Sand Script

cross(3)While reciting the Sorrowful mysteries during a slow walk with my two dogs this morning, I realized in my contemplation of His dragging of His cross, Christ was once again writing in the sand. Unlike His previous finger scribbles in the sand to convince a self-righteous mob of their sins, He now uses a rugged beam to gouge a torturous line to Calvary’s hill of horror. To most affected by gravity, the second message can be seen mostly from above. My thought again is of one through His mother’s tender gaze. Her view is a laser to each tear, bruise, or sputum quickly covering His innocent skin. Her sight is also panoramic to the silent tears of followers joining a gauntlet of people who range from the curious to hateful. She follows the writing of God. He, the Word, writes unhesitatingly a single line, the “I”, seen only by His heavenly Father and now His earthly mother. Soon the very eyes that see this sand script will encourage generations now called blessed. Seeing Christ with such intense intimacy will soon reveal to disciples the spear of sorrow that pierces the soul.
Will you, could you, pick up your cross and follow this line…

His Peace,
Chris

Mercy’s Riddle

The way to God is down, through our mistakes…not up through spiritual elitism and perfection.  Spiritual poverty is the joy in not taking ourselves too seriously.Therefore the mere concept of Divine Mercy leaves us puzzled and bankrupt in this return on God’s investment.  There is nothing that God offers as a gift that can find hospitality within our ego despite the soul’s yearnful immersion into it. The answer to this divine riddle is not simply accepting our imperfection, but embracing it as diversity, as community, as one body alive and awake.

Mercy’s Riddle

mother-teresa-loving-saint-ch60_l
Naked and battered,
Hope’s crushing loss,
Death claims victory,
Pegged to a cross.
The soul understands,
This contradiction,
Ego fails to grasp,
Victory’s Passion.
Heaven’s inheritance,
Is riddled through mercy,
The last shall be first,
Incarnates humility.

by Chris Clody 6/19/15

A Lamp To My Feet

images2Although we eat the bread of the strong we can only sip from the cup of bitterness. With each drop we suffer but not to the point of despair.  We partake in our perfection just so we may take one more step with our cross. For those experiencing this suffering shuffle, lift your eyes, press on, and lean into the One who bares your heavier portion. Fear not for love will see you through.

Press on Lil’ Jack.
Press on Terri.
Press on Kevin.
Press on John.

Lean into Him.

In Him We Rise,
Chris

Fear to Crucify Our Sin

Fear to Crucify

We numb what we hate to crucify,
In fear we can’t be free.
To kill the sin seems unjustified,
Scared to lose identity,
I ignore what’s killing me.

The sin within must never prosper,
Fed through vices sheepishly,
The death of Christ revealed to sinners,
God’s judgment of sin to see –
The cost of depravity.

 Bruised and broken,
He hung for me,
Love unspoken,
Death…sets… me… free.

 As the incarnate Word gives up His Ghost,
He sends another to my side,
He too is God who convicts selfish boasts,
Hanging sin on my whipping post.

 My sin must accept its bitter passion,
For Christ out-loves my harmful rebellion.

Now that the Father has drawn me near,
I dare crucify sin without fear.

 ©2012 by Chris Clody 4/10/2012

How does the following verse speak to you?

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Romans 6:6

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FAITH IS A HAMMER

While working outside, I pulled a nail from a pocket of my old pair of work jeans.  As I continued to attack my weekend chores, I’d stop every now and then to pull out that nail.  With memories still fresh from attending Sunday morning church, the nail now laying in the palm of my hand sent my imagination reeling back to a rocky hill over 2000 years ago.  With each hammer strike matched by a painful moan, I stood paralyzed contemplating the invisible while more blood was shed that day…shed for me.   Love was redefining itself in front of my eyes as it held tight to the nails of every sin. 

I put the nail back in my pocket and thought about that hammer.  Realizing the bittersweet necessity of pegging this innocent victim to open the floodgates of Christianity.  Sometime after church, the words “Faith is a hammer” found a restless home in my heart.   I didn’t read these four words but were given them in a way I can’t explain.   As a these four words became surrounded in poetry, a sense of humility grasped me – like the innocent hands that held those nails so long ago.  Understanding the accomplished work atop of Calvary by Jesus was like a lamp to the works that still await my efforts.   Confronting the necessity of perfect love so that sacrifice is complete stirs my restless heart and broken pride to regard a faith without works is really no faith at all.  However the hammer once used to destroy the innocent life of Jesus, has now become my humble tool of faith used to build another up in hope and love.  If faith is a hammer, then it must transfer its energy in humility, in gratitude, and above all – in love.

His Peace,

Chris

FAITH IS A HAMMER

Faith is a hammer,
Until the Perfect comes.
Nails of my remorse,
Plunge through palms of God’s Son.
Perfect Love completes –
What I have left undone.

Faith is a hammer,
That shatters through my fear.
Pounding out rhythms,
Where love and hope appear.
His song soon unfolds,
My heart beats loud and clear.

Faith is a hammer,
That bangs a grateful drum.
Fear flees from its sound
And cowers under thumb.
Yeah…Faith is a hammer,
Until the Perfect comes.

 

©2011 By Chris Clody 9/19/11

 

Please “Leave a reply” that helps others understand what your faith means to you.

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Comfortably numb without God?

It perplexes as much as it saddens me that some live the life we are given without a gratitude for God.  A life without God is weakly analogous to appreciating magic without the magician. 

  Despite being awed by their rich and colorful surroundings, the anesthetized, atheistic perspective perseveres in convincing minds that the sum of randomness and ever-increasing lengths of time somehow produce the social structure and spiritual conscience of today’s existence.  But even the staunchest of atheists attempt to look past the “magic” to scrutinize the hidden talents of the magician for a clue to reveal the secret of his masterful trick.  Whether or not one believes in God, it is safe to say we all seek truth.   Every scientist seeks the reason and effects of form and function.   While still bound by gravity to this spinning blue orb, all human minds are engaged in an unexpected scavenger hunt in discovering and deciphering clues behind the purpose of their existence.  Whether our minds race to the first and second laws of thermodynamics and energy or scrutinize the very foundations of Judeo –Christian heritage, it all distills down to the inescapable undertone that there is something that unifies this world – an unchanging continuum.  To stop here and be satisfied without looking past the magic to discover a purpose of this unifying entity is like forbidding a child to have a questioning mind.  It is not in our nature to not ask why.  If we are honest with ourselves, the debate of proving whether this intriguing unifying entity is God, random dancing of space dust and gravity, or the flying spaghetti monster, the real argument at hand for both believer and non-believer alike, is what if it is God.  Are “believers” as well as atheists ready to go “all in” after scavenging restlessly for clues and commit to the epiphany of Truth?  Although I am amazed by some creative sparks of hypothetical thinking of evolutionists prompting exhaustive virtual research, they have still yet to answer the many scientists, like myself, when did that simple, little cell decide to grow a stomach, a brain, or a … or divide to become male and female which would further complicate its future generation’s survival?  Really… how does a hyena become a whale? As evolutionists and creationist sling their shovelful of proof back over the fence at each other, I believe we are both artfully dodging the wager at hand and committing to the outcome of being all in.  

                Maybe this isn’t about magic or the magician after all.  In fact, the “magic” has even derailed some believers whose only source of remedy to a solution is praying for a miracle.    Don’t get me wrong, miracles do happen…and thank God they do.  However, briefly extending the sure mortality of the life we are given is not for our own satisfaction but a gratuitous chance to live “all in” or simply “In Christ.”  It is the bittersweet fatalism of Christianity that embraces Truth, which is the very Son of God who died for our Redemption.  Will we fully commit to faithfully accept the Truth and allow His obedience to the Father to finally define our lives and reveal our purpose for existence? This unifying entity, that holds the power to create, is a poor description of God as some divine magician.   I prefer to think of God as a Great Storyteller and each life He breathes into existence becomes part of His book of life.  Beyond performing simple tricks disguised as magic, the Great Storyteller incorporates within each life the gift of free will that can water their implanted seeds of faith, hope and love.   Every thought, word and action is documented by the Great Storyteller and used to justify the ever-thickening plot that flows from Calvary.  Unlike any book we’ve read, this book stands outside the dimension of time where everything is in the present.   No past or future, just the present…or simply His unifying Presence.  Every choice made in devotion or rebellion instantly incorporates into the plot overwhelming our reason to understand the mystery of the story’s orchestration.  Those devoted to Christ become red pens in God’s hand.  Their thoughts, words and actions will be written in the color of His sacrificial Love, revealing the true nature of the name God will call them by.   It is the same river of red from Calvary that runs through the repentant heart allowing Jesus to begin the perfection of His work in them.   Like Heaven, God’s perfection is nothing our eyes or ears could expect.  Those devoted to God become will become His masterpiece, a finished novel.  Imagine the transformation of a lowly handmaid, the Virgin Mary, becoming one who is described in Revelation 12 as “being clothed in the Sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars” – truly God’s masterpiece! 

 It is impossible to know God without Love.   It is impossible to know yourself or your purpose without Love.  True love cannot be seen through the blind eye of atheism but rather through the lens of the true food and true drink Jesus offers all in communion with His sacrificial love.  It is through the contradiction of this thirty-three year old, crucified radical that our shame sees, although dimly, true Love – which is the Kingdom of God itself.  Seeing through the lens of Christ’s body allows all to see the world in a newfound, unexpected compassion that influences our thoughts, words and actions.  For it is the sin active within us that distances our compassion towards the lepers of our day.  God calls us to Him expecting more than a personal relationship; He engages our gifts of forgiveness and draws us close to Himself and others in communion as one Body led by His Son into a Holy family.   Therefore, if the ultimate Truth we seek is sufficiently grasped when peering through the wounds of a crucified Savior, then are we willing to go “all in” and dare to look through that lens…or remain comfortable and numb?

Seek First,

Chris    

Please “Leave a reply” with your perspective on what is truth.  Do you believe “Truth” is more than a concept but God Himself?

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Is Redemption Enough?

…Or is the promise of the Gospel in need of miracles, mystics, a “Word” from God, speaking in tongues, and other lavish mysteries that find some purpose or place in faith really a necessity in advancing the unique promise of hope found in Jesus Christ?   The path to redemption is a choice and a perspective.  Although this promise that thunders from Calvary is freely offered, we must choose to accept it and what it entails.  Despite how today’s leaders continue to slice and dice their distinct flavor of Christian discipleship there can only be one road.  Before placing one foot in front of the other on this dusty path back to Calvary, it is imperative to encounter the man, the innocent victim, hanging at the cross or the focus of both our faith and endurance cannot survive.  Coming face to face with the brutalized body that stood in our place we fall sorrowfully silent in realizing what was necessary to set us free.  Here in the stillness of death, no miracles, no “Word” from God, no speaking in tongues, or other indefinable mysteries are necessary here less the knowledge of our need and the thick air holding the wisdom of God’s unmatched love.  This unexpected door to our redemption is ours to open if we so choose.  If an eternity of joy unspeakable awaits beyond this door of horrific contradiction, then surely before it must rest our fearlessness.   To clarify, it is not by my own heroic ability to press on but knowing that my march towards Calvary’s door will weather any fear of doubt that will surely buffet me.  Yes, the helps that surround me, both seen and unseen, will encourage and strengthen my gait but nothing will turn my gaze from my Jesus.  It is Isaiah (50:7) who says, “ For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.”   Like the innocent victim before me, I will obey my marching orders.  It is the promise of redemption that beckons the soul and empowers the heart.  It is our real need of redemption that must be spoken in gentleness that will forever infuse a new song in discipled hearts for God.

Walk in Truth.

His Peace,

Chris

No Fear

 

Such Bittersweet emotions

Start to wash all over of me.

I stand before my Jesus,

Whose violent death sets me free,

…hangs silently from a tree.

 

Both joy and sorrow collide,

Redefining God’s great Love,

Unable to understand,

This gift I’m unworthy of

Paid in full by Heaven’s Dove.

 

Fearless now I stand in Christ.

My faith encased in concrete,

Freedom bought by shameless price,

I must march to God’s heartbeat.

 

©2011 by Chris Clody 7/6/11

 

What helps you focus on finishing the race

 

 

Why did God become flesh?

Heaven and Earth embraced at the moment of Christ ‘s conception. 

Stop and imagine why God chose to start as a zygote, actually “yoked” to the unusual innocence of a virgin’s gamete to become a fertilized, “sinless” cell:  the earliest stage of an embryo.  God became flesh at THIS point… Why did God start there?  In order to completely redeem every possible nuance of human existence, God had to become fully human while also remaining fully God.  Ranging from miscarriage, birth defects from genetic abnormality or environmental agents, abortion, all the way to the birth of a “healthy” child, nothing has escaped the details of God’s redemptive plan.  My soul joins Mary’s in magnifying the Lord along with her awe in asking, “How can this be?”  Truly, our God is intimate, faithful and patient in guiding humanity to choose through His gift of free will, a path pre-ordained for our ultimate freedom and exile.   It is my constant appreciation for Mary’s choice to humbly accept God’s will for incarnation that sings among the generations that still call her blessed.  Still, it begs the question, why did God choose to become flesh?  Why does He care about our bodies and not simply our soul?  Choosing to quickly connect the dots, we seem to be returning to our original sinless state in Eden.  “Returning”, that is, by God’s orchestration and by the Grace obtained through the merits of Christ won for us at Calvary.  Yet, like the biblical silence describing most of Christ’s life, questions regarding God’s incarnation along with His reason to redeem our bodies continues to bang my contemplation bone.  Maybe, that silence is not really silence at all.  Maybe that answer is blaring at a frequency or dimension that only glorification enables us to hear and understand.  Like seeing an invisible Kingdom at hand through faith, the mysteries of an unsearchable God is better obeyed than sometimes understood.  Simply put – God’s commands are sufficient for our obedience.  I believe, it is the diligent heart for God that recognizes and responds to these commands with joyful obedience.   Despite our tendency towards professing a rather complete understanding of all things biblical, we should learn to rest in the mystery of this strong tower.   Don’t get me wrong, I believe we should study and research all sacred scripture within their context and traditions, however, we are still limited in plumbing the intentions of God and the capacity of the spiritual world surrounding us.  God does, however, intend that all reach for salvation through His son Jesus.   There is joy and blessing in simply believing without a need to touch the pierced hands that will present the hearts Jesus knows to His Father.  If you stumbled upon this blog expecting a clear answer behind the reason for the incarnation, then I’m sorry to disappoint you.  However, the unknowable depths of God beckons the curious to the broken-hearted with a concept of love that never ceases to dull in its exploration.  In fact, God so loved us,  He unexpectedly wrapped the incarnation’s purpose in blood, sweat, bruises and thorns.   With the possible exception of the soul of an innocent victim’s mother pierced in fulfilled prophecy, onlookers did not understand the purpose of God allowing the crucifixion of Christ.  It wasn’t until later when the hem of this mystery rolled back far enough to reveal to the rest of the world that the crucifixion of Christ was not just another Roman execution but a sacrifice yoked eternally to love.

God with us…

Chris

God Became Flesh 

When God became flesh,

to walk amid our sorrows,

He blazed a new path,

To redeem our tomorrows,

if we simply follow…

 

Trust is measured between each footprint,

taken in sufficient light ,

Obedience sets one’s face like flint,

Love takes hold and fear takes flight.

 

When God became flesh,

Silence was His chosen way,

Heaven falls to Earth,

Angels watching bow to pray,

and speaks one Word to say…

 

We could not grasp the depth of our need,

Yet smiled a toothless grin.

Unfathomable that love must bleed

Washing rain upon our sin.

 

And now we wait ’til He comes again.

 

©2011 By Chris Clody 5/31/11

 

 

What amazes you about the Incarnation?

What commands given by Jesus do you find difficult to do or understand their purpose?

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

…yet my skin crawls, my stomach hurts and I weep. 

Faith and reality sway to an unusual dance of melancholic harmonies and mountain top crescendos.  Maybe this invitation to God’s prom answers the underlying question to either awaken or LET GOD SLEEP.    Although the body and soul are salvifically tied and in union, I believe they operate on different levels.  Horatio Spafford, a wealthy Chicago lawyer, was on a boat that was previously planned to join his wife and four young daughters in Europe for a much-needed vacation along with an evangelistic campaign in England.  Midway on his journey, as he stood on board, the captain pointed over towards the sea where a boat carrying his wife and daughters were struck by an iron sailing vessel and sank.  The last correspondence from his wife came from a cable that said,”Saved Alone. What shall I do?”  As surely as his skin crawled, his stomach hurt, and he bitterly wept, Horatio penned the following words in his utter brokeness, “When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul…”  It is clear, at least to me, that God breathes through our gift of faith, especially when our flesh is most vulnerable so that our soul glows with the image of God’s consuming dignity.  Horatio’s gut reaction probably wanted to awake God and  scream for Jesus…but rather he simply let the soft and steady exhale of God breathe the hopeful words, “it is well with my soul.”

            With every prayer request that hits my InBox, the dance continues.  I have met many Horatios who silently pray as they sing lullabies into the young eyes of chemotherapy that bask in the hopeful melodies of their mommy and daddy.  It is the community of Horatios that inhale God’s purpose to tend to the needs of the sick, poor, hungry, and anxious whose communal ring of hope centered by the warmth of Christ encourage the necessary stillness for the broken to unveil their souls radiating in God’s strength.  Battles are won in brokeness as the weary mouth the words, “it is well with my soul.”  This extraordinary gift of faith contains our only answer…whatever the question.  We must remember our next visceral reaction to life’s fragility that overwhelms even our next step and remember Horatio.  Let us mouth those words of hope and look for God’s sufficient light for our next step and then let faith and reality dance once again.     

It is well… His Peace,

Chris

What does it mean to be well with one’s soul?

LET GOD SLEEP

Jesus, asleep on a pillow

…soon to be awakened by terrified disciples watching their tiny boat fill with water from the pounding waves.  Jesus arose and stilled the storm.  Turning to his trembling and ragged crew, He asked, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)  Still sore from the Son of Man’s rebuke, I wonder if the disciples pondered what if they were fearless and faith-filled?   What if one of the disciples drowned if they chose not to awaken Jesus?  What if the one that drowned was Judas?  Something tells me that the death of Jesus was not yet at hand, that he surely would have passed through the midst of this storm untouched like that of an angry crowd that failed to run Him off a cliff.  Fear, faith, free will, and God working all things for good exceeds the reason of this blog and surely any level-headed Christian contemplating divine orchestration.  Compared to the Changeless One, we are a mixed-bag of fear and regrets, faith and confessions, and either sensitive or numb to the Holy Spirit’s jealous nature.  Lately, the weather seems nearly demonic, as floods, tornadoes and wildfires ravage this land we love. To add to our sorrows there are other storms that claim the unborn, break up marriages, cause disease, entice war, and favor the depraved passions of some, which continue to descend upon our culture like insatiable locusts.  Well… should we “awaken” God to fix it all now and just deal with His rebuke later? If Jesus arose and stilled the storm that separates us from God, when do we take action, grow a spiritual spine, and rush to the needs of our brothers and sisters with compassion greater than the weather or the hunger of these persistent locusts?  Although letting an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God “sleep” is an impossibility, we must simply believe that come Hell or high water, God will work all things for good.  We must believe in the awesome capacity of love that still flows from the side of a crucified man who now sits glorified at the Father’s right hand.  Christianity is not about self-preservation, maintaining congregations, or divisive theological one-upmanship – it is about grasping the indestructible hem of compassionate love and accepting Christ’s abundant life… not our abundant life.  Compassionate works are the physical manifestation of another’s prayer.  Christianity finds the joy of obedience to a superior will by drowning their selfish tugs of independence into the vast sea of God’s sufficient grace.  Disciples are mere crumbs, broken and shared, from the living loaf of Christ.  Truly, Jesus is our greatest solve for He alone is life for the world.  Therefore, if we believe Jesus stilled our final storm, then in the spirit of God’s will, let’s roll-up our sleeves and help the nearest one in need and let God “sleep.”  

A little faith, like a mustard seed, has the potential to grow a long way.

His Peace,

Chris

Fear and Faith

 

He arose and stilled,

Our every storm.

Awakened from sleep,

Calming fears that swarm.

When will faith be chosen instead of fear?

When will the sprouts from mustard seeds appear?

What fear awakens,

Faith leaves undisturbed.

Faith crosses the street,

Fear clings to the curb.

Confident – assured,

We live for Our King.

For life is endured,

when death has no sting.

 

©2011 by Chris Clody 4/28/11