CATCHING UP WITH MYSELF—Advent 3 & 4, and Christmas and New Year—WOW!!!

I have been caught up in my pastoral work around the Christmas season, the various fundraisers I do for the projects I manage, and Have not taken the time to post these when I should have.  I apologize for my tardiness, but I won’t promise to not do it again…  Life happens and that is how it works.  HAPPY NEW YEAR, and I pray for you all the peace, grace, blessings, and joy that is there for you. H

Advent

Advent

Joy! — Advent #3
John 4:9-11
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

So many promises of goodness!
In these claims made in the
Christian Testament,
it is so different from the threats in the
Hebrew Testament
when God formed a new order with
the Hebrew people, using Moses
and used threats and plagues and laws.
Now, God uses Jesus and
threatens nothing, yet offers everything,
demonstrating love through kindness
as the model for this new order.
Offering friends and enemies alike
what lies at the center of their deepest need,
Jesus sings counterpoint
to the serpent in the garden.
The Serpent plays to greed and ego
with a manipulative offer
so intriguing it seems it cannot be refused.
Jesus offers nothing of the sort,
just a cure for the ego,
which is a filling
of the empty sump-hole that fuels the greed.
In other words
to cure that very thing we so desperately deny.
But how can the elephant in the room be removed
if we deny it is there?
It is not simply a matter
of taking the offered water and drinking.
We suspect the water is more than water…
We want this thing called LOVE,
but
we can’t receive it
because to receive it
we would first have to admit
we are not truly loved,
and we do not know how to truly love.
I can hear God
beating on the walls of heaven and shouting,
“Just take the water,
already,
it tastes just like JOY!!!

From Whence the Living Water Springs Eternal

From Whence the Living Water Springs Eternal

Love, or Back to the Well — Advent #4
John 4:9-11
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Let’s think about love for a minute or two.
How much love
does it take to change a heart?
The answer is the same to this question
as it is to the question,
How long is a length of rope?
As long as you make it.
It takes as much love as it takes
to change a heart.
So,
how many times do we need to revisit
the well that springs Living Water
to have the waters
of our hearts and souls
refreshed and healed
so they might be whole again?
As many times as it takes.
We get chances in abundance!
The springs of living water are eternal,
and so are the number of times we get to revisit them.
The well, of course, is Jesus.
The one who holds the new
and unbreakable covenant for us.
The same one whose breath spoke upon the waters of creation.
The same one we discover each week
in the bread and cup.
The same one we await
in manger scenes around the world.
Have you ever felt a lift to your heart
when you witness an act of love?
That lift is the response of the love
of Jesus within you
responding to the love you experienced.
The well never goes dry
and you are welcome
to drink as freely
and as often
as you want.
The cup
from which we drink at Communion
is juice, or wine.
But it is also that living water
of which we are invited drink our fill…

When the Gift is Offered

When the Gift is Offered

Accept the Gift — Christmas
Isaiah 9:6
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Sometimes a gift is a burden.
Sometimes a gift is a joy.
Sometimes the burden of a gift is
grace unannounced and uncommonly precious.
Human babies
and other forms of new life:
puppies and duckies and kittens
come to mind,
as well as
new love
and graduation from
various levels of schools
and
the realization that we are not alone
on this earth to walk in darkness
through what has been divisively termed,
a vale of tears:
these are all gifts,
but they are all gifts that come with
the burden of responsibility.
And so it is with the gift of grace
Jesus brings into the world
through his birth and his living,
his dying, and rising.
Love beyond measure,
forgiveness beyond belief
healing beyond understanding
and life more abundant
than thought possible
is heaped on us unmeasured,
uncounted,
not calculated,
never computed,
and
forever multiplying in magnitude
and non-conditional.
All we are asked to do is accept it
and to pay it forward…

As With Hope

New Beginnings

Starting Again — Getting Ready for a New Year
Isaiah 43:1-4
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

One year is coming to completion,
another is waiting to begin,
and we are holding between each,
and while we may be ready for one to end,
we may be wondering
if we are ready for the next to start.
It is like we are standing by the waters
of the Jordan River
waiting to cross into the Promised Land,
and we are well aware
of how much the past has cost
in terms
of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy,
and we really don’t feel
we are up to the task of a new year.
Yet, the inevitable awaits.
There is a poignancy mingled in our joy
and our expectations for what is to come.
But God has a message for us who are beginning
this new year
with hope of a different future:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end…”
I think that if we are to make any kind of
New Year’s Resolutions
it should be to decide to truly believe,
and place our faith
in the God
who is represented in this passage…

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you—“

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