Posts Tagged ‘ grace ’

Torn Loved Ligament

The Daily Selectionary

Monday, January 17, 2011

Today’s Readings:

Daily Office Readings: (AM) Psalm 25;(PM) Psalm 9, 15
Isa. 44:6-8,21-23; Eph. 4:1-16; Mark 3:7-19a

Eucharistic ReadingsHeb. 5:1-10; Psalm 110; Mark 2:18–22

 

Torn Loved Ligament

Christopher Hodge

 

Ephesians 4:1-16

1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.” 9 (When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

                It amazes me how connected we all are.  We were all birthed out of the same moment of creation.  If we are the products of a six day sovereign God view, or a big bang in the darkness of the universe thought pattern, whether or not God pulled the trigger and created scientific theories, it makes no matter other than that all of creation is connected.  When the wind blows through the rustling leaves of a two hundred year old Live Oak, and that breeze brushes my hair and whispers in my ears, I start to feel the connection to all of which has been created; The squirrel on the massive limb along with the Brown Thrasher singing, hidden under the canopy of green connects with my consciousness and places it all together.  If we can block out the sound of cars and the stenches and poisons of human irresponsibility, if we will just allow ourselves to feel, it will be easy to acknowledge the interchange.

                In the reading from the selection from Ephesians today, Paul deals with our connectivity to the Spirit of Christ.  “But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”  Paul is not giving an anatomy lesson.  Nor is he speaking of the mechanics of just one simple human body.  He is using the knowledge he had been taught in anatomy and making a parallel to the workings of a human body to that as the “body of Christ” as a whole.  Paul is saying that because of Christ’s love for us, he has given us all gifts out of his love.  We are connected to Christ.  It is through his followers that his love can travel, become mobile, and extend to all hearts across the vastness of the planet.

                But just as we are out of synch with our whole selves when one part of our body is not performing in its full capacity, so is the whole body of Christ when one of it’s members is not performing to its fullest.  The state of the church currently is wounded for sure.  There are torn ligaments slowing the maturity and growth of the love of Christ within us.  Because the whole body is not at one hundred percent, those aching tendons make the body of Christ cranky.  Look at the many warring factions of Christianity in the world.  Instead of embracing the differences and diversities and looking to see how each individual parts work to promote healthy workings of love as a whole, the body has been turning on itself.  And if Christ is the Head, imagine the headache that the warring ligaments have caused him.

                I have wondered much what it will take to get all body parts working together instead of rejecting each other.  I have at times been cynical if the body will ever work at full capacity.  If Christ is love and we are all part of Christ, and we are now making up his body on Earth, imagine what the world would look like if that body of love were free to roam about without the pain of torn ligaments.  If the body could function properly and work in the same direction, then the Kingdom of Heaven would finally be free to glisten and glimmer in the light of the sun on the Earth.

Daily Scripture readings are taken from The Revised Common Lectionary and can be read in full at www.satucket.com/lectionary.  NRSV translation of the Holy Scriptures.  Please feel free to pass along this devotion to whomever you feel may benefit from it. – © Christopher Hodge  2011   email: ChristopherHodgeWriter@gmail.com

The Chlorinated Frog

The Daily Selectionary

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today’s Readings:

Daily Office Readings: (AM) Psalm 119:1-24; (PM) Psalm 12, 13, 14 
Isa. 41:1-16; Eph. 2:1-10; Mark 1:29-45 

Eucharistic ReadingsHeb. 2:14-18
Psalm 105:1-15; Mark 1:29-39

 

The Chlorinated Frog

Christopher Hodge

 

Ephesians 2:1-10

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

                One late evening, back toward the end of the summer, I was wading through the clubhouse pool.  The water was starting to get cooler by the minute it seemed and the beads of chlorinated water on my shoulders began to rival the goose bumps that were starting to form.  From the corner of my peripheral I could see that my partner and I were not alone.  Swimming faster than his legs could paddle was a tiny Rain Frog.  I don’t know if the little thing knew it or not, from his frantic behavior he probably did know – but he had jumped into something out of which he was not going to be able free himself.  The poor creature was just following his desires.  He saw water and he took a dive.  In the past I had seen many frogs just like this one who sadly ended their last heartbeat in that swimming pool.  I decided then and there that this cute swimmer would not experience that same fate.

                It took probably about the next thirty minutes trying to get the frog to safety.  With the sloshing of the water, the fright of the frog propelling him away from us, my partner and I were having an ill attempted drive to free him.  There were a couple of times that I did succeed in catching him, only for him to slip back out of my hands into the even colder pool.  Eventually we did it.  I cupped him in my hands and brought him to a bed of grass where he sat a few moments then flopped himself into the dark away from the intruding humans.  I don’t know if he was thankful.  Did he know what had just happened?  Maybe no.  But maybe so.  I will never know.

                I can compare the passage from Ephesians to our adventure in the pool that night.  That frog did not see the danger he had gotten himself into, but I recognized it.  I could have left him to his own demise, but I decided to help.  I had never met the frog before.  He had never done anything for me.  Actually, he didn’t even know who I was.  Out of my love for all of God’s creation, I did not think about any of that.  I began my scooping routine immediately upon recognizing the little amphibian’s plight.  It was grace.  He tried to get away from me because he did not know any better.  He was headed for death, and I wanted to stop that from happening as best as I could. 

                We who are living in this world have been given the same token from the saving grace of Christ Jesus.  At times we flail our legs in the water trying to escape his hands from guiding us to safety.  We have never physically met Him or have we audibly heard him speak to us, no deed we do will ever compare of his sacrifice for us on Golgotha, yet none of that matters.  His grace still keeps us from eternal death.  No matter how many times we jump back into that pool circling around in confusion, he jumps back in with us, attempting to scoop us back out again.

                I can only pray that after I left that night that the frog did not decide to find the pool again and take another dive.  I would not have been there to save him again.  Thankfully, God never leaves us.  He will always attempt to lead us to safety time and time again.

Daily Scripture readings are taken from The Revised Common Lectionary and can be read in full at www.satucket.com/lectionary.  NRSV translation of the Holy Scriptures.  Please feel free to pass along this devotion to whomever you feel may benefit from it. – © Christopher Hodge  2011   email: ChristopherHodgeWriter@gmail.com