Vigil of Hope

For now, Saturday, the flickering candle is our timepiece.  Today we see and hear nothing but the silence intended for the prayerful. From 3 pm yesterday till now, the word ‘forsaken’ has gathered great momentum and space within our minds.  We are left bracing ourselves unaware tomorrow trades joy for our ashes.  Emmanuel!

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Son of Man

Crowned and striped,
For all to see,
Son of God,
Nailed to a tree,
Sweet Jesus have mercy on me.

A new wine,
Pours from His wounds,
Giving His all,
Embracing doom,
His last exhale becomes perfume.

He’s Taken down,
His body wrapped,
Our God is dead,
Becomes a fact.
Sweet Jesus dies for what I lack.

Wait! Something new,
A barren tomb,
He has risen!
Returning soon,
Seen as Conqueror or Bridegroom.

Friend and brother,
Prophet, Priest, and King,
Mediator,
Heir of all things,
Emmanuel!
Deliverer,
The Word of God,
The Good Shepherd.
Light of the World,
The Prince of Peace,
Help me forgive,
Those I love the least.
Sweet Jesus, have mercy on me!

By Chris Clody
4/15/17

Listen Up…

eyes-of-god

Listen To My Son

Listen to My Son,
In Him I Am well pleased,
He is My Word made flesh,
Whose whisper calms the sea,
Whose name when mentioned heals,
and from which Satan flees.
My glory shines within his eyes,
Casting angels to their knees.
He is The Resurrection,
A Saving Prince of Peace,
He is your Good Shepherd,
Sacrificed for his sheep,
He is The Bread of God,
You must eat to increase,
He is Aleph v’Tav,
Who makes the unborn leap,
Your Prophet, Priest, and King,
For whom all sinners weep.
The firstborn of the dead,
Returning as a thief,
Be watchful and listen,
And pray before you sleep.

Listen to My Son,
In Him I AM well pleased.

By Chris Clody
4/1/17

The Smell Of Fear

 

tumblr_n5mvwy56Ba1rrecxqo3_250.gifAaaaahhhh… such a sweet smell to the King of the Orcs, Azog the Defiler. Fear.  It is the the unholy sacrifice of our belief in the Lord who commands us not to fear.  When we bow to fear we choose enslavement.  Why do we choose to abandon our noble hope and faith just to settle for despair, doubt, and a path well-traveled?  In abject contrast to satisfying fragrance to a demagogue  of fear, like Azog, is the trusting prayers that waft up basting the Heavens with a fearless fragrance – irresistible to the One who makes all things new.  My thoughts today are really a request to engage your help to encourage these burdened under-shepherds of the cloth to remember those who previously carried this torch of the Gospel to their doorstep without regret or fear.  Presently, the message of the Gospel is  being crowded out by what people want and not so much what they need. Ironically, the “Good News” carries quite a shadow of hate.  If there is a timelessness to human culture it presides through the intoxicating effects of people praise.  Hence the success of Hollywood and even our latest president-elect. However, when Jesus mentioned He and G-d were one, well… yeah, a whole lot of that stuff hit the fan. As the fan coughs to a sputtering stop, we quickly surmise the cost of spreading this type of “good news.”  If this God-man, Christ wasn’t necessary then the Gospel would be a no-brainer and an absolute joy to contemplate every minute of the day. It would be like….incessant prayer. Unfortunately, the Father sent His only begotten to complete His will, His Torah for His chosen, who was unfortunately welcomed eventually by crucifixion.  Don’t be fooled that Christianity has no cost.  It actually costs as much as someone love without fear of any consequence.  No regrets.

Nevertheless, my soul feels a disturbing dread and an unwillingness of these priests and pastors to behave in the freedom of fearlessness.  I covet your prayers to lift those truly called to rise up. I am also praying that those seeking a comfortable career in the non-profit, business sector of motivational speaking to please step down.  Although the cost is everything to walk the path of discipleship, the yoke is light when inspired by love. For those who have found their niche in gospel entertainment there is a price to be paid; a wrath beyond our imaginations.  We must be active and gently encourage both those stepping up and stepping down through face to face conversation.  We must lovingly convince those called to teach please to remember scripture is a portion of God’s will to manifest in our reality. If fear is an option then the pulpit is not.

For the Catholic priests:  Passionately ordained to consecrate the paschal sacrifice, the summit of their sacramental Everest, do you truly believe in the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine? Is there a wedge of fear that separates you from entering into this intimate Trinity completely naked?  Would there be any hesitation from protecting the very sheep you have been called to feed? When Christ inquires,”Do you love Me?” is your answer a fearless ‘yes’ to protect the sheep you see on Sunday.

For Pastors: Your passion for social justice finds the Christ in the oppressed and marginalized.  Have you forgotten the needful protest of your Protestant heritage? Would you seek out that one lost sheep?

Last year, 2016, was a year of silence.

When the humiliating parade of misogynistic commercials filled the ears of children, I stared at my Rosary in disbelief. I wept at the utter desolation at how her Son must have felt about those raising His body in consecration.  Surely her adoring son yells, “Flesh of my flesh!” –  yet somehow He is not surprised.  After all we’re humans . Right?  You allow yourself to be called ‘Father.”  I am a father to a daughter and a husband to a wife, both temples Christ is patiently rebuilding while their walls are vandalized in vitriol. What about the pedophilia scandal and its complete absence from every pulpit? What ‘Father” on this beautifully , blue orb would remain silent? Why has fear woven a cloak of complicity and secrecy of hiding predators feasting on innocent children? Pastors, what about your bride’s reaction as you talked quietly at night.  Furthermore, how could one not be consumed with zeal to protect one’s very spouse while trying to communicate the mysterious vision of a “Bride” for Christ?  If misogyny is met with silence then  what to make of the teaching on the mount where name calling is equal to murder? Why then was your voice not being raised outside of your safe, holy bubble on Sunday?  Do you hear now the words begged Simon; “Do you love  Me?”  Do you then feed your sheep by example or the slop of “mere Christianity?”

Let us pray to support our priests and pastors during these difficult times and gently encourage them to discern their meaning and application of leadership along with unhesitating protection of the flock.

 

His Peace,

Chris.

A Baby. A Manger. Our Continued Stupidity.

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Left to deliver humanity’s solution, a unwed, fourteen year old Miriam pushes and strains to relieve the weight of her conscience. A small fire dances off her furrowed brow as the crisp, shriek of an infant cuts the stench of sleeping animals. Quickly she wraps little, desperate cries in rags before pressing quivering lips to her breast to suck.  Yet something is not normal as Miram’s wide, brown eyes capture the glow of a star stream.  The night sky is aflight with wings, singing, and… Angels! Yes!! Angels!!! Armies of choirs and music thicken the air that tremble her bones as her newborn warms and feeds as one again with her.

In five days, those pushed to the margins will still to just survive by whatever strips of life they can grab in hope of adding some normalcy to a life far removed from you and I. Oppression is the very hand that pushes the “great unwashed” to the half-lit caves of society.  The sub-existence of a life truly loved by neighbor scrapes by in both the physical and mental realms of forced martyrdom. Yes, in five shopping days churches will gorge on unworthy amounts of praise and monies by some that darken their doors but twice a year. Money for a priest’s three-bedroom house, or a ridiculous addition to the a McMansion of the likes of Joel Osteen, or bonuses for the talented but truly ‘passionate’ motivational ring leaders providing amid streaming confetti-like snow and a wondrous, laser-light show.  Quietly money will find its usual course to some promised charity while other towards legal fees intent on “settling” and silencing their latest sexual or financial scandal.  Money will find hidden pockets and obscurity and before suburban streets are adorned green and tan by orphaned fir trees amid strewn cardboard boxes. Aaaaahhhh, the magic of consumeri…..Christmas!

Maybe you have another word other than stupidity-  if so, please insert here _______.  At what point does the ‘faithful’ grow up and begin wondering what took place 2000 years ago during the virgin birth of an unwed mother.  You know we have a word for that… More importantly, outside the colossal, bureaucratic, orthodox governance or entrepreneurial marketing grabs of soul-selling Christianity, the curious outsider must wonder if the ‘faithful’ ever dared their vanity enough to lose their faith in order to find that reason spoken to Miriam?  Has a priest or pastor ever lifted their voice against the comforts of job security to stop this deliberate anesthetic-doping of Christian movement gobbled up by our pill-popping, consumers?

That first shriek of a shivering infant will end with a painful, final gasp of an innocent life of the man called Jesus. Consider that cost and our opportunity to partake and explore the humanity of this man. Imagine if we missed this coming Sunday and hand-delivered our biannual contribution to a local mission?  Maybe, for once in our adult ‘journey’ we will come just a bit closer to understanding why an impoverished birth crowded the sky with undefined awe and otherworldly wonder.  Instead of the same old, same old overfeeding the wealth management staples of ‘Christianity’ how about doing something one of Christ’s disciples would do by seeking their brother, their master, their Lord, in the lonely and forgotten?  Imagine that.

Maybe that other word is “surreal”… Seriously, who are we fooling? Certainly not Jesus.

Run to Him for He is cold, He is hungry, He is naked, He is sick, He is poor, He is in prison, He has a single mom, He has been wrongfully accused and shamed because who we say He is…yet when you find Him you will find an immeasurable kind of love that explains why He came, why He died, and why we no longer need to fear oppression.

Emmanuel.

Chris

 

Sin Eaters…

One of my favorite movie lines is found in the Bourne Legacy:

sineaterByer: No, it’s not. Tune in to what I’m trying to say to you. Do you know what a sin eater is? [Aaron mouths no] Well, that’s what we are. We are the sin eaters. It means that we find the moral excrement that we find in this situation and we bury it down deep inside of us so that the rest of our cause can stay pure. That is the job. We are morally indefensible and absolutely necessary. You understand?

I’m not sure how my mind makes connections, nevertheless, I will attempt to connect this concept with my gripe against Americanized Christianity and it’s approach to Lent/sin. Today’s comfortable, cotton candy words streaming from pulpits or open stages, whether priest or pastor, vestments to Hawaiian shirts, seem more concerned in soothing our egos to further advance job security and growth of their church.

Lent is facing the well hidden, completely defensible, sin buried deeply within us. Sin is very personal.  We know all its desires to keep it well fed. We actually believe this sin is our due, our self righteous reward, and sadly our strength.  Sin is alive to us, our self offering – but dead to God. Listen to Romans 6::13, “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” Welcome to the purpose of Lent.  This has nothing to do with jokingly giving up ice cream but rather a focused death of personal sin.  Consider the remarkable failure of traditional Lent practices about giving up ice cream and think about how antibiotic resistant bacteria entered our lives.  If you have a bacterial infection and do not take the full course of antibiotic to kill the bug, guess what, ….it gets stronger.  How? If you only spoon feed yourself two of the prescribed five days of the yukky stuff and happily kill off eighty percent of the infection, then what happens to that remaining twenty percent of creepy crawlies? Despite feeling  a little better, you have now shown your enemy your war plan for next time giving them plenty of time to begin figuring out a way to become resistant.  Imagine what happens with ice cream! For the rest of the year, some of the remaining non-lactose intolerant will eat it with a vengeance, as if it couldn’t effect them.

Lent is clearly not about ice cream, cookies, chocolate, or chips. Lent is about maturing.

Lent is daring ourselves to look deep within, removing the moral excrement hidden under the facade of righteousness, and killing it over a prescribed regimen of forty days. Lent is not only for people, but all governing bodies spouting Christian grace through Christ. And yes…it is always time to houseclean.

Are you as tired as I am? Is this concept even new? When will Christians, in all positions, garner the courage to stand up and say enough!  When will the fear of job security of the preacher turn to God and not self comfort?  It amazes me that although I heard it preached many times that we will all stand naked under the clarifying light of God, yet… sin still seems to be the preferred offering instead of righteousness to God.

Oh yeah, as for sin eaters, there was and is and will be only One…

Pray for me since God has been more than patient, abundantly merciful, ever-loving, and unexpectedly forgiving with me!

His,

Chris