Tag Archives: Jesu

Personal Trinity

celtictrinityknot

Three is an interesting number in so many ways. It’s prime. A three sided brace is strong since the angles can’t change unless the lengths of the sides do.

Not to mention the Holy Trinity, the days between Christ’s death and resurrection.

I’ve found that in dealing with things, I have my own trinity.

My emotional self may want to stamp its feet, yell, run around in circles or whatever. It just kind of is, but after it does its thing, the pressure is bled off and I can deal better with things.

My intellectual self wants to think its way through a situation. How do I fix it? What do I do next? What’s Plan B?

Finally, there’s my spiritual self that tries to understand that I don’t understand. That I need to rely on faith as well as logic. My spiritual self realizes that a leap of faith is just that – a leap. Not a small step, but a move to commit your entire self to your belief that God knows what He’s doing and cares for us.

God, in His infinite wisdom gave us these tools so we could face any challenge. I know this because in the Gospels, I see Jesus using all three. He cried at Lazarus’ death and got angry at the money changers in the temple. Much of what He taught is good practical earthly, “street smart” advice. And, of course, His spiritual self dominated everything.

When I’m done dealing with an issue, my spiritual self is usually the one to finish up and put the worries away. Usually with something like:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Led Into Temptation – Again

cnn

I confess, I was weak. I saw the story on CNN about “Famous Atheists and Their Beliefs” and after ignoring it for several days I peeked.

Look, I also confess that we believers make fools of ourselves and one another. Christians despised Jews for centuries, conveniently forgetting that the early Church met in the synagogues. That before Paul got knocked off his horse on the road to Damascus Christian membership was limited to Jews. That the Apostles were all Jews, and, oh by the way, Jesus was a Jew, of the House of David and He was the Messiah promised to the Jews.

After the schism, Protestants aired their grievances (and very legitimate grievances they were) about the Catholics. As time went on, the various flavors of Protestant began to differentiate from one another and rejected each other for reasons real and imagined.

And then there are the Muslims; sons of Ibraham, whom we call our ancestor  Abraham. They suffer as much infighting as Christians, and suffer lunatics who have successfully hijacked the title if not their beliefs.

The Atheists seem to have a solidarity with all not believing in the same thing and supporting each other’s disbelief. The believers, on the other hand, are not nearly as supportive of one another.

Maybe we believers should agree on a few things:

  • We are all seeking God.
  • As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, we humans don’t have the answers.
  • God seems to open doors, paths and ways to reach Him.

Most importantly

  • God loves us.

We won’t see an article about “Famous Believers and What They Believe.” But as believers, we don’t need to.

When Jesus Was a Kid

From time to time, like all parents, I get frustrated with my kids. You know the drill – dirty socks in unlikely places; sudden disappearances when chores need to be done and convenient bouts of selective memory.

It makes me wonder what Mary and Joseph experienced when Jesus was a child. Although always divine, Jesus was nevertheless human, and as such needed to learn, just as every child does, by making mistakes.

I can picture Joseph searching his workshop for a tool that young Jesus had borrowed and not returned.

Mary wiping up Jesus’ spilled milk, bread crumbs or perhaps honey dripped on the table.

Mary probably wondered how one kid could get his clothes so dirty and Joseph was amazed at how quickly He outgrew sandals.

Makes me feel like I’m in good company.

Sundown, Good Friday

PietaMichelangelo Buonarroti1499

Pieta
Michelangelo Buonarroti
1499

Satan had never been particularly fond of sundown on Friday, since it marked the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. Perhaps, two millennia ago he was more comfortable because the Sabbath had become a burden, rather than a cause for joy. The Pharisees had defined most activities, including how far you could walk before you were violating the Sabbath. It was a set of complicated rules rather than a day of rest.

This particular Friday had to be especially disconcerting. Satan had seen Jesus ridiculed, beaten, abused, and tortured. No doubt this pleased him while simultaneously frightening him. Even he knew that things were not as they seemed. He had to wonder what was going to happen.

Many believe that when Jesus cried out, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” was the point at which Jesus took on all the sins of the world. For the first time in eternity Jesus was not completely connected with the Father and it was terrifying and disorienting.

At that moment, Satan saw countless souls he had seduced, cajoled, lied to, and threatened slip through his very fingers. The justice they deserved was now paid in full, and they were reunited with God.

Jesus told us He had the ability to lay down His life and pick it up again. I think that once He had paid our debt, His job was done and He laid his life down. It was His choice to save us, and His choice to return the Father.

Satan had known from the very beginning that his quest was unachievable, but his ego was such that he continued anyway. I’m sure that even with our redemption, his arrogance demanded that he redouble his efforts. Even today you can see his efforts.

But it doesn’t matter. We have been saved. We have been forgiven. We are loved by our God and by His only begotten Son.

Give thanks. It is right and just.

An Imperfect World

This is an imperfect world.

It has been imperfect for thousands of years.

It was imperfect two millennia ago as Jesus was betrayed, unjustly condemned, tortured and killed.

But we are charged to be “in the world, but not of it.”

In other words we’re just passing through on our way to a better place.

Thanks to the love of a perfect Messiah.

What the Elder Son Teaches Us

It was another soccer tournament weekend. It’s Monday and back to work, where at least the schedule is more predictable.

At least the games were spaced so I could catch church on Sunday.

Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt van Rijn

The Gospel was the story of the Prodigal Son, which is often dissatisfying because it just doesn’t seem fair.

If the Prodigal Son story played out today, I’m sure there would be at least one lawsuit.

Our deacon gave the homily, and pointed out that the son who stayed home figured may not have merely been loyal and altruistic. The way he looked at it, he was taking care of his upcoming inheritance, so in effect, he was working for himself. Since he was focused on what he expected to get, he didn’t realize and appreciate all the things he had every day.

However, what he said next was what struck me. The deacon suggested that every night when the family gathers for dinner, we should start a litany of all the things we have to be thankful for. He suggested starting small, with such things as life, spouse, children. Each day add a couple of more things. By the end of Lent we may all realize just how blessed we are.

I thought it was a good enough idea that I should share it.

Judas Didn’t Get It

Superstar

As you may recall, during Lent, one thing I do is to listen to “Jesus Christ, Superstar.” The rock opera is entertainment, not scripture, and tells the story of Jesus final week from the perspective of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer. Although Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber took significant artistic license, I believe the Holy Spirit takes every opportunity to speak the truth to us. Besides, some stories are just so awe inspiring that the true message comes through no matter what.

The play begins with Judas singing “Heaven on Their Mind” which starts with the following lyrics.

“My mind is clearer now; At last I can see where we all soon will be.

If you strip away, the myth from the man; You will see where we all soon will be.”

I was always uncomfortable with the reference to Jesus as being part myth, and didn’t like these particular lyrics, until I had another thought.

Matthew, Mark and Luke all relate how Jesus asked who people thought he was.

“13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 16)

Jesus then warned them to tell no one that He is the Christ, at least not until after his resurrection.

Judas was never given the faith to believe in Jesus. I don’t think he ever could realize that Jesus was in fact the Messiah. He, like many others, wanted a Messiah who was a great leader in the manner of Moses, Joshua or David. In Jesus, without faith, Judas could only see an itinerant teacher with an interesting message. To Judas, Jesus divinity could only be myth.

How sad.

It makes me think of how blessed we all are who have been given Faith and been able to see the truth so easily that we take it for granted.

Who Is This Man, Jesus?

JesusPortrait

It’s surprising how little we know about Jesus the person. He was named Yeshua, the Aramaic for Joshua, the loyal scout and military leader who was allowed to pass into the Promised Land when even Moses was denied entry.

His public ministry was only for a few years. Except for His last two days, the scriptures tell us little about Him. We don’t know if he was tall or short. Nowhere do the Scriptures describe Him physically. However, it’s a pretty good bet he looked like we see Him in paintings and sculpture, with white skin and long flowing hair. Men native to the Middle East tend to have darker skin, and St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians is quite critical about men with long hair. An unlikely comment if that was how Jesus looked.

What the scriptures do tell us is His message and his purpose. Look at the beautiful beginning to John’s gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

He taught us to love God and to love one another. To extend that love to even the least among us. To be willing to give up life itself out of love.

It was a good message, and just as He subjugated Himself to the Father’s will, He placed the message first. After all, He was, and is the Word.