Lifting The Wedding Veil

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So many questions arise from my morning rosary, particularly as I contemplate the Lord’s Passion and resurrection. These ‘questions’ are born from a personal prayer to help me see something new and beautiful as I pray.

Questions like:

What does it mean to lift and carry our cross?
What does it really mean to see through the glass fully?
Is the event at Mt. Sinai, Moses veiled face, the tearing of the veil before the Holy of Holies, , the Bride of Christ and ultimate wedding feast find cohesiveness and fulfillment in the New Testament writings?
Finally, is fearlessness attainable?

Certainly, those four questions provide enough awe and wonder for just a simple man with a rosary walking his little dogs before dawn! What the Spirit so generously avails to the seeker surely emboldens the fruitfulness of prayer.

All those questions gel together through what I can only perceive through one woman’s perspective; Mary, the mother of the Christ of G-d. A mother, a favored Jewess, who held so many things within hear humility that can be gleaned through the same glint of a soldier’s sword that pierced the heart of her crucified Jesus. Mary well knew the first five books and the authority and Laws of Moses he revealed etched upon stones by the finger of G-d. For it was atop Mt. Sinai that the Glory of G-d even transfigured Moses to glimmer so brightly that He veiled his face upon returning to proclaim the physical evidence of the Divine. Yet even the splendor of this moment, as St. Paul contends, is of no splendor at all when compared to the Incarnation of God as man. It is beyond our understanding of fulfillment or climax of the merging covenants, that we can only chance a glimpse towards this unfathomable wonder at the weakness inherited by Jesus and dare the touch the tassels of the eternal Christ. Moses hid his glow behind a veil, like the Holy of Holies, leaving the Jews with a seeking heart. Yet the Jewish culture of living the life of Torah who could not recognize this Messiah, continued with a spirit of blindness, incessant debate, and ever hesitant to lift the veil of Moses. The Transfiguration of Christ, illuminated the hearts of the three apostles yet not their faces as they descended from that mountain. In the genius of the Father, and the eventual tearing of the veil following the crucified Ransom’s giving up His Ghost upon Calvary, forever changed the perspective of Grace written upon flesh not stones. Faith in the resurrected Christ, a disciple’s extended baptism, is a foreshadow of the Christ lifting the veil of His forgiven bride. Forgiveness is analogous to the Father reaching down to mercifully scoop up those who bankrupted their will for a Heavenly culture.

So how does that command to those who seek to follow in the footsteps leading to Calvary after picking up their own cross transform us into something new? The slow transformation of dying daily, moment by moment in constant prayer to self-important priorities is strengthened by a gift of faith through grace. Hope is infused immediately when the circumcised heart reveals the Laws of G-d’s love. As stony hearts incarnate by honoring Christ’s teachings, His immaculate Torah, through a fearless love of G-d through neighbor. Are we not saved as a community that is incorporated into a mystical Bride? To the Jews, the life of Torah was a ‘going out’ and ‘returning’ in hopes of expanding not simply a community but also the faithful’s very mind, heart, strength, and soul. When dignity is offered without judgment to those in distress, the dark glass becomes less dim. The slow transformation of the washing through synagogue readings slowly made this glass more translucent, leaving only hope to wonder what illumination exists behind the vision of G-d’s clear view of them. The glow behind the veil awaits our faith in believing that Christ has lifted this veil to finally kiss the waiting cheek of His Chosen Bride. Everything Christ has done was a contradiction to our reasoning. Everything. The veil does not hide the Trinity from the onlooker, but hides the Temple restored by Mercy within the faithful. Do you now see that judgment of another is futile when the dim glass of judgment is meant for our very self-introspection? Is this not why we must simply be still and simply ‘know’ G-d? Faith is a fearless and reckless love that attracts every believer’s yearning hope gazing within this vast love. Necessity of weapons are the fruits of the fearful who fail to comprehend the orchestration of Divine Grace is just insufficient. Soon, when every jot and title of Torah is fulfilled, when weapons are smelted into plows and garden tools, when every enemy of fearless love is put asunder as footstools for a Rightful King, our veil will be lifted, our face dried of tears will be kissed, and a servant’s seat will await those hungry to finally feast on G-d’s Love alone.

Yes… there will be tribulation now and more in our futures, by take heart, be of good cheer, and lift your burden made lighter by faith, hope, and love.

nyfireman

Become Love,
Chris

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To Hate Evil

I believe this is our greatest struggle, especially returning evil with good. I was moved by the following video:

I hoping against all hope that our culture is evolving towards redefining this word tolerance. As mentioned in this short clip, “Tolerance is a cold, dead term…even dismissive.” The video concludes that this ‘problem’ and resolution begins with each of us.
How does change for a better society happen? Leadership. Society needs brave voices both politically and spiritually. Faith promotes the most unlikely solution to this problem that seems to kick against the goads. Found within our human history, an enticing contradiction collided with our hearts and mind. From the revelation at Sinai to its climatic and mysterious fulfillment in an itinerant man, in a G-d, named Jesus. This single and profound thread of repaying evil with good seems to have no place to lay its weary head. Whether upon the Palestinian-Israeli border, Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, or within the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort.Jason-Aldean-fans-flee-the-scene-after-Mandalay-Bay-shooting-in-Las-Vegas-670x454 What good can be considered tribute towards carnage in the hearts imprisoned by faith? Seriously, what would Jesus do? What could we do when killers have committed suicide? How in hell can parents explain this to kids fully informed and influenced by the rabid and biased social media? How can even the highest platform of leadership, the president of the United States, who is disregarded, discounted as ’45’, and devalued as a person by half the country as without virtue or character, inspire leadership? Where do our hearts and America turn from here?

Restrict guns or ‘weapons of war’? Maybe…but that argument, despite America’s heritage and fascination with guns, holds both little promise and very little water.
Promote Conceal and Carry? Maybe…but carrying a gun changes the human psyche for it weighs upon the soul to employ its use. Remember when you first learned to do the Heimlich maneuver or CPR how you felt somehow responsible to save a life in need? Imagine the burden of taking a life – something that is repulsive to our souls. Could one with proper training and attitude help in taking down a shooter at Orlando or Las Vegas, surely that possibility exists however slim. I can only assume adding more fire to the flames of gunplay would only add to the chaos adding only to the victim count as people run in all directions. I would hope our first reaction focused on attending to the wounded and dying.

To be clear, I don’t believe in passivism but cling to a nonviolent perspective; there’s a difference.

Maybe the answer lies unexpectedly between the Palestinian-Israeli culture. It is bred within both cultures to defend what is believed rightfully theirs. From Kindergarten, especially Palestine, the formation of a child’s will is forced to hate. Both sides kill each other without hesitation over a narrow strip of land. I honestly cannot fathom the sadness and regret if the a repentant conscious was awakened to the dignity inherent within both cultures. Unfortunately the violent legacy continues in throwing rocks, spewing lead,  and launching mortars as the genetics of hate and intolerance dictate.

Dare we see the other side of the coin with hope? This is what best depicts the contradiction found hidden in Jesus. First and foremost, is to trust that love has no equal. None. Prayer is also the flipside of distrust. Prayer is a power we cannot understand just like forgiveness. The combination of faith, hope, and love is irresistible to both the human psyche and heart. To trust this power that we cannot feel is the gift patiently waiting to be unveiled within us all. Although we may not understand its practicality, love that is experienced can embrace it. If we just submit to the courage to embrace love then we can begin to redefine tolerance from its cold, dead, dismissive state.

Life, in all forms, is precious. It helps me imagine that I would not exist is G-d stopped hoping for my priorities to return to His higher will. Consider how patient, hopeful, and compassionate this same perspective of Christ who promises to unveil this newness in each and everyone of us when we seek this higher will.

So America is racing towards or running from a new definition of tolerance. We are all patiently given time to reflect or distrust the possibilities of adopting this culture of Heaven.

Remember, the greatest authority we are given is forgiveness not slander, a rock, a mortar, a bullet, or worse. America was solely founded in the hope and trust that our forefathers seeded in community. Community can only come about when we love G-d through our neighbor.

I’m a reminded of the words of Dorothy Day:
We love G-d as much as we love those we love least.

Maybe… that’s how we should redefine tolerance.
Just maybe….that’s how would should also hate evil.

Become new.
Become change.
Become love.

Peace,
Chris

Just One Question?

I find no greater peace than walking my dogs before the dawn and praying the Rosary. Today, as I entered into the imagery of Jesus carrying his cross, I was further silenced in the symbolism of the cross and its shape of a “t“. As I surrendered to the last mystery of his crucifixion, a horror and beauty only G-d could hold, I was given this question:
Was Jesus nailed to :
theology
or
the poor,
*  they who mourn,
*  the meek,
*  they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
*  the merciful,
*  the pure of heart,
*  the peacemakers,
*  they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness?

Shouldn’t each plight of the latter be considered?
Who are these people? …before you answer that consider the following quote:

“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”
– Dorothy Day

 

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Become Peace,

Chris

Torrent of G-d

Heart shaped splash

O’ Faith,
Glistening in liquidity,
Iridescent mists covering the soul,
To flooding generations of hearts,
Moving compassion in fits and starts,
Legacies of broken rainbows,
Coloring forgotten moments,
Patiently watched by He who sows.
O’ Faith,
Gratitude knows no concessions,
To a heart that overflows,
No, I will not hold you Faith,
Rather watch you pass through,
Grace erodes a wider channel,
Indescribable joy ensues,
Feet dance to a higher will,
Hands quickened with compassion,
Brimming from holes love only fills.
O Faith,
Where would I be without you?

By Chris Clody
6/26/2017

Christian Porn…

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If we dared to dip more of our big toe into the cool, clear waters of G-d’s love we may never experience the depth of transformation our Savior can offer.  Through out my neighborhood, I’m encouraged yet pensive by seeing the little “You Matter” signs advertising a local big, box church.  Certainly the love of G-d for every Image-bearer is inexhaustible.  This type of keen marketing has led to building multiple sites with many satisfied attendees.  Yet bad theology is no different from self-serving pornography objectifying the mission of Christ without chancing the intimacy of experiencing His relationship with the marginalized. The blood sacrifice hyped from the popular mainstream pulpits or stages, has left nothing for the hearer to do but be joyful and grateful.  Joy and gratitude are wonderful psychological building blocks for a healthy mind.  Both add a sense of patience and positivity to a friendly perspective. Was obtaining a state of joy and gratitude the reason for sending a Savior?

Is there more than “You Matter”?

What does it mean to be a disciple? What does G-d really envision for our lives? What really is the “purpose driven” life? Is scripture more than an inspirational tool that ingratiates a selfish sense of self-piety wrapped in the white-washed sheets of self worth and gratitude? …but “You Matter”?

Instead of the false cloaks of “spiritual awareness” and vanity of “gifts”, what if we wrapped ourselves in what we profess as sin?  What if we became that sin you find worthy for the heat of Hell and pleaded for forgiveness? Seriously…”You Matter”!

Good theology finds true freedom to fearlessly protest the oppression of any Image-bearer of G-d. Pick your favorite hatred or prejudice, button-up, and become one with those you despise.  Plead for their forgiveness even when they do not understand. Becoming at-one with atonement theory allows the curious disciple to plumb the depth of the final plea from a crucified Messiah; “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”

If your religion has an obsession with purity codes or vices that justify a Hell for the sinners they envy… run.

If only joy and gratitude from hearing such a “wonderful message” fill your Sundays…run.

If your hear a message that ‘cuts to the heart’… stay.

Unless we are moved to spew more than a “good word“, we will only cool the big toe of our curiosity.  We must realize John 3:16 builds the mind and soul towards the new freedom without fear – even that of persecution or death. Unless we become wrapped in our neighbor’s oppression we will cheat ourselves of ever knowing a G-d willing to bleed for us! Otherwise the cross is just a murderous, Roman tool of fear void of any meaning of our Father’s scandalous love for the Image we bear.

Its not about you. Fearlessness Matters.

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.
In the world you face persecution.
But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
John 16:33
(NRSV)

Forty days to Freedom

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Actually, it wasn’t forty days at all but a need to know why this number is so significant to that little tribe of Jewish nomads who introduced our world to the One True G-d. I encourage you to spend forty minutes of investigation in exploring the concepts of transition and renewal bound to this number. Before long, you may find yourself driven into that wilderness with Jesus who thwarts temptation with the words from the fifth book of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy. My friend and guide has further illumined David’s confrontation with Goliath, this malevolent giant surrounded by 6’s (6 cubits high, 6 weapons, and 60 shekels heavier wearing his snakelike, scaly  armor). This very beast of creation who boasted of capturing the Ark of the Covenant and brought it to the temple of Dragon stood and taunted the Israelites during their morning and evening prayers. Yet it was out in this wilderness that David defeats Goliath of Gath (one of five city states of the Philistines) with but a sling and five stones drawn from a brook. Using the smoothest stone, let’s guess and call it the fifth stone, he kills this enormous Philistine by hitting him where we all must keep the Torah, the five books of God’s wisdom.

I’ll let the numbers 5, 666, and 40 stretch your contemplation but let’s not do that on an empty stomach. How about enjoying the five fruits in honor of the Jewish holiday of Tu BiShvat seder.  Here we enjoy fruits in the following order: olives, figs, grapes, dates, and pomegranates. When you eat an olive, it’s bitter and you spit the pit out right away. You’ll then you eat the sweet fig and maybe roll that pit around in your mouth for a little longer. The grapes are sweet yet the seeds are so small.  Sometimes you spit these crunchy little seeds out, swallow them, or get wedged between teeth. However, when you eat a date, the seeds cannot be separated from the fruit and eaten as a whole. Finally, the epitome (sorry couldn’t resist!) of fruits, is the pomegranate, that tempting “apple” of Eden, in which the seed is actually the fruit! This transition from an unwanted pit to actual fruit encourages our transition from Genesis to Deuteronomy (and hopefully the fruits of our labor).

Just a note regarding another seder, the Passover (Pesach), which encourages young and old alike to retell Exodus as if they were there in the dust and commotion. One of the most emphasized themes of this seder is Freedom. In fact one of the four names of Passover is Hag ha-Herut (The Feast of Freedom).

In the end, we are given a chance at faith, to be pushed, driven, tested, and transformed into a renewed retelling of our life in G-d. We begin as rough rocks allowing the water of the Word to wash over us, rounding sharp edges to become that smooth stone hopefully chosen by a (soon to be) King. We must run thirsty into the desert and face our own wilderness and realize our only battle is using the words Jesus himself chose from the living stream of Torah. This Jew, named Jesus, who came “…only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24), also claimed to be the fulfillment of Torah. Like the seeds of a date, Jesus cannot be separated from Torah, nor should Christianity not see Torah as a transformative and living gift from G-d. Just as passionately as Jesus wanted to gather the Jews as a hen to her chicks, so must Christianity embrace the Torah beyond its shallow understanding and truly bring a culminating awareness to what the Gospel writers are hoping to convey. Christianity exegetes the seeds from dates without realizing their integral part of the flesh.

Remember, we all must be transformed in Christ. Truly every seed must die, slowly transform, offering unexpected new life, freedom, and flesh for the world. Now consider the seed of a pomegranate…consider true freedom.

Shalom,
Chris

First Breath

The breath of God, that very one that transformed the DNA of clay into life, is not a quantity to behold but an extension of G_d to partake. Because of love – life and liberty was given. Bodies formed from the dry ground drew its first breath of life and liberty and it was good in the eyes of its Giver. The soul, eternal in every one of us, glides into us upon this glorious stream exhaled from Love Itself. Divine omniscience cannot be grasped by our reason yet the heart feels its gentle pull. Our souls are simple lodestones, always pointing towards a better will. G_d’s will is always mindful and ever-present when love becomes our priority. If we can think of the breath within us as wings of a mother hen, then the words of Jesus ignite our silent epiphany when He says, “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37 NIV)
So consider the choices before us today.

nyfireman

Let us allow love to straighten our path while it gathers us back to the Breath that gave us a choice to give liberty to another.

The Breath He Giveth

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Miracle of miracles,
Clay becomes new life.
Breath of G_d,
Breath of wonder,
Exhaled in Paradise.
Eyes formed from borrowed ground,
Looks heavenward;
Soul of G_d,
Soul to ponder,
Stretching ever upward.
Vanity of vanities,
Vision growing dim,
Love of G_d,
Love of neighbor,
Blinded by selfish sin.
Miracles of Miracles,
A virgin bears G_d’s son,
G_d is born,
G_d is given,
A chance to see has begun.

To where can I run?
This G_d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;
This G_d of the living,
This Messiah; thee Anointed One.
To where can I hide?
My soul unravels, ravaged; left undone,
Once blind but now I see,
My Lord and my God – my Holy One.

by Chris Clody
12/14/16