19 March 2009

Trees

Trees live out of themselves; they neither kill to eat -- like the creatures of land and sea -- nor do they toil for their food, but the All-Wise nourishes them in season, and their span outlasts all other living things in creation.  Their wisdom runs deep as their roots in the earth, even as their branches reach toward heaven in exaltation of their Creator.

Yes, they may be cut down, and when they fall, they die.  But whether they are burned in the fire or used for building, their lives are given for those they serve -- either for warmth in the cold or to suppor the roof above...so that even in death these giants of the land serve those who depend upon them.  In this they are the emblem of the druid-kind, who seek to emulate these noble qualities in all our ways.

Although trees such as the oak and hazel are much revered by the filidh, we no longer worship them as of old.  Worship of the creature is blind folly, but worship of the living Creator is the beginning of wisdom.

Lawhead, Patrick: Son of Ireland



I read this passage and it reminded me of the Psalms that compare God's people (the people of the 'All-Wise') to trees.  I just wanted to share it with you.

In the Grace of the All-Wise,

OD

14 March 2009

A Liturgical Affirmation

You, O God, are supreme and holy.
You create our world and give us life.
Your purpose overarches everything we do.
You have always been with us.
You are God.

You, O God, are infinitely generous,
good beyond all measure.
You came to us before we came to you.
You have revealed and proved
your love for us in Jesus Christ,
who lived and died and rose again.
You are with us now.
You are God.

You, O God, are Holy Spirit.
You empower us to be your gospel in the world.
You reconcile and heal; you overcome death.

You are our God.  We worship you.

A New Zealand Prayer Book, pg. 481.

11 March 2009

The Shepherd, the Gate, and the Predator

In preparing for our men's group tomorrow night, I had some thoughts regarding John 10.  Specifically, 10.6b-10.  There, Jesus said:
I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers.  But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate.  Those who come in through me will be saved.  They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

What does Jesus mean by, 'I am the gate'?  In that culture, the shepherd would lay in the gateway of the pen, between the sheep and the outside.  This would keep the sheep in the pen and the predators outside the pen.  The shepherd would protect the sheep from the predators.  If the predators wanted to get to the sheep, they would have to go through the shepherd.  And, as in the following verses, the shepherd would give his life instead of allowing the sheep to perish.

Since we know that Jesus did give his life for 'the sheep', to whom did he give his life?  Who was the predator?  In the imperial Christian tradition, God is pictured as the predator.  God is vengeful.  God will slaughter the sheep with 'eternal damnation' because they 'deserve it'.  But, Jesus dies 'for the sheep' so that the sheep don't have to die.

But, if I am understanding the Celtic tradition correctly, God is not the predator.  Jesus is protecting 'the sheep' from those who want to completely separate themselves from any remembrance of the Sacred.  It is the culmination of Genesis 3.  Those who want to 'do their own thing' and 'be their own boss' do not like being reminded that that way leads further and further away from what we were created to be.  Jesus death was to protect those who have found that the way to true humanity is in self-sacrificing love for others.

So, the 'predators', in my estimation, would be people who continue to live in a lie, a falseness, that true humanity is to 'look out for number one'.  Those people have built entire systems that support just that type of thought.  As long as they get theirs, hang every one else.  And they will crush anyone who gets in their way.  I've seen it happen.

However, I know that I too can be a predator, in this metaphoric sense.  There are times in my life (daily!) where I would rather act selfishly than selflessly.  So, while I may seem to be pointing fingers in a sort of 'us vs. them' way, I am not.  I am aware that it is by the Grace of the Three in One that I do not continue down that path of falseness.  It is through the enabling of the Spirit that I can see the paths in front of me.  And it is the strength of the High King that I can choose the way, the truth, and the life.

Therefore, Jesus is not protecting us from God.  Jesus is showing us how far our Father/Mother will go in Love.

In the Grace of the Three in One,

OD

08 March 2009

How do we view the Bible?

I was at lunch with a group of friends and one of my closest friends made this statment, 'The problem is that we have made the Bible the fourth person of the Trinity.'  You can imagine the shock on most of our faces.  After plenty of scrambling and conversation, we finally settled down.

But that really had an impact on me.  I just didn't do a lot with it -- just tucked it a way and thought on it from time to time.  That is until recently.

Our men's Bible study group has been reading through the Gospel according to John.  And there it was.  Jesus said, 'You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life.  But the Scriptures point to me' (John 5.39, NLT).  Jesus sounds a lot like my good friend.  Jesus said that the scriptures are a sign.  The Bible is not the answer.  The Bible points to the answer.  It point beyond itself to Christ.  We have made the sign the destination.

If we are placing the Bible in the spot of Jesus, then we have become idolaters.  Too often, in the Christian household (and this is probably true of a lot of other traditions were people use holy books), the Bible has replaced our relationship with Christ.  When we need direction, more times than not, we go to the Bible instead of going to Jesus.

Can you imagine being in a committed relationship with someone and all we do is read the letters that other people wrote when they were in relationship with our spouse/partner/significant other?  Instead of talking with the person we are in relationship with, we just go back and read the letter that their former lover wrote.  I guarantee you that your relationship would not last very long.  And yet, that is what most of us do all the time.  When we want to know what God thinks about any given situation we are facing, we read someone else's story and think that is what God wants from us today.  Has God nothing else to say to us?  Or is God only speaking to us through the writings of others who had a relationship with God?  Is our relationship invalid?

If we are going on a road trip, we do not pull out a map and claim that we have arrived at our destination.  We use the map as our guide in finding our destination.  We are using the map the way it is intended -- as a guide along our journey.  But what if the map is wrong?  What if the roads have changed since the map was made?  What then?  We are left to discover for ourselves the best way of getting to where we need to go. We have to write our own map.  In the tradition of the old map, we merge our map and find our new way to the destination.

Family, we have been robbed.  We have been told that the only 'safe' relationship we can have with the Life within all life is through the writings of others in a book that someone, somewhere in power deemed the only revelation.  We have been told that we can't trust what God, our Loving Father, tells us at a deep level for whatever reason (mostly because of Augustinian theories).

I say we smash our idols!  I say we put them back where they were intended to be all along.  I say we start afresh and ask God to forgive us for being idolaters.  I say we repent and ask for a fresh start in our relationship with the Eternal One in Three.  I say we start looking and listening to God speaking to us all day, every day -- in the words of other people, in ourselves, in nature, and yes, even in the Bible.  But, we must never let the Bible take the place it was never intended to have.

'The Scriptures point to me,' Jesus said.  I say we start listening to Jesus.

In the Grace of the One in Three,

OD

04 March 2009

Jaunty Jackalope

So, I've been 'experimenting' with Jaunty Jackalope (aka, 9.04), the next version of Ubuntu. I did something that is not a good thing. I completely broke my previous install and installed the latest version.

What the big deal?

The big deal is that it's still in the alpha phase! The release date is scheduled for 24 April. However, there were some things with the live CD that impressed me enough to 'bite the bullet' as the saying goes.

The biggest thing for me was power management. Before, to get the brightness/dimness to work on my Gateway M-6843, I had to make changes to a file. But it only partially worked. The dim funtion never worked. I could manually make the screen dimmer through the function keys, but it wouldn't automatically dim when sitting idle.

The other power issue was that of suspend/awake. It would never suspend properly and I would get an error when it awoke (if it did awake). However, when I booted up the live CD of the Alpha 5 release, it automatically dimmed when idle! 'Holy Stink', I thought. Since I have all my stuff automatically backed up through a great tool called 'SpiderOak', I took the plunge and installed Jaunty. So far my experience has been a solid success and all of the power options are working as intended. I will continue to update my system and update you all here.

In the Name of
the Three in One,
the One in Three,

OD

02 March 2009

Kindle our heats

Kindle in our hearts, O God,
the flame of love that never ceases,
that it may burn in us, giving light to others.
May we shine for ever in your temple,
set on fire with your eternal light,
even your Son, Jesus Christ,
our Saviour and Redeemer.
Amen.

St Columba