is just a youth, a pretty face. (v 42)  Goliath taunts some more. (v 43-44)  David stands in the name of the Lord of Hosts.  He uses Goliath’s words back to him but rephrasing them in God’s power for God to glorify Himself. (v 46-47)  Goliath steps closer to David.  David runs toward the battle line to meet him. [Is that not what we must do when facing our ego’s deepest and loudest fears?] (v 48)  David takes out a stone from his pouch and puts it in his slingshot; the stone strikes Goliath on his forehead [prophetic] and it sinks into his skull [he “gets” it]; the nine-foot behemoth (ref v 4) falls dead to the ground. (v 49)

The Lectionary Barons now insert Psalm 9:9-20.  These two verses sum up the passage:

Psalm 9:15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.

9:16 The LORD has made himself known, he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

Please see the significance: Goliath’s spirit has sunk into the nations and God has made Himself known.  The lectionary lessons then resume with 1 Samuel 17, but not where the story had left off.

Excluded: v 50-56.  These verses offer the details of David’s triumph with sling and stone over sword. (v 50)  David takes Goliath’s own sword and lops off Goliath’s head with it. (v 51)  [Poetic justice.]  The rest of the Philistine army runs away.  The Israelites pursue them to their borders [and that is how it works with the ego’s boundaries also; and there are also limits to God’s patience as well (2 Pt 3:9)].  The Israelites come back to plunder the Philistine camps.  [Our psyches do the same things by “plundering” the ghost-towns of our souls after we’ve faced our own “Goliaths.”]  David takes Goliath’s head to Jerusalem and puts the giant’s weapons in his own tent.  [After we’ve faced our greatest ego-fears we do the same thing and put our newly forged confidence and courage in our own “tents” while we display the “trophy” of this badge of honor that enabled us to face these fears and be victorious.] 

Included: 1 Sam 17:57-18:5.  The Lectionary Barons pick up the story where Abner brings David to King Saul.  David is still carrying his trophy, the head of Goliath. (v 57)  Saul asks,

“Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.” (v 58)

“Whose son are you?” is an identity question.  Saul may already have recognized David as the one who had been playing the harp for him whenever he was plagued by internal turmoil. (1 Sam 16:15-17)  This question from Saul set the record for identity and lineage.  (Also this way he could verify David’s household to make good on the bounty reward promised to whomever slain Goliath.)  Now everyone knows whose who.  It’s an important step in solidifying the self-esteem to progress to the next stage in maturity development. 

Chapter break.  Enter Jonathan, Saul’s son.  Jonathan must have been listening to David’s and Saul’s conversation.  Jonathan and David have a soul-connection (8:1), the likes of which is rare in any era.  To have a friend that you connect with at the soul level is a rare gem.  On this journey of life, identity goes from the ego-heart (the battle line) to the ego-head (lineage) to the removal of the ego as all barriers are dropped and the soul links up in friendship with God and one another.  Just as Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as his own soul (18:1), so we, too, have a new covenant with God via compassion.

Excluded: 18:6-9  The Lectionary Barons take a four-verse hiatus in the storyline leaving out the part which describes Saul’s jealousy over David when the people sang songs praising Saul’s victory battles in slaying thousands while also extolling David’s victory of slaying tens of thousands.  This omitted passage is significant as it identifies when and where the spirit of jealousy infiltrated Saul’s soul.

Included 1 Sam 18:10-16.  The Lectionary Barons had dropped off the story with the people’s approval ratings of David having been set over the army by Saul. (v 5)  Now they pick up Saul’s rage in verse 10, but without knowing the reason that germinated the cause for Saul’s jealousy in the first place, picking up again at verse 10 makes strained sense.  The shift goes from approval to rage:

1 Sam 18:10 The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house [physical “house,” body, soul, as well as in the palace], while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand;

Pause for a moment.  The air caught in my chest over the phrase “an evil spirit from God.”  Back on 08 November 2010 I had confronted my priest on the static from the overhead speakers being so loud that it was blocking the work of the Holy Spirit.  I had asked what deeper issues the church was not hearing or facing.  I had asked, “What static is covering up God’s Voice?”  I had then been furious when he said, “I do not believe that this is a sign from God or that there is any connection between our sound system’s static and static from God [emphasis mine].”  My blood had boiled over the phrase he had used by saying “static from God” because I maintained (and still do) that evil does not and cannot actually come FROM God since God is holy and He cannot be what or Who His is not.  It’s the humans that allow evil to come in by choice or abdication (also a choice.)  So now here I am a year-and-a-half later.  The experience with the staticky speakers turned out to be prophetic, but I’m still left looking at this phrase: “an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul.”  This time my blood is not boiling because I’ve learned a thing or two over these years.  I held the phrase in an open space in my heart and “saw” the energetic flow behind the meaning.  This spirit had assailed and tormented Saul. (Wycliff translation.)  This spirit had also assailed and tormented me as I tried to covey to my church my relatively new identity in Christ.  Now for the zillionth time I reread my own response to this priest on 11 November 2010, but this time I read it afresh with new eyes and for the first time I “heard” my own spirit of pride and condescending tone wrapped and couched within my own words:

“I bring us back to my original question: I asked “What static is covering up God’s Voice?” not whether or not you thought it was “static from God” (and Who, btw, I do not believe is the source of this static.  God makes Light and enLightenment so that we can ‘Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.’)”

Now I realized that in my zeal to convey God’s Voice so that all could “Hear what the Spirit was saying to the Churches,” it was my own condescending tone of voice that had been spawned out of not feeling heard, which had resulted in the fabric of the relationship itself to tear.  The Truth was there, but the Truth couldn’t be heard without a soft tone.  It was the tone that needed to be healed within me.  I was brought to my knees with conviction.  I am so sorry, Church.

In the end, did evil come from God?  I guess that would depend on one’s definition of evil.  Evil spirits are subject to God’s control and operate within divinely determined parameters (cf Jdg 9:23; 1 Ki 22:19-23; Job 1:12, 2:6; Also compare 2 Sam 24:1 with 1 Ch 21:1, where the people were supposed to rely on God and not on their numbers.)

As for Saul, God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit back in 1 Sam 10:10. Saul had tasted of God’s Presence.  Then Saul made a series of poor choices in not obeying all of what God had told him to do.

1 Sam 16:14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.

(Note that King Nebuchadnezzar was also driven out from the people and into the wilderness to face his own insanity. (Dan 4:33-34) ~O Divine Madman!)  Saul was tormented by his jealousy and his poor choices.  Nebby was tormented by his own empty soul in the face of his great wealth, prosperity, and safety.  Saul never stopped to face his internal ego-Goliath and thereby strengthen his own identity.  Saul just rode the multiple waves of assaults on his spirit.  He tried to cover them up with music (played exquisitely by his innocent tormentor!), but Saul never addressed the core root of the issue, the way Nebby did. (Dan 4:15)  Nebuchadnezzar learned lessons incurred through the results of his arrogance.  Saul tried to evade and pin his rage outside of himself and chose David to “pin the tail on his donkey” rather than on himself.  (cf 1 Sam 18:11)

18:11 and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

The ego-self wants to pin an outside culprit to the wall, to project outside of itself, to deny rather than to confront the source of the inner rage.  David, however, was sound in his identity and twice eluded the attempted skewings of rageful attacks in the king’s chambers.  Verse 12 explains the fear below the king’s jealousy:

18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul.

I’ve seen this happen several times.  God’s own life-giving Spirit didn’t completely leave these persons (ergo making them physically die,) but the anointing did leave those individuals. (cf Heb 6:1-6)  People who are out of alignment with God are uncomfortable with those who are in alignment.  They often take Saul’s same steps to alleviate their discomfort: ie, out of sight, out of mind; put the irritant on the front line, making him commander. (v 13)  Interestingly, David ended up using this exact same strategy when he lusted after Bathsheba and he put her husband on the frontline of the army to arrange for him to be killed so David could have his wife. (2 Sam 11:4)  What is done to us we do to others, because that’s what we know.  But “Monkey see, Monkey do” is not always done each time with the same original motives and intentions.  We must not take command simply by intentions but also with resolve and rectitude.  In order to do that, we must know our commitments and to Whom we are committed.  It is by God’s grace and mercy that we have the privilege of coming to God and asking Him to disrupt the ‘Pete and Repeat’ cycles, to help us to learn from them, and to show us Christ Himself in the redemption process, thereby transforming it into an Alpha and Omega cycle.

Our own Founding Fathers of the United States of America had to face their Goliath, too.  Yes, they saw King George III as their tyrant.  They also applied the same tools that David used.  When David could have been waylaid by his own brother at the frontline, and David had said, “Now what have I done?  Can’t I even speak?” (1 Sam 17:29) our Forefathers did speak by declaring Independence.  They openly, courageously, and unanimously declared our independence on paper to the whole world.  The top third of the Declaration of Independence sets out the Truths and the lower two-thirds of the document itemizes those actions of the king which hindered accessibility of the inalienable rights of freedom, safety, and happiness meant for all people.  In the process of declaring it, they also showed us the way for us to live our lives of INTERdependence by showing us both what we didn’t want and what did want.  That is what visionary documents do: they state the battle lines clearly.  The Declaration of Independence is worth another read in the Spirit with which it was written.  Then we can join the Psalmist in saying

Psalm 133:1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

Inalienable rights are not alien to us, or foreign to us; nor are they an entitlement, a title, deed, or service bestowed upon us out of some sense of worthiness.  Worth and dignity stand alone.  They are intrinsic in our relationships with God.  It’s the view and perspective of life’s storms that can alter one’s views of God.  That doesn’t change the actual worth or dignity of God’s value placed on human life and of all creation.  May our leaders have the dignified humility that comes with the gift of being servant leaders and offer their “reasonable sacrifice” (Ro 12:1) of listening, discernment, and then taking appropriate action according to what GOD tells them to do, and not just assuming their advisers are right.  God, grant them wisdom and chutzpah.  Grant us all wisdom and chutzpah!

Prayer: Father, may we all face our “Goliaths” straight on, find our true identities, hit the mark on the forehead with dignity, integrity, and honesty, and rewrite our declarations of INTERdependence on You and each other.  May we all hear the tone of Your loving Truth within our own ears and hear the mercy You grant through our noble intentions as we resolve to stay true to our commitments to You.  Please give us David’s courage and Jesus’ faith.  Calm our storms.  Shower us with Your pervasive Peace.  Unite us together in trusting and relying on the very gifts You have given us to share.  Amen.

 

4 After Pentecost                    24 June 2012                                      Gospel: Mark 4:35-41

1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49
17:1a Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.

17:4 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

17:5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.

17:6 He had greaves of bronze on his legs and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders.

17:7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him.

17:8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.

17:9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”

17:10 And the Philistine said, “Today I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man, that we may fight together.”

17:11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

17:19 Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

17:20 David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, took the provisions, and went as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the encampment as the army was going forth to the battle line, shouting the war cry.

17:21 Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army.

17:22 David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage, ran to the ranks, and went and greeted his brothers.

17:23 As he talked with them, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.

17:32 David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

17:33 Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

17:34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock,

17:35 I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it.

17:36 Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.”

17:37 David said, “The LORD, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you!”

17:38 Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail.

17:39 David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” So David removed them.

17:40 Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.

17:41 The Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him.

17:42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was only a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance.

17:43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

17:44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the field.”

17:45 But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

17:46 This very day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army this very day to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,

17:47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.”

17:48 When the Philistine drew nearer to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.

17:49 David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

Psalm 9:9-20
9:9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

9:11 Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion. Declare his deeds among the peoples.

9:12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

9:13 Be gracious to me, O LORD. See what I suffer from those who hate me; you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,

9:14 so that I may recount all your praises, and, in the gates of daughter Zion, rejoice in your deliverance.

9:15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.

9:16 The LORD has made himself known, he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

9:17 The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.

9:18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever.

9:19 Rise up, O LORD! Do not let mortals prevail; let the nations be judged before you.

9:20 Put them in fear, O LORD; let the nations know that they are only human. Selah

1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 18:10-16
17:57 On David’s return from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand.

17:58 Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

18:1 When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

18:2 Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.

18:3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.

18:4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

18:5 David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved.

18:10 The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand;

18:11 and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

18:12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul.

18:13 So Saul removed him from his presence, and made him a commander of a thousand; and David marched out and came in, leading the army.

18:14 David had success in all his undertakings; for the LORD was with him.

18:15 When Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in awe of him.

18:16 But all Israel and Judah loved David; for it was he who marched out and came in leading them.

Psalm 133
133:1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

133:2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.

133:3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the LORD ordained his blessing, life forevermore.

Job 38:1-11
38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:

38:2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

38:3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.

38:5 Who determined its measurements–surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?

38:6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone

38:7 when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

38:8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?–

38:9 when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band,

38:10 and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors,

38:11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?

Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, those he redeemed from trouble

107:3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

107:23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters;

107:24 they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep.

107:25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.

107:26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their calamity;

107:27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits’ end.

107:28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress;

107:29 he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

107:30 Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

107:31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.

107:32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

2 Corinthians 6:1-13
6:1 As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.

6:2 For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!

6:3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,

6:4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,

6:5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;

6:6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love,

6:7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;

6:8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;

6:9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see–we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed;

6:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

6:11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you.

6:12 There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours.

6:13 In return–I speak as to children–open wide your hearts also.

Mark 4:35-41
4:35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”

4:36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.

4:37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.

4:38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

4:39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.

4:40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

4:41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

 

Horn of Oil

18 Jun

3 After Pentecost 17 June 2012

(Birthing on Father’s Day)

Horn of Oil

The lectionary lessons for today start off with the separation of Samuel from Saul. (1 Sam 15:34)  Samuel doesn’t see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel still grieves over Saul.  How could he not?  He knew Saul’s heart. (1 Sam 9:19)  The Spirit of God had been poured out on Saul (1 Sam 10:10), so Saul had a portion of God within himself, and yet he chose to set up a monument to his own honor. (1 Sam 15:12)  And the Lord was sorry that He had made Saul king over Israel. (1 Sam 15:35)  The readings continue with:

1 Sam 16:1 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for Myself a king among his sons.”

The story continues through the process of divine selection as Samuel meets all the sons of Jesse (v10), has David brought in from shepherding the flocks (v 11); upon first sight, Samuel hears the Lord say, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one,” (v 12) Samuel anoints him, and then Samuel goes home to Ramah. (v 13)  Since I don’t choose the scripture passages to reflect and write upon, all I could do was take it to God in prayer and ask Him to “fill my horn with oil” and tell me where to set out. 

I can really relate to Samuel and his grieving.  I have grieved terribly over the Churches and her pastors.  Together they made a conglomerate of “Saul” with a double meaning considering Paul’s name was Saul before his conversion, and the risen Jesus had asked him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” (Acts 9:4)  In the yin/yang of cosmic play, the clergy have not technically “persecuted” this messenger (me) in the harassing or oppressive definition of the word, but this was now a velvet glove torture of the Great Nothing in the Grand Silence.  “Babylon” has been doing a fine job of babbling on and on for three years now…  I thought to myself, “Maybe Darwin wasn’t too far off the mark with his theories.”  For at least the last year I have been crying out to God, “THERE AIN’T NO EIGHTH CHURCH!”  I went to all Seven!  What’s a girl to do?  God has this annoying habit of repeating Himself.  I asked Him what He wanted me to do and He said again, “Fill your horn with oil and set out.”  To go where?  I have no sanctuary.  Literally!  And I repeated back to God what Samuel had said to Him:

1 Sam 16:2 Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’

Gee, thanks God.  Then all of a sudden I “got” it.  What made this so poignant was not the “Holy Cow!”  [Heifer, ha, ha!]  It was the realization that my journey to the Seven Churches was like Samuel grieving over Saul with an overlay of the archetypal seven sons of Jesse: “The LORD has not chosen any of these.” (v 10)  I really had come peaceably to sacrifice to the LORD (worship) with each of the Seven Churches, had sanctified (blessed) them and invited them to the sacrifice (of praise.) (v 5)  Each of the Seven had their own agenda, worldview, and appearance that they sacrificed on their altars of Values. (cf v7)  Not one Church seemed bothered or bugged if they had made God angry.

I had asked God (metaphorically,) “Are all your “sons” here?”

And He said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the ‘sheep.’” (v 11)  God overlaid the meaning of this on top of half of Thyatira (Rev 2:24-28, specifically) and the Evangelical mega-churches.  They are the “youngest” in the denominational line-up and are “keeping the sheep.”  This part of Thyatira really does desire to 1) Honor God AND 2) Help people.  And this half of Thyatira has been true to what Christ said,

“(I will not impose any other burden on you): 25Only hold on to what you have until I come.” (Rev 2:24-25)

The other Churches have become drunk on the blood of the saints and those who bore testimony to Jesus. (Rev 17:6; 16:6; 18:24; 19:2)

I continued to ask Christ to “fill my horn with oil.”  Then I “set out” and looked at the rest of the lectionary lessons.  Paul says in

2 Corinthians 5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.

5:17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

God’s not random in His leadings, readings, and promptings.  Revelation 21:1-2 also talks about this new creation.  This new creation happens after the “dead” are judged. (Rev 20:11-15)  So far, there has been no accountability of the Church.

Also in the Gospel reading this stands out:

Mk 4:29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

The people have already been spiritually harvested:

The Harvest of the Earth

 Revelation 14:14I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one “like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.

15Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

The Churches have already been spiritually harvested by conviction of the Holy Spirit using the mouthpiece of “one like a son of man” [= mortal.]  The Churches have not yet been “harvested” by accountability to the same Holy Spirit of our God.  Accountability is the justice arm of righteousness. 

I asked God for more “oil in my horn.”  He took me to the next parable in the lectionary lessons from Mark 4:30-34 on the mustard seed growing into the greatest of all shrubs that produces branches so the birds can make nests in its shade. (v 32)  I am still anchoring in faith alone that my writings may branch out.  My friend and prayer partner encouraged me by saying that she appreciates my writing.  My writings are deep.  She also said she is a visual learner and doesn’t always “get” the more intellectual stuff that I write, but she does get it when I write in the Spirit and from the heart.  She added that she thought that intellectual people would also benefit from what I write.  I held that in blessing while my spirit took a side-trip down Memory Lane.  I wondered as memory took me back to the Episcopal Church, where my homies had the intelligence to comprehend but not the Spirit to understand what I wrote.  (cf Matt 13:14)  My head knows that I need a greater readership base, but my heart still grieves over “Saul.”  It was the intellectuals who had most poignantly turned their backs on the Good News of the Kingdom of God and believing Christ the sovereign Lord makes good on His promises.  I have done what every single pastor/priest has asked of me, and it seemingly was never enough.  That’s human nature.  I sincerely believe God is not angry with us.  He wants to set the record straight. 

Then a marvel of the Holy Spirit came peaking through the struggles last Sunday (10 June 2012).  The pastor had said, “What bugs me; I don’t wanna make God angry.”  In all honesty, none of the other pastors/priests, not one, had ever seemingly given God’s righteous anger a second thought or how they could have contributed to making that anger possible (let alone trying to figure out how to make it right so that God’s anger would not go down with the sun. (Eph 4:26))  Many have publically preached and prayed that they would be spared embarrassment at the time of Judgment.  And many, many have preached on “fire escape salvation” or rapture to avoid God’s righteous anger and accountability measures on this side of eternity.  But until last Sunday I had not heard one clergy consider the notion of offending God.  They definitely didn’t want to offend man.  I so understand!  It is a delicate line.  It’s the hardest thing God demands of us to do, to forsake everything for His kingdom by setting down our own crowns.  But what this pastor had said in his sermon was right on the mark:

“If we can imagine the wedding banquet and the rich foods and the beautiful spread and the ice sculptures of the seraphim, but we’re not looking at the Host, we’re missing the real banquet.”

Christ is truly inviting us to the “wedding feast.”  In order to cross over the broom (or threshold, or whatever the tradition) the issue of justice and accountability with the Seven Churches must be addressed.

Luke 18:And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

I know I have faith in Him and I trust (and even rely) on the gifts He has given the Church, and the gifts He has given to me as well.  So what’s the next step from here?  I donno.  The next move is the Church’s.  Please do what He tells you to do.  As for myself, I asked God what I specifically should do now and He spoke through this verse:

1 Sam 16:3 Invite [the Root of] Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.”

So I prayed and I invited the Root of Jesse to my sacrifice of prayer and writing.  Through the process of writing and communion with Him, He did “show” me His design and overlay and I “shared the journey” just as He told me to do.  And the part about anointing for God the one whom He names to me?  He named Pastor Bruce Zachary.  So in the Spirit, I took my “horn of oil” and spiritually poured it over him in blessing, saying, “May you be at peace, feel God’s abundant grace, and receive an extra measure of wisdom.”

That was on Tuesday (12 June 2012).  The next evening (Wednesday, 13 June 2012) at our worship service Pastor Bruce passed along the blessing to the congregation by asking the Holy Spirit to anoint us all.  The Holy Spirit was VERY present and bathed us in God’s presence.  It was beautiful, not only to witness, but to praise God for.  The Holy Spirit did give us His anointing!  This is how God’s kingdom is meant to operate: by passing along the blessing and giving God the glory.

The marvel did not stop there.  On Thursday, (14 June 2012), I had a day full of stress at the library while I wrestled with a spirit of Discontent who was chasing a spirit of Unworthiness who was chasing a spirit of Self-pity (and I was caught in the middle of the wretched chase!)  I joined Paul in preferring to be away from my body and at home with the Lord. (2 Cor 5:8)  I kept searching my heart while I grunted and carried on:

2 Cor 5:13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.

I thought about this verse while I tried to make order out of the Summer Reading Program chaos at the library where every urchin had crawled out from under every rock.  (Why I get surprised by this every year, I don’t know.)  The harder I stared at this verse in my mind’s eye while I was shelving books, the more it made no sense to me from inside the chaos.  It wasn’t until later in solitude that this verse made sense to me, because later I could find balance between the gifts offered by my heart and my head.  In the chaos itself I was feeling beside myself with an insatiable empty hole in my soul.  I didn’t feel like I was ‘for God’ in my “besidesness” and I couldn’t find my “right brain.”  The right brain is the key to what connects us to each other, and I couldn’t seem to connect with my core self let alone to the sense of “we.” 

Finally Wisdom asked me, “Where are you?”

I barked, “In the Kids’ Section!!” [Duh?  Where do you think I am?]

She breathed, “Ah…Yes…”

Oh…!  It suddenly dawned on me while I was snorting and stooping and bending and holding my breath just to then exhale like I was in labor for the last six hours, that I finally recognized these feelings and breathing, and prayers, and rhythm.  I had been through this before—twice!—once with the archetypal Church of Ephesus and also with the Church of Laodicea.  Now I made the connection that the Spirit had planted the “seed” in the “soil” of the worship service the night before at the archetypal Church of “Thyatira” and now on this next day the spiritual seed was being “birthed,” we didn’t know how, just as Jesus described in Mark 4:27.  Now I had to wrestle through those feelings of discontent, unworthiness, and self-pity like pushing through the birth canal.  Once I made that connection, from then on whenever an old memory or feeling arose, I prayed “Fresh Spirit” upon it.  It would have helped if I’d had community to birth with me, but this spiritual midwife doesn’t (yet.)

I also realized that Thursday was the 14th [!] of the month, and God often does miraculous stuff with me on the fourteenth of some months (but not every month.)  I had sensed many weeks ago that God was going to do something special on this day, but I hadn’t made the connection until that evening that He really had done something powerfully special.

On Friday, 15 June 2012 the connections grew clearer now that I had had some rest and more prayer from the Horn of Oil.  I realized that the spiritual birthing experiences I’d had at “Laodicea” and “Ephesus” fulfilled what Jesus had said: “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”  (Matthew 20:16)  Jesus had spoken those words at the conclusion of the Parable of the Vineyard Laborers[!].  In that parable, the day laborers who had slaved the longest and hardest, were the ones to complain the loudest over injustice.  And just as the vineyard workers had done, so I, too, had wrestled with a large spirit of Envy at the beginning of the week, and the Lord asked me, too, “Are you envious because I am generous?” (Mt 20:15)  Conviction pushed me to my knees.  It was after I had confessed that larger-than-life Envy at the beginning of the week that allowed me to be able to pick up the Horn of Oil at all.  Now my spirit was open to “seeing” more lateral (rather than horizontal) connections.  The Spirit confirmed what Prophet Rick Joyner had shared on Tuesday (…as the threads weave and interweave…):

“         As we also can note from John 10, it is His sheep who know His voice, not His lambs. While we are young in the Lord, we will have to follow others until we learn to know His voice, but my hope is to have my own veils removed and those of all I can help along their way. We must see Him to be changed into His image, not just become the image of one of His friends.

     What would any man think if his children all looked like his best friend? We need to consider what we’re doing when we’re leaders who are trying to get people to conform to us rather than to Him. Our lives can and should be good examples for others, but as the Apostle Paul stated, he was in labor [!] until Christ was formed in His people. This is our goal.

     One of the encouraging things I was shown when I was given The Vision of the Harvest twenty-five years ago was that there will be a generation of the most powerful messengers ever to walk the earth and all will be “eunuchs for the kingdom’s sake.” This was not in the natural but in the spiritual. Just as natural eunuchs cannot even have a desire for the bride, but receives all of their satisfaction out of seeing the king’s pleasure in her, so these will be for the Lord. Their whole desire will be to see the King’s pleasure in His bride, the church. Their devotion will be to see the church become what He wants, not what they or anyone else want. These are the true friends of the Bridegroom.”

I soaked up Rick’s words and the Truth in them.  I took out the “Horn of Oil” again and spiritually poured it over Rick in blessing.  I prayed that Prophet Rick Joyner and Pastor Bruce Zachary would connect.  These two men are on the same wavelength and harmonic frequency.  God called both of them specifically by name.  While it is true that we are all meant to be working for Christ’s Kingdom purposes, it is important that those efforts streamline.  Pastors and prophets are meant to augment each other.  I found myself back on my knees praying for blessing on both men, and that even though they are on opposite Coasts, they would come together as one.  This would benefit the whole.  Please pray with me, since God has chosen each by name and they are part of His grand design.  Of this I am certain.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, please use and nurture the seeds that were planted Wednesday by Your glorious Spirit.  Help them to grow so that the good spiritual grain can be “harvested” with our full potential.  Branch out Your kingdom as You draw ministries (and ministers) together, showing us how they fit together like well-oiled cogs of machinery interlocking one with the other for purposes of glorifying Yourself.  Forgive us for our misunderstandings and inadequacies.  As we reach out to each other in Your Name, sheath us in the womb of Your grace, wisdom, peace, and love as You birth us into Your New Creation. (2 Cor 5:17)  Amen.

 

3 After Pentecost                    Father’s Day , 17 June 2012                          Gospel: Mark 4:26-34

1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13
15:34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul.

15:35 Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.

16:1 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

16:2 Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’

16:3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.”

16:4 Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?”

16:5 He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

16:6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the LORD.”

16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

16:8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”

16:9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”

16:10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any of these.”

16:11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”

16:12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.”

16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

Psalm 20
20:1 The LORD answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!

20:2 May he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.

20:3 May he remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices. Selah

20:4 May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans.

20:5 May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

20:6 Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand.

20:7 Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the LORD our God.

20:8 They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright.

20:9 Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

Ezekiel 17:22-24
17:22 Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.

17:23 On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it, in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar. Under it every kind of bird will live; in the shade of its branches will nest winged creatures of every kind.

17:24 All the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD. I bring low the high tree, I make high the low tree; I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the LORD have spoken; I will accomplish it.

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15
92:1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;

92:2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,

92:3 to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.

92:4 For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

92:12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

92:13 They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.

92:14 In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap,

92:15 showing that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17
5:6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord —

5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

5:8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

5:9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

5:10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

5:11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences.

5:12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart.

5:13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.

5:14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.

5:15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.

5:17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Mark 4:26-34
4:26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,

4:27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.

4:28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.

4:29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

4:30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?

4:31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;

4:32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

4:33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;

4:34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

 

 

The Masked Bandit

18 Jun

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 2 After Pentecost 10 June 2012

The Masked Bandit

1 Sam 8:7 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them.

How sad for God.  He wanted to be the Ruler of their hearts like a Husband is in love with his bride, so there’s no room in the fully in-love heart to want anything else but Him.  It’s not Club Rulership but sweet Adoration.  I asked God what He wanted me to say in this same Me-Culture we have today that God sent Samuel into, and Jeremiah, and Isaiah, and Daniel, and Ezekiel, and the other prophets.  We, too, like the Israelites who were taken into Babylonian captivity, have been enticed by the same serpent as in today’s Readings from Genesis 3.  It is a friendly captivity,[1] as Beth Moore says.  The serpent entices, woos, dazzles, sparkles, and gives us what we want until we are gorged.  Then we are imprisoned in our own trappings.  And it all started when we said in our hearts:

“I am, and there is none besides me.” (Isa 47:8, Isa 47:10, Zephaniah 2:15). 

It is similarly repeated of the Harlot in

Revelation 18:7 In her heart she boasts,
      ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow,
      and I will never mourn.’

And we are not aware:

Jer 6:15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the Lord.

But the punishment is not an outward type of “bringing down.”  It’s an inward type of “rising up.”

When Jesus walked the earth, his times were a lot like ours.  It could even have been Southern California:

Mark 3:20 And the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.

California: The Land of Fruits and Nuts.  Jesus’ family thought they’d help the situation by repeating what people were saying,

“He has gone out of his mind.” (v 21)

But most insane people don’t talk in parables (ref v 23) or metaphors, at least not that I know of anyway, although many insane people are really quite brilliant.  Jesus knew that His enemy was not human, but spirit.  He knew what many have also discovered and now we have a name for it: the ego.

“When the ego is at war, know that it is no more than fighting an illusion that is fighting to survive.”[2]

“If you can recognize illusion as an illusion, it dissolves.”[3]

Eckhart Tolle explains that what makes the illusion so powerful is Identification.  If we believe what others say (or the noise in our own heads,) and we attach or identify with those thoughts (and the emotions that go with them,) then we know the ego is at work.  Tolle put it so eloquently:

“The ego isn’t wrong; it’s just unconscious.  When you observe yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it.  Don’t take the ego too seriously.  When you detect egoic behavior in yourself, smile.  At times you may even laugh.  How could humanity have been taken in by this for so long?  Above all, know that the ego isn’t personal.  It isn’t who you are.  If you consider the ego to be your own personal problem, that’s just more ego.”[4]

The same is true for the super-ego, and the collective consciousness of the Seven Churches. (Rev 17:9-11)

When the scribes came down from Jerusalem, they said about Jesus,

“He has [!] Beelzebub, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” (Mk 3:22)

Jesus does not shy away.  He calls the people to Himself and speaks to them in parables (and I notice that Satan is referred to ‘in parable.’)

Mk 3:23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?

Beezly (Beelzebub) gets a name change.  Jesus doesn’t take the bait.  He doesn’t HAVE Beezly.  It’s not personal.  He stays anchored in God—THAT relationship IS personal.  Jesus said that people would be forgiven for their sins and blasphemies against people. (v 28)  Blasphemy is “the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.”[5]  We all do that.  The child is like the Parent.  It’s when we ignore or block the Holy Spirit that this robs God from having the opportunity to work in us.  That’s the big no, no.  It is this kind of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit that can never find forgiveness and is guilty of an eternal sin (v 29) as it wanders aimlessly around pointing projecting fingers and saying,

“He has [!] an unclean spirit.” (v 30)

Spirits come and go.  That’s the way they work.  Someone can only “have” an unclean spirit by invitation.  It’s invited with an attitude (Word) and cast out with an attitude (Word.)  When we live lives that are directed and led by the Holy Spirit, then we are all brothers, sisters, and mothers of Christ doing the will of God. (v 35)  It’s all orchestrated by Him, and we are partners in the dance.  We’re supposed to listen, pray, watch, keep awake.  [Sounds like a good therapist!]  The ego’s and the super-ego’s identification with HAVING an unclean spirit keeps the spirit where it’s wanted.  I mean, why would Beezly want to go where he’s not wanted?  Would you?  How can Satan cast out Satan? (v 23)  And if the House of God is divided against itself and remains Seven Churches, that House will also not be able to stand. (v 25)  Dearhearts, that’s only a solemn warning (1 Sam 8:9) but God is faithful to keep His Word even when it is a warning.[6] 

This division has been reflected in my own journey/dance with the Seven Churches.  I cannot count how many times I pounded on God’s chest and in letters, Reflections, and sharing the journey saying over and over, “THERE AIN’T NO EIGHTH CHURCH!!!”  There are only Seven Churches, and yet I just couldn’t figure out what God still wanted me to do, since I’d been to all of them and confronted all of them as God had directed me.  I couldn’t figure out what they were waiting for as they did the Great Nothing in the Grand Silence.   

This week God led me back to look deeper at Revelation 17.

Rev 17:12 “The ten horns [the attitudes] you saw are ten kings [the ten pastors on the roster of the Seven Churches (not including the two prophets)] who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings [of their parishes, which are their micro-kingdoms] along with the beast [ego]. 13 They have one purpose [to glorify their kingdoms for their own survival] and will give their power and authority to the beast [ego]. 14 They will wage war against the Lamb [gentleness], but the Lamb [Christ] will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings —and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.

[So the “waters” are the people and the “prostitute,” aka Arrogance, sits with the people, and the pastors are from the people who shepherd the people.  What a fine mess!]

16 The beast [ego] and the ten horns [pastors of the Seven Churches] you saw will hate the prostitute [Arrogance].

They will bring her [Arrogance] to ruin and leave her [spiritually] naked;

they will eat her [Arrogance’s] flesh

and burn her with fire [torching of the ego—AND yet how many sermons have I heard from preachers on people going to (a projection of) hell?]

17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast [ego] their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled.

18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

Is the Woman in verse 18 not the same as the prostitute, aka Arrogance?  Is she the Church as Seven Churches with Multiple Personality Disorder/Dissociative Identity Disorder?  Or is she now the Church-As-Bride who knows who she is since God’s words are now fulfilled? (v 17) 

1 Pt 2:and,

“A stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

Every single one of the Seven Churches is guilty of arrogance and self-centeredness that blocks the River of Life of the Holy Spirit coming to them, as well as to the ten spiritual leaders [“kings”] of those Churches (Rev 17:12) and to their two prophets [“lampstands” of Rev 11:4].  Since every single one of us is guilty, isn’t it amazing and wonderful that we are held blameless (1 Cor 1:8, Phil 1:10, Phil 2:15, 1 Thes 3:13, 1 Thes 5:23) and that God has no agenda for eternal punishment of us humans, since we’re all guilty of being led astray by the deceiver and illusion-maker and being set free from our own egos (and Super-Sized super-ego)?

Eph 5:25 Husbands [priests and pastors], love your wives [the churches], just as Christ loved the [whole] Church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant Church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

On a humorous note to drive the point of illusion home, God appointed on Tuesday morning (05 June 2012) a ruckus of crows to announce a near-dawn chaos in our neighborhood. (cf Micah 7:4)  The sun wasn’t quite up yet but there was enough light to see the world awaken. (cf Lk 12:38)  The noise of the crows rallied every single neighborhood dog to join the foray.  The cacophony of sound fragmented and amplified off the houses so there was no way to track the source causing the mayhem.  A short while later I heard Duke, our dog, give a clear, deep, sharp, warning bark that cut through the ruckus.  I followed Duke’s bark and found him in the backyard.  His body was solidly aligned with the pecan tree and his head was set while his eyes stared up at the top bare branches (they haven’t quite leafed yet; cf Mt 24:32-35.)  Lo and Behold!  There was the culprit of the suburban neighborhood circus.  It was a raccoon.  The masked bandit had taken refuge in the top naked branches looking rather baffled and befuddled as to what all the commotion was about. 

I looked at him and said, “Well, look at you!  It’s ok.”

I looked down at Duke and petted him and said, “It’s ok, Moose.  It’s just a masked bandit.  Thank you for letting me know.”

That’s all Duke wanted to know; that we’re ok, and that this “intruder” would not hurt his family.  He then peacefully followed me into the house.  Later he came and nuzzled my arm in gratitude.  A few minutes later I went back outside and the raccoon had gone on his way.

Lots of people get caught up in the energy of the ruckus, noise, and hullabaloo, but one voice, (and all it took was one voice), to clearly bark through the noise at What Is.  And then we find out the ‘thief in the night’ is only a raccoon.  Duke was mission-focused, not just barking because all the other dogs (and crows) were doing it.  This wasn’t “Club Bark.”  And this wasn’t just surfing the wave of the super-ego’s collective consciousness and contributing to “Babylon’s” babbling on and on in the mantras of self-preservation.  Duke’s mission was to solemnly watch, warn, and show me what was there.  In the process I could laugh at the “thief” who was small, scared, and bewildered.  And it is noteworthy, that the masked bandit left of his own accord and by his own volition.  I just acknowledged and blessed him. 

It takes a thief to catch a thief.  It also helps to be just a little bit nuts to follow the Divine Madman, but the trust is in knowing He’s got the map and compass.  Yee…Haw!

Beezly’s like the masked bandit of our egos.  If he’s the “king” over us (1 Sam 8:19) then there will be much noise surrounding the imposter.  If we allow Christ to have rulership over our lives then the ego has a wake-up call, like a thief in the night. (Mt 24:43, 1 Thes 5:2, Rev 16:5)  It’s rather shocking, actually!  Be forewarned: This realization can produce giggles!!

Since God so loved the world (Jn 3:16) that He gave His Son and everyone in the world has an ego to contend with, and Christ wants to be Lord and King of our egos as well as our souls, and it is He who goes out before us and fights our battles with the ego-self “so that we might be like other nations,” (1 Sam 8:13) did God not answer our prayer when the Israelites said, “Give us a king to govern us.”? (1 Sam 8:6)  And did we not fulfill the will of God as His brothers, sisters, and mothers (Mark 3:35) since every single person has an ego and each one chooses what to do with it?  And since the devil, who deceives everyone, is finally being thrown into the hell of his own creation forever (in Rev 20:10), so is it not God Who is being faithful to His own Word? 

Prayer: Lord, with Your help please shrink our own bandits.  Please shrink those things that steal our joy, raise Cain, intrude on our peace, and rob our serenity.  Anchor us in Your Truth as Your beloved children, so that we can enter Your courts with praise and thanksgiving.  We acknowledge our tendency to follow Beezly’s fear tactics and noise-makers.  Please cast out Satan once and for all and reestablish and heal our connection with You personally and as Your people.  Make us one House, not Seven Churches, as You draw us together under Your roof.  Help every one of us shed our egos, so there is nothing standing in the way of us seeing You.  Amen.

 

2 After Pentecost                 10 June 2012                                   Gospel: Mark 3:20-35

1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15)
8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah,

8:5 and said to him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.”

8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the LORD,

8:7 and the LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.

8:8 Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you.

8:9 Now then, listen to their voice; only–you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

8:10 So Samuel reported all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king.

8:11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots;

8:12 and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.

8:13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.

8:14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers.

8:15 He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers.

8:16 He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work.

8:17 He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.

8:18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

8:19 But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said “No! but we are determined to have a king over us,

8:20 so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

11:14 Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.”

11:15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they sacrificed offerings of well-being before the LORD, and there Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.

Psalm 138
138:1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;

138:2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.

138:3 On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.

138:4 All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth.

138:5 They shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.

138:6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.

138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.

138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Genesis 3:8-15
3:8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

3:9 But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

3:10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

3:11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

3:12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”

3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

3:14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.

3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Psalm 130
130:1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.

130:2 Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!

130:3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?

130:4 But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.

130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

130:6 my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

130:7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.

130:8 It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
4:13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture–“I believed, and so I spoke” –we also believe, and so we speak,

4:14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.

4:15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

4:16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

4:17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure,

4:18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Mark 3:20-35
3:20 and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.

3:21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.”

3:22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.”

3:23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?

3:24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

3:25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

3:26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come.

3:27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

3:28 “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter;

3:29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”–

3:30 for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

3:31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him.

3:32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.”

3:33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”

3:34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!

3:35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

 


[1] Beth Moore, Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy.  (Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 2006), p 14

[2] Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose; (New York, NY: Dutton, 2005), p 77

[3] Eckhart Tolle, p 28

[4] Eckhart Tolle, p 42

[6] Beth Moore, p 13

Individuation

18 Jun

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for Trinity Sunday 03 June 2012

Individuation

Today is Trinity Sunday.  The Trinity is three Persons in One: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit making a balanced Community.  Each Person emphasizes a part of God’s Personhood with each part contributing to the whole.  We get some understanding of this dance of wholeness when we worship God in body, mind, and spirit, with all three parts coming to God as each part makes a contribution toward integration; integration being the process of shedding the lies of one’s personhood and keeping what is Truth.  In the Gospel Lesson for today, Jesus told Nicodemus,

“Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” (John 3:5)

In the process of integration, we individuate; honoring the parts that contribute to making us whole.  Freud gave us terms that differentiated the various parts of the personal unconscious.  The “id” is the instinctual part of the psyche.  The “ego” is the sense of self and identity.  The “super-ego” denotes the collective consciousness, of which the individual is partly conscious [ie, “awake”] and partly unconscious [ie “asleep,”] (‘asleep’ because it is repressed.)  Before a complete synthesis of the personality happens, the self is (as Jung says):

“still in the plural stage, ie, an ego may be present, but it cannot experience its wholeness within the framework of its own personality, only with the community [!] of the family, tribe, or nation; it is still in the state of unconscious identification with the plurality of the group.  The Church takes due account of this widespread condition in her doctrine of the corpus mysticum, of which the individual is by nature a member.”[1] (p 165)

Individuation, then, would be the process by which a person becomes an “in-dividual,” [ie, the inward journey and fully claiming the Truth within ourselves,] and that by so doing the separate becomes an indivisible unity or whole. (p 275)  Individuation, then, would be a sense of being at-one with the Truth.  The goal of maturity, then, would be to bring to light that which is repressed, ie “asleep.”  The individual turns inward to examine the Truth within oneself and fully claims the Truth within. 

I asked God if He was at-one with having made us, His children, since we’ve made such a fine mess of things, and He smiled and purred, “Oh, yes!  You are My children!”

I thought some more about individuation and the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is an individual Person Who brings unique gifts to the community of the Trinity.  These gifts of the Spirit bring unity and balance to the Trinity.  They create a oneness in the Trinitarian Body of an ethereal, watery-like nature, but are real nonetheless.  Just because God’s nature is ethereal doesn’t mean we can’t sense and experience His/Her nature within us.  We, too, have both masculine and feminine characteristics within our own personalities to make us a balanced whole.  This same Spirit of God leads us as the children of God. (Ro 8:14)  We did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but have received a spirit of adoption as we are His children. (v 15) 

In our “Me” centered culture (represented by all the Babylons in our lives that keep babbling on and on, yada, yada…) in self-absorption and self-consumption, we have the privilege to take a stand to respectfully use the word “no” as we recognize in our own lives the counter-influences of the world’s indoctrinations, attitudes, and ways of thinking which seek to destroy this harmonic balance.  We must be born of Spirit and water.  Our brains do rest in water: in the cerebrospinal (brain) fluid inside the skull.[2]  Our bodies are made up of about 70% water with our brains using 85% of that.[3]  Water is a conductor of electricity which our bodies also generate.

“Water is a perfect conductor of electricity and this becomes important in the day to day operation of our bodies. For example, the electrical potential is shared between the brain neurons through electrochemical transmitters. This electrical potential of brain chemistry must be present for any of our “thoughts” to take place. [Emphasis in article.][4]

Our attitudes and spirit within us are directed by our thoughts and therefore they must be constantly renewed. (Ro 12:2)  We really do know that the universal Laws of Attraction work (cf Rev 2:24) and that we will definitely attract to the ego-self that which it wants.  Our world has received what its collective ego (ie, “super ego”) has attracted.  Since it was the ego that attracted what we individually wanted, then it will be the collective super-ego that will attract the Holy Spirit and what God wants, if we want and invite Him to give us His Fresh Spirit.  The Holy Spirit, in turn, gives us His desires for us to our corpus mysticum of which each individual is a member by faith.  The key is in Whom do we put our faith?  Do we just join the club?  Nicodemus was not the only one who needed to be born again of water and Spirit.  The Seven Churches must also choose.  We can follow God as the Holy Spirit is leading us from an individualistic corpus mysticum into a balanced wholeness reflecting the Trinity’s individuation in community, or we can remain in the current ‘Club Mentality’ of the Seven Churches. The “in-DIVID-” in the words individual, individuate, individualistic, individuality, individuation, etc, draw us inwardly into the DIVINE within.  The Church-as-Bride will reflect outwardly what her inward choices are.  God has not forgotten His covenant.  Are we discerning His love language as He woos us back to Himself?  We already know that love language from Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus.[5]  And Christ had said, “I will also give him the morning star.” (Rev 2:28)  We can bash each other over the head with our egoistic individualistic clubs (ref Rev 2:27) and interpret “Morning Star” as the mythological reference to Lucifer’s fall from heaven because his ego could only worship himself (Isa 14:12-15), or we can see the “Morning Star” through the eyes of love.  Both are true.  The Truth is in us.  Will we express the Truth as God’s children in love? (ref 1 Cor 13:8-13)  The Church, herself, is in a position similar to Nicodemus as she asks the same question:

John 3:4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”

I believe the Church can be born again even though she is old.  Christ does see the Church-as-Bride and Christ calls us all (the corpus mysticum) into mystical marriage with Himself.  We can make a recommitment to Him the way Hosea made a recommitment to his wife.  Hosea (1:2 ff) reflected to (and on) our human plane the love that God feels in (what I call) “grace time” (or on the divine plane.)  Hosea’s life represented a “divine marriage.”  Hosea pursued his wife-gone-prostitute, Gomer, because his heart listened to God AND he still loved his wife.  The Woman and the Dragon in Rev 12, who later confronted the Harlot and rode the Beast in Rev 17 and Rev 18, (like Hosea) also listened to God and still loved the ‘Seven Churches’ even though they behaved badly. The Seven Churches are also “married” in Spirit by belief in Christ, Who is part of the Community of the Trinity.  Thus, the community expands, but the expansion is not by the people marrying or being given in marriage, like Jesus said would happen in Matthew 22:30.  This type of love expansion resurrects the spirit.  The Pharisees had asked Jesus about bodily resurrection, which also relates to being born again, because it relates to us in the land of the living:

27 Finally, the woman died. [cf Dan 9:20 ff, specifically v 26] 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven [overlay that meaning on top of the ‘Seven Churches’ (Rev 1) and Daniel’s ‘Sevens’ (Dan 9:25)], since all of them were married to her?”

29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. [cf Heb 13:2; Hermaphrodite? We all carry both opposites within us of male and female.  It is wisdom that honors them both within.] 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the LIVING [!].”

In Revelation 20:14 Christ explained, “The lake of fire is the second death.”  Going through the individuation process and shedding the false ego-self IS, indeed, a fiery death.  Where we must be born again to truly live, we must die again to the ego-self to experience resurrection in our own lives, because Christ came to make it personal.  (I see “resurrection” on multiple levels.)  Since this process of individuation is still happening among the Churches, then we must continue to grow up into the likeness of Christ by gazing at Him and sharing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which have already been given to us (as the Spirit had them to begin with and shared them with us, and has asked us to keep sharing.)

Prayer: Lord, in our quest to express our individuality, may we integrate everything You have taught us.  From that place of integration, may we shed the lies and keep what is Truth.  May we be born afresh, alive, and new in water and Spirit as You wash us with Your redeeming grace.  As the collective consciousness of the Church-as-Bride sheds her super-ego and becomes awake, help her to fully claim the mercy of the Truth within herself.  Just as the Holy Spirit brings unique gifts to the community of the Trinity, may we also connect to the unique gifts You have lavished upon us to share and to bring wholeness and balance to our community as we anchor in You.  Forgive us for bowing to the god of attraction and for reminding us that ‘all that glitters is not gold.’  We are Your corpus mysticum, truly Your mystical body, and You have made us well in Your mystery.  We bless You and honor You, Lord.  May our love language reflect as a mirror, as we put aside childish ways, so that we shall no longer know in part, but shall know You fully face to face even as we are fully known by You in Your love, kindness, grace, and forgiveness. (ref 1 Cor 13:12)

 

Trinity Sunday          3 June 12                                                      Gospel: John 3:1-17

Isaiah 6:1-8
6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple.

6:2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.

6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

6:4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke.

6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

6:6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.

6:7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.”

6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

Psalm 29
29:1 Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy splendor.

29:3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters.

29:4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

29:5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

29:6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.

29:7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.

29:8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

29:9 The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!”

29:10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.

29:11 May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

Romans 8:12-17
8:12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–

8:13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

8:15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”

8:16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

8:17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ–if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

John 3:1-17
3:1 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.

3:2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

3:3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

3:4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”

3:5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

3:6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

3:7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’

3:8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

3:9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”

3:10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

3:11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.

3:12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

3:13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

3:14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

3:15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

3:17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

 


[1] Jung, CG; The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious; Princeton University Press, (1969) Bollingen Foundation (1959); p 165

[5] John Gray, Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus, (Harpercollins; Stated First Edition edition, 1992)

Universal Translator

18 Jun

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for Pentecost 27 May 2012

Universal Translator

Dear Israel,

You know first hand what Ezekiel 37:1-14 and the story of ‘Dem Bones’ was all about.  You were right in the middle of the Valley; the darkest of places full of bones. (v 1)  In the Nazi Holocaust, you saw first hand the literal piles of dry bones of family members and friends. (v 2)  God asked you, “Mortal, can these bones live?” and you answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”  (v 3) 

Ez 37:4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

The Spirit did cause breath to enter you and you did live. (v 5)  The remnant rose from the ashes.  God did lay sinews back on your bones, caused flesh to come upon you, covered you with skin, put breath in you, and you did live again as a people and know that God is the LORD. (v 6)  Just as Ezekiel prophesied, there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone, family to its family, whomever you could find from your tribes and friends. (v 7)  There was still no breath in the nation yet, as you walked out of the concentration camps. (v 8)  You listened to God and came from the four winds and the breath of the Spirit breathed upon the slain, the walking dead, that they would live. (v 9)  The people lived and stood on their feet as a vast (but beaten) multitude. (v 10)  Her hope was lost, dried, brittle, and you felt cut off completely. (v 11)  But God did not abandon you.  He did open your graves, and the wounds of your heart, brought you up out of your suffering, and brought you back to the land of Israel. (v 12)  And you did know that God was the LORD, God of Integrity Who keeps His Word and brought you up from your graves as His people, one people. (v 13)  He did put His Spirit within you and you lived.  He placed you on your own soil, and you had faith again in knowing God is the LORD; He had spoken and acted. (v 14)  On 14 May 1948 you became the Nation of Israel.  Prophecy was fulfilled. 

Immediately after World War II the United Nations was formed in 1945.[1] Today we are seeing prophecy fulfilled again from Daniel 2 where the rulers had the power but not the chutzpah to make a one-world government.  

Dan 2:42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

In 1999 the Eurozone came into being and Europe began using the Euro as the common, ‘one-world’ currency.  However,

Paul Benware notes: “The Bible does not use the phrase “one-world government” or “one-world currency” in referring to the end times. It does, however, provide ample evidence to enable us to draw the conclusion that both will exist under the rule of the Antichrist in the last days.”[2]

Now, hang on to your knickers, please, and do not react to the word “Antichrist.” Daniel 7 talks about the Beast.  Revelation 13 talks about the Beast.  In all my prayer and study of scripture, I have never, ever been able to find one single figurehead epitomizing a Supervillain, a singular ‘Antichrist,’ aka […drum roll, please…] “THE BEAST.”  The ‘Antichrist’ is a spirit (1 John 4:3); it is an attitude.  Every single human being is capable of this attitude.  It is the attitude of Pride from which ten horns of other attitudes spring.  This is universal.  Pride affects everyone (Rev 13:13) and this beast leaves its marks on our minds [ie, “foreheads”] and on our deeds [ie, “right hands.”]  This rebellious type of pride is beastly.  (It is opposite to healthy pride.)  So?  And?  To deal with it one must stand in the Truth.

Daniel 9:24 addresses sin, righteousness, and judgment.  In John 16:8 Jesus addresses sin, righteousness and judgment. 

Dan 9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

God already did confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ The ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble’ (Jer 30:7) began with the Holy Spirit visiting the ‘Seven Churches’ on ‘the Lord’s Day.’ (Rev 1:10-11)  In the middle of the ‘seven’ there really was an end to sacrifice and offering as the Church faced her own expectations and self-absorption.  The abomination was the dysfunctional silence of God’s children when they were confronted.  The dysfunctional silence which ensued was caused by shame, which in turn caused desolation. 

Mark 13:14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

The abomination that causes desolation is the Dysfunctional Silence.  It stands and does not belong in any family at any point in the timeline, just as you experienced with the Nazis where the people knew and did nothing.  Desolation is caused by neglect, disrespect, denial, and unconsciousness/unawareness.  These attitudes stand with “horns” built up around them like a fortress.  They are vacuum-packed around the altar in shame, just standing there gawking, gaping, and glaring in gloomy silence.  So flee!  Go shout it!  Shout it from the mountains!  We’re all one!  It’s only the ego-self that creates divisions.

Dear Israel, the Church has gone through her own spiritual holocaust, where you went through the actual Holocaust.  You also faced “the abomination that causes desolation.”  The greatest abomination is that so many knew what was going on and did nothing (or could do nothing.)  It was the Holy Spirit stirring in courageous hearts in 1945 that put an end to the Holocaust and it will be the Holy Spirit who will knock down this idol that assumes “THE” Antichrist is a single Supervillain.  We are all like sheep who have gone astray. (Is 53:6)  Only the Holy Spirit of Pentecost can break the idol of shame.  Then we “flee to the mountains” to blow trumpets of proclamation and jubilee!

God is still breathing His Spirit.  On 14 May 2008 I had a life-transforming experience with God.  I later found out that this experience was sixty years to the day from when Israel became a nation.  I am a Christian.  I was accosted by God’s love in the ‘Burning Bush’ and Christ asked me to marry Him.  In my culture this experience is sometimes even referred to as a “mystical marriage.”  It was done by the Spirit, the same Spirit who raised your bones from ashes, also raised my life from the ashes.  And when Jesus was talking about the resurrection to the Pharisees He did say, 

Matthew 22:31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

When the Spirit descended on Jesus’ disciples on Pentecost, the experience was later described as:

“Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” (Acts 2:3-4)

Today, “divided tongues” is common as families and cultures blend and many speak multiple languages.  Translation is not just a learned skill but a gift from God.  This gift crosses boundaries of nations and cultures by respect and love.  Translation is not just words rendered from other words.  Translation grasps the meaning of the words and conveys it.  This is a gift of the Holy Spirit.  Translation flips the effects of the Tower of Babel, when the Lord confused the nations, who had once been united by one language. (Genesis 11:1)  Now translation set the course right again, so that we humans with all of our languages could communicate God’s love for us with each other.  The Holy Spirit was/is the ultimate Universal Translator.  Jesus described the Holy Spirit as the Advocate, Who would come to prove the world wrong about 1) sin, and 2) righteousness, and 3) judgment. (John 16:8) 

The world has been wrong about sin, Jesus said, “Because they do not believe in Me.” (v 9)  Believing IN is not the same as blind faith.  Believing IN someone is having a relationship with– and having confidence IN– someone.  For example, I can believe the sun will rise tomorrow; I can enjoy the sun rising tomorrow; I can tap into the solar resources because the sun is rising tomorrow; the sun rising tomorrow does impact my day today and will effect generations to come beyond tomorrow, but my covenantal belief relationship is not with the sun, but it is with the Son.  I have a relationship with the Son of God, where the sun is an object of appreciation.  The Son of God is a living Being, where the sun must not be made into an idol blocking the Light of the Love(r) of God.

The world has been wrong about righteousness, Jesus said, “Because I am going to the Father and you will see Me no longer.” (John 16:10)  Righteousness-by-NOT-seeing relies on trust in the covenantal belief relationship.  It’s not about being right.  The Holy Spirit sets things right.  Righteousness is about “walking the talk” and practicing what we preach.  It’s about having the courage to live integral faith-filled lives.  God Himself is a God of integrity.

The world has been wrong about judgment, Jesus said, “Because the ruler of this world has been condemned.” (v 11)  The ruler of this world is Satan, (ie, counter spiritual force.)  He roams on this corridor in this timeline.  He stirs up our ego-dragons.  Satan is judged, not humans.  There are consequences, though, to our applications of integral behavior linked to faith.  The righteous indignation of God erupts when the link of integrity is broken.  We must “walk the talk.”  Not “walking the talk” does not bring about condemnation, for there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. (Jn 3:17; Ro 8:1)  However, not “walking the talk” does bring about grief.  Grief is not the same as condemnation.  Jesus said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” (v 12)  This is what a mama or papa does with their children to give them breathing space to risk applying what they already know and have learned thus far so that they can mature.  As a people group, God has been doing the same with all of us, His children. 

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

“Guiding into all the truth” is what a good parent does in respectfully pointing out the truth and consequences for the child.  This is our opportunity to apply what we have learned to glorify God. (v 14)  When Eve ate of the fruit in the Garden of Eden, Yahweh said, “See, the man has become like one of us, with his knowledge of good and evil.” (Gen 3:22)  And we really do know.  Now we must awaken to a global shift of consciousness to apply what we already know, and forgive, honor, bless, and release to God’s glory.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, only You have the power to awaken us and liberate us by Your transforming grace.  On this Day of Pentecost, please once again give us Your amazing Spirit to proclaim Your Good News, Your deeds, and Your power, so that everyone calls on Your Name and is saved from themselves.  Since Life is a reflection of our collective inner consciousness, please cast out our idols which interfere with us being able to see You as You are.  Bring us home in the Alpha and Omega cycle, where You told us to love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the Second Commandment was not to allow anything to interfere with the First.  Be our Universal Translator where we can transcend our limited efforts of using words to describe Your love for us into radiating Your love of us.  May we know Your love from that deep place in our souls; that place of both words and no words, that place of awe and wonder that reflects Your own Essence back to You.  May we experience this place of translation where Word is savored and our own thoughts of ego-“I” transcend from who we think we are to expand to the greater Truth of who we are as beloved in You.  May we transcend our imprisonment of our own streams of words and thoughts and anchor in Your depths of nourishment and tender-loving care.  Heal our egoistic and noisy “I’s” so that we can boldly go where everyone has gone before (but we couldn’t talk about it.)  Give us ears to hear, eyes to see, hands to support, and mouths to worship You, Lord.  Move us from our little “I” worlds into the greater “We” world of integrated maturity as Your people/children.  Amen.

 

Pentecost                  27 May 2012                                     Gospel: John 16:26-27; 16:4b-15

Ezekiel 37:1-14
37:1 The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.

37:2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry.

37:3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.”

37:4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

37:5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.

37:6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

37:7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.

37:8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them.

37:9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.”

37:10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

37:11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’

37:12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel.

37:13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people.

37:14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act,” says the LORD.

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
104:24 O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

104:25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.

104:26 There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

104:27 These all look to you to give them their food in due season;

104:28 when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

104:29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

104:30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.

104:31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works–

104:32 who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.

104:33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

104:34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.

104:35b Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!

Romans 8:22-27
8:22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;

8:23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

8:24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?

8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

8:27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Acts 2:1-21
2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

2:2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

2:3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.

2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

2:5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

2:6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

2:7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

2:8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

2:11 Cretans and Arabs–in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

2:12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

2:13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.

2:15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.

2:16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

2:17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

2:18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

2:19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

2:20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.

2:21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
15:26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.

15:27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

16:4b “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

16:5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’

16:6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.

16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

16:8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:

16:9 about sin, because they do not believe in me;

16:10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer;

16:11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

16:12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

16:14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

16:15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Be Sanctified In Truth

18 Jun

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 7 Easter on 20 May 2012

Be Sanctified In Truth

Scriptures have to be fulfilled in order to authenticate God’s integrity.  And they have been!  God is true to His Word.  His testimony is greater than man’s. (1 Jn 5:9)  Man testifies to God through our hearts (v 10) as Christ lives in us. (v 11)  We can borrow life for a time, but in order to be fully “awake” in life we must connect to the Divine Lover through belief. (v 13)  The counterbalance to belief is blasphemy.  Blasphemy is an irreverence in the heart-mind that ignores and rejects the Holy Spirit.  It stems from a spirit of prideful arrogance, which got Satan cast out of heaven in the first place.  Rejecting the Holy Spirit means we cut off our own opportunity to get to know God at all. The only unpardonable sin is speaking against the Holy Spirit, which is a different kind of testimony in a negative contrast.  It’s not the sin of someone else.  It’s the testimony of attitude.

Mt 12: 31-32“There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you deliberately persist in your slanders against God’s Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives. If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you’re sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives. (Message Bible)

We each have kept God’s Word. (Jn 17:6)  We may not have been able to keep our promises, but God has kept His Word through us.  His Truth is in us.  (v 17)  Even in our lost-ness, God has protected us through our tribulations just as He said He would.  (Rev 9:4-5)

Lk 10:18-20 18-20Jesus said, “I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.” (Message Bible)

Jesus didn’t ask God to take us out of the world, but He asked God to protect us from the evil one who is in the world.  (Jn 17:15)  Hell is here on earth, because this is where the ruler of darkness lives.  The Bum is on this timeline.  He will keep living here until God casts out Satan once and for all and brings in the Kingdom, the ‘New Jerusalem,’ from heaven.  We are active partners in this process of revival, which ever side of the tracks we are reviving.  I picture it like us humans praying down heaven.  Heaven comes down like an elevator from the top floor and our united love pushes evil into the basement forever and God seals the evil door shut forever by our collective love.

John 12: 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Worship lifts up Christ.  Worship draws all people to God.  The evil one is all about lies, deception, and destruction. It’s no coincidence that there were three spirits that looked like frogs at Armageddon in Rev 16:13.  Satan magnifies and exaggerates and spins.  Our job, should we choose to accept it, is to discern the Truth within us and accept the invitation of the Lamb to His wedding supper! (Rev 19:9)  May His joy once again be made complete in us! (Jn 17:13)  We do not belong in this world, any more than Jesus did. (v 16)  That doesn’t mean we have the right to beat each other up with the Truth to bludgeon them into the next world with our own truths.  Everyone does have part of the truth.  The point is to let God anchor us with His Truth of who He is in us and us in Him.  God sanctifies us with His own Truth by His own Word for His own glory and makes Himself look good as His integrity stays intact and shines magnificently.

My Prayer:

Lord, I have made Your name known to those whom You gave me from the world. (Jn 17:6)  I made Your name known to the Seven Churches.  They were Yours, and You gave them to me, and they have kept Your Word.  Now they know that everything You have given me is from You (v 7), for the words that You gave to me, I have given to them, and they have received them and know in Truth that I came from You as Your bride (Rev 22:17); and they have believed that You sent me. (v 8) 

I am asking on their behalf, not on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom You gave me of the Seven Churches, because they are Yours.  All mine are Yours, and Yours are mine, and You have been glorified in them. (v 10)  And now I am no longer in their world, but they are in the world, and I am curling up in Your lap, coming to You as a wife to her Husband.  Holy Father, protect them in Your name that You have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. (v 11)  I guarded them and prayed for them, but I don’t know who was lost, so that scripture might be fulfilled. (v 12)  But now I am coming to You, humbly with all of my being as I curl up with You in Your lap, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have Your joy made complete in themselves. (v 13)  I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world any more than I do. (v 14)  I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but I ask You to protect them from the evil one. (v 15)  They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. (v 16)  Everyone has “gone nuckin’ futz” and only You can set it right, Father.  I do affectionately call You the “Divine Madman,” but it takes a madman to know a madman, and truly You have outwitted Satan once and for all! (Zechariah 4)

Sanctify them in the Truth.  Your Word is Truth, Lord. (v 17)

As You have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world to go and make friends.  (v 18)  And for their sakes, for the sake of the Seven Churches, I sanctify myself in You, Christ, as Your bride, so that they may be sanctified in Truth. (v 19)  May we all know who we are in Your Love and Truth and anchor in it.  May we be so full of You that we wouldn’t need to bash each other over the head with our own truths.  May we be so full of Your presence that all we could do is brag on You and share what You have already done for us!  Amen.

 

7 Easter                                 20 May 2012                                     Gospel: John 17:6-19

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
1:15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said,

1:16 “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus —

1:17 for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”

1:21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

1:22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.”

1:23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.

1:24 Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen

1:25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

1:26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

Psalm 1
1:1 Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;

1:2 but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night.

1:3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.

1:4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

1:5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

1:6 for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

1 John 5:9-13
5:9 If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son.

5:10 Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.

5:11 And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

John 17:6-19
17:6 “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

17:7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you;

17:8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

17:9 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours.

17:10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.

17:11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

17:12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled.

17:13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.

17:14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

17:15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.

17:16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

17:18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

 

Friends, Mothers, and Pastors

18 Jun

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 6 Easter 13 May 2012

Friends, Mothers, and Pastors

Laying down one’s life for one’s friends is actually harder to do than an act of heroism done out of an adrenaline rush.  Once the adrenaline rush has subsided, then life must even out to find equilibrium again.  But when love lays down its life for a friend, the cosmos itself has to readjust the vortices.  The bonds of friendship are thick, forged in the messiness of life’s blood, sweat, tears, baptisms, truth (and lies). (ref Acts 10:47)  Offering support during times of trials is not for sissies.  Friends support out of an internal bond of hutzpah and not just out of obligation. (Luke 11:5-10) The saying is true, “Blood is thicker than water,” and Christ came through both.  And He calls us friends.  He doesn’t (and can’t) command friendship, but He does appoint us to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, fruit borne out of friendship. (Jn 15:16)  “You are my friends if you do what I command.” (v 14)  He is not a drill sergeant.  We’re in partnership on this journey with Him. 

Friends pray for each other.  As individuals we let each other down like the disciples did to Jesus in Gethsemane. (Mt 26:40)  But as a body, the Church prays for her members, doing as a group what individuals cannot complete on their own, just as the disciples could not pray on their own in the Garden before Jesus went to the cross, but as a group we can celebrate the Eucharist which is the fruit. Through prayer the members become more than the sum of their parts.  We have seen this dynamic at work and know it is true.  And as a body, the Church did come together on Thursday, 03 May 2012 in a soft balance of cosmic restoration as we gathered on the National Day of Prayer.  It was like the Church’s own Gethsemane to do as a body what we could not do alone as individuals when Jesus lived on the planet two thousand years ago.  On that Thursday, May 3rd [the Church’s very own Maundy Thursday] a couple hundred people in our town gathered for the National Day of Prayer.  The last set of prayers was for the unity of the Churches.  I gave a cheer!  I didn’t know if I wanted to giggle or cry, as this has been my own prayer for so long.  Then one of the pastors quoted someone who said, “Change a pastor, change a community.  Change a community, change a church.  Change a church, change the world.”  Truly, we must pray for our pastors!  At the closing of our gathering all the pastors present came up on stage and were introduced.  They made an impressive line-up across the stage.  It was nice seeing them hold court.  In the prophetic court, the absence of religious leaders representing the Catholics, Episcopalians, Orthodox, and rabbis was absolutely glaring to me. The absence was on display like Revelation 2 and 3 said would happen.  It was like looking at a living piece of bass-relief art.  The government may change the name of the gathering to the National Day of Reason,[1] but we were gathered to pray reasonably together, however not all the members of the tribes were present at this powwow.  There was nothing that said it was supposed to be a National Day of Evangelical Christian Prayer. God hears His children.  All of them.  In the courts of praise, the last corporate prayer was for the unity of the Churches.  And there are “Seven.” (Rev 1:4-6)

The next day on Friday, 04 May 2012, [the Church’s very own “Good Friday”], I delivered a log of our collective journey between all the Churches and myself to my homies at the archetypal Church of “Laodicea.” (Rev 3:14)  God had answered a prayer voiced in 2007: “I wish God would just kick us in the butt.”  And God did.

On Sunday, 06 May 2012 “Thyatira” (Rev 2:18) took a serious look at the hazards of hypocrisy.

On Monday, 07 May 2012 I felt an expansion of grace by the Holy Spirit.  And God said (really, no joke),

“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.  Jack jump over the candlestick.”

The Seven Churches ARE the lampstands.

Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

Laodicea is one star of the Seven Churches and all Seven jumped over the Flame and got burned.  All Seven can still do “Jack,” or not care “Jack” what others think, or they can be the “Jack of all trades” as the Institution has been known to be in the past; they can remain lean in spirit like ‘Jack Sprat’ who was lean in body while his wife could eat no lean and lived only on the fat; or they can tumble down the hill like ‘Jack and Jill’ as they fall into the baptismal font (oh, right, that was to fetch a pail of water); or they could be the ‘Jack-o-lantern’ to the world shining God’s Light through their gourds, or they can be the healing balm to each other like Bacitracin on a fire burn after the wound has been cleansed and cauterized.  God could have planted me at any church’s parking lot, or church school, or anywhere.  But He planted me in a church garden in a real place in a real town with a real priest.  And the other pastors?  How would any one of the other pastors feel if they were in this priest’s shoes?  Are they saying in their hearts, “Thank God it was him and not me?”  People who have the gift of mercy (as this priest has) are often the most tormented by their own gift.  Each one of the pastors has also been tormented by his own gifts.  Our own gifts crucify each one of us.  Each has that solace in common.  God calls us friends; to be friends and with friendship as the suture glue, He commands us to be obedient as friends.  (Jn 15:14)  “Friends don’t let friends drink and drive,” and the Harlot has been drunk on the blood of the saints, (Rev 17:6) but it does not have to remain this way.  True friends would be obedient to Christ for the sake of unity and to glorify God.  We just prayed for unity of the Church at the National Day of Prayer.  My prayer is that the pastors would rally together and bring each other the mercy each pastor of the Seven Churches is longing for.  Each has been as much a prisoner of protocol and Establishment with their own hands (and tongues) being tied as everyone else’s was tied.  The least they could do for each other is ‘do lunch’ or shoot some hoops together.  How else can the pastors “change a pastor to change a community to change a Church to change the world”?  Go play as friends!

Now I want to make it absolutely clear to the readership that there are two specific messages in this Reflection regarding “laying down one’s life for one’s friends.”  One message is to the “stars of the angels of the seven churches:” Go play!  Make friends.  Be honest.  Forgive.  Make peace.  Practice what you preach.  The other message is to the flocks of the Seven Churches: Leave the boys alone to “find their hooves,” as my best friend would say.  Christ, my Husband, really IS on His way, riding in on His white horse Faithful and True, (Rev 19:11) and the armies of heaven are following Him. (Rev 19:14)  We all need to “get back in our hooves,” to be anchored in our relationships with Christ, to be prepared within ourselves for every good work He asks us to do, so that when called upon, we can join Him in His Kingdom projects.  (2 Tim 2:21)  Flock, please connect to your own bliss with your own gifts flowing from your own heart and “do your own who.”  That way, when the pastors come back to you and voice a need, the community will be there and ready to meet it.  If the flocks’ attentions (and intentions) are on the pastors and not on Christ, then the flock will not be ready.  Jesus told us to preach the Good News of the Kingdom (Mt 24:14) not man’s news of his own micro-kingdoms.  We must stand taller and taller in Christ through the Holy Spirit. (Acts 11:17)  What the flock can do for the pastors as they go make friends is to pray for them; pray for all pastors. 

On this Mother’s Day, the collective Church can learn a thing or two from our mothers to help us be good friends to our pastors and to each other and thereby change the world.  To borrow from a recent devotional from the pastor of the Church of “Sardis” who wrote an ode to mothers, I offer this ode to all pastors.  As a whole body everyone can:

  • Gently help our pastors to remember things they might forget.
  • Nurture them to help them believe in themselves when others might doubt.
  • Help them to schedule, take, and keep their Sabbath days holy. (Dt 5:12)
  • Help them with their relationships, giving special respect among youth and elders.
  • Love them with tenderness as they often put the church’s needs before their own.
  • Root for them, be there for them, support them, and love them.
  • Be merciful and kind to them.
  • If necessary, take them by the hand to lead them out of trouble.
  • Pray for them trusting God to protect them.
  • Breathe their names in prayer as our mothers would breathe ours.
  • Encourage them to rest.
  • Keep them believing, keep encouraging, keep loving them through good times and bad.
  • Keep them focused on the Kingdom of God, so that nothing can deter them (not even themselves.)
  • Forgive them and show them how to see the best in people as you see the best in them.
  • Give them a special place of honor in your heart.
  • Listen to their counsel.
  • Appreciate all they have done for us.  Jesus did call them “stars.” (Rev 1:20)  Love on them.  I know I do.

Prayer: Father, please help us to remember all of our mamas, pastors, and friends, and to remember that humans are not the enemy; the Rebel is.  Lord, may we love one another as You have loved us.  Lord, I also include myself.  An anchoress is like a Church Mama.  Help us to love our mamas of all varieties.  Help us to remember our bliss in You, Lord, and to go play in Your Name.  Amen.

 

6 Easter                     13 May 2012                                                 Gospel: John 15:9-17

Acts 10:44-48
10:44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word.

10:45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles,

10:46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said,

10:47 “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

10:48 So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

Psalm 98
98:1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.

98:2 The LORD has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

98:3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

98:4 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

98:5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.

98:6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.

98:7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it.

98:8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy

98:9 at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

1 John 5:1-6
5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child.

5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.

5:3 For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,

5:4 for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.

5:5 Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

5:6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.

John 15:9-17
15:9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.

15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

15:11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

15:13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

15:15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.

15:16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.

15:17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.