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

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

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.