24 December 2011

Christmas Carol


HAIL King! hail King! blessed is He! blessed is He!
Hail King! hail King! blessed is He! blessed is He!
Hail King! hail King! blessed is He, the King of whom we sing,
         All hail! let there be joy!

This night is the eve of the great Nativity,
Born is the Son of Mary the Virgin,
The soles of His feet have reached the earth,
The Son of glory down from on high,
Heaven and earth glowed to Him,
         All hail! let there be joy!

The peace of earth to Him, the joy of heaven to Him,
Behold His feet have reached the world;
The homage of a King be His, the welcome of a Lamb be His,
King all victorious, Lamb all glorious,
Earth and ocean illumed to Him,
         All hail! let there be joy!

The mountains glowed to Him, the plains glowed to Him,
The voice of the waves with the song of the strand,
Announcing to us that Christ is born,
Son of the King of kings from the land of salvation;
Shone the sun on the mountains high to Him,
         All hail! let there be joy!

Shone to Him the earth and sphere together,
God the Lord has opened a Door;
Son of Mary Virgin, hasten Thou to help me,
Thou Christ of hope, Thou Door of joy,
Golden Sun of hill and mountain,
         All hail! let there be joy!

23 December 2011

Bed Blessing


I AM lying down to-night as beseems
In the fellowship of Christ, son of the Virgin of ringlets.
In the fellowship of the gracious Father of glory,
In the fellowship of the Spirit of powerful aid.

I am lying down to-night with God,
And God to-night will lie down with me,
I will not lie down to-night with sin, nor shall
Sin nor sin's shadow lie down with me.

I am lying down to-night with the Holy Spirit,
And the Holy Spirit this night will lie down with me,
I will lie down this night with the Three of my love,
And the Three of my love will lie down with me.

22 December 2011

Sleep Concecration


I LIE down to-night
With fair Mary and with her Son,
With pure-white Michael,
And with Bride beneath her mantle.

I lie down with God,
And God will lie down with me,
I will not lie down with Satan,
Nor shall Satan lie down with me.

O God of the poor,
Help me this night,
Omit me not entirely
From Thy treasure-house.

For the many wounds
That I inflicted on Thee,
I cannot this night
Enumerate them.

Thou King of the blood of truth,
Do not forget me in Thy dwelling-place,
Do not exact from me for my transgressions,
Do not omit me in Thine ingathering.
     In Thine ingathering.

21 December 2011

Resting Blessing


IN name of the Lord Jesus,
And of the Spirit of healing balm,
In name of the Father of Israel,
    I lay me down to rest.

If there be evil threat or quirk,
Or covert act intent on me,
God free me and encompass me,
    And drive from me mine enemy.

In name of the Father precious,
And of the Spirit of healing balm,
In name of the Lord Jesus,
    I lay me down to rest.

*         *         *         *
God, help me and encompass me,
    From this hour till the hour of my death.

19 December 2011

Sleep Prayer


O JESU without sin,
King of the poor,
Who wert sorely subdued
Under ban of the wicked,
Shield Thou me this night
     From Judas.

My soul on Thine own arm, O Christ,
Thou the King of the City of Heaven,
Thou it was who bought’st my soul, O Jesu,
     Thou it was who didst sacrifice Thy life for me.

Protect Thou me because of my sorrow,
For the sake of Thy passion, Thy wounds, and Thine own blood,
And take me in safety to-night
     Near to the City of God.

15 December 2011

The Gifts of the Three


SPIRIT, give me of Thine abundance,
Father, give me of Thy wisdom,
Son, give me in my need,
     Jesus beneath the shelter of Thy shield.

I lie down to-night,
With the Triune of my strength,
With the Father, with Jesus,
     With the Spirit of might.

14 December 2011

Sleeping Prayer


I AM placing my soul and my body
On Thy sanctuary this night, O God,
On Thy sanctuary, O Jesus Christ,
On Thy sanctuary, O Spirit of perfect truth,
     The Three who would defend my cause,
     Nor turn Their backs upon me.

Thou, Father, who art kind and just,
Thou, Son, who didst overcome death,
Thou, Holy Spirit of power,
Be keeping me this night from harm;
     The Three who would justify me
     Keeping me this night and always.

13 December 2011

The Soul Plaint


O JESU! to-night,
Thou Shepherd of the poor,
Thou sinless person
Who didst suffer full sore,
By ban of the wicked,
And wast crucified.

Save me from evil,
Save me from harm,
Save Thou my body,
Sanctify me to-night,
O Jesu! to-night,
Nor leave me.

Endow me with strength,
Thou Herdsman of might.
Guide me aright,
Guide me in Thy strength,
O Jesu! in Thy strength
Preserve me.

12 December 2011

Weekly Lectionary Reflection - 11 December 2011


Isaiah 61.1-4, 8-11 (CEB)

Psalm 126 (CEB)

1 Thessalonians 5.16-24 (CEB)

John 1.6-8, 19-28 (CEB)

Sometimes I don’t understand the lectionary. Sunday would have been a perfect time to tie in the lesson from the Jewish Scriptures with Jesus reading the same passage in the Gospels. I mean, I get it. It’s Advent. We are about preparing for God’s coming. Isaiah talks about what to expect when God finally comes; when God’s promised Reign begins (Mark 1.14-15; NLT). But Jesus stating that it began with his ministry is so powerful. Especially when we see what’s entailed in that promise as spoken through Isaiah:

The LORD God’s spirit is upon me,
  because the LORD has anointed me.
He has sent me
  to bring good news to the poor,
  to bind up the brokenhearted,
  to proclaim release for captives,
     and liberation for prisoners,
  to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
  
This is what God’s promised reign looks like. After reading this, Jesus said, ‘Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it’ (Luke 4.21; CEB). Today. Not someday in the far distant future. Today. Right now. And here’s the kicker; Jesus’ ministry is the ministry of those who follow Jesus. It’s our ministry, too. We are to do whatever we can to bring those things into the world. This isn’t something that only the clergy are called to do (though, if we remember our scriptures and Church history, we are all priests; see Romans 12.1 CEB; 1Peter 2.5, 9 CEB; Revelation 1.4-6, 5.9-10 CEB). This is the mission, the calling, the ministry of all people who follow Christ.

Furthermore, God’s promised reign isn’t limited to only ‘us’. The readings indicate a universal aspect to God’s reign. Isaiah states that, ‘the LORD God will grow righteousness and praise before all the nations.’ And, John wrote that the Light the Baptizer was a witness to ‘shines on all people . . . and the world came into being through the light’ (John 1.9-10 CEB).

I honestly believe that are missions, our goals in this life will be hindered until we firmly grasp this. It is only when we see that the whole creation is the offspring of God that we can give it the care, respect, and concern it deserves. This is not limited to just the planet, but all humanity - our families, friends, neighbors, and (supposed) enemies. We are all made in God’s image (John 1.3 CEB). And that Light that created us ‘shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light’ (John 1.5 CEB).



~~~
In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC

Come I This Day


COME I this day to the Father,
Come I this day to the Son,
Come I to the Holy Spirit powerful;
Come I this day with God,
Come I this day with Christ,
Come I with the Spirit of kindly balm,

God, and Spirit, and Jesus,
From the crown of my head
To the soles of my feet;
Come I with my reputation,
Come I with my testimony,
Come I to Thee, Jesu--
     Jesu, shelter me.

09 December 2011

Sleep Blessing


BE Thy right hand, O God, under my head,
Be Thy light, O Spirit, over me shining.
And be the cross of the nine angels over me down,
From the crown of my head to the soles of my feet,
     From the crown of my head to the soles of my feet.

O Jesu without offence, crucified cruelly,
Under ban of the wicked Thou wert scourged,
The many evils done of me in the body!
That I cannot this night enumerate,
     That I cannot this night enumerate.

O Thou King of the blood of truth,
Cast me not from Thy covenant,
Exact not from me for my transgressions,
Nor omit me in Thy numbering,
     Nor omit me in Thy numbering.

Be the cross of Mary and of Michael over me in peace,
Be my soul dwelling in truth, be my heart free of guile,
Be my soul in peace with thee, Brightness of the mountains.
Valiant Michael, meet thou my soul,
     Morn and eve, day and night. May it be so.

08 December 2011

God Guide Me


GOD guide me with Thy wisdom,
God chastise me with Thy justice,
God help me with Thy mercy,
God protect me with Thy strength.

God fill me with Thy fullness,
God shield me with Thy shade,
God fill me with Thy grace,
For the sake of Thine Anointed Son.

Jesu Christ of the seed of David,
Visiting One of the Temple,
Sacrificial Lamb of the Garden,
Who died for me.

07 December 2011

Bathing Prayer


A PALMFUL for thine age,
     A palmful for thy growth,
A palmful for thy throat,
     A flood for thine appetite.

For thy share of the dainty,
     Crowdie and kail;
For thy share of the taking,
     Honey and warm milk.

For thy share of the supping,
     Whisked whey and milk-product;
For thy share of the spoil,
     With bow and with spear.

For thy share of the preparation,
     The yellow eggs of Easter;
For thy share of the treat,
     My treasure and my joy,

For thy share of the feast
     With gifts and with tribute;
For thy share of the treasure,
     Pulset of my love.


For thy share of the chase
     Up the face of the Beinn-a-cheo;
For thy share of the hunting
     And the ruling over hosts.

For thy share of palaces,
     In the courts of kings;
For thy share of Paradise
     With its goodness and its peace.

The part of thee that does not grow at dawn,
     May it grow at eventide;
The part of thee that does not grow at night,
     May it grow at ridge of middle-day.

       The three palmfuls
       Of the Secret Three,
       To preserve thee
       From every envy,
       Evil eye and death;
       The palmful of the God of Life,
       The palmful of the Christ of Love,
       The palmful of the Spirit of Peace,
           Triune
           Of Grace.

06 December 2011

The Lustration


I AM bathing my face
In the mild rays of the sun,
As Mary bathed Christ
In the rich milk of Egypt.

Sweetness be in my mouth,
Wisdom be in my speech,
The love the fair Mary gave her Son
Be in the heart of all flesh for me.

The love of Christ in my breast,
The form of Christ protecting me,
There is not in sea nor on land
That can overcome the King of the Lord's Day.

The hand of Bride about my neck,
The hand of Mary about my breast,
The hand of Michael laving me,
The hand of Christ saving me.

~~~
Variant--
  Force in my mouth,
  Sense be in my speech,
  The taste of nectar on my lips,
  Till I return hither.

05 December 2011

Prayer for Victory


I BATHE my face
In the nine rays of the sun,
As Mary bathed her Son
     In the rich fermented milk.
Honey be in my mouth,
Affection be in my face;
The love that Mary gave her Son
     Be in the heart of all flesh for me.
All-seeing, all-hearing, all-inspiring may God be,
To satisfy and to strengthen me;
Blind, deaf, and dumb, ever, ever be
     My contemners and my mockers,
The tongue of Columba in my head,
The eloquence of Columba in my speech;
The composure of the Victorious Son of grace
     Be mine in presence of the multitude.

02 December 2011

Invocation for Justice (2)


GOD, I am bathing my face
In the nine rays of the sun,
As Mary bathed her Son
     In generous milk fermented.
Sweetness be in my face,
Riches be in my countenance,
Comb-honey be in my tongue,
     My breath as the incense.
Black is yonder house,
Blacker men therein;
I am the white swan,
     Queen over them.
I will go in the name of God,
In likeness of deer, in likeness of horse,
In likeness of serpent, in likeness of king,
     More victorious am I than all persons.

01 December 2011

Invocation for Justice


I WILL wash my face
In the nine rays of the sun,
As Mary washed her Son
     In the rich fermented milk.
Love be in my countenance,
Benevolence in my mind,
Dew of honey in my tongue,
     My breath as the incense.
Black is yonder town,
Black are those therein,
I am the white swan,
     Queen above them.
I will travel in the name of God,
In likeness of deer, in likeness of horse,
In likeness of serpent, in likeness of king:
     Stronger will it be with me than with all persons.

30 November 2011

Quote


When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it - always.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

29 November 2011

Desires


MAY I speak each day according to Thy justice,
Each day may I show Thy chastening, O God;
May I speak each day according to Thy wisdom,
Each day and night may I be at peace with Thee.
Each day may I count the causes of Thy mercy,
May I each day give heed to Thy laws;
Each day may I compose to Thee a song,
May I harp each day Thy praise, O God.
May I each day give love to Thee, Jesu,
Each night may I do the same;
Each day and night, dark and light,
May I laud Thy goodness to me, O God.

28 November 2011

The Guardian Angel


THOU angel of God who hast charge of me
From the dear Father of mercifulness,
The shepherding kind of the fold of the saints
To make round about me this night;
Drive from me every temptation and danger,
Surround me on the sea of unrighteousness,
And in the narrows, crooks, and straits,
Keep thou my coracle, keep it always.
Be thou a bright flame before me,
Be thou a guiding star above me,
Be thou a smooth path below me,
And be a kindly shepherd behind me,
To-day, to-night, and for ever.
I am tired and I a stranger,
Lead thou me to the land of angels;
For me it is time to go home
To the court of Christ, to the peace of heaven.

27 November 2011

Weekly Gospel Reflection - 27 November 2011


Mark 13:24-37 (CEB): “In those days, after the suffering of that time, the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. The stars will fall from the sky, and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. Then they will see the Human One coming in the clouds with great power and splendor. Then he will send the angels and gather together his chosen people from the four corners of the earth, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.

“Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that he’s near, at the door. I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.

“But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the angels in heaven and not the Son. Only the Father knows. Watch out! Stay alert! You don’t know when the time is coming. It is as if someone took a trip, left the household behind, and put the servants in charge, giving each one a job to do, and told the doorkeeper to stay alert. Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know when the head of the household will come, whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the early morning or at daybreak. Don’t let him show up when you weren’t expecting and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert!”

Here we go again! This passage comes before the previous three passages from Matthew that we have looked at in the last three weeks and is a parallel passage to Matthew 24.29-44. And, the way we have been taught to reading this passage, we assume that it’s talking about the end of the world, especially since there are such cataclysmic cosmic happenings.

‘There’s no way,’ some have said, ‘that this has already happened since something of that magnitude would completely destroy the universe.’

And that’s absolutely true . . . if these were to be read and understood in a wooden literal sense.

But they aren’t.

Jesus was using the language of apocalyptic literature. In that type of literature, cosmic destruction language is used to refer to the complete destruction of a nation or nations. We can see this clearly in various passages from the Jewish Scriptures. For example:

Isaiah 34:1-5 (CEB): Draw near, you nations, to hear; and listen, you peoples. Hear, earth and all who fill it, world and all its offspring. The LORD rages against all the nations, and is angry with all their armies. God is about to wipe them out and has prepared them for slaughter. Their dead will be cast out, the stench of their corpses will rise, and the mountains will melt from their blood. All the stars of heaven will dissolve, the skies will roll up like a scroll, and all the stars will fall, like a leaf withering from a vine, like fruit from a fig tree. When my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens, it will descend upon Edom for judgment, upon a people I have doomed for destruction.

This prophecy was against Edom (verse 5). This was fulfilled in 721 BCE by Assyria. Please note that the ‘mountains melt[ed]’, the ‘stars of heaven dissolv[ed]’, the ‘skies roll[ed] up like a scroll’, etc. In other words, ‘heaven and earth’ were destroyed. But, did those things literally happen when the Assyrians destroyed Edom? If they did, where is the passage that states that God created a ‘new world’ because that ‘old world’ was destroyed? There isn’t one. That’s because these are poetic terms referring to the judgment of Edom.

In another passage, we read:

Zephaniah 1:1-4, 14-18 (CEB): The LORD’s word that came to Zephaniah, Cushi’s son, Gedaliah’s grandson, Amariah’s great-grandson, and Hezekiah’s great-great-grandson in the days of Judah’s King Josiah, Amon’s son.

I will wipe out everything from the earth, says the LORD. I will destroy humanity and the beasts; I will destroy the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea. I will make the wicked into a heap of ruins; I will eliminate humanity from the earth, says the LORD.

I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will eliminate what’s left of Baal from this place and the names of the priests of foreign gods . . .

The great day of the LORD is near; it is near and coming very quickly. The sound of the day of the LORD is bitter. A warrior screams there.

That day is a day of fury, a day of distress and anxiety, a day of desolation and devastation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and deep darkness, a day for blowing the trumpet and alarm against their invincible cities and against their high towers.

I will make humanity suffer; they will walk like the blind because they sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their intestines like manure.

Moreover, their silver and their gold won’t be able to deliver them on the day of the LORD’s fury. His jealousy will devour the entire land with fire; he will make an end, a truly horrible one, for all the inhabitants of the land.

This is a prophecy against Judah and Jerusalem (verse 4). It was fulfilled in 587 BCE by the Babylonians. Note the destruction of all humanity and animals, including birds and fish; the ‘great day of the Lord’ is ‘coming very quickly’. There’s suffering and spilled blood and the land being devoured by fire and the complete slaughter of all humanity. Again, we must ask, did these things literally happen when Jerusalem fell? No. Just like our previous example, these terms are to be seen as poetic references to the judgment upon the nation.

What we need to see from these references are the parallels of Jesus words in the Synoptic Gospels (as well as John’s visions in Revelation). We can’t interpret them by our modern definitions. They should not be stripped from their contexts and forced into a preconceived idea about what they mean. They must be kept in their contexts, both scripturally and historically. When this is done we can see that those things were not actually destroyed. They represent the destruction of the ‘world’ to whom the prophecy was given.

In the Gospel reading for this week, it’s the same thing. Jesus was telling the disciples (he used the personal pronoun ‘you’ roughly ten times) about the coming destruction of the Temple and city - just like they asked of him (see Mark 13.1-4 CEB). He is telling them the way a Jewish prophet would, using the same type of language that was used for thousands of years throughout their history to describe similar events.

With that in mind, we can properly interpret the mystical statements about not knowing the day or hour. When I tell people that Jesus was talking about the soon coming war with Rome that ended with the destruction of the Temple and city in 70 CE (and the last Jewish stronghold of Masada 3 ½ years later in 73 CE), they immediately quote this verse (and the others from the Matthew and Luke). The argument is something like, ‘That can’t be right because Jesus said we won’t know the day or hour!’ Well, of course! If we were standing with them then, we wouldn’t know when it was coming! We can know now, almost two thousand years later. But, at the time, we would be in the dark, just like they were. However, the context is quite clear. These would be things that the first century Christians would witness and experience - not us.

So, be of good cheer this holiday season. These things are history!



~~~
In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC

26 November 2011

The Cross of the Saints and of the Angels


THE cross of the saints and of the angels with me
From the top of my face to the edge of my soles.
         +         +         +
O Michael mild, O Mary of glory,
O gentle Bride of the locks of gold,
Preserve ye me in the weakly body,
The three preserve me on the just path.
     Oh! three preserve me on the just path.
Preserve ye me in the soul-shrine poor,
Preserve ye me, and I so weak and naked,
Preserve ye me without offence on the way,
The preservation of the three upon me to-night.
     Oh! the three to shield me to-night.

25 November 2011

The Lightener of the Stars


BEHOLD the Lightener of the stars
On the crests of the clouds,
And the choralists of the sky
     Lauding Him.
Coming down with acclaim
From the Father above,
Harp and lyre of song
     Sounding to Him.
Christ, Thou refuge of my love,
Why should not I raise Thy fame!
Angels and saints melodious
     Singing to Thee.
Thou Son of the Mary of graces,
Of exceeding white purity of beauty,
Joy were it to me to be in the fields
     Of Thy riches.
O Christ my beloved,
O Christ of the Holy Blood,
By day and by night
     I praise Thee.

The Rock of Rocks


ON the Rock of rocks,
The peace of Peter and Paul,
Of James and John the beloved,
And of the pure perfect Virgin,
     The pure perfect Virgin.
The peace of the Father of joy,
The peace of the Christ of pasch,
The peace of the Spirit of grace,
To ourselves and to our children,
    Ourselves and our children.

23 November 2011

Jesu Who Ought to be Praised

IT were as easy for Jesu
To renew the withered tree
As to wither the new
Were it His will so to do.
     Jesu! Jesu! Jesu!
     Jesu! meet it were to praise Him.
There is no plant in the ground
But is full of His virtue,
There is no form in the strand
But is full of His blessing.
     Jesu! Jesu! Jesu!
     Jesu! meet it were to praise Him.
There is no life in the sea,
There is no creature in the river,
There is naught in the firmament,
But proclaims His goodness.
     Jesu! Jesu! Jesu!
     Jesu! meet it were to praise Him.
There is no bird on the wing,
There is no star in the sky,
There is nothing beneath the sun,
But proclaims His goodness.
     Jesu! Jesu! Jesu!
     Jesu! meet it were to praise Him.

22 November 2011

Prayer for Protection


As Thou art the Shepherd over the flock
Tend Thou us to the cot and the fold,
Sain us beneath Thine own glorious mantle;
      Thou Shield of protection, guard us for ever,
Be Thou a hard triumphant slave
To shield us securely from wicked hell,
From the fiends and from the stieve snell gullies,
      And from the lurid smoke of the abyss.
Be my soul in the trustance of the High King,
Be Michael the powerful meeting my soul.

21 November 2011

A Prayer for Grace


I AM bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who died for me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
     In love and desire.
Pour down upon us from heaven
The rich blessing of Thy forgiveness;
Thou who art uppermost in the City,
     Be Thou patient with us.
Grant to us, Thou Saviour of Glory,
The fear of God, the love of God, and His affection,
And the will of God to do on earth at all times
As angels and saints do in heaven;
Each day and night give us Thy peace.
     Each day and night give us Thy peace.

20 November 2011

Weekly Gospel Reflection - 20 November 2011


Matthew 25:31-46 (CEB): “Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left.

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.”

“Okay,” someone will say, “surely in this passage Jesus was referring to the end of the world. Jesus talks about the judgment of ‘all the nations’. This has to be the judgment for the end. Right?”

Well, some people think so. They follow the same type of logic. They will agree that the previous passages were about the judgment coming upon Jerusalem and the Temple but this passage, with ‘all the nations’ has to be the judgment at the end of the world. But I don’t think so.

Again, the context of this story is the same as the previous ones. Jesus was still answering the disciples question(s) about when the Temple would be destroyed. There is nothing within the context that shows this to be about the ‘end of the world’. That is just us reading that into the text. We have to get our minds around ‘end of the world’ language in a local judgment setting. All throughout the Jewish prophets this type of language was used to depict local judgments (see: Isaiah 34.1-5; Zephania 1.1-4, 14-18). If nothing else, Jesus was a Jewish prophet (as most people will attest). His declarations were clear and came to pass within that generation, just as he said they would (Matthew 23.36 CEB; Matthew 24.34 CEB; cf. Matthew 11.16 CEB; Matthew 12.41-42 CEB; Matthew 17.17 CEB).

Another point that is often brought up is last sentence, ‘And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.’

“This,” it is said, “obviously points to the last judgment as seen in Revelation 20.11-15.”

Not necessarily. The passage doesn’t state when those judged will go - just that they will. I think the immediate context leads us to seeing these words as  immediate consequence for their actions. Look again at the second paragraph. Jesus said, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began.’ When do we ‘inherit the kingdom’? Do we only ‘inherit the kingdom’ at the ‘last judgment’? No. We inherit the kingdom now, in this life.

Jesus once more points the accusing finger at the religious opposition of his day. They assumed that there wouldn’t be an issue because they were the physical decedents of Abraham. Over and over again Jesus countered that type of thinking (for example see Matthew 15.1-14 CEB) as did John the Baptist (see Matthew 3.8-10 CEB) as did St Paul (see Romans 2.25ff CEB; cf. Galatians 6.11ff CEB). It was because of that type of thinking that the entire nation would be held accountable (Matthew 23.37ff CEB; Luke 19.41-44 CEB).

I know a lot of people don’t like to think about things like this. However, Jesus is keeping in line with the way the prophets used to think and preach. One of the reasons we don’t like to think about this is because we are putting our understanding of things into that world. This is called eisegesis. One of the things that we have to try to do is figure out how the original audience would have understood what was being communicated to them. It’s a difficult process but well worth the effort!



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In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC

19 November 2011

Worldly Corruption


James 1:27 (CEB): True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.

‘Keep the world from contaminating us.’ Many times, I’ve heard that to mean ‘sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll’ (or there abouts). But I don’t think that’s what St. James was getting at here. It’s seem pretty clear that ‘worldly corruption’ would be just the opposite of what St James admonished his audience - namely, not taking care of orphans and widows in their difficulties would be ‘worldly corruption’.

This is the same that Jesus talked about in his story in Matthew 25. A story that has it’s place of fulfillment with the lives of his contemporaries, but the message is clearly applicable for all generations. There, Jesus said:

Matthew 25:31-46 (CEB): “Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left.

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.”

From this story, we can clearly see that not helping ‘one of the least of these’ is true ‘worldly corruption.’ And you know what? We have been corrupted. All of us. The Psalmist wrote, ‘Everyone is corrupt’ (Psalm 14.3 CEB). None of us are exempt from this. Part of the human addiction is greed and selfishness. But Christ calls us to a different Way, his Way, the Way of the Human One, the Way of True Humanity.

The Gospel of Luke tells a story about this Way of Living:

A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?”

Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”

He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”

But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’ What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”

Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

‘Go and do likewise.’ Notice that this story is the response of practically living out the way of ‘eternal life’. Doing these things, living that type of life is the Way that leads to the Life of God (‘eternal life’).

St James admonition is to make sure that we are not corrupted into looking to ourselves only. The way to do that is to love God, love neighbors, and love enemies. And the practical outworking of ‘love’ is taking care of others, especially the poor, widowed, orphaned, the marginalized. We must ‘stop takin’ and start givin . . . lovin’ one another is the only thing real’ (Trevor Hall - Good Rain). It is in doing that - in living that Way - that we ‘gain eternal life’.



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In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC