A moment of suspense

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You meet those who gladly do right,
    those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
    because you hid yourself we transgressed.
We have all become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
    and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name,
    or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
    and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
    and do not remember iniquity forever.
    Now consider, we are all your people.  Isaiah 64:5-9

Joy in the absence of feeling God’s presence can be challenging.  But we must trust. We must be obedient.  We must persevere.  In this scripture, though Isaiah is feeling abandoned, he remains faithful to God and pleads for Him to show himself again.  He likens himself and his people to clay in the potter’s hand, ready, to be molded and formed.  In times like this, we are to be aware, be fit and be ready.

Be aware of the inner workings of our hearts.  Listen deeply for the longings we have and what they are telling us about ourselves.  Be aware of the needs around us.  An awareness of the longings of others is essential as we are all connected and called together in some way.

Be fit.  We must continue to act on the knowledge of God even when the feeling of His presence is missing.  Be loving and do loving acts.  Continue to seek God and understanding.  Stay in the practice of your faith.

Be ready.  He will not leave you in suspense forever.  When the work of His hand begins to unfold, and His purpose is more and more evident, be ready to do that which His hands so lovingly molded you to do.

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you. And accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

 

 

A moment of doubt

 

but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” And he said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.”  Luke 22:31-34 (NRSV)

There are times when our faith may fail.  What then?   In this scripture, Peter is puffed up and telling Jesus he will not have doubt.  Jesus says “Oh, you will, but when you come back you will be strong enough to strengthen others.”

In John chapter 14 verse 6, “Jesus says I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”   This statement infers a lot, and we often use it as an exclusionary device for who is in and who is out.   This is a statement that causes me a good deal of doubt.  What if Jesus is not THE Way?  What if Christians are wrong?

I am currently reading The Book of JOY.  As I read,  I can’t help but think that the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, in their spiritual life, are in conversation with the same creator and the same God.   This opens a whole can of worms in the small box of faith I am at times most comfortable in.  My thoughts start swimming around, and I start questioning lots of scriptures.  This is good.  When my thoughts begin to settle again, I remember what I really know for sure.  God is Love.  Love with us and in us translates across cultures and religions.

Personally I am a Buddhist, and I consider faith very important.  but at the same time the reality is that out of seven billion people, over one billion people on the planet are nonbelievers.  So we cannot exclude them.  One billion is quite a large number.  They are also our human brothers and sisters.  They also have the right to become happier human beings and to be good members of the human family.   The Dalai Lama

Jesus’ teachings focus a great deal on unity.  We need to be unified with God and each other  This learning is simpler, narrowed down by the claiming of Christ as the only way to God.  Being united in love is much more difficult because we get uncomfortable with our differences.  Jesus, in the Gospels, shows us the way to love each other and the way to love God.  We love by serving and putting others ahead of ourselves.  In following Christ, my faith has a focus and a purpose.   The way to unity is love.  My doubts are transformed when I look outside myself and offer love to someone in need.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.Philippians 4:8NRSV

Personally, I am a Christian, and when I think about these things, I think of Christ.  What do you think of?