Archive | April, 2013

Great Grace

28 Apr

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 5 After Easter on 28 April 2013
Great Grace
In the lectionary readings for today, St Peter shares with us a vision he had:
Acts 11:5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet [of grace] coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners [all over the earth from every direction: North, South, East, West]; and it came close to me.”
Visions have multiple layers of meaning, so that they can be applied to various situations and people at different times and in different ways, because they are part of the LIVING Word tapestry. The vision which came from God doesn’t change; we do. It comes close to us.
I took Peter’s vision into prayer and asked God to explain the list to me and how it related to us in our time:
Acts 11:6 As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.
Me to Jesus: “What about the four-footed animals?”
Jesus: “Feed My lambs.” (ref Jn 21:15)
Me: “Excuse me, Lord, but upon reflection I can say that I did. My first year’s worth of Reflections were written to the “lambs” new in the faith. These Reflections were sweet and disarming as I shared my new journey through the lectionary readings. The idea was new. And the Scriptures were new and “alive” to me even though I’d read them all of my life. This whole metamorphosis was new for me. And it was new for all of us. I didn’t realize that I was writing to “lambs” at the time while I was writing, but we were all like lambs. We were innocent, but not guiltless. (Is there any good Jewish boy, Catholic mom, praying Imam, teaching rabbi, or preaching prophet who cannot personally attest to this truth that we are innocent but not guiltless? [Do Buddhists and Hindus suffer from guilt?]) Father, Your living Spirit of Truth unfolded through the words in the Reflections week after week, year after year. The book titles reflect the Truth within us:
The Truth is in Us Individually (Year One),
The Truth is in Us as a Community (Year Two),
The Truth is in Us as the Seven Churches (Year Three),
The Truth is in Us Collectively (Year Four), and
The Truth is in Us for Everyone (Year Five so far…).
Jesus: “Tend My sheep.” (ref Jn 21:16)
Me: “With all due respect, Honey, You know that I love You. I have been tending Your Church. These are Your own words (with meanings to those words, so that we can have a deeper conversation):
John 21:16 Again He said to him [Peter] the second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He [Peter] said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep. (AMP)
Acts 11:9 But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’
Me: Who’s profaning what? Or whom? The beasts of pray? Oh, excuse me, that was beasts of prey in Peter’s vision in Joppa. Lord, when You said to me, “Your people shall be My people,” (Ruth 1:16) I thought (silly me) that they’d be happy, but clearly they are Your People right out of the Book of Matthew. The issues You had with the Pharisees have played themselves out over the last six years in this Dance of the Seven Veils; oh, that was Seven Churches; same difference…
Jesus: ‘But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, do not you defile and profane by regarding or calling it common or unhallowed or unclean.’ (Acts 11:9 AMP)
Me: Ok.
Me: And the reptiles in Peter’s vision? I’ve been up against the “Dragon” from the Book of Revelation (Rev 12). I took the scroll from the angel (Rev 10) and it was bittersweet. (Rev 10:10) On 11 October 2012 I was so disgusted, repulsed, furious, and so over-done “cooked” with Satan’s tactics that I told Satan to his face while I was standing at the beach: “I will be your last meal!” And wouldn’t ya’ know, both the Church and the Prophets ended up “throwing me under the bus.” Now, isn’t that special? I don’t blame the people. I blame The Reptile. Back in the Garden of Eden, Eve had blamed the serpent for her choices:
Gen 3:13 The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
There’s no deception here today. I ate it.
And God promised Eve in Genesis 3:15 that one of her descendants would crush the enemy’s head.
Jesus quoted: “I also heard a voice saying to Me, ‘Get up, Kathryn; kill and eat.’ (Acts 11:7)
Me: Pardon me, Lord; respectfully: No. I don’t mean to contradict You, Lord, but to me this voice You heard, in this context through my experiences and in using the spiritual gifts You gave me, is watery and whappy and syrupy and almost, what’s the word?—seductive, with a tinge of red sparkles around the edges. I do not trust that voice, for it is not Your Voice. The Dragon (Rev 12) is a beast that no single mortal can kill, but we all certainly have ingested the spirit of the beast and it has made every one of us very sick, even if it has been by proxy. I say ‘by proxy’ because some don’t see themselves as prayer warriors, and yet they reap the benefits of the prayers of others. Still, we have all been infected with this spiritual virus in some form or another, whether we acknowledge it or not. So today, I cast my judgment on the Beast and I want to make it perfectly clear that the judgment is on the Beast and not on the humans! Men of Nineveh: Rise to bear witness now, today! (ref Mt 12:41)
[Breathing pause.]
Me: Lord, now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense that in Peter’s vision the birds of the air came in sequence after the reptiles. (Acts 11:6) In Rev 19 the birds of the air gather before the Beast and his armies are defeated (v 17) and then they gorged themselves afterward (v 21). And the birds of the air really HAVE BEEN gathering in truth. It’s bizarre; so bizarre that even my best friend has noticed on several occasions and commented! She jokingly asked, “You’re not going ‘Hitchcock-ian’ on me, are you?” It really has been rather creepy seeing wild birds gather around us seemingly for no reason on multiple occasions recently. On Friday, 26 April 13 we were walking her dog together on the beach and suddenly hundreds of birds blackened the sky around 3 pm [note the symbology in the day and hour] and they lighted upon a jetty. They stayed there even though a fishing vessel went by them and into the harbor, and they could have followed the boat for their dinner, but I “knew” in an instant of insight in my deep place of Knowing that You, God, were fulfilling Rev 19:17 on that Friday afternoon. I “knew” You were gathering the ‘birds flying in midair’ for the Great Feast:
Rev 19:17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God,”
On top of seeing this phenomenon at the beach, the crows have been so demonically possessed for the last month that they have been SCREAMING (not just cawing, and not just because they are defending their nests.) These screams have been strategic, methodical, and torturous. These screams have been interjected into periods of silence, so that my nervous system has experienced PTSD symptoms. Every scream has shot searing fire through every nerve in my body and exploded out of every nerve ending! The vile energy has been so bad that it has taken the life force out of my solitude spot where I have parked and prayed since August 2007 and that was before my Calling on Epiphany (January) 2008. This evil has grown to be such an abomination, that I have been forced to abandon the place, because it became so sterile, cold, hard, and void of Life. And this has been building up: For the last two years, not even crickets have been showing up to sing there any more. It was like I had my own Syria going on right in my own little orbit. But the dictator crushing joy and the spirit of Life out of my life was not a human, but the Dragon, the same wretched spirit, whom I’d had a stand-off with at the beach last fall. These major epic battle cycles have not just happened once or twice:
Acts 11:10 This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. (cf Rev 12:5)
It happened in my own metamorphosis with my own homies, then with the Seven Churches, and then with the school (like fish) of Prophets.
Acts 11:11 At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were.
And wouldn’t you know it, three men from the three camps arrived at the house of the Lord, where each was congregating in their own little orbits (because no one communicates directly with each other, so the communication is done by “Arc Speak,” where the Holy Spirit does the work, because the men are busy being engaged in battle and/or sharpening their tools and weapons in getting ready for the next battle. I understand that this IS what men do. After all, “iron sharpens iron” as was just quoted again this week in my inbox:
(“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”, Proverbs 27:17)
and if the men keep sharpening their axes long enough, there won’t be a dull one in the tool shed! (And there won’t be any cedars left in Lebanon either! (Isaiah 2:13))
Acts 11:12 The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.
And the Spirit told me to go with them, too, so I did. Now, for the record: The Church-as-Institution and I have had TWO conversations in the last TWO (-plus) YEARS and the Prophets and I have had ONE dialog in the last THREE-AND-A-HALF YEARS. Truth speaks for itself and actions speak louder than words. In Family Systems dynamics, the Silent Treatment is a destructive force. For me, being on the receiving end of this destructive force has left me feeling like an Untouchable in a caste system. How is this loving? We are to SHOW our love the way You, God, showed us Your love. Clearly, the only way these relationships with these two camps could have been maintained all these years (and kept my sanity whole) was through the work of the Holy Spirit! Truly, this way none of us can make a distinction between ‘us and them.’ And the other six “brothers” of the Seven Churches who also accompanied me? (v 12) We entered into the Institution’s House—the man’s “house.” (v 12) The collective “man”-as-Institution “told” the collective “us” by “Arc Speak” (since we can’t talk about it directly) how he had seen the angel standing in his [spiritual] house. (v 13) But nobody sent for Simon Peter this time. (v 13) So who will give us a message by which we and our entire household will be saved? (v 14) It must come through the Holy Spirit! (v 15) Yipee! This way there is truly no distinction between Church and Prophets and Jew and Christian (or Muslim). The playing field is neutral and level.
Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning.
11:16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
A huge part of receiving the Holy Spirit is listening. In the ebb and flow of the Church’s collective mindset over the centuries, she went from listening first to action second. But the reverse is more often the case now. I recently saw a bumper sticker that commanded in all capital letters: “OBEDIENCE, PRAY, TRUST!” I honored the person’s intentions, and fell to my knees in my heart. The words were right, but the order/ sequence of them has not rung true in my own experience. First I PRAY. Then I act in OBEDIENCE according to what I “hear” God say in our conversation. Then I TRUST that He is faithful to use my efforts for His own glory. (Rev 21:5) Over the centuries the Church has remained in such staunch rigidity over the sequence of Obedience, Pray, Trust, that she assumes that one must be baptized with water first to be “saved,” and citing Mark 16:16 to back up their iron-rod stance:
Mk 16: 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Ummm…and the work of the Holy Spirit? That might get thrown into the argument as an afterthought (if at all.) It would appear that OBEDIENCE has become the idol and prayer is used to affirm one’s rigid obedience. Well, I name it for what it is: This is a mockery. I speak to this spirit of Mockery: “Be gone to the Abyss with you! Our obedience is to Jesus Christ. We honor what He says and what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. I breathe Belief back into the Churches. As one who stands with the people before God, I proclaim there are no divisions. There are no distinctions between “us” and “them!” (Acts 11:2) Satan, you have lied and oppressed us with your watery, serpentine voice for too long. If God gives us the same Gift that He gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then who are we that we could hinder God? (v 17) God will not be mocked!”
Father, just as we teach our children to say sorry, thank you, please, so I come before You and speak on behalf of ALL [!] Your children: Sorry. Thank You. Please. I am sorry that we have been led astray. I am sorry that we have allowed divisions to come between us, divisions which You never intended. Please forgive us. You just wanted to have an ongoing conversation. And I guess that was new, at least new to Adam. I notice that in the Garden of Eden, Adam named the animals (Gen 2:19), he named Eve (Gen 3:20), there was plenty of blame going on after the fall from grace (Gen 3:12, 13), and Lord, You did a whole lot of talking back then: to the serpent (v 14), to the woman (v 16), to Adam (v 17), and then You made Adam and Eve garments of skin and clothed them (v 21)–(were they Light Beings before that?), but in all of that speaking, I don’t see a three-way conversation of Adam to Eve and Eve to God and back to Adam. I don’t see “Sorry. Thank you. Please.” They got dressed and went out to go farming. (Gen 3:23)
Lord, just as a bride and groom drink from the Common Cup at their wedding vows, so the Church has drunk from the common cup with Adam and Eve, and Peter and the disciples. I am truly sorry that we lost our focus. I thank You, God, that You are forgiving us and are merciful to us. Please restore us to our rightful relationship with You. By Your Holy Spirit, please breathe Your great, great grace into Your divine matrix, so that every heart can be touched, every person moved by the power of Your great Love and great grace, and may every eye behold the wonders of Your kingdom as we bow before You. Embolden us to get the conversation with You open. Then empower us to be obedient to what You tell us to do. Then seal us in Your womb of trust, just like the innocent trust we had as children. Please restore us to our innocence. And may all rejoice in what You have done! (Rev 21:6) We truly are innocent, but not guiltless. As far as I can tell, guilt seems to be wrapped up in a notion of worthiness. But none of us are worthy. The Lamb is worthy. (Rev 5) Worthiness has nothing to do with how God sees us. We are to simply love as God loves.
[Sigh. Breathing. Reflecting.]
In God’s irony the top half of the archetypal Church of “Thyatira” (Rev 2:18-23) understands “Love as God loves” now better than most. In the beginning of my journey she was heavily preaching the way of The Secret (v 24) and the principle of “Name it and claim it! Blab it and grab it! It’s yours if you can imagine it!” And the principles are true. The collective “we” found out how powerful the mind can be. Then in 2008 came the stock market crash followed by the housing market crash, and then the global economic crash. The whole world has been humbled. “Thyatira” in particular learned that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Rom 12:2) Worthiness (or feelings of unworthiness) is a heart issue, which influences the mind. The top half of “Thyatira” came with her heart open and spoke honestly about her feelings and didn’t say, “You must believe what I believe or be condemned.” The bottom half of “Thyatira,” however, is still holding on to her burden (Rev 2:24) and ram-rodding others with the Law; loving the Law, conformity to the Law, working hard at keeping the Law, droning on for months in fist-raising obedience to the Law, and, I must admit that all of this is necessary. I mean, we really do need all of that for a society to function in an orderly manner. And order happens by putting the love of God first. My point is: Where’s the Love in the tone? They bully others and then look around rather exhausted and marvel that God’s peace seems so illusive. The Bottom Half of Thyatira asks the Top Half of Thyatira at spear-point:
“Are you a Christian?!”
And the Top Half of Thyatira barks back:
“Are YOU?!”
So, there you have it, Church-as-Body, there’s your morning star. (Rev 2:28) It’s not so much the words, but the tone behind the words. Tone reveals the spirit. And even a softer tone means nothing if there is no touch incarnate to bring meaning to the words which are preached. Ya’ know, the whole “sounding gong..” thing?
1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal.”
The top half of Thyatira embraced Love. She is now spiritually robed in purple “made of fine linen, bright and clean.” (Rev 19:8) She is standing just like the freshly inspired Gentiles of old who came to the early Church. They were bright and “awake.” They’d learned to love as God loves. They’d grown into Peter’s shoes. They’d learned that when Jesus said, “Feed My sheep” to Peter on the third and last round (Jn 21:17), that that “feeding” was the flock “feeding” each other, and they went where they did not want to go. (v 18) They’d realized that grace and loving-kindness must be brought into the practices which we preach:
John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”
And now another loop in ‘The Time of the Gentiles’ is complete. (Luke 21:24) Amen.
Rev 21:6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

5 After Easter 28 April 2013 Gospel: John: 13:31-35
Acts 11:1-18
11:1 Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God.

11:2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him,

11:3 saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?”

11:4 Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying,

11:5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me.

11:6 As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.

11:7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’

11:8 But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

11:9 But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’

11:10 This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.

11:11 At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were.

11:12 The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.

11:13 He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter;

11:14 he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’

11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning.

11:16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

11:17 If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?”

11:18 When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”

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!

Revelation 21:1-6
21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

21:2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them;

21:4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

21:5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

21:6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

John 13:31-35
13:31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.

13:32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

13:33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’

13:34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.

13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Beauty

21 Apr

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 4 After Easter 21 April 2013
Beauty
From Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet:
And a poet said, Speak to us of Beauty.
And he answered:
Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
The Lord is beautiful! The Lord is my Shepherd. (Psalm 23:1)
Gibran: And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?
Psalm 23:2 “He makes me lie down in green pastures…”
Gibran: The aggrieved and the injured say, “Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us.”
And the passionate say, “Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.”
Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…”
The tired and the weary say, “Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.”
Psalm 23:2 “…He leads me beside still waters.”
But the restless say, “We have heard her shouting among the mountains, …”
Psalm 23:3 “…He leads me in the right paths for His name’s sake.”
… And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions.”
Psalm 23:4 “I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me.”
At night the watchmen of the city say, “Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.”
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, “We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.”
Psalm 23:5 “…You anoint my head [understanding] with oil…”
In winter say the snow-bound, “She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.”
And in the summer heat the reapers say, “We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.”
Psalm 23:5 “…my cup overflows,”
All these things have you said of beauty,
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
Psalm 23:1 “…I shall not want.”
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.
Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, …”
“People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”
Psalm 23:6 “…and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
And Speak to us of Beauty: …
Revelation 7:13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?”

7:14 I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Is this not beautiful?! We have come through the Great Ordeal! Spread the news! We ARE before the throne of God. (v 15) We worship Him day and night within His holy temple. (v 15) And the One who is seated on the throne is sheltering us. (v 15) He is in the center of our lives and He is our Shepherd. (v 17) He is guiding us to springs of the water of Life. (v 17)
We have been held in the “winter” of our discontent (ref Jn 10:22), but now is the time for our collective festival of dedication. (v 22) In biblical tradition the Festival of Dedication is Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. One light remained lit in the temple for a week when under ordinary circumstances the oil for the flame should have gone out. But the Spirit of Messiah was walking in the Temple. He kept the Flame of passion lit for He is the Light of the World. (Jn 8:12)
“Light” is revealed to others by faith in action. For example this last Wednesday (17 April 13) our family computer “died.” It was “dead” for three days and on Friday (19 April 13) a technician “resurrected” the beastie from its “fatal wound.” (Rev 13:12) This was prophetic in the details because a week earlier on Wednesday, 10 April 13, I had confessed to my priest that I was afraid of the “death of my [prophetic] voice.” How was I to complete God’s mandate to me to “share the journey” if I didn’t have the tools to do it, let along no community with whom to share? My fears were actualized, but I proceeded on faith that God would make good on His promises. I had to face my doubts and fears alone and believe God for redemption and keeping His promises, which He had given in the first place. This occurrence of the “death” of my “voice” was far deeper than first blush allows on the surface. Back on 14 August 2010 I had shared with the Church-as-Institution the explanation/interpretation of the Book of Revelation as God had revealed it to me. The Church knew and said nothing. Now the prophecy was being fulfilled in an incarnate way:
The Beast out of the Earth
Rev 13:11 Then I saw a second beast [the computer], coming out of the earth [Silicon Valley]. It had two horns like a lamb [the television and the World Wide Web], but it spoke like a dragon [even without the speakers cranked up!] 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast [ego-attitude] on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast [ego], whose fatal wound [pride] had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs [which the computer does do], even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people [and this clearly describes what the computer does and the technology that we have been living with for decades. Things and events really are in full view of the people and available at our fingertips 24/7]. 14 Because of the signs [revealed through the computer] it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast [the television’s projection of the ego], it deceived the inhabitants of the earth.
[Now, to ‘deceive’ means 1) to mislead by false appearance or statement; 2) to be unfaithful; 3) to while away (time). A key component in the arsenal of Deception is the lack of touching. Computers and televisions can transmit energies (physical, biochemical, sexual, and spiritual,) but they cannot have access to one’s heart without touching it. Our current technology presents the represented image and transfers the image around the globe. It is a “false” appearance, meaning it is not in the actual flesh before billions of people, but it is a reflection of that image which is being transmitted. This does not mean that the person or object itself, which is being reflected, is necessarily false or fake, but only that it is representational. The same is true with ‘false statements.’ These statements may or may not be false, such as in telling blatant lies, but can be as subtle as one’s view of a truth, which is then misconstrued into something which it was not originally intended. As to the relevance of ‘to deceive’ as meaning unfaithful, mankind has been unfaithful in her relationship with God. And she has ‘whiled away the time’ in countless hours of zoning out in front of her televisions and computers, video games and iPhones, in futile attempts of escapism and desperately trying to find ways to fill the empty hole in the soul.]
“It ordered them to set up an image [television] in honor of the beast [ego] who was wounded by the sword [Word] and yet lived. 15 The second beast [computer] was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast [television], so that the image could speak [which it does] and cause all who refused to worship the image to be [spiritually] “killed,” [which has also happened.] 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands [Carpal Tunnel, arthritis] or on their foreheads [worry stress lines], 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark [of stress], which is the name of the beast [Stress] or the number of its name.
[We are a society of numbers, where we are technically numbers first and not really names. Names serve only to confirm the numbers which we have been given; like Jane Doe is assigned a Social Security Number, but the world looks at her number first and then her name to verify the number. But the name is secondary. (The good news is that God calls us by Name! (Ex 33:12) Woo! Woo!)]
18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
The “number of a man” is a projection, not a single individual. It is man multiplying his own image. Even while stepping off Noah’s boat, God told man to be fruitful and multiply. (Gen 9:7) Calculating the number of the beast, for it is man’s number, just triple-stacks the deck. Man’s number is six and God’s is seven. The repetition of the sixes does not mean that man is triple “bad.” It means that we must be wise and discerning to “see” through the distortion of the projections, the arrogance, and the denial emanating from all the broken hearts around us. The prevalence of the sixes just reminds us that Christ is preparing our hearts, minds, and souls to welcome Him back home inside of us. It’s Satan’s days that are numbered, not ours. To sum it up, the “dragon” is sin, the “beast” is the projection of sin away from self, and the “number of the beast” is narcissism of the ego-self projecting sin repeatedly.
Wisdom and discernment are beautiful things. God had said (and has been saying a lot lately,) “Behold, I am making things New!” (Rev 21:5) He is using the tools we already have to redeem what has been broken. God is in the details. I breathe prayers of belief into the details. It is no different than putting belief into Jesus being the Messiah. He, for me, (and all I can do is speak for myself), is not an outward projection of Whom I see, but an interior reality. Plumb line: I BELIEVE. The world does not believe, because He is not personal to them—yet. Gee, wouldn’t THAT be new!
The Jews asked Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” (Jn 10:24)
Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe.” (v 25)
So God spread the Good News through His friends! Yipee! Is that not beautiful?! The works Jesus continues to do really do testify to Him. (v 25) Those who have hardened their hearts do not believe. (v 26) Belief and faith are not the same thing. Faith is a unifying thread hardwired into the human make-up. Belief requires a relationship. Relationships are nurtured and cherished (even if it’s a love-hate relationship), and there is energy expended to keep the flame alive. Apathy kills, as the Church and the prophets know full well.
Please listen to me here [with hands on hips]: Treating each other like sheep does not necessarily mean we listen to the Voice of the Good Shepherd! Jesus’ Voice is distinctive. Let me put it this way: If you had a friend and someone came along and said a lie about your friend, wouldn’t you side with your friend before believing the lie? Jesus doesn’t believe the lies Satan spreads about us (or Him) either. We are loved and precious. Jesus gives us on-going Life. (Jn 10:28) We will never perish. (v 28) For some that is hard to believe. For some, the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ with its rungs and ladders and angels ascending and descending (Gen 28:12; Jn 1:51) all seem to follow the ups and downs like the stock market graphs. It’s the angels who do the hard work. We share in the beauty. Jesus said, “No one will snatch them out of my hand.” (Jn 10: 28) And He said it again! (v 29) Did you hear that? No one! When lies are exposed and the Truth is told, the Father’s Hand is revealed. What the Father has given Jesus is greater than all else. (v 29) It’s great in expansiveness, in grace, in mercy, in Beauty, in Light, in Oneness. Jesus said, “The Father and I are One.” Since we believe and we follow His Voice, we know Him (v 27), and we have come through the Great Ordeal, then we also know that He is Trustworthy. He is at the Center of the throne. (Rev 7:17) He is our Shepherd and He will guide us to springs of the water of Life. (v 17) Did you hear? Life, not more tragedy! The rocks and stones are crying out! (Lk 19:40) The dust is praising God from the Pit (Ps 30:9) because the “religious” say nothing. They can’t. The Good News has to be spread by friends. These are living waters, not stagnant ones. We just have to listen to Him. And that is Beautiful!
Rev 7:17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Prayer: Lord, shine Your Light into the divine matrix, so that we can all see how You have answered our prayers and we may see Your Beauty. Amen.

4 After Easter 21 April 2013 Gospel: John10:22-30
Acts 9:36-43
9:36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.

9:37 At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs.

9:38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.”

9:39 So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.

9:40 Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up.

9:41 He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive.

9:42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

9:43 Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Psalm 23
23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;

23:3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff– they comfort me.

23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.

Revelation 7:9-17
7:9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.

7:10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

7:11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,

7:12 singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

7:13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?”

7:14 I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

7:15 For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.

7:16 They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat;

7:17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

John 10:22-30
10:22 At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter,

10:23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.

10:24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

10:25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me;

10:26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.

10:27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.

10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

10:29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand.

10:30 The Father and I are one.”

Tending

14 Apr

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 3 After Easter 14 April 2013
Tending
In His resurrected state, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15)
Peter: “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”
Jesus: “Feed my lambs.”
And Peter did. He spiritually led the new and growing group of believers after Jesus’ ascension and empowering of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. (Acts 2) He “fed” the “lambs” new in the faith. He laid a solid foundation so that the new Church could thrive.
A second time Jesus said to Peter: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter: “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”
Jesus: “Tend my sheep.”
What does “tend” mean? I looked it up:
1. Be inclined; be conductive; make in direction of; inclination, bent [! –Hold that thought], having, showing tendency or bias; controversial.
2. Take care of, watch over
And the Church did watch, along with John of Patmos:
Rev 6:1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! [Purity] Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent [!] on conquest.
The Early Church rose up with such courage despite the heavy and brutal persecution she suffered. In the lectionary readings today we are told of voices of many angels surrounding God’s throne and the living creatures and the elders. (Rev 5:11) Back in Rev 4:7 John describes Four Living Creatures around the throne and they are covered with eyes. (Rev 4:6) When charging forth in pure faith it can be comforting to know that God and other courageous saints are watching our fronts and backs with soft eyes. The first living creature was like a lion. Lions are known for their courage. It takes great courage to face the unknown in faith even when our heads know God is good and loving and all we have to do is open ourselves to receive. Kahlil Gibran said in The Prophet,
“And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?”
When we are young “lambs” we tend to ride boldly forth bent on conquest. I suppose Peter and the young apostles had had this vision in mind when they’d thought that Jesus had come as a political Messiah to save them from Roman oppression. Young blood tends to believe that might is right. In actuality this is also the maturity stage which some of our Muslim brothers are at. We’ve been there (and some are still there), and done that. Show mercy and grace. How? Remember. And for those with dementia, even youth with a disconnected spirit which mimics dementia? Remember for them. Remember with love, kindness, tenderness, and playful humor like that of a sweet mom to her child.
The Second of the Four Living Creatures was like an ox. (Rev 4:7) Oxen are known for their strength and steadfastness. These are character qualities forged and honed in faithful service.
Gibran said:
“When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?
Always have you been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.”
It is human nature at the stage of development in mid-life to work hard at working hard. It is very ox-like. And then more Life happens:
John 21:18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. …
And the Church followed in Peter’s sandals. The Church lived out, into, and through Jesus’ words to Peter. She did fasten her own “belt” and went wherever she wished. In some parts of the world she had the freedom to do this, and in other parts she risked more persecution and death for the sake of the gospel. And then she fulfilled the second half of Jesus’ statement:
…But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.”
Not only does this describe Peter’s fate (v 19), but it also portrays an accurate picture of almost every Alzheimer’s Unit in many nursing homes and in psychiatric hospitals. It also describes the Church in her senior years as she has wandered off and forgotten her First Love. (Rev 2:4) Truly the Church has been “crucified” upside down just as Peter was crucified upside down. Peter was a glorious, passionate, innocent, and mirror-opposite reflection to our passionate Lord, reflecting the One he loved.
Gibran: “And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with silent knowledge of the whole tree,
So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of all of you all.
Like a procession you walk together toward your god-self.
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
Aye, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.”
The Third Living Creature had a face like a man. (Rev 4:7) May we all wear this face with dignity.
And Jesus said to Peter a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” (John 21:17)
Peter felt hurt because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” (v 17) And the Church has felt hurt, too, because Jesus has asked us the same questions. Peter said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” The Church has watched Jesus break open the seals of the scroll (Rev 5:2) of chronos Time, and watched events unfold just as they have been laid out for us in scripture. We all have watched with both awe and horror as the living creature with the face of a man was himself and yet not. Humanity as a face of a man is himself and yet not. How does he rise above his “not-Self”? By engaging with Jesus, the Son of Man, to find his own internal god-self within Jesus’ Self and not separate from self. The ego-self is shed and refined in the process.
The Fourth Living Creature was like a flying eagle. (Rev 4:7) Eagles represent – what? How does one find one word to reflect this character trait?
Paraphrased: The Eagle represents spiritual protection, carries prayers, and brings strength, courage, wisdom, illumination of spirit, healing, creation, and knowledge. The eagle has an ability to see hidden spiritual truths, rising above the material to see the spiritual. The eagle has an ability to see the overall pattern, and the connection to elders and teachers. The eagle represents great power and balance, dignity with grace, a connection with higher truths, intuition and a creative spirit of grace achieved through knowledge and fortitude.
The dictionary of scripture and myth, describes the eagle as;
A symbol of the Holy Spirit, which flies, as it were, through the mind (air) from the higher nature (heaven) to the lower nature (earth) and soars aloft to the self (sun).
My prayer is that we would rise on the wings of grace to find Justice. By the time the reader gets to Rev 5:11, there is no specified mention of the FOUR living creatures. They are simply referred to as “living creatures.” Character qualities of courage (lion), steadfastness (ox), dignity (man), and justice (eagle) really do integrate within the psyche, even within the collective consciousness of a society. In Rev 4:4 there are twenty-four elders (wise ones) around God’s throne. Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to God, the twenty-four elders fall down and worship God! (Whew! Can’t you just feel the relief flow off of them every time someone gets his eyes off of his ego-self and back on to God?!) By Rev 5:11 the voices of the myriad of thousands upon thousands of angels encircle the throne of God along with the living creatures and the elders. I picture the circle like the Alpha and Omega loop. They sing with full voice. They are unified; character and chronos Time as well, for even Time bows to God. They fall down and worship Him. (v 14)
I also notice that just as in “the living creatures” being numberless in this verse (Rev 5:11), so are the elders. By this verse not specifying FOUR living creatures and TWENTY-FOUR elders, we can see a sense of expansion in the collective consciousness of humanity, which is singing out in full voice so that there is no distinction of who is elder and which character is living. Expansion in integration of body-mind-spirit is numberless. It makes the impact that much stronger when the specified Four return in Rev 5:14. And if the twenty-four Elders represent the twenty-four Time Zones, then man and all of Time is bowing down to God for He alone is worthy. No other focus compares to Jesus:
Rev 5:11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,

5:12 singing with full voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

5:13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

5:14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
The way we “tend” Time speaks to “the followers of the Way.” (Acts 9:2) Do we squander it? Kill it? Watch it? Or care for it? Is it a friend or fiend? When Jesus asked Peter on the third round, “Do you love Me?… Feed My sheep,” (John 21:17) this also correlates to our present day in the Great Roundup. We are being given the opportunity with St Peter to “feed” all of God’s “sheep,” by SHOWING (ie, not just preaching at) each other the Way of loving-kindness and God’s friendship.
Gibran: “When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

3 After Easter 14 April 2013 Gospel: John 21:1-19
Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)
9:1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest

9:2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

9:3 Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

9:4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

9:5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

9:6 But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

9:7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one.

9:8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

9:9 For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

9:10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”

9:11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying,

9:12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”

9:13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem;

9:14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.”

9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel;

9:16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

9:17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

9:18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized,

9:19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus,

9:20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Psalm 30
30:1 I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.

30:2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

30:3 O LORD, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

30:4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.

30:5 For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

30:6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”

30:7 By your favor, O LORD, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.

30:8 To you, O LORD, I cried, and to the LORD I made supplication:

30:9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

30:10 Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me! O LORD, be my helper!”

30:11 You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

30:12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Revelation 5:11-14
5:11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,

5:12 singing with full voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

5:13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

5:14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

John 21:1-19
21:1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way.

21:2 Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples.

21:3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

21:4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

21:5 Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.”

21:6 He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.

21:7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea.

21:8 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

21:9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread.

21:10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”

21:11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn.

21:12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.

21:13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

21:14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

21:16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

21:18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.”

21:19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Thomas Clouds

7 Apr

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 2 After Easter 07 April 2013
Thomas Clouds
I’m sorry, Jesus. Today I’m feeling a little like Thomas. However, I DO believe You and trust You. The humans? Not so much, but I’m open for discussion in action, where I can see faith empowered by hands. Hypocrisy still dominates over here, Lord. You ARE the Alpha and the Omega. The Almighty! Make good on Your promises! Amen.
Doubt and Hope are intricately interwoven. I sooo understand that! We are called to “seed clouds” with our hope. To do this, like Peter, “we must obey God rather than any human authority.” (Acts 5:29) We obey God because we are looking at Him and not another authority.
Rev 1:7 Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen.
This speaks to me of discipleship. I believe You, Lord, when You say You are coming. I believe that when we have discipled each other on this planet and have loved each other as You have loved us, then You will finally come back with the clouds for real, for we will have loved well. But in the meantime, God, You did make us to be a kingdom of priests, serving our God and Father, and to You be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1: 6) So far the “seven stars” (the “angel” messengers of the Seven Churches (v 20)) seem to still be orbiting in their own little worlds. From what I can tell the Churches aren’t talking to each other. Lord, Your Holy Spirit, has already “come with the clouds” every time humanity has gotten ourselves into a mess. We’re in a fine mess now with the cyber wars and the threat of nuclear war on our doorstep. Lord, You told us to make disciples of all nations. (Mt 28:19) That’s a scary thing. Even some of the disciples worshiped You and still doubted. (v 17) I “get” that. Doubt and Hope dance together.
Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I even “get” that after every messy growth cycle which humanity has gone through, You disappear behind a “cloud” and are hidden from our sight. How else would faith be strengthened? Parents do this all the time when they are training up their children, so the kid can grow in confidence and apply what he has learned.
Acts 1: 6 Then they gathered around Him and asked Him, “Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.
Ok, Lord, since I’m “hidden in a cloud” with You, may I take this time to lay out before You the facts in my little orbit? Just so that we’re clear here?
• You called me. I didn’t call myself.
• You tell me where to go and park and pray. I’ve been doing this since summer 2007, using my car-as-hermitage. It may look strange from the outside looking in, but I have been putting You first in all things. (Mt 6:33)
• I receive no income from my writings.
• My computer is having what appears to be little “strokes” because it is so old.
• You Yourself have commissioned me to “worship You” and “share the journey.” How am I supposed to complete Your own directives to my Calling without proper functioning tools or sanctuary?
One spokesman this week said,
“Set Our Affections Above
If we are not receiving His care and protection, we have either chosen the wrong dwelling place or we have set our affection on something or someone other than Christ Jesus, our King. When this happens, He patiently waits, ready to help us when we finally turn to Him.
His “Word” to us is that we enter into “the secret place” where He dwells and then make this our real, experienced home.”
Evidently this was said by one who already has sanctuary. Bless him, Lord!
Another said,
“When Jesus died on the Cross, He provided the fullness of sozo, a Greek word meaning not only salvation, but also healing, deliverance, provision and all that Heaven offers! Yet, if our relationship with God is somewhat superficial (meaning we want the sensation without the relation (relationship), we fall short of receiving what we need from God because we really don’t know how to believe for His best!”
Yes! We are indeed freed by the Blood You shed on the Cross, Lord! Just as Sandie said! Is the Church so “bewitched,” as Sandie also talked about, that the Institution expects You to come on a Dreamworks, Inc. movie cartoon cloud so that we can be entertained and stay removed from the courage of living life and sharing our gifts with real people for the benefit of Your good kingdom? This week I asked the archetypal Church of “Laodicea,” whom I love, for help in securing a new computer. I received more silence. To me, this just proved Sandie’s point that we are not saved by legalism and was a reinforcement of what Paul talked about in Galatians 3:1-6.
Lord, what I don’t “get” is how the “angels” to the Seven Churches can still remain quiet. The Great Nothing in the Grand Silence continues. The “half an hour” of Silence in heaven when the Seventh Seal was opened (Rev 8:1) still drones on. Now, I understand that heaven’s time and earth’s time are not the same. But when it persists because Satan has his own ax to grind? O yawn. Spare me. Israel still doesn’t know that You have been keeping Your promises and the Churches over here are mute. How fair is that? Oh, that’s right, life’s not fair, so they say. Lord, since there is no linear time where You are, and those who pierced You already do know You and have seen you (Rev 1:7), what are You going to do about today’s tribes? There’s lots of wailing going on, but it doesn’t seem to be directed at You (v 7), other than to blame You, and that’s not fair either. Lord, with every portion of scroll that You opened (Rev 5:5) and every seal that was broken (Rev 6), Your mighty Spirit rode forth over the centuries. With every trumpet that was sounded (Rev 8-9) Your grace provided a seal of protection (Rev 9:4), and still mankind did not repent. (Rev 9:20) There have been many “cloud” movements in the Book of Revelation. In Rev 10:1 a mighty angel robed in a cloud with a rainbow above his head came down from heaven. He was holding a little scroll that lay open in his hand while he stepped in the sea and on the land. (v 2) He was providing choices in advance. We were just supposed to take “the voices of the seven thunders” (v 4) and internalize and integrate them into our own beings. Seven little words with huge impact. Then three chapters later the “beast” also came out of the “sea” (Rev 16:1) of words and out of the “earth” in signs (v 14). And the “beast” has been proficient in creating “brain fog.” Truly, who is like the beast? Who can make war against him? (Rev 14:4) Hello? We can! The saints! Those who are “awake”! God:
Rev 15:4 Who will not fear you, Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”[ ]
And Your righteous acts have been revealed! What are they waiting for? Jesus, You are the Word. (Jn 1:14) You were with God in the beginning. (v 2) Since the Word was in the beginning (v 1) and the beginning is “Alpha,” then the Word is also “Omega,” the ending, because You have the last Word! (Rev 1:8) You ARE the Alpha and the Omega! With the Holy Fire of Pentecost, You bring understanding to the words so that they become a message. The Holy Spirit connects the message with the tune to make a new song in our hearts, because we now understand. It’s a new song of grace, clarity, compassion, and empowerment through humility, insight, awe, respect, dignity, and we bow before You with our breath taken away by Your glory! What’s not to love?
Lord, as long as the “Doubting Thomas” clouds keep hovering over the Churches, then we won’t be able to “see” what You are doing let alone take action on what You tell us. For every cloud of hope there is a cloud of doubt in the Church. I do thank You, Lord, for Bob Hartley’s teaching on the Elijah List this week entitled “The Hope Reformation: Four Hopes and Four Snakes.” His teaching encouraged me. Bob Hartley said:
“Even since we began to write this report, the Lord has shown me a vision of how He intends to restore hope to and renovate our hearts. He is calling us to reach inside and take out our wounded hearts, bitten, bruised and torn, and place them into His capable and faithful hands. It will require great vulnerability and trust in His goodness on our part to do this. We must lay down any blame toward God we have hidden away or denied that follows on the heels of asking “why” He, if He is truly good, allowed us to experience such opposition and disappointments in our journeys. And, He is promising that it will all work out and together for good if we love Him (see Romans 8:28).”
As I was reading this piece, I also couldn’t help but remember that the “serpent” is seized and bound in Revelation 20:2. Finally! That tied in with what Bob Hartley said:
“God is encouraging us through this revelation to open our eyes to what both He and our enemy are doing in the midst of our pilgrimage in life. Let us be awake and alert and seize every opportunity to respond to our Father and grow in the virtue of hope through a godly response to any attacks or temptations of the enemy. Any assault on our hope only serves in the end to add more mass to our hope muscles! Opposition to hope is to be expected, but the Lord will play His trump cards to reverse, often suddenly, the fortunes of His dear sons and daughters.”
Bob Hartley explained the Hope and Doubt dance, so that we would have clearer understanding:
1. Hope for the Unseen
“God’s hope reformers see the invisible, hear the inaudible, and touch the intangible. They get their cues for living and loving well on the earth from their connectivity to the unseen realm of highest Heaven. They live from Heaven to earth, not from earth to Heaven.”
In contrast, “the snake [of doubt] attacks our throat – our voice of hope that has been made to boldly declare the unseen promises of God’s intention to manifest His power and might. If we allow this enemy room to roam on the heels of a revelation from the Holy Spirit, the graceful tone and tenor of our prophetic voice can be distorted and the perfect divine timing of that word can be hijacked.”
2. Hope against Hope
This is a time or season in our lives when it seems like God fails to deliver on His divine promise, but then comes through with “a second hope that confirms, but displaces, supersedes and trumps the original one.
The snake [of doubt] wraps itself around the feet and legs of God’s children to keep them from advancing in hope. We can become paralyzed and stuck.
3. Carefree Hope
This is the kind of buoyant spirit that engages life knowing that God is good and that He cherishes us.
The snake [of doubt] wraps itself around the torso and bites the heart. (Lk 21:34) Worries and anxiety oppress the heart and weigh it down as we react to life’s circumstances and fret over unmet temporal needs.
4. Childlike Hope
This is a focus on “the qualities of openness, simplicity, relational sensitivity, and vulnerability that children exhibit before the God of all of life.” Bob Hartley said,
“In another place and time, He cried out in great celebration and joy that our Father has “hidden these things from the wise and intelligent” but has “revealed them to babes.” Here He was referring to our grasping the deep mystery of enjoying a true union with God as our Papa. Jesus was also pointing to the outcome of walking with Him in the “easy yoke” of true spirituality versus the heaviness of our man-made effort and performance-based religion. (See Luke 10:21 with Matthew 11:25-30.)
The snake I saw that was pitted against childlike hope was one that was wrapped around the waist and bit the liver. This represented how a demonic “gall of bitterness” can take over the human heart and mind as we live in both a despairing world and a prevalent pessimistic and rationalistic “churchianity.” If the first doesn’t kill our dreams, then the second will certainly try its hardest to finish the job! …
… In this vision He also showed me that the kind of spiritual maturity that will result from such fine-tuning is what will take God’s hope reformers beyond being merely “prophetic” vessels who can reveal knowledge, to being “hope patriarchs” and “hope matriarchs” who have learned to love and who process spiritual knowledge, even foresight, and events through hope lenses (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
Father, help our hearers to see beyond their present trials to the golden hopes that You are promising to embed within them. Will You show them where they are right now in the process of graduating from row to row of hope? Reveal to them how the evil one might be seeking to thwart their divine hope promises and give them grace to resist him, firm in their faith, and be catapulted forward in Your plans.”
Lord, I join Bob Hartley’s prayer and agree. You walked through locked doors to get to the apostles. (Jn 20:19) Please do the same for all of us. Come with our “Clouds,” and our computers, and Smart Phones, and tablets, and laptops, so that every eye may see You. (Rev 1:7) Empower us to defeat “the beast” so that we can fulfill Your mandate to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19) Lord, breathe on us Your fresh commissioning to share our journeys of salvation by grace as You work through us. And if I may be so bold, would You have Your people talk to Sandie Freed’s people to set up a connection if it be Your will? Sandie had said,
“I am destined to point the way to freedom. I don’t just want you free – I want you free indeed. This means completely free, especially from a spirit of legalism or religious works. So, therefore, precious freed-up-Believer of God, rise up and declare the power that is in the Blood! And, know that TODAY is your day that God will provide for your every need!”
Father, break the tri-part prism-like mirror the Churches and the prophets and I have been trapped in for so long, so that we may see You and each other face to face:
1 Corinthians 13: 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Amen.
John 20:21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

2 After Easter 07 April 13 Gospel: John 20:19-31
Acts 5:27-32
5:27 When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them,

5:28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.”

5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.

5:30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.

5:31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

5:32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Psalm 118:14-29
118:14 The LORD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

118:15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly;

118:16 the right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”

118:17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.

118:18 The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.

118:19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.

118:20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.

118:21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.

118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

118:23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

118:25 Save us, we beseech you, O LORD! O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!

118:26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the house of the LORD.

118:27 The LORD is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.

118:28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you.

118:29 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Psalm 150
150:1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!

150:2 Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

150:3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!

150:4 Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

150:5 Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

150:6 Let everything that breathes praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!

Revelation 1:4-8
1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood,

1:6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1:7 Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen.

1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
John 20:19-31
20:19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

20:24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

20:25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

20:26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.

20:31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Resurrect

2 Apr

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for Easter Sunday 31 March 2013ResurrectHear this!Acts 10:34 Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality,10:35 but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.10:43 All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.”Did you catch that?  I do not select these passages of scripture.  The mainline Churches select the passages and agree to which portions of scripture are to be read on what days.  Do you hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches?God says,Isaiah 65:17 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.65:18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.1 Cor 15:22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.But each in their own order (1 Cor 15:23):Christ the first fruits (v 23) was Jesus, Who was from God’s spiritual orchard. We who believe in Him are of His first fruits.  Then at His coming those who follow Him receive His anointing and His empowerment within us to do His will and work. (v 23)  Then comes the “end” (v 24) of the old rule of Satan’s kingdom and the new rule of God’s kingdom after Christ has destroyed the attitudes and behaviors which have ruled the rulers, puffed up every authority and foisted their own powers on to others. (v 24)  For God must reign through us in order to put all His enemies under His feet. (v 25)  This doesn’t mean we put our enemies under our feet and stomp them into submission.  We come in humility and give God the power.  We spiritually (and maybe even practically) wash their feet.  We pray for our enemies and love on them. (Mt 5:44)  We love one another as God has loved us. Once love conquers all then the last enemy to be destroyed is death. (v 26)  Love will do this.So why are you weeping? (Jn 20:13)Again: Why are you weeping?  Whom are you looking for? (v 15)”Do not hold on to me, [ie, share] because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” (John 20:17)Listen, “I have seen the Lord;” …and she told them that He had said these things to her. (v 18)And reactions of being terrified are consistently the same, but “back in the day” the men came through and let Jesus’ words speak for themselves:Luke 24:5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. (cf Mt 22:32; Mk 12:27; Lk 20:38 “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.”)Luke 24:8 Then they remembered His words.I repeat:Luke 24:8 Then they remembered His words.Church!  Remember!  [Rev 3:3!]Luke 24:11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.What would it take for you to believe? Easter Sunday            31 March 2013                        Gospel: John 20:1-18 and Luke 24:1-12Acts 10:34-4310:34 Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality,10:35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.10:36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ–he is Lord of all.10:37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.10:39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;10:40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear,10:41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.10:42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead.10:43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”Isaiah 65:17-2565:17 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.65:18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.65:19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress.65:20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.65:21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.65:22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.65:23 They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the LORD– and their descendants as well.65:24 Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent–its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24118:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!118:2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”118:14 The LORD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.118:15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly;118:16 the right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”118:17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.118:18 The LORD has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.118:19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.118:20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.118:21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.118:23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.1 Corinthians 15:19-2615:19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.15:21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being;15:22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.15:24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.John 20:1-1820:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.20:2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”20:3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.20:4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.20:5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.20:6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there,20:7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.20:8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;20:9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.20:10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.20:11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb;20:12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.20:13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”20:14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.20:15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”20:18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.Luke 24:1-1224:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.24:2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,24:3 but when they went in, they did not find the body.24:4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.24:5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.24:6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,24:7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”24:8 Then they remembered his words,24:9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.24:10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.24:11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.24:12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. 

End of the Great Deception

2 Apr

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for Holy Saturday 30 March 2013

End of the Great Deception

Matthew 27:64 Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.”

This really was the plan that was spread after Jesus’ death and resurrection.  And it is still going around today.

Matthew 28:12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money,

28:13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’”

28:14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.

28:15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.  And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews [and other religions] to this very day.

And it was.

Human empires have always connived and finagled to deceive the people, suppress the Truth, and cut down freedom.  Jōb knew something about this.  (See Job 14:1-14 in today’s Old Testament reading.)  We can see the “tomb” of empires which have been made secure for three millennia since King David, and even before that.  The good news is that the Book of Revelation also talks about the demise of empires.  Satan’s own empire was built on a lie.  He did not only deceive the Jews after Jesus’ resurrection, but he has also tried to deceive the elect. (Mt 24:24)  Love took leave somewhere and works took precedence over love.

Prayer of Release:  Father, release us from the tyranny of deception and the stupor of spiritual sleep.  Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be carried away.  Satan’s last deception has been worse than the first.  It is now time for the Truth to reestablish Your boundaries and Your kingdom the way You created Your Master Plan.  The Church has had its old roots in the earth and its “stump” dies in the ground. (Job 14:8)  Yet at the scent of Your living Water she will bud and put forth branches like a young plant. (v 9)  May we arm ourselves with the Spirit of Christ’s intention so as to live for the rest of our earthly lives no longer driven by human desires but by Your will, O God. (1 Pt 4:2)  The red dragon (Rev 12:3) has been allowed to raise Cain for too long with the “false” prophet, who is not fake, but is simply withholding the whole Truth.  I call down all Untruths, Deception, and Manipulations which permeate and perpetuate our collective struggles.  No more!  I call down the lie and the bluff where even the beast which mimicked Jesus in a fatal wound which had been healed (Rev 13:3) is also brought down and exposed.  Stop the lies, Lord!  Stop the deception!  Who is like the beast? (v 4)  Who can make war against him? (v 4)  Father, cut through the BS and the shame!  Take us out of the net that has kept us hidden from You and our whole and complete selves in right relationship with You, for You, God, are our refuge. (Ps 31:4)  Let Your face shine upon Your servants and save us in Your steadfast love. (v 16)  Father, cover our multitude of sins with Your love (1 Pt 4:8) and lead us forth in Your righteousness, where love reigns in all we think, do, and say.  Jesus, bring in Your Kingdom now.  Amen!

 

Holy Saturday             30 March 2013                        Gospel: Matthew 27:57-66; John 19:38-42

Job 14:1-14
14:1 “A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble,

14:2 comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last.

14:3 Do you fix your eyes on such a one? Do you bring me into judgment with you?

14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one can.

14:5 Since their days are determined, and the number of their months is known to you, and you have appointed the bounds that they cannot pass,

14:6 look away from them, and desist, that they may enjoy, like laborers, their days.

14:7 “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.

14:8 Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground,

14:9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.

14:10 But mortals die, and are laid low; humans expire, and where are they?

14:11 As waters fail from a lake, and a river wastes away and dries up,

14:12 so mortals lie down and do not rise again; until the heavens are no more, they will not awake or be roused out of their sleep.

14:13 Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!

14:14 If mortals die, will they live again? All the days of my service I would wait until my release should come.

Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24
3:1 I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God’s wrath;

3:2 he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;

3:3 against me alone he turns his hand, again and again, all day long.

3:4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones;

3:5 he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;

3:6 he has made me sit in darkness like the dead of long ago.

3:7 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me;

3:8 though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer;

3:9 he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked.

3:19 The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall!

3:20 My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.

3:21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;

3:23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

3:24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16
31:1 In you, O LORD, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me.

31:2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.

31:3 You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,

31:4 take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.

31:15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

31:16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.

1 Peter 4:1-8
4:1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin),

4:2 so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.

4:3 You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry.

4:4 They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme.

4:5 But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.

4:6 For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.

4:7 The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers.

4:8 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

Matthew 27:57-66
27:57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus.

27:58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.

27:59 So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth

27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.

27:61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

27:62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate

27:63 and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’

27:64 Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.”

27:65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.”

27:66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

John 19:38-42
19:38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body.

19:39 Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.

19:40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

19:41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid.

19:42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.