Monday, December 26, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
We are empowered to move beyond thinking about God, and intellectualizing our faith, into knowing God in daily life. God is real, God lives in us, and God is available to us in the present moment. It is unfortunate that in many of the distractions of the sentimental customs and the myths that surround Christmas – as much fun as they are and as much joy as they offer – we have lost much of the power of the Incarnation, the knowledge and meaning of “Emmanuel," God with us in our own lives and in the life of the world. Life with God is all about relationship with God and with one another.
Friday, December 9, 2011
We live in extremely anxious and troubled times. Nationally and around the world there is a fierce anger, frustration, self-centeredness and attitude of greed and lust for power. There is an genuine of fear of job loss, homelessness, poverty, and, for many, there is a prevailing sense of hopelessness. This is all in addition to the usual seasonal anxiety of too much activity, too many tasks to accomplish, all producing too much stress in our lives, and too much distress in the lives of those around us. We are left with questions of where are we now with all of this and what is next, not to mention the ongoing everyday demands of family, church, friends, and our own inner drivenness to accomplish, to succeed, or to simply survive. This is all enough to wear down the most well disciplined and committed saint. We can lament the loss of the real meaning of Advent. I complain about this every year, but I doubt seriously that we can make it any different than it is. As much as we would like to be able to ignore the realities of secular living they are not going to disappear. So, how are we to live out the contemplative part of our relationship to God and with one another?
It is now, in the reality of the present moment, that the hush of grace descends upon us. This is the time to acknowledge every anxiety, every fear, every sadness, every pain of unreconciled relationships, every unresolved crisis, every need to understand, every desire to control, and then turn them over to God and simply be still. It is in stillness and grace that we are able to recognize and to receive the greatest gift of all — the incarnation of God in Christ. What this means is not simply some theological theory, but it means that God is one with us. God is participating in the life of creation. God is directly a part of our life -- not only in a text book, not just in the Bible, not hypothetically in the words of some preacher, but, in fact, in as real a way as possible. God is in our daily life and the Holy One lives in us and with us. Now, I want you to understand that I really believe this — we live in the sure hope of the reality of the presence of God personally and directly in the present moment.
"This is not God in a cloud, or God in a sunset, or God in tablets of stone, or God as a moral force, or God as a theological concept. Not God in a sermon or in a sacrament. But the humanization of God. The naturalness of God. The simplicity of God. The unprecedented self-communication of God."
---- H. King Oehmig