Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

Ever New . . . Eternally

In Christianity on August 25, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Our society values newness—new cars, new places to visit, new restaurants in which to eat. Sometimes it appears we even value novelty as much as newness:  the bizarre, unusual, and strikingly different.  Not surprisingly, then, we also see people and organizations resorting to the new and novel to renew their lives:  a new home (or a new spouse) will make me happier; a new job will be more satisfying; a new leader will restore our company to its former glory; a new program or worship style will propel our congregation toward greater “success.”

Yet God’s ways are not our ways.  In the wisdom of God and the riches of Christ’s holy Catholic Church, the old, the familiar, and the repeated play a significant role. “Why?” we wonder. “That seems so contrary to keeping things interesting; to keeping people engaged.”

One of the great riches of The Liturgy of the Hours is repeating the Invitatory Psalm morning by morning.  Psalms 95, along with 100, 67, and 24 are the Invitatory Psalms, used to set the stage for morning prayer and praise.  Any of them might be chosen to illustrate, but look at the glorious structure of Psalm 95, consisting of both worship (95:1-7) and warning (95:8-11)—encouragement and invitation to worship, yes, but also the solemn warning we need daily: “They do not know my ways.” God does not say we do not know about His ways. Rather, He says we do know know them. For to truly know His ways is to know Him, and to do what pleases Him. What new or novel thought would improve upon being reminded of this daily?

One of the keys to becoming a steady, productive Christian is to return repeatedly to the sources of wisdom and life God has provided in His Word. Liturgy, whether in praying the Hours or in the Mass, compels us to do this.  In doing so, we give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to show us the ever new, in the “old” and familiar.

Boring? Tedious? Dull? No. Praying The Liturgy of the Hours is one of the best possible ways we can invite the Holy Spirit to lead us to the living waters Christ proposed to the woman at the well (John 4:10-11); one of the best ways for your walk with Christ to remain ever new . . . eternally.

Be faithful about heeding God’s admonition: “Be still and know that I am God.”¹ Give Him the time daily that will allow Him to open those streams of living water—bringing new hope, new perspective, and new life eternally. That is Christianity Richly!

¹ Psalm 46:10/11

Believe the Love Story

In Christianity on August 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm

If we are truly Christian, we have to believe the Love Story.  If we do, it will make all the difference in our lives. The challenge is that too often we simply know the story—as an abstraction, not as God’s living, breathing, passionate love for us.

The Love Story is the theme of scripture.  Yes, I realize some well-meaning but incomplete theologies stress that God is love (meaning forgiving and tolerant) but we need not bother ourselves about doctrine and holiness.  That is not the kind of story we need to believe.

The Love Story will make a difference in our lives.  It will make a difference because God ordained it to be so.  That difference will stem from is His incredible, unbelievable (except that He said it) delight in us.  “The Lord’s portion is His people.”¹ This theme stretches from creation to coming of Christ and the culmination of time.  He freely created us.  He created us in His image!  He tends and shephereds us.  He repeatedly forgives and restores us.  He came—he actually became one of us.  “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”²

“But,” we think, “us . . . as the Lord’s portion? How can that be? Who would see us as anything but a collection of problems?”  We think these things about ourselves because we live in a world that is only partly redeemed and restored. We have experienced being unloved. Many of us don’t even love ourselves.  We see our faults first, and are blinded to the fact that God loves us.

Today, please remember:

The Lord’s portion is his people (Deuteronomy 32:9)

Fear not . . . you are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31)

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16)

His banner over me was [and is] love (Song 2:4)

Believe the Love Story. Live it. Respond in love and increasing holiness. “For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11). Christianity Richly!

¹  Deuteronomy 32:9
² John 1:14