Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blog # 172 Alone. Alone?

Blog # 172 Alone. Alone? The picture of Jesus that goes along with this blog appeared on the cover of one of the weekly bulletins of a Church in Chicago. As soon as I saw it it made me think and wonder about the prayer of Jesus. Several familiar texts in all four of the Gospels immediately came to mind. A constantly recurring characteristic given by the Evangelists in reference to Jesus praying is that He regularly designated a time and place where He would be alone for His prayer. This would be especially in times of major conflicts and before making important consequential decisions such as choosing the Apostles. Jesus is given as going off to the mountain or a deserted place, again to be separated, for a time, I would imagine, from the distractions and the frustration of dealing with the closedmindedness and hypocracy of some of those who opposed Him, and to address the personal pain He must have experienced in witnessing the immense need for the message He had come to share on the part of sinners, the poor and the suffering , coupled with His realization of how few there were among those who heard Him speak who seemed to understand and give themselves to loving all these people as He loved them. Here are a few samples of texts from the Gospels that came to mind for me in response to the picture of Jesus above. Matthew 14: 22-24. This text occurs after Jesus had heard of the death of John the Baptist and had miraculously fed a huge crowd of people. "Immediately afterward, while dismissing the crowds, Jesus insisted that his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side. When he had sent them away, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray, remainng there alone as evening drew on." Mark 14: 32 - 36. This text is placed in the garden of Gethsemani after the celebration of the Passover Supper on the night before Jesus died. "Sit down here while I pray", he said to his disciples...Then he began to be filled with fear and distress....He said to them. "My heart if filled with sorrow to the point of death."...He advanced a little and fell to the ground, praying that if it were possible this hour might pass him by. He kept saying, "Abba (O Father),...Take this cup away from me. But let it be as you would have it, not as I." Luke 6: 12 - 13. This text is placed after a miracle in which Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. "Then he went out to the mountain to pray, spending the night in communion with God. At daybreak he called his disciples and selected twelve of them he called his apostles." These and similar texts focus primarily on Jesus and his experience of prayer as a personal union with God the Father. Texts from John that came to me in response to these texts and then the picture of Jesus on the mountain add a different dimension to the picture. Several major texts from John clearly claim and emphasize our union with Jesus through faith and Baptism. In Blog # 173 we will consider some of the meaning and implications several texts from John have in relation to our experience of prayer and consequently of our experience of life here in the USA, already past the midway mark of 2011.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blog # 171 Anatomy of a blog

Blog # 171 Anatomy of a blog

This morning I had the good intention of getting two Blogs ready to be published. I had some thoughts in my mind about eternal life but none of them seemed to focus well. With some disappointment and a minor sense of frustration I decided to back off and get to reading and responding to the emails that came in since yesterday. Before I realized it the morning was gone. I tried again but could not get anything I thought was appropriate from my mind into words for the computer.

... .... ...

Now here it is already three o'clock in the afternoon and all I have is what you have been reading. I don't know where it is going but I am happy it is on its way, and even this far along. I almost gave up when all I had was Blog # 171 in the title box waiting for the next blog.

I wondered why I could not get going with a blog and what I could do about it. Then I looked up at the title of my blogspot and the word Insights grabbed my attention. I looked it up in the dictionary and found that insight means an ability to see and clearly understand the inner nature of things. That is exactly what I thought it meant. I thought how it is that insights come to me easily and plentifully.

The most recent one was just an hour or so ago. Yesterday my wrist watch stopped, I think it just needs a new battery but did not get out to check it today. I have a back-up pocket watch for just such occasions as this. As I took that out of my pocket I thought of how we say a watch tells us what time it is. But a watch doesn't tell time. The sun tells time and watches merely register the witness of the sun. And the sun belongs to God and is regulated by God, so really it is God Who tells us the time! Thank You, Lord! And thank you for my watch which keeps telling what time it is all night long while the sun is shining on the folks in Hong Kong. I wish I could tell the folks over there, and evrywhere the sun shines, it is Your sun and Jesus is Your Son!

This illustrates how insights get to the inner nature of things. There is so much more than appears on the surface, as bright and wonderful as that might be. Thank You,Lord!