I have a lovely icon of St. Theresa of Avila in our home prayer room.
I like it because of her quote. ” God withholds himself from no one who perseveres.”
I believe that most of success amounts to showing up.
God will do her own work, in her own way, at her own time. (See how gender pronouns influence our understanding of God as light, spirit, and love?)
Our task is to show up, again and again, and trust God to guide us and change us according to God’s will.
Theosis is union or at least participation in the divine. It is that appearance of God where every bush is on fire, every person is the presence of Christ, and every sound is a hymn of praise to God.
Kenosis is self emptying. It is self denial. It is the way of daily crucifixion. It is renouncing service to king ego to serve the living God.
Theosis without kenosis, is spiritually impossible. God’s light and presence is overwhelming. Anyone who is puffed up and full of ego, is not getting it right.
On the other hand kenosis without Theosis is pretty depressing. Imagine taking up the via negative, the apohatic path of the mystic, only to discover in the end, there is nothing at all.
I do not believe this is really possible either. The amazing thing about removing every concept and image is not that nothing remains, but that God remains.
Of course this God transcends our little bound minds. Ein Sof.
We see this way of Kenosis and Theosis in Jesus Christ our Lord.
He is the author and finisher of our faith.
The Greek word for pride goes with haughtiness and arrogance.
Pride is listed as one of the seven deadly sins. It is to refuse God’s help.
But in our modern English language pride can be a good thing. We can take pride in our work. This means we give it our best.
I am taking pride right now in a great group of children and parents from Gesu Elementary School. The Gesu Elementary school chess club has now won the Ohio State Scholastic Chess Team Championship in our unrated section for the third year in a row!
And I am proud to be their coach.
I give thanks to God for our safety travelling, our beautiful team cooperation and love, and our uncommon success.
We Christians love Jesus!
Jesus is what sets us apart from other religions.
Jesus may be respected and admired in other religions. But for us Jesus is our savior, our teacher, and our lord!
Jesus is the lens by which we see that God is love, what humanity is at it’s best, and how far we still have to go. All of this can be seen in the story of the crucifixion.
Jesus is not referenced by us as a great character of history long gone. We think and experience the risen Jesus Christ in this very moment.
The good news of God’s grace is that God is love, and God loves us before we love back. And Jesus is the living demonstration of God’s love. Jesus is God’s love embodied.
When we give ourselves to Jesus Christ, and trust God to transform our lives. Good things happen.
If we become puffed up in arrogance and haughtiness because of our faith, we are doing it wrong. No one is better than another. We are all sinners. The blessing of God is so that we can serve, not so we can lord it over others.
Jesus shows us everything! He is the way the truth and the life.
We Christians love Jesus.
I love Jesus.
Do you love Jesus?
Why is there love in the universe anyway?
Take nothing. Explode it into a universe of hydrogen and some helium. Condense and reignite it in stars. Fuse heavier atoms and explode some stars. Get some planets of the right size and zone. Evolve some life. What do you we get?
Around here we get people who care about right and wrong, who love and are loved, and many who seek the deepest truths and the greatest salvation for all.
It is amazing that there is anything instead of nothing. It is astounding that the universe should be comprehensible at all. It is mind boggling that life, consciousness, morality, and spirituality are an emergent quality of the universe.
To have a universe at all is a miracle. To be able to be conscious of it is a double miracle. And that love is an emergent quality of our consciousness is a triple miracle.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16
Would you just stop a minute, and let yourself be amazed and blessed by this reality?
Go ahead. It will be medicine for your soul.
Antinomianism is the belief that God’s grace is without connection to works. It is an act of God and that is that! While this is partly true, it is partly false. God does care how we treat each other. God is not lawless.
Arminianism in short is that good works are deeply tied into our salvation. While this is partly true, the experience of grace is that God loves us while we are yet enemies. God loves us in spite of our failures.
Put them together, and paradoxical and opposite as they might seem, we have the path of faith and faithfulness.
We do not need to study historical theology. But we do need to have both faith and faithfulness, in order to make progress along the way of Christ.
Perhaps we could think of it as Sodium, and Chloride, both poisonous alone. But together they make salt.
If you have studied the Bible deeply enough to get past simple but false notions about its inerrancy and infallibility. If you do not require the Bible to be what you want it to be, but accept it as it is. If you understand this to be a higher form of reverence and respect than forcing the Bible to dance to your tune. If you expect your Pastor to be honest with you, regarding the scriptures without willful ignorance. And if you see this as an aid rather than a hindrance to the Christian way of life, because truth and honesty matter to you. Then Park Church could be the church for you.
We give ourselves to God.
And God gives God’s self to us.
The way of Jesus Christ.
How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
When I was young, I thought I had time. Now that I am older time has me.
The endless summers of my childhood are long gone. Days and nights now rush together. How quickly the months pass!
“All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.” -Isaiah 40:
Now more than ever, I realize every day is a gift God has given to me.
I plan to spend each day wisely in faithfulness, hope-making, and love. The greatest of these is love.
God is beyond time and within time. God is here and now and everywhere and always. The meaning and purpose of our lives is wrapped up in God.
While we may only see in a glass dimly now, the good news is that God is faithful. God gives us hope. And God is love.
The greatest of these is love.
While the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox branches of Christianity, venerate saints of yore, here at Park church I see living saints.
They are not famous. They are not necessarily known. They do not toot their own horn. They just keep on doing good, day after day, month after month, year after year.
They visit the sick. They feed the hungry. They teach love in word and deed. The fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control is evident in them.
They do not float on air. Their lives are not free from problems. They have their twists and struggles. But that is what saintliness is like in this real world.
Saints may not even know that they are saints. “When did we see you hungry and give you food?” they may well ask. Or knowing their own foibles, they do not see themselves as saints.
May God open our eyes to see the Saints around us!
The church lives!