Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Celebrate Michaelmas!

St. Michael the Archangel, Kiev Square, Ukraine

... or the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels! Wikipedia says this about the Archangel Michael, "He is one of the principal angelic warriors, seen as a protector against the dark of night, and the administrator of cosmic intelligence."* Um... understatement.

In Revelation 12 Michael and the angels of the Lord fight the dragon (Satan) and his angel followers ... in the final defeat. The deceiver is thrown out of heaven and then a loud voice cries out, "Now the salvation and the power and kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come for the accuser ... has been thrown down ... ! ... And, they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony ...." (12:10-11) If you could have anyone fight by your side in addition to Jesus (of course) St. Michael is a good choice.

A couple of years ago I took an iconography class where we painted an icon of St. Michael. Since then I have painted him over and over, wanting to listen to his voice and learn it. For the one he protects, his is a voice of hope and en-couragement and confidence. For the one against him, Michael's is a war cry that sounds his defeat. He has become an important player in my awareness of all that goes on in the heavenlies ... the protector against the dark of night and the one who sends messengers and warriors into the battle.

In the book of Daniel it is Michael who comes to the aid of Gabriel. It is because of Michael that Gabriel makes it through the war to Daniel delivering his message of hope and deliverance.

I find it an amazing thing to look back on the history of the Ukraine and see that above the city of Kiev stands this Archangel ... protecting, keeping ,fighting for its people. He stands above it on both ends of the square.

St. Michael the Archangel, Kiev Square, Ukraine

Do you see him on the other end, standing victorious upon the pillar? And, the people below ... under his protection, angel warriors sent by the Almighty to keep them.

Dr. Allen Ross says that one angel lifting one finger could defeat the enemies of God. That's an angel. What about an Archangel? We have the hosts of heaven keeping us under the protection of the blood of the Lamb. Praise be to God! Yes, praise be to God!

Lord, send your mighty angels to do battle for us and keep us in the powerful care of your hand.
In the Name ... Jesus ... Hashem ... AMEN.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

On the road again ...

... but this time the destination is a more permanent one: Lake George, New York. Four weeks ago, the Vestry and Search Committee of St. James Episcopal Church called me to be their next Rector and I accepted.

St. James Episcopal Church, Lake George NY

This is the culmination of 2 years and 8 months of prayer ... not only my prayers but the many who walked this journey with me. And, it answers the prayers of the St. James' Family who have asked God to grant them discernment and wisdom during their search for their next Rector.

What amazes me is God's incredible weaving of all the various strands of prayer. Every thread of warp and woof (or is it weft?) of this tapestry was woven so that at the perfect time we would come together in agreement that this was indeed God's plan. Over the past years it took great courage for all of us ... those who prayed with us and for us as well as for the Vestry, Search Committee, and me ... to say "no" when our hearts wanted to say "yes", and to wait when we wanted to act. One of the greatest lessons in all of this has been learning to listen to the heart of God for what He wanted to do ... in us and through us.

The lectionary for this coming Sunday talks about Solomon asking God for wisdom to lead the people of God. "Understanding mind" can be translated "listening heart". We all need to ask God for "listening hearts" – hearts that are tuned to His frequency, listening for His voice, His transmission of what he desires for us, His blessing for us. There are so many times we want to jump ahead, get going, step on the gas ... but He asks us to wait, say "no", be still. Ugh! Please can't we get going?

No. Wait. Listen. And, Understand.

Solomon asked for a heart that listened to the heart of God in order to govern and lead His people. Don't we need that same listening in order to live this life with{IN} Christ? It's not necessarily something that comes naturally BUT we can learn to do. I know we can, because I have learned to do this over the last few years. (And, I continue to learn!) I testify that it reveals the wonderful and amazing ways of our Master. I witnessed how he marvelously provided for me over the last few years and now, I get to go to St. James, Lake George. What a blessing!

Ask with me. Ask for the LORD God to grant us listening hearts that will understand and discern the ways of God that we may live life wisely ... full of His grace and peace.

Abundant and scandalous blessings of God our Father to you as you listen for Him. +++

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Crazy Christians

Over 200 years ago 13 colonies took crazy measures to join together for the cause of freedom and liberty. Many among them were Christians navigating very dangerous and challenging waters of that revolution ... in this country and in the church ... to bring about a historic birth of The United States.

Although we live in this nation where we know countless blessings of freedom and liberty, we continually must navigate very dangerous and challenging waters of our times. Recent news events demonstrate this. Yet, as Christians we know the true freedom and liberty in Jesus Christ and our work here is to bless others in our family, community, and nation with that blessing. Now, is the time for Crazy Christians to join together for the cause of blessing the nations.

At The Episcopal Church's General Convention Presiding Bishop Elect Michael Curry challenged us to be Crazy Christians for Jesus Christ.  
"Mine eyes have seen the glory ..."

Wednesday, July 1, 2015