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Posts Tagged ‘St. Patrick’

MicahEach year brings its challenges and dreams, its disappointments and surprises. I am alive, blessed with work and shelter, and healthy for the most part: for these things I give thanks. I want to keep my focus this year on the Christ within, the story that God has given us in scriptures to mark my way, and the people  around me to share the journey. I want to lead and I want to be led. I want to be a light and pierce the darkness. I want to count to ten before I speak ill of anyone. I want to practice contentment. I want to be a champion for joy.

My verse for this year is Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal [human], what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humblywith your God.

My long term resolve for this year in God is to

  • st patrick prayerTo read the Bible through again (daily), this time using one of the chronological plans where the poetic and prophetic chapters are interlaced with the historical. I found this particular plan at the website: Blue Letter Bible, if anyone cares to join me. It can start on any day of the year.
  • To re-imagine prayer and pursue an interior life, daily.
  • To celebrate what is good by dropping small notes into a jar and then reading them on 12/31/14, daily.
  • To respond to God’s will and submit to the Holy Spirit, daily.
  • To write. Daily.
  • To honor the gift of health by engaging my body in exercise, wellness, and nutritious eating, daily.
  • To order my spaces, not with guilt but with respect for the endowment God has provided.

Let it be so, dear Christ, dear Spirit within and without.

I invoke the Lorica Prayer of St. Patrick (in which lorica means body armor or protection), I enter this year with Christ.

 

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I do it all the time. I start a diet, lose weight, and then go back to my old eating habits. I order my space and vow to keep it that way, and before I know it, it’s trashed. I judge someone, ask for forgiveness, and judge again. Am I so weak? I am.

Galatians 4:9
But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?

What is the draw of the old way? I guess if I were an alcoholic or drug addict, I would be drinking and shooting up again. It’s destructive behavior and yet it’s familiar. It’s crazy-making [Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.] It’s the path of least resistance.

I am the Israelites in the desert who complained about the new way and wanted to go back to Egypt and slavery: they thought that would be better than their current struggle in the present time [Exodus 16:1-3].

Is it forgetfulness or is it mindlessness? Or both? When God brings change into my life, I am so happy and full of energy. I am clear headed and I see the big picture. I am focused. I am motivated. But once I reach a certain plateau in the process, it’s like hitting a wall. There is no movement forward. I lose track of those initial feelings and strength. Oh, I might try to climb the wall for a bit, I might even try to walk around it. But my drive to persevere is sucked away and I am left with my old self for company.

I say mindlessness because it feels like the opposite of mindfulness. It takes mindfulness to stay aware of the Christ Spirit within and without. It takes effort. It is a special type of wakefulness.

When I was in acting school I learned how to walk a tightrope in our circus class. The clue to tightrope walking is maintaining a focus on the end of the rope, the junction point. As soon as I would take my eyes off that point, I would lose my balance. As I tried to do more complicated maneuvers, it became harder and harder to maintain that focus. My little life is not much different.

Put me back on the tightrope today, with Christ ahead, my focal point.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me. (St. Patrick)

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Pastor Craig selected Titus 2:11-14 for our meditation today and I could barely get passed the first verse, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “no”…” I was caught by an idea, as we move toward doing good (the virtue piece of our plan in II Peter 1:3-11), I believe the opposite energy begins as well. Some people might call that Satan’s work, but no matter what you call the phenomenon, once you head out to do good, there is a force of darkness at work to send you back the other way.

I have always assumed that this was where “my role” in the process had to kick in. If I was a true Christian, then I should be able to overcome these temptations. I should be able to say “no,” especially after all that the Lord has done for me. And when I failed, I lost heart… I lost my forward momentum. Perhaps I wouldn’t go back, but I wouldn’t go forward either.

I have never thought about the power of “grace” to halt the negative flow or pressure. In essence, I am seeing grace as “having my back” now while I’m moving forward. Grace is the true power behind “self-control.” Grace is the fuel. Grace is applied without judgment. Grace is full of mercy and understanding. But never forget, Grace is is also full of power!

I can’t help but think of the Irish Blessing from St. Patrick (and with each mention of Christ, I think of Grace):

Christ be with me
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ in me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ on my right
Christ on my left
Christ where I lie
Christ where I sit
Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man
who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man
who speaks of me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me
Salvation is of the Lord.

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