Saturday, September 29, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: St Michael & All Angels

Eros (right-most panel), jfd, 2005
MP: Psalms 8, 148; Job 38:1-9; Hebrews 1:1-14;
EP: Psams 34, 150 or 104; Daniel 12:1-3 or 2 Kings 6:8-17; Mark 13:21-27 or Revelation 5:1-14

Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, says this (in part) about this Feast Day:

The scriptural word "angel" (Greek: angelos) means, literally, a messenger. Messengers from God can be visible or invisible, and may assume human or non-human forms. Christians have always felt themselves to be attended by healthful spirits - swift, powerful, and enlightening. those beneficent spirits are often depicted in Christian art in human form, with wings to signify their swiftness and spacelessness, with swords to signify their power, and with dazzling raiment to signify their ability to enlighten. Unfortunately, this type of pictorial representation has led many to dismiss the angels as "just another mythical beast, like the unicorn, the griffin or the sphinx."

Of the many angels spoken of in the bible, only four are called by names; Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. The Archangel Michael is the powerful agent of God who wards off evil from God's people, and delivers peace to them at the end of this life's mortal struggle....

Messengers from God...something to think on today.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: Tempting

Sunrise in PTown, jfd+ 2008
Psalms 119:97-120 * 81, 82; Esther 6:1-14 or Judith10:1-23; Acts 19:1-10; Luke 4:1-13

Jesus is identified by God yesterday, You are my Son, the Beloved; with whom I am well pleased. This happened after Jesus was baptized and was busy praying. Immediately following this we have today's selection from Luke, where Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, entered the wilderness for 40 days, being tempted while he was starving himself. Jesus battles back saying: we don't live by bread alone...worship and serve only God...don't test God, trust in God...

All of us are tempted, daily, by people and things that can (and do) distract us from truly being Christ's Body in the world: from "that person" over there causing us duress; to the siren call of the newest fall fashion; something to which we are addicted calling our name so strongly. Perhaps it is revenge for a perceived (or real) slight. Whatever takes our attention from creating this Kingdom Jesus opens for all us is that which we should put aside, move beyond or around. 

We live in a society, a world, where no matter the direction we look, there are temptations. It is how we respond to those provocations that can determine who we are, as the people of God. Sure, we all make mistakes. How we face those temptations the next time, and the time after that, is what we are asked to consider today.

God's loving embrace...the Holy Spirit's prodding, are ever-present to help us in those decisions. How will we respond today?

Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: Fairness

Lake Calhoun, 2012
Psalms 80 * 77 (79); Esther 4:4-17 or Judith 7:1-7,19-32; Acts 18:1-11; Luke 1:1-4,3:1-14

I decided to take some time off from this blog, kind of like a vacation, but more like a time of discernment, wondering and praying about the purpose of these reflections on the Daily Office I have been posting these past number of years. 

I have not come to any dramatic decisions in the last six weeks. I have missed this time of sitting with readings from the D.O. and jotting down stray thoughts that are stirred up in my by having read them. I found that the readings did not stay with me as long during the day, as they do when I have spent the short amount of time it takes to write one of these posts....and so, I begin again, hoping to throw thoughts to the wind of the web, with the prayer that the Holy Spirit do something with them for the benefit of her purposes. Perhaps her only purpose is to allow me to have these texts stay with me longer during the hubbub of the day, and that is sufficient. 

The adult John the Baptist is introduced to us in the Gospel of Luke today. After we read the heady prologue, John the B appears, threatening dire consequences as usual, droves come to be baptized, and many ask "but what (in all practicality) should we do differently in our lives?" He says:

  • (to the tax collector) Collect no more than the amount prescribed to you.
  • (to the soldier) Do not extort money from anyone by threats of false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.
  • (to the crowds) Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none, and whoever has food must do likewise.
Simple acts of kindness. Plain and ordinary fairness. Treatment of those who are less fortunate, down on their luck, mistreated by society, with generosity. A clear-eyed self-evaluation of what we actually need in life, and what is, quite simply, unnecessary fluff.

Such direct and simple steps we all could take that would make the world so different, such a better place. There are times when those steps can be felt as "useless"..."the problems are too big, why bother"...The bigger picture is important to keep in mind...but paying attention to the context in which we are blessed to be placed and doing something for those with whom we live can and does make a difference.

A good question to reflect on today: "how can I live into these instructions of John the B, to have a more clear-eyed understanding of fairness in the bubble of the world in which I presently roll around?"

Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.