The Liturgical Christianity Portal

Bringing liturgical Christians together

Cleaning Up One’s Act: We All Need to Do It!

John kiev

John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, rightfully as a reputation as having been a bit of a firebrand. In fact, he likely was more than a bit of a firebrand. His words in Matthew 3:1-12 are far from comforting, but they weren’t intended to be.

Prophets weren’t known for accepting the status quo and making religious or political leaders feel good. Going as far back as the time of prophets like Isaiah, they often stood up to leaders who misused their power to oppress God’s people. Out of this tradition that looked to a coming Redeemer, we’ve learned that there is always a message of hope, even if it doesn’t come in the nice, tidy package that we prefer.

One thing that we, as part of the human race still need to learn after all this time, is that not a single one of us is so perfect that we don’t need redemption. It doesn’t matter what your “spiritual pedigree” looks like or your station in life – all of us, from the least to the greatest, need that redemption that God alone provides. Maybe if we all kept this in mind, this world’s brokeness might not seem so bleak.

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

December 1, 2016 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | , | Leave a comment

Down and Back Up Again

Job with Devil

Job 42:5

A balance between healthy skepticism and the type of doubt that ends up being somewhat self-destructive is hard to find. Many of the voices in “pop Christianity” see all doubt as a bad thing, despite the fact that serious spiritual growth often comes out of such doubt. On the flip side of the coin, others doubt because they don’t find easy answers to every bit of hardship that happens.  While Job is often upheld as a model of patience, maybe he needs to be seen in the light of a type of doubt that can be beneficial.

We must remember that Job was a skeptic in that he wasn’t afraid to question God. This might sound just nuts to a lot of people, but Job didn’t hesitate to cry out to God to ask why all this stuff was allowed to happen – and God didn’t get angry at Job. In fact, it was his fair-weather friends who were told off for their behavior.

Thinking we have all the answers is one of the biggest mistakes in the book. Yet, Job’s friends stand out as examples of just how often we do that. When misfortune strikes, it’s all too easy to spend time thinking about what someone must have done wrong – sometimes, it’s simply a matter of how “stuff happens”.

When we get back up again after one of life’s punches, it’s good. The circumstances that lead us to that point seldom are. However, it’s our ability to survive and weather these storms that makes all the difference.

July 12, 2015 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | , , | Leave a comment

What Do YOU Say?

In Matthew 16:13-20, we see that one common problem that still happens among Christians today was known among the apostles – too much hearsay about who Jesus is, but not enough affirmative belief. Some might say that it’s a classic example of too much head knowledge, but not enough heart knowledge.

The Jewish people of Jesus’ time had very clear expectations of what the Messiah would be like, and it seems as though different theories abounded. The disciples seem to have guessed at who Jesus was early on and were quick to affirm their belief.

As Christianity has evolved over the years, it seems as though faith communities have gotten too caught up in getting the terminology right to the extent that it seems as though senseless splits have happened that could have been prevented. While the historical tradition of the Church and right reason do and should play a role in our faith, we need to avoid the pitfall of letting others put words in our mouths.

The next time someone asks who Jesus is, stop for a minute and think about whether a ready-made response is the right answer. Instead, why not tell them what Jesus has done and is doing in your life?

August 28, 2014 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | | Leave a comment

The Magnificat and God’s Care

One of Sunday’s readings was Luke 16:19-31 . This is one of the passages of Scripture that many people easily identify with, even if they’re not religious. It helps prove that human nature hasn’t changed much since Biblical times.

The real issue, from my perspective, isn’t the fact that the wealthy man in the parable was rich. It was the fact that he abused his wealth and influence, rather than using it for the good of Lazarus. In the last several days, from the time there was a shutdown threat to the actual government shutdown, many have made the point that many of the Congressional leaders are acting like the rich man in this parable.

We must avoid ever allowing any wealth or influence we’re blessed with to corrupt us. The Bible, especially Luke’s Gospel, has a lot to teach us in this respect. Many people consider this Gospel to be the most inclusive of the four, because of its emphasis on those that ancient Israelite society often ignored.

One of the real treasures found in this Gospel is the Magnificat, often set to music or paraphrased in a hymn. It’s a song by a humble servant of God who was chosen for her faithfulness, not because of any worldly influence.  The message is an encouraging one for those who might otherwise feel marginalized:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever. (Luke 1:46-55)

October 3, 2013 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | , , | Leave a comment

The Christian Hope – How It’s Different

If you’eve ever read a catechism for any major Christian tradition, you’ve probably heard the term “the Christian hope”. Unfortunately, many critics of Christianity miss the point altogether, making comments about “pie in the sky” and other such stuff.

Any focus on Christianity that focuses entirely upon eternal rewards and ignores the present, I think, isn’t really expressing the true essence of the Christian hope. Obviously, we want to spend eternity in God’s presence and most Christians, unless they’ve been exposed to toxic teachings about the Second Coming, eagerly await it.

However, God is concerned with more than just the state of our souls. After all, Jesus became one of us (minus the sinful nature) and ministered among us.  If He were concerned only with spiritual health, He wouldn’t have healed so many physical and mental infirmities.

At its best, the Christian Hope is firmly rooted in the Incarnation – God is with us.  Our Lord uses “ordinary” things and events in our lives to remind us of this hope.From every baptism where new members are added to the Church, to every celebration of communion where we remember the act that gave us eternal life to  every funeral liturgy when we celebrate one’s entry into the Church Triumphant, this hope becomes alive for us.

September 18, 2013 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | | Leave a comment

Since We Can’t See All Things…

Luke 9:57-62

It seems as though many of the people who decided to follow Jesus weren’t totally aware of what they were “signing up for”. Following Christ comes with a cost. For most of us, this will mean changes in how we think about things. However, for many others, it may mean loss of family relationships, their jobs or homes or even their lives.

None of us can totally see all things. For example, many of Jesus’ earliest followers were seeking a very different sort of Messiah from the one modern Christians understand Jesus to be. I think the idea that Jesus could die, and that Jesus’ followers could meet a similar fate, simply never occurred to many of them.

Even though we can’t see the end of all things, we can be confident about our identity in Christ.  God never promised a completely hassle-free life, but we were promised a more abundant life. In the liturgical tradition, candidates for baptism enter into a special covenant with God. In this baptismal covenant, Satan and his evil are renounced, belief in God is affirmed and the promise to live a Christian life is made.

It’s true we may not know what the future holds, but we do know Who is by our side as we step into it.

 

July 31, 2013 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | | Leave a comment

Where’s the Love?

Christian love is one concept that is very commonly misunderstood. We often mistake it for the type of love that exists among ourselves. While God’s love is often likened to that of a close friend, lover or parent, only God’s love is completely unconditional in every way. Even those who are closest to each other sometimes place conditions on love, intended or not, permanent or not. It’s an unfortunate part of being human.

John 17:20-26 is part of Jesus’ farewell discourse before his Passion. One of the major points that is emphasized is how the apostles demonstrate God’s love for the world. Remember, Christ’s mission wasn’t one of condemning, but saving.

This isn’t a denial of the fact that we can and do sin by any means. Sin can cause estrangement from God, but the good news is that God’s love is greater. All we need to do is trust God to forgive our sins and heal our spiritual hurts.

 

May 11, 2013 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | , | Leave a comment

Resurrected Food

A keeper from Grace Before Meals

April 25, 2013 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | | Leave a comment

A Keeper from The Geranium Farm About Boston

No commentary on my part needed

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | | Leave a comment

A Great Post for the Second Week of Easter

Walk by Faith or by Sight?

This was posted on a blog that I regularly follow and has some definite food for thought.

April 11, 2013 Posted by | Devotionals/Meditations | , , | Leave a comment