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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Whilst Standing On One Foot…

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“Hillel, if not now when?”
To every man an answer,
Whilst he stands on one foot.
Are the ligaments of religion,
tighter than the Lord’s love and mercy?
This very One who helps us with the Spirit’s grace,
Who frees us from sin,
Save us,
To rise again?
Yea, is not even the holy Sabbath,
Not subject to the merciful works of Passover?
Dare we unbind the burial wrappings,
That suffocate the oppressed,
Blessing the poor, mournful, and meek,
Those thirsting to drink righteousness,
The patient peacemakers,
The compassion of the merciful,
Giving blinding light to the hidden merciful lamps,
and salve for those persecuted stripes?
Have we forgotten Shema,
Or fallen within the choking thorns?
Have we neglected to slowly chew our portion;
Neglecting study for Sunday’s fast food?
When did the narrow door widen?
O’ where dear friend is your restlessness?
Has the Flame that sets fire to this world,
Been doused to smoking embers of blind satisfaction?
Are we ready to give up our Ghost?
Will the water and blood pouring from our sides be tepid?
Will we walk the shame of contradiction,
Lifting high a cross our Lord adores,
or become unmarked graves men walk upon?
Therefore,
Let us be bold to anoint another with our joy,
Leaving behind faith’s thumbprints,
Drenching our love with true oil of gladness.
Let us become strong towers,
Founded upon a disregarded cornerstone,
Placing atop the light of Spirit and Truth,
As a beacon of the Lord’s love and mercy!
Truly, truly we hear the whisper within us,
“Hillel, if not now when?”
Become Mercy dear friend,
A new channel of love.

Peace I leave. Chris

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By Chris Clody
8/11/2017

**Title and poem inspired by Hillel: If Not Now, When? (Jewish Encounters Series) Hardcover – September 14, 2010
by Joseph Telushkin

Why The Egg Came First…

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The egg.  “The incredible, edi…” – sorry that was my 70’s indoctrination. I will somehow try to approximate the Trinity using this remarkable orb but not the way you’re probably expecting.  All analogies that attempt to convey the unknown seem to hit the ground running before they are limping to a cliff behind a pack of  disillusioned lemmings. However, what I want to convey is a simple truce for the ongoing domestic dispute between science and religion. Since analogies are particularly powerful among children, then those who not only still play but actually ‘believe all’ may find this as exciting as golden memories of sitting unrestrained in the back of a station wagon, a fistful of allowance, heading towards Toys R Us.

Okay, my sad analogy of this boundless, ever-giving, Triune Deity is relating it to an egg.  That same uncreated phenomena between the Father, Son, and Spirit offering fully of themselves to each other. That same incredibly diverse yet profoundly equal functions and measure finally decide it is high time to share their relational energy and allows their egg of wonder to crack. The Spirit, like the cleaving of atoms, explodes out with unprecedented force, sight, and sound.  The ever-creative energy shared within the Wonder Egg, fusing vapors and dust within the swirling centrifugation of planetary new formations begins to expand towards the infinite darkness. From the vulnerable crack, a Big Bang, shakes the billions of newborn galaxies within the universe. Life begins the very moment the Trinity becomes vulnerable.  Life actually flows from the wounded side of this extraordinary analogy.  Love allows the necessary violence to open itself to others at the sacrifice of remaining whole. Love when offered without condition is an unequaled force designed to disrupt the status quo and create life.

Soooo…yea…the egg definitely came first.

Within in every underlying precept of the biblical thread, is some sort of going out and returning back.  The return is never fruitless.  Like the word of God that never comes back void.  Eventually, we will return to the very “crack” the Spirit went out from.  I know by now you are hoping the lemmings along with my analogy has parachutes, so I’m grateful for your patience in not tapping out.

Ultimately I want to invite you to unpack some thoughts and see how well they apply to you:

  1. The diversity and love within this triune relationship.  How is this diversity reflected in your faith, your church, and your friends?
  2. Omnipotence, Ever-Powerful, and All-Knowing are well touted virtues y’All Mighty Creator.  Yet Creator is an ever-creative virtue that continuously proves its propensity through evolution and especially adaptation.  Nature always finds a way. As selfishness, arrogance, and entitled cultures, ignore the ramifications of our continuous assault upon our planet ambivalent that nature will find a way, what can we expect for our future?  What will happen with glacial calving then melting, coral bleaching, oil spills, floating trash islands, and over fishing?  Remember Nature will find a way.  Maybe a new order of water-borne species exquisitely adaptive to our flagrant disregard? Maybe an apex species? Maybe some awakening of a dormant algae or even a leviathan to go out from its slumber and return its sea to order by whatever violence necessary.
  3. Has your faith, expression of worship, seem frozen in language, ritual, tradition, inequality, and/or patriarchy?  Have you and I grown docile and content with being subservient to a power base, those Keepers of the Keys of knowledge?  How will Nature find a way to reflect the ever-creative Triune force and mutual life-giving love within and through this situation?
  4. Finally, let us end with love.  Without love we would have literally never existed. Has the love of a Messiah, which did not return void to the Father, drench us in gratitude.  Will we, even within Christendom, ever stop crucifying one another? Will we be brave enough to open our side, inviting others into our self love-realm? Has the love of G-d and love of neighbors been replaced by religion worshipping itself? Does Sunday seem so distant from the initial decision to share uncreated, original love with exclusionary fallacies of original sin? Has the Spirit convinced you that your soul is yearning for a divine relationship instead of human authority?

Ever

Ever Ancient,
Ever New,
Ever-patient,
Nature will break through.

Unrestrained,
And wild,
He will return,
To reconcile.

Stiff-necked slaves,
Keep two masters,
Keys build empires,
Wolves become pastors.

Vulnerable,
Life is bled,
Soul-drenched and weary,
His disciples are fed.

Reunion,
Draws nigh,
Inviting my soul,
Through Christ my guide.

Lord, awaken me from my slumber!

 

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

When God Grieves

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“Did Jesus make living Torah easier?” was asked by my pastor at a bible study last night.
**Warning:  If you are comfortable with the status quo of Christian theology then please exit out.**

Still here? Wooohooo! This question will lead you on an insatiable quest, reuniting the very living scope of the Old and New Covenant.  The moment will come when you realize the beauty of Jesus and a hijacked perspective morphing further and further from the totality of Jewish teaching, culture and practice fulfilled by this God-man called Jesus.  Ask yourself how the promise of freedom, hope, rest, and privilege could be truly understood and taught by those already at the top of the food chain?  Could someone write a book about birth without ever going through pregnancy, labor, and delivery? It may be technically correct but disingenuous.  Everyday is a new as I the present business of Christianity is peeled away, layer by layer, revealing new and more resplendent facets shimmering atop Mt. Sinai to even death upon a cross.  The writings of St. Paul have brighter meanings and not the ramblings of a zealous Jew refusing to use punctuation.  The Old Testament that once thought foreshadowed can now be seen through the lens of Sinai as a repetitive rubric that Jesus embraced perfectly.

Anywho, the question at hand: Did Jesus ever at He could make living the this life bound by Torah any easier?  As always, my answer awaits hidden in my morning Rosary.  Yep…I just said that.  You see the rosary is a discipline of seeing significant events of a son of Mary and Son of God through the unmatched intimacy of the eyes of a mother (a second class citizen).

My answer is “yes”.  Ultimately by what He said in John 14:26(NIV): “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  It is in the understanding that this Advocate is also described as a Comforter. I also enjoy pondering the ‘jealousy’ component of this hidden, Omniscient One.

Current Christianity prefers slippery and blurred concepts exposing a pitiful disconnect between salvation and the Kingdom at hand.  Salvation finds a post life existence further detached from Paul’s plea to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling“(Phil 2:12:NIV).  A life in Torah espousing a life and prayer and service leading to (a present) salvation awakens the Christian slumber to a Kingdom in our midst and our accountability to love God and our neighbor. Otherwise, to ignore the Comforter is to grieve God.

His Peace,
Chris

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