Blog Archives

We Find Our Rest.. In His Cross

We Find our Rest in His CrossSAMSUNG

Matt 11:25-30

`
IHS


As we learn the depth of the grace of God, how it floods our lives, may we learn to trust as children, leaving our burdens behind, and learning to rest in His presence!

 

A Parker Parable….
Being a Christian is like Playing Golf…..

 

It leaves me a little in awe how often my life includes lessons that coincide with the message of the sermon for the week.  It happens most weeks, sometimes multiple the same lesson learned through the experience of several lessons, and sometimes one of them is perfect to use in the sermon.   When those happen, I call them “Pastor Parker’s Parables” even though they are the lessons I learn…the one’s I’ve been taught.

So get ready, this week, the parable is that, “Living the Christian Life is like playing golf!”

No, I don’t mean the part about the frustration, the anger, losing things left and right, from golf balls going in the water to one’s temper, to all desire to keep going.

Well, those things are included, it’s what called the law….

But there is another aspect to golf, that is not about suffering, but actually develops character, and joy….

A Little Success is a dangerous thing!!!!

The day on the course starts our great… well, great for me.  Nice strong drives… decent bogies, nothing too pathetic.  Then, on the par 5…. confident in my drive, the ball dribbles off the tee, it wouldn’t even make it to the parking lot!  The next 6 hits went about as far, one even bouncing off of three trees to land at the base of the first one!  The next hole – a par three (that mean you meet the standard by getting the ball in the hole on the third “hit”)  the penalty strokes for getting the ball in the water exceed par on their own!  Frustration is set in, every possible change to my swing is being analyzed…… I am relying on every bit of wisdom.. and failing.

We are like that in life, things can be going well, we can be doing good, and then confident, we try to do everything on our own,  We want to decide not only what is good and right, but we become wise in our own eyes, trying to solve the messes we get into, because we think it is all about us.

Most of us, at one time or another, fall into the trap that Jesus so clearly describes, when He describes those “who think themselves wise and clever.”
Not that we would use those words, but how often do we try to run our lives?  How often do we set aside God’s word and do things that we think will be beneficial to us, without considering its effect on others, or on us.  The more our playing God fails, the digger the hole we dig ourselves in,   Or instead of trying to run our own lives, it is telling others how they should live, or helping them justify their playing god, in the way they deal with others.

Ultimately, all sin, any time we break any of the commandments boil down to our thinking we know what’s best.  Somehow we think we are wiser, or more clever than God.  That we can handle it all on our own, without any help from Him, or those He sends.

Not only do owe not measure up, but we get more and more frustrated, until we want to give in, or give up…..or just hurl a golf club farther than the ball we hit with it went.

Playing God doesn’t lead to peace, but just frustration and anger and anxiety and….. we don’t ever find ourselves measuring up.  We find ourselves so far from par, from being righteous, from being the people God came to share life with, eternal life, that is.

Even long after we’ve left the course, we are going to feel the frustration, the tension, the disappointment in ourselves.  We will go from thinking we are perfect, to condemning ourselves, putting ourselves down, and giving up what we love, and are meant to do.

No, I am not talking about golf, but the lesson can be seen there as well.

Finding the Ability to Cease, to Give Up Control…

 

If those who find themselves wise and understanding struggle, it is amazing to see that the simple, that the naïve, that the very childlike do not.

It is because of the ease, the natural way they come to trust in God, to know Him, to walk with Him.  How they accept what is revealed to them by God.

It’s not that they don’t sin, but they learn to seek forgiveness, to count on mercy, quickly. They get to know the Son of God and therefore the Father.

And when Jesus says come, knowing His love, knowing the joy of walking with Him, they come.

And find rest, they find the ability to relax and cease their struggles in life.  They learn to stop trying to force life to go the way they think is best, and just revel in His presence.

That is the key to live, it is what those who think they are wise cannot figure out.  It is because it is something beyond figuring out, beyond our capacity to comprehend.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t experience it….

 

The Rest….

 

It has been said that it is not the power of the swing that causes a golf ball to sail far, but the smoothness of that swing. That a relaxed smooth that might appear to be effortless will cause it to go farther than one is far more powerful but is forced.

The same is true for a believer in Christ.

There is Jesus, saying come to me, and I will give you rest…

I love how the paraphrased translation the Message says this….

29  Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
   Matthew 11:29-30 (MSG)

That’s what the yokes are for, as we see in Hosea,

4  I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.”

The blessing of being yoked to Christ is learning to live in His grace, His love, His peace.  It isn’t about God controlling us, or turning us into robots, it’s about teaching us to live.

When you go through physical therapy after surgery, as many of us have done around here, as some are doing right now, the therapists aren’t just trying to cause us pain, but teach us how to move again, so that other places don’t give out.  What seems like a curse, or may cause a curse or two, is there to help us live as free as possible.

When a golf instructor has you swing the club over and over, without hitting anything, he’s conditioning you body to do what is right.  Same for the martial arts instructor who makes you punch the same spot in front of you 10,000 times.

Hear the Message again,

29  Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”   Matthew 11:29-30 (MSG)

 

Where do we walk, bound to jesus?  Learning His grace?

To the cross, and then to the resurrection.

To see God’s handiwork through all of life – even suffering, even death…for even there, in the shadows of death…. we find His life…eternal, everlasting, immortal.

We can stop guessing, we can stop trying to play God, or pretending we are wise and clever.

We can move with Him, through our baptism, to the altar.  To look upon His sacrifice, His body given for us, His blood shed to seal His contract with us, to seal us to Him. We can move with Him, as He takes our burdens, as He takes our cares, and anxieties, and binds Himself to us, that we may know how to live.

To live, now as well as then, in a peace that passes all understanding, a peace in which we are kept, heart and soul… guarded by Jesus Himself.
AMEN?

How Can We Love Those Trapped in Darkness?

Devotional Thought of the Day:

 19  So I gave orders for the city gates to be shut at the beginning of every Sabbath, as soon as evening began to fall, and not to be opened again until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my men at the gates to make sure that nothing was brought into the city on the Sabbath. 20  Once or twice merchants who sold all kinds of goods spent Friday night outside the city walls. 21  I warned them, “It’s no use waiting out there for morning to come. If you try this again, I’ll use force on you.” From then on they did not come back on the Sabbath. 22  I ordered the Levites to purify themselves and to go and guard the gates to make sure that the Sabbath was kept holy. Remember me, O God, for this also, and spare me because of your great love.Nehemiah 13:19-22 (TEV)

Every single day, do what you can to know God better, to get acquainted with him, to fall more in love with him each moment, and to think of nothing but of his Love and his glory. You will carry out this plan, my child, if you never, for any reason whatever, give up your times of prayer, your presence of God, with the aspirations and spiritual communions that set you on fire, your unhurried Holy Mass, and your work, finished off well for him. (1)

Through the darkness of sin, Your love reached out to me! The cost of it all, You bore there on that tree! For nothing could stop You declaring us Clean!  Conquered sin, Rose again, now eternail You reign, and so we praise you!   (2)

Yesterday I wrote about the church Militant, that Christian soldiers aren’t marching off to war with sinners, but to liberate those who are oppressed and in bondage to sin.  That are so caught in darkness, that they sturggle to hold on to it, for that is all they know. We mistake that struggle, far too often, as an attack on us.  It is so like the classic lifeguard interaction with a drowning person.  The drowning person strikes out in desperation, and if the lifeguard isn’t careful, the drowning person will take them both under. It takes skill and patience and wisdom to save someone who is drowning.  To know when and where to move, but also to know that these hits are not an attack – but even more a sign of their desperation.

As the lifeguard is sent to save the drowning preson, so too we are sent by Christ to bring His love, His mercy, His peace to those who need to be freed from sin.  To those whose darkness needs to be shattered.by the light of Christ.  They to thrash and strike out – and far too often, we respond, not with the patience and care to save them, but as if they are spoiling for a fight – and we are ready.  We take their struggle to survive – which they cannot on their own – as an attack on Jesus, or the church or us.

In the meantime, they are dying… the people we’ve been sent to bring salvation to, the people we’ve been sent to reflect Christ’s glory and love to…..

You might be wondering what this all has to do with the reading from scripture, from the book of Nehemiah.  And with St. Josemaria’s words.

Call it a lesson in Life-guarding, a lesson in how to deal with those who we think are attacking us, but are really floundering in life. For if we “go to battle” them, what will happen is that we will founder as well.  We will take our eyes off of salvation if we go to battle.

When what we need to see instead, is these people the way the God does – the way oen who would save them and bring them life abundant does, the way the One who died because He loved them does.

That my friends, can only happen, the more time we speand rejoicing in His presence, the more time we realize we live in Him, and He is us. The more we are transformed into His image (see 2 Cor. 3:16)  Then we see His heart – the depth of His love for us – and we will begin to realize that “us” is more than just ourselves – and our friends at church – but us is all people – all ethnicities, all languages, and.. eventually – even those that are out there – itting away at those who would try to bring them back to life, back to standing on solid ground, back into the presence of God.

Where they belong.

Where we would stand against that which would keep people from God, that which would rob them of their time, resting in His presence.  That’s one of the roles of the Levites – the servant priests of God.  To try to guard the precious time people have with God.  That they can know Him more and more – that they can just enjoy His presence, His love, that they can celebrate His mercy, His healing.  The more we, those who minister, those who serve and shepherd, see what happens as our people do this, the more we treasure its impact on them, and the more we realize how this opens their hearts up to seek and save the lost – by brining Christ’s love to them.

How can we love those struggling in darkness, thrashing about, even appearing to attack us?  By realizing how much God loves and desires to cleanse us all, and make us His children.  That’s how we learn to love sinners, trapped in darkness… by learning how Jesus loves us… even there and then as well.

Lord, Have mercy on us, and teach us to show that mercy to all….

 

(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2667-2671). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

(2)  Lyrics by Rev. Mike Rayson and Dt Parker…

%d bloggers like this: