Nothing Ever Dies.

sunrise

Nothing ever truly dies…ever.
Eventually, our earth suits fail. Reality’s lottery that cuts short time together with loved ones is devastating. For the eyes dim to what awaits beyond the precipice of our mortality gains my greatest of sorrows. Even in the waning moments before the heart fails, the shadow of grief gleans a silver-lining to see past unbelief, knowledge, and distractions. The veil thins as our breathing becomes shallow and labored allowing a new transparency to an unknown hope.
One must wonder while simultaneously galled at the factors that keep hope away from a precious life.  If nothing ever dies and Christ freely offers Himself as ‘life itself’, then what part of Pascal’s gamble (at the least) keeps His light from drawing the curious mind like a moth to a light? Jesus allowed the Gospel free reign to spread to the four corners of the world. Surely He knew that the recipients of this ‘Good News’ would domesticate what should be wild for the sake of building an empire. However, all empires are built upon sifting sand. Only Kingdoms are built upon solid rock. Despite the unsavory history of dolling out salvation, the Savior sent His Spirit to continue what Jesus began allowing hope to transcend what was never meant to be imprisoned.
Nothing, especially hope, ever dies. Nevertheless, the patience exhibited by the Creator to spoon-feed His joy endures even now. Watching His baby grow into the awareness of His love, regardless of wobbly first steps, falls, and tantrums. Yet Torah found some rich soil to dive deep down and drink and feed a healthy shoot. The discussions allowed plenty of shade for the best attempts to define the ever-present light that warmed the outside of their broadening leaves. When time came for sending an obedient and compassionate Messiah, He sent His only Son, Jesus. Obedient even unto death to fulfill the immeasurable concept of a Creator’s love.
Thankfully, power, hatred, ignorance, and inequality do die. Mortality makes short work of any man who is convinced he is more than what he was meant to be. Mortality quiets every rogue and savage heart to frightened children shivering in the dark. The dark they face is their greatest regret when eternity makes them aware of the True Light that could warm their goosebumps into a soft, golden glow while chasing away the cold and damp darkness stiffening their joints. Eternity offers no escape for the prideful to review their tragic missteps along a path seen through humble and hopeful eyes.
The food, the Bread of God, is an irresistible will we are given to digest. With the hope of Christ aflame within, the sorrow, the mourning, the oppressed, and marginalized is transformed within the white-hot, crucible of True Love. The dross rises, leaving behind what is amazing and beautiful. This freedom cannot die for it is fearless. The spoon-feeding through the power of man, reduces a chance to savor the viaticum. Instead, stagnant traditions are ritualized, as if frozen in fear unwilling to release the string holding a kite from rising. Hesitant pastors offer milk to a babe instead of meat for discipleship. Nevertheless, the Creator loves and pours mercy, the very gift of a Father’s soul, to especially those who need it most. Some crawl and never learn to walk. Some begin to walk and never run. Some simply fly. Each servant is offered equality of God’s treasury. Love will draw even the slowest movements towards hope with abundant reward.
You see we cannot truly die because God’s love holds us all.
Move towards what cannot be resisted.
Christ, by our light.

LOST IN THE FOG OF GRACE

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Grace, the reception of unmerited favor, has derailed Western Christianity not because of its innate capacity but because through misinterpretation. The favor and beauty of unmerited mercy does indeed have a cost. It is not given merely for lip service when juicing regretful memories but in our willingness to seek Christ while offering to also carry His cross through the eyes of empathy and compassion. The reason the pure of heart sees G_d is because they have no hesitation, no filter, no willingness to see other than Christ in the heart of another’s need. The Kingdom at Hand is glimpsed by those who strive to see the purity through radical charity. Every knee bows alongside the downtrodden, the orphan, the widow, the refugee, the hungry, the naked, the lonely, and forgotten to bring friendship alongside to those who need it most. The corporate business aspects of Christianity refuses to bow that knee. From the burning bush to the ascension, Christ did not come to establish a corporation built on the ten percent of union fees. The crucifixion came to as warning signs posted atop Calvary and the Resurrection as a direction towards mercy. Unfortunately, Heaven’s signposts is also surrounded by a dense fog of misinterpretation. True Christian actions is assaulted by hateful defense mechanism built by power and greed. Why? Because the “Good News” is true liberation for ANY bearing the weight of oppression. The distractions of escapism incorporated into misunderstood grace is exemplified by the lie of the Rapture, continues to find hungry ears in the savvy consumerism of Western culture. For those to hardened for a kenotic journey towards purity of heart illuminated by Torah and gently taught on the Sermon of the Mount, they will be offered unmerited favor through the lifting of their cross.
Blood will still drip from the hands of preachers and ears of their believers during judgment of their willingness to partake in saving mercy. Every soul will be judged. There will be no free pass via “Christ the Spaceman” sucking up those who raised only their hands and voices in some emotional church service. Transparency and corruption, along with all evil doing will have no place on Earth’s New Heaven. YHWH is love as is the purity of His mercy and simplicity of His divine faithfulness.
Christianity has sold its soul to political recognition and ephemeral gain. Truly, if Christ was the Lord of our life then discussions and actions would gather humble and candid expressions of concern instead of hateful vitriol and polarization. When will the soul famished for divine mercy be granted a seat at the table of Christ’s abundance? When will transparency in the corporate structures of religion and politics offer a clear view of a waiting bride walking through the Kingdom’s Garden?

How long Lord? How much longer do we wait?

His Peace,
Chris

Wonder-Fall!

If we ponder the mother of wisdom, we are led to the nursery of wonder. Epiphanies burst with the fire of soul-searching awe lit by nature’s cauldron of multicolored dimensions. Why is the heart stilled and breath stolen in its quiet majesty? Is there a secret condescension of grace the reorients and guards our trampled humility?  We train our eyes inwards and downcast convinced we know the way.  Yet we are called by an ‘other’.  The human experience is undeniably but gently pulled by heart and soul. Both easily victimized by the magnetism of some familiar love that’sets both distant and near; both ancient and ever-present. To where shall we run? Nowhere. Humanity makes great strides to understand the physical laws that hold true to form and function governing our microscopic to macroscopic worlds.  Still every beautiful mind committed to study either th social of scienctific backbones of our reality are still left incomplete and struglling to negotiate the terms of our full purpose and evolution.  Whether perceptible or not, our restless condition inspires some to either press on or desperately seek a temporary anesthetic.  With each breaking of dawn’s reddish rays that light our curiosity we choose to answer the pangs of wonder as we sip our morning coffee.  Everyday many of us turn on our brains to accept the day’s onslaught of data in an attempt to assemble knowledge. Knowledge is good and offers a few the power and confidence to risk a new approach.  Like an athlete in need of a coach, knowledge begs to be mentored by wisdom. If we dare to follow the prompts of wonder, I believe we not only make space for wisdom but even the engine that drives our evolution; love.  There is no greater force than love.  It has no equal. It does not negotiate.  Love has no regret or need of explanation.  Love is however controlled by an inherent will to accept it like the crisp inhale of fall air.  I wonder if humanity will fully choose to accept that the reality of everything experienced by our five senses is simply a means and that love is truly the way.

Just wondering…

Peace,

Chris

A box for God

Gift

I wrap my prejudice,
In a box,
With skin that crawls,
From a heart unlocked.
I can see my Savior now,
Facebook to face,
Bearing His wounds,
Yearning for my embrace.
Christ no longer hidden,
From my view,
For His presence,
Becomes what I do.
Moments become sacred,
Between two,
Time slips away,
As He makes all things new.

By Chris Clody
8/25/16

Learning to play

violin

Your Stradivarius

Yes, I will carry your Name,
And bear Your wounds deep within.
Never will I be ashamed,
Finding Life, we lose to win,
Grace girds weakness to crush sin.
Hidden are bruises and cuts,
Visible by Your light within,
A shining that’s right and just,
Your provision is… enough.
I see Your love-not my sin,
I lift this cross in You trust,
Like a priceless violin,
Horsehair pulls sounds sweetly hushed,
My cross becomes Your Stradivarius.

Yes, I will carry your Name

By Chris Clody
6/4/17

Still We Suck

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Maybe it’s the early morning walks in the bitter cold with a mini-schnauzer who I swear was born to enjoy the Iditarod. By the way, talk about trust between the men and (usually winning) woman and their dogs. Maybe it’s that very trust that helps us understand what love is really all about. And yes…in a snuggly sort of way, I love my hyper, little Mia!

Oh yeah, this sucking thingy… Lent is more and more becoming less of a hardship or checking the new charity box endurance challenge and more of a jump into the abyss of myself. Let me explain. Consider ourselves born facing the whirling of all space and time, dimming as it enters a hole into our chest. The inhalation of possibilities is euphoric to our egos (especially those born with larger holes).

We all simply suck.

Yet, the ingenious vision of Lent, despite its common malpractice, offers a chance to turn. This incredible chance is preceded by first realizing why and how we suck. Why were we created to seemingly receive astronomic quantities of created awe surrounding the churning, dark, mysterious density hurling towards the center of ourselves. The moment of Lent’s true purpose is ‘given’ when we realize that what comes in must come out! Lent explodes in life and cosmic abundance, this moment of hysterical release while witnessing the sheer omnipotence directed as purpose and power flowing through us. God created us to turn on trusting volition to experience what was already happening behind us. My brothers-in-arms-and-prayer witnessing the outside of ourselves exploding in this whirling dervish of inconceivable joy unite in these moments of awe and humility. The magnificence hiding behind a humble turn! Just even a passing glimpse levels the Everest of hardened hearts.

So I beg, truly, break your eye-rolling ‘fast’ from chocolate, chips, beer, coffee, sex, porn, dressing up as a plushie…whatever that holds no inertia to turn and leap from that huge sucking sound… and realize the omnipotence of transformational love.

The beauty of Lent is learning to turn towards love. In other words, we are attempting to ‘fast’-forward our understanding why we were all meant to become ‘Easter people’. (Peeps? – I’ll let that go.)

Ultimately we’ll come to allow through us a love that is patient, kind, not envious nor braggadocios. Love that isn’t rude, selfish, or easily angered or resentful. Love that rejoices in truth not injustice. A profound love with a capacity to bear all things, believe all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Quite simply – a love that never ends (happily paraphrased from our most popular wedding vows – 1 Cor 13:4-8).

Look, we ALL suck and will continue to suck but it’s worth turning around to see the outcome of Grace. (For the contemplatives out there consider replacing Love with God’s charity towards us.)

Sidebar: Funny how Lent coincides with New Year’s resolutions and political primaries. Try to remember love is patient and bears all things (Yep, even offenses!).

“Most of us were taught that God
would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so
that you can change. It is the inherent experience of love that
becomes the engine of change.”
–Richard Rohr

Be brave and face the awaiting transformation of your soul and heart.
Become that little engine of change that said it could.

His,
Chris

The Boss.

Surely man must be exposed to the light of Grace gradually, as if catching a slicing glint off distant metal from a passing reflection of the sun. We have been illumined by the knowledge that we see through the glass or possibly into the mirror darkly, while somehow knowing innately therein radiates the face of God; more appropriately – G_d. I imagine the darkening of our vision is both a blessing protecting our mortal fragility and also a mountain of love to be encouraged up. I believe, dare I say ‘know’ (umm… sorta), that holy ground awaits our tired feet atop its pinnacle. Although I have not reached the mountain provided for me, this very cross given for my betterment, my very own passion making up what Christ lacked in His perfect sacrifice, I was allowed to observe one leave his final footprints. The darkened mind comfortably rejecting the light of all men, is dazzled more by the mere foolishness of this opiate of the masses following a narrow path. The very hate of Christ is narrowly matched by the world’s rejection of humility. A thick skin does well in a capitalistic food chain whereas humility thins the skin. Maybe humility is that metaphor of glass allowing grace to glow through our shameless translucence. Despite my continuous battle to surrender layers of my vanity, greed, and pride, I was once again encouraged by introduction to both the gifts of purity and long-suffering. This holiness indwelling within a young boy who patiently bore the wounds of brain cancer, chemotherapy, and experimental procedures for five years beckoned a growing community of unstoppable prayer, burgeoning faith, and unrelenting hope. The Friday before the passion of Jack surrendered his final, shallow breath, I was allowed to sit with Jack atop his mountain. This was truly a holy place, one of peace unlike no other. The veil was thinner at this altitude while I gently rested my hand on his foot as I sat and prayed. I have watched seemingly thousands of my daughter’s soccer games, hundreds of my son’s basketball competitions, yet I have never once thought what it would be like to witness angels in anticipation. One day, when you see the beautiful blues of his glorification, I’ll let Jack tell you who else was in the room. This peace, was a reality that communed with my soul overwhelming any thought or mantra of prayer with awe and wonder. Innocence, Jack’s purity, was cleansing torrent to my rabid and restless thoughts. Although grief lingered, it paled in comparison to victory. Jack’s young and abundantly blessed parents gracefully surrendered to this bejeweled yoke of coming grief and triumph. As I prayed, the thought of St. Francis and how he led us to self-discovery as channels of peace. There, breathing in the final throes of his permitted passion, the power of the very promise of Christ, the little foot I held was not connected to a channel anymore but a floodgate of God’s capacity. I tremble more now since I was simply awestruck then. If you ever heard of the “Little Way”, then it would lift your hearts to know that Jack’s little way of purity and longsuffering to light a small town in Ohio with a peace that transcends its definition.

What started with a PrayForJack bumper sticker now begins with ‘little signs’ that JackPraysForUs.

To the clear, bright eyes that pulled empathy from my heart.
To a beautiful boy I could see as my son.
To the boy that stopped our breathing by calming his
parents with the words, “Trust in Jesus.”
To my ’little’ brother and mentor.
To The Boss
To Jack Fineske.

jack fineske

His Peace,

Chris

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/toledoblade/obituary.aspx?n=jackson-fineske&pid=176001013