Archive | December, 2012

Receiving Blankets

30 Dec

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for the First Sunday After Christmas 30 December 2012
Receiving Blankets
Colossians 3:12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

As of the date of the winter solstice (21 Dec 2012) I have been parking, praying, and writing in my car now for 22 seasons (not months, but seasons—that’s 5 ½ years.) Everything I’ve written has focused on the Lord, even as I have tried to sort out the nutsy-ness of this journey with God and His people. I have tried to live true to Colossians 3:12 as I plumbline in Christ. Assumptions continue to play a huge role in this nutsy-ness. I don’t know what the assumptions are, because it is their nature to go unspoken and I am not clairvoyant. The Holy Family had the same issues, because assumptions are part of human nature:

Luke 2:44 Assuming that He [12-year-old Jesus] was in the group of travelers, they [His family] went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for Him among their relatives and friends.

“Assume” means to take for granted; pretend; to take upon oneself; claim. Jesus’ parents took it for granted that He would be with the rest of the group in their caravan going from Jerusalem back home to Nazareth after the Passover celebration at the Temple. They assumed that Jesus would be with the other twelve-year-olds. That assumption took them a day’s journey away from Jerusalem. When they finally did realize He was not where they expected Him to be, then they spent another three days (v 46) going out of their way to search for Him. We all do this. We start with logic in our usual routine (cf v 42), but then repetition paves the way for assumptions to settle in. In the realm of Assumptions, there is no thought or inkling to sit, listen, or ask questions (v 46), because one thinks one knows. Anxiety can then set in upon awakening that one doesn’t really know.
The Church-as-Institution has done this pattern with me, too. It has been my constant prayer to live in the house of the Lord. Did you not know? (Luke 2:49) But the Church-as-Institution did not understand. (v 50) The Church, like Jesus’ parents, looked at me and has been astonished. (v 48) Collectively, she has basically said to me, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, we have been searching for you in great anxiety.” (v 48) I know. That anxiety is thick. It does not require that one be a mystic to identify this. When Jesus addressed His parents after they found Him in the Temple, He did not speak to His parents’ anxiety. He spoke to the core issue: “Why were you searching for me?” (v 49) “Why” addresses motive. When we know why we do something, then anxiety’s stronghold is weakened. After we know why, then the “where” makes more sense: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (v 49) But the Church still has not seemed to understand this yet. (v 50) She seems to be looping in more anxiety. And that anxiety, which goes unaddressed, just grows. It creates an expanding gray zone. The gray zones drive one into prayer. And even in prayer, assumptions loom because one doesn’t know the outcome. In fact, assumptions can make disastrous outcomes. One can hope. One can “see” the pretty picture of Potential. But even though we are asked and called by God to reach out, we may not place pressure on the outcome of the outreach. We have no control over how it is received. That expectation must be surrendered. We can pray before, during, and after the outreach for divine wholeness and connection, but it is the Holy Spirit that makes it happen.
In this dance between the Churches and me I have been left wondering what assumption is driving the unspoken. Assumptions go counter to mindfulness. Mindfulness brings the sacred into the ordinary moment. Assumptions just go where they’ve always gone. The Church assumes my relatives and friends are providing community with me, and my family and acquaintances assume that the Church is providing community. In reality, I have none on either front. From my perspective, it doesn’t seem to matter that I reach out beyond myself every single day to share what God has asked me to share. I can’t seem to make connections and see no movement. We’re evidently in some kind of gridlock and nobody is saying anything. But, again, I’m not clairvoyant; I don’t read minds, so I don’t know what the assumption is which is going unspoken. I have gone down with “them” to their “Nazareth” and was obedient to them (v 51), while I still listened to God and did what He said while in our “Nazareth.” I have surrendered to GOD each time the Church demanded conformity to their image and not God’s. This doesn’t mean lack of obedience on my part. It means obedience to God took precedence over obedience to man. I registered my complaints and forgave.
Col 3:13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
With every passing day I understand Mary more and the treasures she held in her heart. (Luke 2:51) In many ways I have grown closer to my own mother on this journey, even though she died near the beginning of it, almost four years ago, in January 2009.
Col 3:14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
My mom clothed herself with love. Even when she hurt from arthritis she would crochet blankets for military families. The blankets would pile up in our living room until she and my dad would take a trip out to the military base to deliver them. Mom would get credit hours on their books and pick up more donated yarn when they had it available. She put in over 3,000 (acknowledged) hours crocheting blankets before she died. I don’t think we can conceive of how much time and effort that is, but the military families who received the blankets don’t have to know about the hours to know the love and prayers infused in the blankets when they snuggle in them. I know I am one of the fortunate ones to still have one of Mom’s blankets in my car which I use every single day as I park, pray, and write. Mom’s tangible love and prayers woven into the blanket have kept me alive on many a bitter cold day. The warmth helps me to receive God’s love. I love you, Mom. I miss you.
Mom would pray for families as her hands made warmth and beauty. She clothed herself with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Col 3:14) We can all learn from Mom’s example, of how offering our gifts of love move us forward in our search for Christ. It was love (which also generated anxiety) which prompted Jesus’ parents to go searching for Him. It likely wasn’t just obligation to care for the Christ Child that was their impetus for looking. Love is the greatest of motivators. If they really had been motivated only by a spirit of obligation, they probably would have stopped looking after a day. But they searched for three days. (Lk 2:46)
The search itself is influenced by many things. Those influences shape reality. The Elijah List posted words by Francis Frangipane on Friday, 28 December 2012 which address the war over reality, which is greatly affected by anxiety, motivations, and assumptions, and he reminds us of God’s glorious plan:
“Ephesians 3:10 reveals God’s glorious plan, that “through the Church” God has purposed to make known His manifold wisdom to the principalities and powers “in the heavenly places.” You see, as the Body of Christ on earth agrees with its Head in Heaven, the Spirit of Christ Himself displaces the powers of darkness in the heavenly places.
In other words, when the Church on earth is aggressive in its agreement with the will and Word of God, then the presence of God increases in the spiritual realm, proportionally displacing the influence of Hell on earth. Shortly thereafter, manifesting in the world of men, we see revivals, healings and miracles. But when the Church is passive, indifferent or carnal, the powers of Hell increase their rule over the affairs of men: marriages break up, crime increases, and wantonness becomes unbridled. We must see that our prayers, attitudes, and agreement with God are an integral part of establishing the reality of the Kingdom of God on earth!”
My life bears witness to the broken state of the Church. Words without obedience are meaningless. The Church has simply been reflecting her indifference to the broken Covenant. However, there is hope. Also on Friday, 28 Dec 12, Prophet Kim Clement wrote from Jerusalem and he offered to present prayer requests sent in to him, and he would walk them up to the Wailing Wall. He said he would present all of our needs to God with thanksgiving together with Rabbi Rabinowitz of the Wailing Wall and all Holy Places in Israel. I sent in my prayer to Kim via Facebook:
Dear Kim, It is my Wailing Wall prayer that God will break through blockages which have prevented my writings from being published and distributed to the whole world (Acts 1:8), when they are written for God’s glory and the unification of His people. The Truth is in us: (https://truthinus.wordpress.com/) Please also share the Reflections with your friends over there. Namasté and bless you on your trip, ~ Kathryn Hauser
I am in awe that God has provided an opportunity through human hands to land in prayer on His holy mount of Zion. The outcome is up to God. In the process Psalm 148:14 is fulfilled:
Ps 148:14 He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the LORD!
Prayer: Lord, when others assume that we are with another group of “travelers” and they look for us among our relatives and friends (Lk 2:44), may we be found in Your house, in the sanctuary of fellowship with You. Please give us Your questions and help us to listen (v 46). Give us amazement at Your understanding and Your answers (v 47). May we ask ourselves why we are searching for You (v 49). May we seek You in Your house even when we don’t understand what You say to us (v 50). May we, like Mary, treasure all these things in our hearts (v 51). May every one of us increase in wisdom and in divine and human favor (v 52) for Your kingdom purposes. Amen.

01 After Christmas 30 December 2012 Gospel: Luke 2:41-52
1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
2:18 Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy wearing a linen ephod.

2:19 His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

2:20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the LORD repay you with children by this woman for the gift that she made to the LORD”; and then they would return to their home.

2:26 Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the LORD and with the people.

Psalm 148
148:1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!

148:2 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!

148:3 Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!

148:4 Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

148:5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.

148:6 He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

148:7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,

148:8 fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!

148:9 Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!

148:10 Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!

148:11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!

148:12 Young men and women alike, old and young together!

148:13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.

148:14 He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the LORD!

Colossians 3:12-17
3:12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

3:13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

3:14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.

3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Luke 2:41-52
2:41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.

2:42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.

2:43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.

2:44 Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends.

2:45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.

2:46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

2:47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

2:48 When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”

2:49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

2:50 But they did not understand what he said to them.

2:51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

L’Chaim!

25 Dec

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for Christmas Day 25 December 2012
L’chaim!

Hebrews 1:3 “He [Jesus] is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and He sustains all things by His powerful Word. When He had made purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”

Jesus did it, said it, lived it, breathed it, walked it, died in it, rose in it, blessed with it, ate it (but didn’t seem to choke on it,) believed it, was sustained by it, and rested in it. All things by God’s powerful Word. God makes good on His Word. He keeps His Word. And He’s done it again. It is our job to pass the torch. Bob Hartley said in his visionary word on 21 December 2012 “The Lord’s “Triumphant Hope Face” in 2013:”

“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. Hebrews 10:12-13

“Action Item: Praising and Proclaiming the “God of the Trump Card”
On the eve of 2013, we have a grand, divine invitation to enter a chamber door that leads to a hope “reformation room.” The Lord has also shown us a bothersome spirit of negation stationed at the threshold that seeks to minimize and distort our image of God and thereby quench our hope, weaken our faith and steal our praise.

…for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there [i.e. at the doorway] are many adversaries. 1 Corinthians 16:9

“We must band together with like-minded friends and resist our enemy’s influence, firm in our faith, in order to press into receiving our fuller inheritance.”

I believe that we, too, have been living into Jesus’ own life and words of “the exact imprint of God’s very being.” We have become like St Peter the Rock upon which Jesus built His Church (Mt 16:18), just as Christ said. We have been living God’s reformation hope. Bob Hartley continues…

“Part 3: A Second Reformation: Sparked by a Living Hope
The first reformation initiated on the heels of the dark ages in the 1500s answered the profound question of the human heart, “How will we be saved?” It restored to the Church the truth of Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” This understanding of how we are saved is now widely understood and accepted throughout the Church.
“This second reformation now coming forth answers the question, “How shall we then live?” This divine initiative significantly relates to how we are to live and minister to God and with God in a spirit of hope in this world, in this age. Hope is a relentless force and an earnest expectation of seeing God’s goodness and the fulfillment of His many intentions and promises for this age, not just for the one to come.”

So really, how shall we then live? Since we know that in Him is Life, and the Life was the light of all people (Jn 1:4) and no one is excluded (contrary to the Church-as-Institution’s belief system,) then how shall we live? We take God at His Word and testify to the Light within us! (Jn 1:8) Woo! Woo! Now if we don’t know who we are in Christ, then that is a testimony. If we do know who we are in Christ, then that is also a testimony. The journey itself is a testimony. Our faith testimonies of grace and truth within ourselves are revealed as we go along. We reveal what is of value to us. If we value grace and truth, then the glory of this is revealed as we put Him first. Child-like trust in God then grows. L’chaim! (“to Life”!)

Jn 1:4 In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of all people.

The enlightened life comes into the world (v 9). Life cannot grow out of the world, because the world sits in shadow. The light shines in the darkness (v 5). If we don’t say anything then we have a muted testimony. Our very lives still testify to the faith we practice, but without words spoken into our lives, the power rests hovering on the dimmer switch.

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Ya’know, the Angel Gabriel has been pretty busy this season (Luke Chapter 1). Now it’s our turn! Many parts of today’s lectionary lessons are written in the past tense, so that we can see in plain sight the return of the Lord to Zion [in our hearts.] (Isa 52:8) We must lift our voice (ie speak up) to hear what we “see.” (v 8) The Lord has comforted His people (v 9). He has already redeemed Jerusalem (v 9). He has already bared His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations (v 10). All the ends of the earth just haven’t yet seen the salvation of our God (v 10), because the Church-as-Institution can’t say anything. That seemingly would take away her power (even though in the long run she would get the glory.) We ordinary folks have yet to see in the Church a transformational sense of spiritual co-ownership with God. But the Lord has already made known His victory (Ps 98:2). He has already revealed His vindication in the sight of the nations (v 2). This is not new news: “The Emperor Wears No Clothes!” That “emperor” wears seven blasphemous names (Rev 13:1), but he doesn’t wear clothes. And the Church has already lived through this confrontational ordeal: been there, done that, and doen’t really need to do it again —

Rev 13: 1And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.

All along God has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. (Ps 98:3) All the ends of the earth just don’t know that they’ve seen the victory of our God (v 3) over the forces of darkness. The world doesn’t know. The world only hears the noise of the millstone grinding to a halt (cf Rev 18:22). If we continue to remain mute, the world cannot hear the joyful noise, the joyous song, the New Song (Ps 98:1, Rev 5:9, Rev 14:3) of praises to the Lord (Ps 98:4). It is true that even through the silence the rocks and stones themselves still do cry out (Luke 19:40). The Earth herself has a language, too, that glorifies God with her being. In the cry the world only hears the woes of the weeping and mourning of “sea merchants” (Rev 18:17-19), but the sea herself continues to roar God’s praises (Ps 98:7). The world only sees rivers and springs of water becoming “blood” (Rev 16:4), and yet the floods clap their hands (Ps 98:8). The world only sees how “the great city” was split into three parts and the cities of the nations collapsed (Rev 16:19). And yet the hills surrounding “the great city” sing together for Joy! (Ps 98:8)
Revelation 18:20
20 Rejoice over her, O heaven!
Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets!
God has judged her [the Babylonian spirit] for the way she treated you.’ ”

The spirit is judged, and since the battle is a spiritual one, then this judgment is also a spiritual one. This is good news! Tidings of great joy! The Church has a new song!
Hallelujah!
Revelation 19
1 After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great prostitute [the Babylonian spirit]
who corrupted the earth by her adulteries.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.” 3And again they shouted:
“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”
Now it is our turn to take co-ownership with God and be servant leaders, singing together for joy at the presence of the Lord, for He judges with righteousness and the people with equity. (Ps 98:9) We simply open our mouths to brag on God. We share the gifts He’s already given us. The Word gets around in a spirit of sharing.
Prayer: Lord, on this Christmas Day please birth through this doorway where You have been standing and knocking (Rev 3:20), so that the world may know of Your victory and the transformational permanent life change You offer when we believe the miracles You shower upon us. Please be born in us this day, AND be born anew in the Church today. Happy birthday, Jesus. L’chaim!

Christmas Day Year C Proper III 25 December 12 Gospel: John 1:1-14
Isaiah 52:7-10
52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

52:8 Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the LORD to Zion.

52:9 Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.

52:10 The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

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.

Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)
1:1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets,

1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.

1:3 He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

1:4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

1:7 Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.”

1:8 But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.

1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

1:10 And, “In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands;

1:11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like clothing;

1:12 like a cloak you will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end.”

John 1:1-14
1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

1:2 He was in the beginning with God.

1:3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being

1:4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

1:7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.

1:8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

1:10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.

1:11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.

1:12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,

1:13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

1:14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Revelation 2 and 3 Fulfilled

23 Dec

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 4 Advent 23 December 2012
Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 Fulfilled

Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

Bethlehem means “House of Bread.” (NIV Study Notes p 362.) The archetypal Church of “Ephesus” is also one of the “little clans of Judah” (aka of the conglomerate called the “Seven Churches.”) The Study Notes drew my attention to Ephrathah which is also mentioned in the Book of Ruth (Ruth 1:2). I was curious and allowed my mind to expand with the scholarly notes:
“Set in the dark and bloody days of the judges, the story of Ruth is silent about the underlying hostility and suspicion of the two peoples –Judahites [cf, Christians of today] and Moabites [cf, Muslims of today] –felt for each other. The original onslaught of the invading Israelite tribes against towns that were once Moabite had never been forgotten or forgiven, while the Hebrew [and Christian] prophets denounced Moab’s pride and arrogance for trying to bewitch, seduce and oppress Israel [and the Church] from the time of Balaam on [cf Rev 2:14]. The Mesha Stele (c 830 BC) boasts of the massacre of entire Israelite towns [which we also see repeated today.]
Moab encompassed the expansive, grain-filled plateau between the Dead Sea and the eastern desert on both sides of the enormous rift of the Arnon River gorge. Much of eastern Moab was steppeland—semi-arid wastes not profitable for cultivation, but excellent for grazing flocks of sheep and goats. The tribute Moab paid to Israel in the days of Ahab was 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams.” (p 362)

Bethlehem of Ephrathah is more than a location or a GPS dot on the cell phone map. The “House of Bread” houses the little spark of love that leavens the whole loaf. The Book of Ruth is a love story. Love itself goes much farther back to the outer-most ancient of days; long, long ago in a distant galaxy far, far away…, long before hostility and suspicion and unforgiveness became the “bread” of the Moabites and Israelites, and of the Muslims and the Christians.

Micah 5:3 Therefore He shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.

Jesus did “give up” the Church to live into His own words. The Church has been “in labor” and has already “brought forth.” And blessed is the fruit of her “womb.” (Lk 1:42) And blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord (v 45).

Luke 1:50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

God has been merciful and has fulfilled His promises not only to Israel, but to the Seven Churches. The Spirit has “fed” the Churches with her own words, which she wanted to “hear.” I looked back this week over the timeline of the dance between the Churches and me. I was astonished to see how prophecy has evolved. To my amazement I “saw” that Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 are now fulfilled:
Revelation 2
To the church in Ephesus
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him—who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: (Begun on 02 January 2010 and again cycled through on 29 August 2011)
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. (Fulfilled on 08 October 2010 and reinforced on 25 October 2010)
3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. (Fulfilled on 02 October 2012)
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. (Fulfilled on 10 March 2011)
5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. (Remembered on 22 October 2012) If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Fulfilled on both 19 June 2011 and on 20 October 2012.)
6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans [a spirit of non-committal, whappy compromise with society,] which I also hate. (Fulfilled on 15 December 2012)
7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

To the Church in Smyrna
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. (Begun on 20 March 2011 with “life” meaning spiritual life, ie Spirit of Christ in us as in Romans 8:9 and Philippians 1:19. And again cycled through on 03 May 2012)
9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are “Jews” [ie, circumcised of heart; Romans 2:29] and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan [housing deception and judgment]. (Begun on 20 March 2011 and fulfilled on 18 September 2011)
10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in “prison” to test you, and you will suffer persecution for “ten days.” Be faithful, even to the point of “death,” and I will give you the crown of life. (Cycled through on 16 August 2010 and again completing the cycle on 03 May 2012)
11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second “death.”

To the Church in Pergamum
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. (Begun on 06 March 2011)
13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas [ie, anti-pope in the days of the Reformation,] my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. (Fulfilled on 25 December 2011)
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam [to bless, not curse, in itself a good thing] who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols [ie, getting spiritually “fat” from not sharing the blessing] and by committing sexual immorality. (Fulfilled on 11 January 2012)
15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans [a spirit of non-committal, whappy compromise with society]. (Fulfilled on 19 September 2012)
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (Fulfilled on 19 February 2012)

To the Church in Thyatira
18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. (Begun on 18 September 2011)
19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. (Fulfilled on Sunday, 21 October 2012)
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel [manipulative spirit,] who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality (Fulfilled on Friday, 05 October 2012), and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. (Fulfilled on Friday, 19 October 2012)
21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. (Fulfilled on Holy Cross Day on the Church Calendar, 14 September 2012; and on Friday, 02 November 2012, and again on Tuesday, 11 December 2012)
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. (Begun on Sunday, 21 October 2012)
23 I will strike her children dead. (Tragically Fulfilled on Friday, 14 December 2012) Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. [I’m just the reporter here. Don’t kill the messenger. ~KH]
24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets [ie the lie of: “be careful what you wish/pray for…”] (I will not impose any other burden on you): (Fulfilled on 04 March 2012)
25 Only hold on to what you have until I come. (Begun on Good Friday, 06 April 2012 but not done, because Jesus Christ hasn’t come back yet.)
26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— (Authority Fulfilled on Saturday, 10 November 2012)
27 ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter;
he will dash them to pieces like pottery’— just as I have received authority from my Father. (Fulfilled on Sunday, 11 November 2012)
28 I will also give him the morning star. (Fulfilled on Sunday, 18 November 2012)
29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Revelation 3
To the Church in Sardis
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Begun on 03 October 2010)
2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. (Fulfilled on Friday, 19 October 2012)
3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Fulfilled on 22 October 2012)
5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Philadelphia
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David [honesty.] What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. (Begun on 20 February 2011)
8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Fulfilled on 28 July 2011)
9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be “Jews” [ie, circumcised of heart; Romans 2:29] though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Fulfilled on Sunday, 14 August 2011)
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.
13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Laodicea
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. (Begun on Epiphany Sunday, 06 January 2008. The Feast of the Annunciation announced it again on 25 March 2012; and addressed it again on 09 December 2012)
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! (Fulfilled on 25 October 2010)
16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Fulfilled on 25 January 2011)
17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. (Fulfilled on 01 July 2011)
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Fulfilled on Wednesday, 12 December 2012)
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. (Accentuated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012)
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Enjoyed on Sunday, 28 October 2012)
21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

The good news is that the Churches have already gone through their tribulation period. It’s done, over, finis. On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, the gift of the Holy Spirit is to let this good news sink into our souls and beings. Lord, by the sword of Your Spirit, let all who have ears “hear” what good news You are saying to the Churches.
Prayer: O God of Breakthrough, please break through and penetrate the oppressive silence of Your Churches. By Your mercy and intervention please end our old worldview and bring Your transformational courage and accountability by Your grace, and thereby shattering our assumptions. Bring Your forward movement of Your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10). We believe that there is fulfillment of what You have spoken to us by Your Word (Lk 1:45). You are our God of the Word; You keep Your Word, and make good on Your Word. We magnify You, Lord (v 46) and our spirit rejoices in You, God our Savior (v 47). For You have looked upon the lowliness of Your servants and surely from now on all generations shall call us blessed (v 48), for You, O Mighty One, have done great things for us and holy is Your Name (v 49). Your mercy is for those who fear You from generation to generation (v 50). You have shown strength with Your arm and have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts (v 51). You are bringing down the powerful from their “thrones” and are lifting up the lowly (v 52). You are filling the hungry with good things and sending contempt away (v 53). You are helping Your servants to remember Your mercy (v 54) according to the promises You made to our ancestors (Rev 18:20). We thank You that You stand and feed Your flock in Your strength, and in the majesty of Your own Name. God, You are good! (Man, not so much.) We praise You for Your mercy and forgiveness that allows us to live secure, for now You shall be great to the ends of the earth (Micah 5:4) for You are the One of Peace (v 5). Amen.

4 Advent 23 Dec 2012 Gospel Luke 1:39-55
Micah 5:2-5a
5:2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

5:3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.

5:4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth;

5:5 and he shall be the one of peace.

Psalm 80:1-7
80:1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth

80:2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!

80:3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

80:4 O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?

80:5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.

80:6 You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.

80:7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Hebrews 10:5-10
10:5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me;

10:6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

10:7 Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”

10:8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),

10:9 then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.

10:10 And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)
1:39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,

1:40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

1:42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

1:43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?

1:44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.

1:45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

1:46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,

1:47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

1:48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

1:49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

1:50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

1:51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

1:52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;

1:53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

1:54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

1:55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

End of the World?

16 Dec

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 3 Advent 16 Dec 2012

End of the World?

I have often made reference in my writings to how I park and pray and write.  I have a favorite parking spot at an abandoned library near a public park.  The old, abandoned library building is currently being leased to a non-profit public education organization, and they use the building seasonally rather than daily.  On one side of the building there is a little alcove where I have been parking and praying every day since 01 August 2007, the summer before God called me on Epiphany (06 January 2008).  You rang, God?  (By way of clarification, Epiphany is when He called; I accepted the marriage proposal on 14 May 2008.)  All this is really nothing new.  I’ve written about this.  What gets rather old is that every new cop (paid or volunteer) on the police force has to check me out, give me the grill of questions and a safety lecture, run a background check on my license, and interrogate me with blinding light in my eyes regardless of the hour.  It is inconceivable to the world that someone would not pray and write at home when they obviously have a place, as it so states on my ID.  I cannot explain or defend my need for quiet solitude to anyone.  I just know that for me it is a basic need, as basic as food and water for survival.  All this is still really nothing new.  What is new is that in this last week the latest newbie cop to the area stopped by.  He did his grill, ran the background check, and droned his pedantic lecture.  He interrogated me by glare of power flashlight on my purpose despite hearing me tell him that I pray and write, and he could see evidence of writing notes, binders, books, and Bibles strewn all over my passenger seat.  Even in all this drama there was really nothing terribly new.  The cincher power play of Twist and Grind was that Newbie said I was not allowed to park in THAT spot ever again because it was not “Designated Parking.”  I had to park between the painted lines [!] in the actual parking lot, as this is still city-owned public property. He gave me the pedantic grill of the reasons not to be there: homeless drifters, druggies, winos, teenagers, potheads, graffiti taggers, … “And ARE YOU SLEEPING IN YOUR CAR??????  Why do you have a sleeping bag back in your backseat?”  [Shine that flashlight in the eyes for full interrogation effect.  Guantanamo Bay in the parking lot!  Who needs waterboarding to torture the little mystic!?]  I tried to explain that I pray, write, rest, share the journey, and then rest some more.  He was impervious with his right to be Right.  I suddenly felt like it was a Crime to PRAY.  My head knew the Truth, but my heart struggled with gripping doubt.  Later I pulled out the words from today’s Old Testament readings from Zephaniah for comfort.  Newbie doesn’t know I’ve been parking and praying there for FIVE YEARS!!!  Anyway, the long and short of it is that I truly, very truly, now have no physical place to dock for safe harbor and put down anchor for my soul.

Obviously Newbie didn’t value my need for solitude to hang out with God.  He was only concerned with my following his legalistic rules.  Needless to say I have complied with his rules and not parked in my beloved solitude spot, even when there has been no one around.  I will not give energy to that spirit of Control.  And truly I would be feeding that spirit if I demanded my own way and willfully went back to what makes me feel secure.  I do not have a new spot to park and pray.  God did offer me a different location, but the same issue will inevitably arise there as it did at my old solitude spot, and the harassment will continue.  So for me, this feels like the “End of the World.”  And where is the Church?

I asked God the same question that various groups asked John the Baptist in today’s Gospel lesson: “What should we do?”  We are to bear fruits worthy of repentance. (Lk 3:8)  These fruits are revealed by sharing (v 11), by being fair (v 13), and by being honest, which connects with satisfaction (v 14).  When we share, are fair, and know our honesty has brought satisfaction within our being and the space between us both is honored and where all sides get a chance to be heard, then there is room in our hearts to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and of “fire” (v 16).  It is a holy fire.  It is a holy passion.  This passionate “fire” evokes a passionately focused response in this divine relationship.  Sharing is the first in the sequence.  Sharing is also necessary in the rhythm of a respectable discussion.  First we share, then we look at what is fair and not fair, then we contribute honest feelings about the issue, and we can feel a sense of inner satisfaction once the feelings are out there on the table without fear of being judged.  (The feelings themselves must be honored and not judged; the issues are then judged once the feelings have been given voice.) 

As we approach the Mayan Calendar’s version of the “End of the World” coming up this Friday (21 December 2012), I toyed with the word “world.”  Right now there seems to be no distinction between the world and the Church-as-Institution.  The Church herself has been talking about the “End of the Church Age.”  So it would make sense that God would shower a Divine Down Pour upon the world on Friday, ending this Institution of iron mixed with clay (Dan 2:41-43) in all her religiosity.  It would be the beginning of the Age of Accountability.

Jeremiah 5:14 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says:

“Because the people have spoken these words,
    I will make My words in your mouth a fire
    and these people the wood it consumes.

Please come Holy Spirit!  Reveal Your own power (Lk 3:16), so that Your own message of good news can be proclaimed to the people! (v 18)  Lord, I join John the Baptist in saying I am not worthy to untie the thongs of Your sandals. (v 16)  I lay Your beloved Church at Your feet, knowing that You are most kind and generous.  Let Your gentleness be known to everyone, for You are near.  (Ph 4:5)  May we all draw upon Your waters from the wells of salvation with joy as You save us from ourselves. (Isa 12:3)  May we say today how we give thanks to You as we call upon Your name, making known Your deeds among the nations, and proclaiming that Your name is exalted. (v 4)  Help us to let go of the old “world” and to take hold of You, Lord.  You are the Royal Zion, our Dignified Heart, and we are in Your midst, O Holy One of Israel. (v 6)

3 Advent          16 Dec 2012                                       Gospel: Luke 3:7-18

Zephaniah 3:14-20
3:14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!

3:15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.

3:16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak.

3:17 The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing

3:18 as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.

3:19 I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.

3:20 At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.

Isaiah 12:2-6
12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

12:3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

12:4 And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.

12:5 Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.

12:6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Philippians 4:4-7
4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

4:5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.

4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Luke 3:7-18
3:7 John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

3:8 Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

3:9 Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

3:10 And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?”

3:11 In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”

3:12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?”

3:13 He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.”

3:14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

3:15 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah,

3:16 John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

3:17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

3:18 So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

 

The Forgiveness Dilemma

9 Dec

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 2 Advent 09 December 2012

The Forgiveness Dilemma

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.

Forgiveness is the only way that I know of to heal the disconnection between head and heart.  How can I reconcile within myself that an all-powerful, almighty, all-loving, God-as-Parent would not intervene to save His beloved Son from man’s brutalities?  God saw the barbarianism and did nothing to stop it?  We only have God’s words to explain that Jesus’ sacrifice was for purposes of redemption.  Logic can’t go there.  Theologians try to instruct us on the meaning of redemption, but until the Holy Spirit gets involved in transforming the teaching into understanding, the concept of redemption remains just a concept.  I am learning that before a concept can shift into understanding and flow into deep knowing, we must forgive.  Forgiveness goes against the grain of human will.  We want vengeance and justice.  But all we have to do is look at our present-day society to see how well that’s working for us.  In today’s world not only do we want an eye for an eye (Mt 5:38), but we want both eyes without the compassion that goes with taking vision from another.  There’s no distinction between the world and the Church in that respect right now.  It will not change until the Holy Spirit does a divine Down Wash on all of us and reveals God’s tender mercy and the dawn from on high will break upon us. (Lk 1:78)

Lord, this forgiveness thing is such an “odd duck.”  I don’t recall You ever directly telling a vile person to their face that You forgave them of their sin against You.  You did directly speak forgiveness to ordinary folks like the paralyzed man who was brought by his friends to You on a mat.  You looked at the faith of his friends and said that he could take heart that his sins were forgiven. (Mt 9:2)  You told the woman “who lived a sinful life” (Lk 7:37) to her face in front of the “religious,” “Your sins are forgiven.” (v 48)  Lord, You taught us to forgive. (Mt 18:21)  You instructed us: “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.” (Luke 17:3)  You said that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sin. (Mk 2:10) You said that we must forgive everyone who sins against us. (Lk 11:4)  And if we do not forgive someone, they are not forgiven. (Jn 20:23)  Lord, we know that we can tune Love out and never understand forgiveness. (Mk 4:12)  We know that Great Love reveals forgiveness in the heart. (Lk 7:47)  We know that repentance, or turning around of attitude and behavior and making right with God, comes before experiencing forgiveness, and John the Baptist preached repentance FOR the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:3)  All this being said, I don’t recall You forgiving an evil person to their face.  Even before Your torturers You prayed TO GOD to forgive them for they knew not what they were doing. (Lk 23:34)  I suppose it would be rather awkward telling an impervious person to their face, “I forgive you,” when they think they’re right, they don’t care, and no matter what happens they are standing by their rigid assumptions as if they were Grand Truth.  That person would only retort, “You forgive me?  Forgive me of what?  I’ve done nothing wrong!  You’re the one who has to change.  You think the world revolves around you?  Buck up.  Get a real job.  I’m not your brother’s keeper.  Every man to himself.  …”  [Narcissistic denial, projection, and control which are being flung around make for a vicious trap.]  No wonder forgiveness is a heart issue.  And the world just keeps repeating the mantra of “Take Nothing Personal!”  Lord, I understand we are to take no offense.  But sometimes I do take offense and have to forgive.  The spirit of Offense is quick and slithers in no matter how hard I may guard against it.

I personally know this is true, as I have been offended and have offended both the Church and the school of prophets.  This is evidenced by the fact that for several weeks now only one faithful, anonymous person has been reading my weekly Reflections.  This on-going silence of the Church-as-Ephraim is merely a reflection of What Is.  Even though it feels like rejection to me, it is simply a mirror.  My head knows that my labors and prayers are not in vain.  My head knows that God will provide sanctuary.  My heart only knows that I am lonely.  My heart knows that I have forgiven the Churches and the prophets.  My head and heart do this dance and the forgiveness is genuine, but how would they know this when they do not read what I write?  Oh well.  Doesn’t matter.  Today I make this public proclamation right here and now to say how sorry I am to the Church, to the prophets, and to God that I have hurt you.  I am truly sorry.  Lord, only You can tell them from me.  Some day “the books will be opened.” (Dan 7:10; Rev 20:12)  But until that time, have Your people talk to their people, ok God?  I’m just Your child. (Lk 1:76)  When all is said and done in the bigger picture of things it’s not about the people.  It is a spirit that is blocking Your divine flow, God.  It’s the same evil “dragon” who has been blocking and making war on Your children, just like You said would happen. [see Revelation 12:13-17]

So, Lord, what do we do in the face of a spirit of Evil?

Mt 5:39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Lord, this doesn’t make sense!  Don’t resist?  How can I not resist when I see evil?  It’s wrong.  It’s disgusting.  It’s vile.  It’s nauseating.  

Jesus: “I know.  It doesn’t make sense.  Please remember: Forgiving sin is one thing.  Forgiving evil is another.  Prayer and God take down evil.  God looks for righteous and courageous men and women to stand up to evil, but one must not resist evil in the standing, for that only intensifies its force.  And evil is a force unto itself.  God will give direction and wisdom in the face of evil so that you can find the cracks in its persona and see its strategies.  You must seek God first.  Forgiveness is key: Forgive, surrender, let go, and bless.  Then you will see every insurmountable mountain and hill by which evil tries to frustrate become a level plane, and every crooked path by which evil attempts to distract will become straight and clear; the rough patches will become smooth, where grace makes work almost feel effortless. [ref Luke 3:5]  First you must forgive.  When you forgive you will see the salvation of God.” [v 6]

Parked in yet another parking lot as I continued my conversation with God:

Please forgive us God.  Where is honor?  So far on this journey I have not met Honor.  But I trust You, Lord.  Prophet Kim Clement wrote on Friday, 30 Nov 2012:

“Do you know you have the right to place a demand on a mantle or anointing?  … Remember a mantle is simply an anointing that rests upon someone’s life. It represents the treasures of the God-given gift. … Here is a little guideline on how to receive the reward of the mantle:

1. Recognize the mantle.

2. Receive the mantle.

3. Honor the mantle.

Honor is demonstrated verbally and materially through obedience. The Bible demonstrates the power of honor when God affirms that if we give a glass of water to a prophet, we will have the prophet’s reward.”

I have never been able to convince anyone—ever—that this bride must be given away.   I have been interceding for the reconciliation of the Churches all these years and drawing the prophets into the dance.  I have been reflecting the Church’s own words back at her and they assumed judgment when this was not true.  The way I have been communicating has simply been a mirror reflecting others to themselves.  God’s kind intentions are to reconcile His Church and prophets and intercessor bride to Himself.  Please forgive and heal my doubt, Lord: How can You do that when my eyes do not see Jesus-with-skin-on among them?  Truly I ask God to forgive us all, for the knowledge of salvation to God’s people comes by His forgiving us of our sins. (Luke 1:77)  And we must ask for it.  Wouldn’t a heart of forgiveness and reconciliation not be the best Christmas present the Church could ever give to God?  Will the Church-as-Judah now turn around (repent) by the “twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month”?  (cf Jeremiah 52:31-34)  What a wonderful Christmas present for Jesus to receive on His birthday to have His Church reconciled and His bride, His prophet whom He has called (Luke 1:76), to be honored!

 

2 Advent                      09 Dec 2012                                                   Gospel: Luke 3:1-6

Baruch 5:1-9
5:1 Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.

5:2 Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting;

5:3 for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven.

5:4 For God will give you evermore the name, “Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.”

5:5 Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them.

5:6 For they went out from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne.

5:7 For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God.

5:8 The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God’s command.

5:9 For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.

Malachi 3:1-4
3:1 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight–indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.

3:2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;

3:3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness.

3:4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.

Luke 1:68-79
1:68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.

1:69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David,

1:70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

1:71 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.

1:72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant,

1:73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us

1:74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear,

1:75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

1:76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

1:77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins.

1:78 By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,

1:79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Philippians 1:3-11
1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you,

1:4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you,

1:5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.

1:6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.

1:7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

1:8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

1:9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight

1:10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless,

1:11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Luke 3:1-6
3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene,

3:2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

3:3 He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,

3:4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

3:5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth;

3:6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”

The Crystal Fortress

2 Dec

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 01 Advent 02 Dec 2012

The Crystal Fortress

Advent Season.  Advent means “expecting the arrival of something important or awaited.” 

Hello.

Hello?

Etymology of the word “hello:”

“Hello: 1883, alt. of hallo (1840), itself an alt. of holla, hollo, a shout to attract attention, first recorded 1588. Perhaps from holla! “stop, cease.” Popularity as a greeting coincides with use of the telephone, where it won out over Alexander Graham Bell’s suggestion, ahoy. Central telephone exchange operators were known as hello-girls (1889).

“Hello, formerly an Americanism, is now nearly as common as hullo in Britain (Say who you are; do not just say ‘hello’ is the warning given in our telephone directories) and the Englishman cannot be expected to give up the right to say hello if he likes it better than his native hullo. [H.W. Fowler, “A Dictionary of Modern English Usage,” 1926] [1]

God is saying Who He Is, and not just saying “hello” as a warning. (cf Luke 21:26)  For 02 Advent 2010 I wrote a Reflection entitled, “Hello?”  God’s “hello” seems to be rather clear and this fresh Ahoy has been around for several years now, but the Church’s response in what she was expecting has fallen off its own cliff and grown cold in the Awakening.  Thomas Merton puts light on the subject when he wrote Thoughts in Solitude in 1958, and it is clear that things haven’t changed much, because we need God:

“In our age everything has to be a “problem.”  Ours is a time of anxiety because we have willed it to be so.  Our anxiety is not imposed on us by force from the outside.  We impose it on our world and upon one another from within ourselves.

Sanctity in such an age means, no doubt, travelling from the area of anxiety to the area in which there is no anxiety or perhaps it may mean learning, from God, to be without anxiety in the midst of anxiety.

Fundamentally, as Max Picard points out, it probably comes to this: living in silence which so reconciles the contradictions within us that, although they remain within us, they cease to be a problem (cf World of Silence, pp. 66-67).

Contradictions have always existed in the soul of man.  But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem.  We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.

Silence, then, belongs to the substance of sanctity.  In silence and hope are formed the strength of the Saints. (Isaias 30:15.)

When solitude was a problem, I had no solitude.  When it ceased to be a problem I found I already possessed it, and could have possessed it all along.  Yet still it was a problem because I knew after all that a merely subjective and inward solitude, the fruit of an effort at interiorisation, would never be enough.  Solitude has to be objective and concrete.  It has to be a communion in something greater than the world, as great as Being itself, in order that in its deep peace we may find God.

We put words between ourselves and things.  Even God has become another conceptual unreality in a no-man’s land of language that no longer serves as a means of communion with reality.

The solitary life, being silent, clears away the smoke-screen of words that man has laid down between his mind and things.  In solitude we remain face to face with the naked being of things.  And yet we find that the nakedness of reality which we have feared, is neither a matter of terror nor for shame.  It is clothed in the friendly communion of silence, and this silence is related to love.  The world our words have attempted to classify, to control and even to despise (because they could not contain it) comes close to us, for silence teaches us to know reality by respecting it where words have defiled it.

When we have lived long enough alone with the reality around us, our veneration will learn how to bring forth a few good words about it from the silence which is the mother of Truth.

Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being.  Between the silence of the world and the silence of God.  When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.

Truth rises from the silence of being to the quiet tremendous presence of the Word.  Then, sinking again into silence, the truth of words bears us down into the silence of God.

Or rather God rises up out of the sea like a treasure in the waves, and when language recedes His brightness remains on the shores of our own being.”[2]

In my own thoughts in solitude, I reflected on recent news stories: How the news media is keeping the fear levels high by reminding us of the Mayan Calendar’s “World End” date approaching in three weeks, on 21 December 2012[3] (but compare Rev 14:6); how the seas were literally turning blood red[4] making things seem so very biblical (Rev 16:3); how the multitudes are seeking refuge by numbing out [5] (Rev 9:6), and how the North Koreans and Chinese are being laughed at by us because they took our sarcasm as truth.[6] (Rev 16:15)  What if the World’s End is actually a change in attitude?  Please notice that the topic of “God’s judgment” does not come at the end of the Book of Revelation.  The hour of His judgment is like that of a loving parent.  From a human perspective, we see the word “judgment,” and we fixate on what our connotation of what judgment is.  The angel in Rev 14:6, however, proclaims the eternal gospel and tells us to worship God.  God does not judge us the way we judge ourselves (and each other.)  He holds up a mirror instead.  And no one cares. (Jer 12:11)

Are the seas turning blood red a reminder that our blood is our collective common bond and is also reflected in the earth?  In the news article on mind-numbing arts, it turns out that a music video from South Korea, ‘Gangnam Style,’ is the most watched online video of all time. Bill O’Reilly interviewed Dr. Keith Ablow, who explained the popularity behind the viral video, which has aroused almost a billion [yes, billion with a “b”] viewers.  The doctor said that today’s mind-numbing music is like a drug.  Lack of insight is being reflected in the arts.  He said global viewers don’t want to be reminded of quality or getting tapped on their heart strings.  In the news piece on sarcasm taking center stage on the international platform, the headline read: “China Thinks The Onion’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ is a Real Thing and that Kim Jong-Un Won It.”[7]  And again from CNN: “Onion: We just fooled the Chinese government!”[8]  Now if we were mindful, and not mind-numbed, we would have the compassion necessary to put ourselves in the Orient’s shoes as a people who esteem honor and “saving face.”  But we did not help them “save face.”  Who would blame the Orient if they took action to defend their honor? 

Jeremiah 1:13 The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?”

“I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.”

I pray that God will breathe a Spirit of hospitality, kindness, peace, and mercy into this thoughtless mix.  The signs of God’s Advent of the Holy Spirit’s arrival, of the heart’s revival out of perpetual deadness, is truly ‘something important and awaited’ and is now upon us.  Life here requires mindfulness and not careless judgments with no space left in our hearts and minds. 

Mindfulness.  How very different Mindfulness is than “Judgment” and “No Space” which are bed partners.  We all make judgments all day long as to what influences we allow to come into our being and consciousness.  If we evaluate those influences later and reflectively process how they affect us, then this becomes the healthy part of discernment.  This act of gentle filtering in selecting (a.k.a. one type of soft “judging”) frees up heart-mind space.  So on one end of the spectrum through mindfulness, discerning judgment opens free Space to become a playground for the soul to dance with God.  On the other hand when the soul becomes rigid, it develops a spiritual form of arteriosclerosis.  This happens on the opposite side of Judging. This form of judging is fearful, perpetually on defensive/offensive guard, self-centered, and self-serving because it has to look out for itself.  It is strictly ego-driven.  Societies (and churches) can be ego-driven every bit as much as individuals.  This ego-beast fills up the heart-space making itself larger than life and pushes out the good with the bad making No Space.  There is no room in the heart-mind to renegotiate.  This beast of No Space becomes a dictator of the heart that won’t allow anything to infiltrate its parameters and worldview.  

The phrase “No Space,” then, also refers to receptivity and valuing.  These qualities must be present going into the engagement of two parties.  An artist whose work is received by the art community is valued.  Value makes space.  Time influences Space.  When the people are numbed out and fill up empty time with noise, then noise fills the space.  Judgments feed the noise.  The irritated “bear” gets angry.  No Time influences No Space.  There is a principle at work: The more busy the people are, the more they judge that they have no time.  If one does not make/take time to reflect, then the heart does not have a chance to create Open Space to receive more blessing.  No Space assumes only judgment and is not receptive to mercy.  This is not limited to nations and our calloused society.  The Church has kept herself so busy and so very much on her over-protective guard (and citing Luke 21:34-36 to justify it!–

Luke 21:34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly,

21:35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.

21:36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”)

–that she keeps this bulldog Guard Mentality unilaterally across the board regardless of denomination or status or calling.  She guards so well, resisting all traps, and being hyper-alert at all times that she has become like the guards watching over Jesus’ tomb.  It is so pervasive that not one, not a single person, has asked about the Church’s and my journey together.  Evidently there’s no heart space left to ask questions.  That is telling in itself.  Not asking speaks volumes. The implication influences the process of repentance.  In the Church itself, it is the priest who asks the sinner what s/he wants to confess.  Where does the Church go when she is the one who has sinned and doesn’t want to talk about “it” because it makes her look and feel bad?

And hospitality?  Where does that leave Hospitality?  Could it be that God’s Advent in this silent void is His invitation for us to relearn the grace of hospitality?  God is a Gentleman, and it is His courtly way to send a messenger ahead with an invitation vouching for the person desiring audience.  This is the civilized thing to do.  Even today we poke fun at wedding crashers.  The Church is supposed to be the Bride of Christ.  But the Church-as-Bride has encased herself in a crystal fortress.  This crystal is solid, not dainty, fine, and fragile like Swarovski® vases.  This crystal is forged by fire and force in the bowels of the earth under extreme pressure.  This crystal is a solid block.  Impenetrable.  It is magnificent and cold.  It is a monument to Time and Space and Nature and Power.  It cannot be cut or broken.  It is far from the delicate finesse of blown glass.

Lord, it is no coincidence that the Lectionary Barons chose this Gospel passage from Luke 21 today.  And in it You said,

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

In Revelation 21:9 You say, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’  The Holy City comes down out of heaven from God. (v 10)  It is not created by man.  The Church-as-Institution was created by man.  And he did a fine job of it.  The Church-as-Bride has the glory of God and the radiance is rare.

Rev 21:11 It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal.

Huh?  Have you seen jasper?  It is thick and earthy.  Anything but clear.  However it is crystal clear that we have made a Fine Mess of things, and that it is God’s glory alone that will rescue us.  Lord, the present-day Church-as-Institution in her fossilized, crystalline, cold, fortress right now must get a Whole Lot of help from You!  From my position standing inside of it, or rather being held prisoner in an isolated tower of this Crystal Castle, all I can see from every angle is immovable monoliths.  They’re pretty and ancient, but terribly cold.  I can hear the Church around me singing Luther’s hymn (with a twist): “A Mighty Fortress Is Our [g]od.”  Oops.  Is the Fortress our god, or are You, Lord?  There’s no asylum for me because the assumption in giving someone asylum, sanctuary, or freedom, is that one must validate or agree with what the other is saying and standing for.  But the Crystal Fortress cannot provide me that kind of sanctuary based on those conditions.  For her it would seem like her own “death.”  So what’s a girl to do?  Rapunzel’s waiting.  But for what?

The Lord said: “Watch.”

Suddenly the glory of the Lord shone from INSIDE the crystal fortress!  The Light was so intense and so bright that it shattered the crystal monolith-like fortress called “Church” from the inside out!  In the process of shattering, the Light reflected off the shards making millions of dancing rainbows!  With a Word spoken by God alone, His own glory shone over all the earth.  There was no doomsday destruction; no class systems to navigate, no hierarchies to climb, no war to defend one’s honor or turf, no monopoly games to “earn” salvation by following the rules of the Establishment.  It was all God’s Love and Mercy and Grace!  It was all about God opening His own arms in Hospitality and Welcome!

Oooooh, Lord, it’s soooo pretty!  It’s indescribably beautiful!  Please do it!  Please do it now!

 

1 Advent (Year C Rotation)                02 Dec 2012                           Gospel: Luke 21:25-36

Jeremiah 33:14-16
33:14 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

33:15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

33:16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”

Psalm 25:1-10
25:1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

25:2 O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.

25:3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

25:4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.

25:5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

25:6 Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.

25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!

25:8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

25:10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
3:9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you?

3:10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

3:11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you.

3:12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.

3:13 And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Luke 21:25-36
21:25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.

21:26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

21:27 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.

21:28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

21:29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees;

21:30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.

21:31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

21:32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.

21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

21:34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly,

21:35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.

21:36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”


[1] Online etymology: hello. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hello (accessed: November 28, 2012).

 

[2] Lawrence S. Cunningham, ed.; Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master, The Essential Writings; NY: Paulist Press, 1992; p 241, 243-245