Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Great Truth

For many of us life is like climbing a mountain.   We seek fame and fortune not realizing that when we reach the peak, when we achieve that success, there can be an empty feeling and a sense of great loss. 

The great truth, the one answer, is achievements and success don't offer what love provides.    Love equates to real and authentic happiness.   It's never downhill for us when love raises us up.

Deacon David Pierce

 
 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Number Seven

I heard the Lord saying to me: "To the angel of the Church in Ephesus, write this: "'The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this: "I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate the wicked; you have tested those who call themselves Apostles but are not, and discovered that they are impostors.  Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name, and you have not grown weary. 

Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent."'"

The number seven has special significance for the writer of Revelations.  According to Jonathan Kirsch in his book “A History of the End of the World: How the most controversial book in the Bible changed the course of Western Civilization” (2006), “...[The author] sees not only seven seals but also seven angels, seven bowls, seven candlesticks, seven churches, seven crowns, seven eyes, seven heads, seven horns, seven kings, seven lamps, seven mountains, seven plagues, seven spirits, seven stars, seven thunders, and seven trumpets.  

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Good Versus Evil

We are fast approaching the end of the liturgical year.  We don’t like talking about endings unless of course it’s the end of suffering or the end of the baseball season with the Red Sox being World Series champions – the Patriots as Super Bowl Champions, we’ll see.  The end of the trail; the end of the line; the end of relationships, perhaps marriages; the end of our lives. Not good.

Most of us want beginnings, not ends. Perhaps that’s one reason why Advent is so attractive.  The Advent season is about a fresh start. It’s like rebooting a computer, and we start over again to do better the next time around with Jesus Christ as our companion.

Today’s first reading from Daniel is about an ending – and it’s pretty startling at least for those whose names are not written in the book – some sort of journal where judgment is handed down.  According to the prophet Daniel those on the wrong side of the ledger end up with “everlasting horror and disgrace.”

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Thou Shalt Be Kind

Drop the Tablets Moses, and let's start again!   She does make a very good point.

That which is written in stone is long-lasting, so let's add another.   Ladies, get your chisels and find another stone.  Gentlemen, lend a hand.   Be kind.

Deacon David Pierce

Friday, November 16, 2018

Walk In The Truth

[Chosen Lady:] I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth just as we were commanded by the Father.  But now, Lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment but the one we have had from the beginning: let us love one another.  For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk.

This passage from 2 John makes it clear we must walk – walk in the truth and walk according to the commandments.  When we do so, we love as commanded by the Father.

If we cannot love one another – a tall order for someone we might have just met – we can at least show them respect and speak the truth, not lies.   Lies prevent respect, let alone love.  Lies have us walk in the dark and certainly not according to the commandments.   Lies blacken us and have us crawl rather than walk in the light.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Kingdom Among Us

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, "The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.' For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you."

This passage is key to our understanding the Kingdom of God.  It’s not when we die and “go to heaven.”  Where is heaven?  Why do we wait for our entrance to that domain, assuming it is even a place.  We suspect not.   It’s otherworldly and indescribable.   We can only use metaphors.

With a universe having billions of galaxies each having billions of stars with unfathomable distances between them all, God’s dwelling place can only be a mystery or properly considered as everywhere and at every time.  We can only imagine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Every Good Enterprise

Beloved: Remind them to be under the control of magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be open to every good enterprise. They are to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate, exercising all graciousness toward everyone.  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another.

But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

We now have a House that is controlled by the Democrats and a Senate that retains its Republican control.  If only Congress can be peaceable and considerate of differences.  If only there can be no slander and graciousness towards everyone.  Unlikely.  We can only hope there will be generosity and kindness.  Fat chance.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sound Doctrine

Beloved: You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine, namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance… For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.

We older men should abide by this “sound doctrine.”  Unfortunately, many of us do not such as President Trump, as well as his aggressive and hostile critics who denounce and mock him in the strongest terms.

We’re witnessing the worst of America’s politics and leaders – Democrats as well as Republicans – who need to be cleansed and obliged to do what is good.   Where is our temperance and our dignity?   I’d say temporarily lost as we endure current lawlessness and wait for older men, and women, to come to their senses.  For this we pray to God and our savior Jesus Christ.  Deliver us all from evil.

Deacon David Pierce

Monday, November 12, 2018

Forgive Us Our Sins

Jesus said to his disciples, "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur.  It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.  Be on your guard!  If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,'  you should forgive him."

This reading is about sin.   Today is Veteran’s Day, and we should ask all men and women in our Armed Forces (past and present) to forgive us our sins – the sins of sending them into unjust wars and impossible-to-resolve conflicts around the world.   We seek their forgiveness for taking them for granted and sending them into combat with unclear objectives and no definition of success.   Too many men and women have returned with the wounds of war and unending conflict – physical and psychological wounds that are difficult or impossible to heal.

Our political leaders using our armed forces as pawns in international affairs should have milestones put around their necks and be thrown into the sea for causing our military to unintentionally sin through drone killings of unarmed civilians, especially women and children.   The depths of the sea are appropriate places for leaders accepting casualties and maiming’s of service men and women and civilians as the cost of U.S. diplomacy and needed goods (such as oil) and services bolstering our country’s economy and their own and lobbyists’ coffers. 

Many thanks to our veterans!  Please forgive us our sins!

Deacon David Pierce

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Trustworthy In Small Matters

Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.  The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. 

If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?  No servant can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

“Liar, liar, pants catch on fire.”  It’s a commonly used expression nowadays especially when referencing the promises of politicians – many of our “leaders” whose noses grow after every broken promise. The thirst for money prompts many elected officials – especially those seeking or wanting to retain office – to serve mammon, not the people and certainly not God.  Money can  enslave those officials to those to whom they are beholden – and controlled.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Hang Him High

Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there.  He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, "Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace."

How we would love to drive out with a whip of cords those making the Capital a marketplace with votes to buy – not doves.   The only way to drive them out is through votes with the hope that new congressmen and women can overturn and turn the tables on those seeking power to serve their self-interests.

We know the money exchangers have been in Congress perhaps since its establishment – exchange of money for votes.  Men and women of integrity who refuse to compromise that integrity sometimes seem few and far between. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Focus

Jesus gave us commandments.    So did God to Moses on Mt. Sinai.    Here's a relevant cartoon.  Like God, we all need to focus - on the commandments as well as on our neighbors' needs.

Deacon David Pierce

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Possessions

Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?  Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.' 

Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?  But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.  In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."

Are we prepared to do what is necessary to properly and truthfully follow Christ?  What exactly does it mean to follow Christ?  It means to give up all our possessions, according to this reading from Luke.