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3 x S = 42

Have you ever wanted “The Answer”?Cosmic Twist

“What answer?” you reply.

THE Answer. You know… THE ANSWER.  Like the Answer to The Question. The Great Question. The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything!

For those of us who are Douglas Adams fans, we know how he dealt with the Question and the Answer… thus:

 

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Well, this has never entirely satisfied me, though I applaud Adams’ willingness to take on the subject. Libraries for centuries untold have been filled with the efforts of sages to solve the Mystery of Life. And, while my conclusions may well differ from Sage Adams here, I must say that a lot of my cogitation shares some strong commonalities.

So, here and now, I’d like to submit my own, subjective, non-scientific, anecdotal, take-it-or-leave-it-as-you-please, contribution to…

The Answer… to Life, the Universe, and Everything…

It is… 3 x S (Read as: “Three times S”)

[Consistent with the style of Adams, we will first describe the Answer, and then consider… What is the Question?]

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S1 = “Superabundance”

The First “S” is “superabundance”, the provision for needs vastly beyond the degree of need. Quantity, quality, diversity… so overwhelming that the result is not merely satiation and satisfaction, but actual delight. Take the Garden of Eden, for example… all the foods available there, all the grains, grasses, fruits, vegetables. The delight and companionship of animals of every description. The mist of the morning, the clarity of the stars, the cool of the evening, the wonder of the sun and moon. Or Psalm 23, being led beside the still waters, sitting at a prepared table, being comforted.

This is to be free of need, and free of greed.

Could it be that the very first requirement of true “Happiness”… of “Wholeness”… is to be free of need?

S2 = “Safety”

The Second “S” is “safety”, the protection from or absence of anything that could threaten or cause harm. Was there anything unknown in Eden to be afraid of at the start? It has never ceased to amaze me that God set man to nurture and tend the Garden (often super-interpreted to mean “God sent man off to WORK, first of all!”… but… what was the “work”? He was assigned to do two things… tend/serve/nurture… and protect/hedge about. But, what did Adam need to DO? Mist rose in the morning to water all, the soil was rich with the vibrancy of pure primal life, there were as yet no “weeds” or “bad plants”, nor any pests or predator bugs or animals. A Garden initially arranged and landscaped by God wouldn’t require a lot of transplanting and corrective design. All that “sweat of brow” and “thorns and thistles” thing came AFTER the fall.

This is to be free of threat, and free of fear.

Could it be that the second requirement of true “Happiness”… of “Wholeness”… is to be utterly safe and free of fear?

S3 = “Significance”

The third “S” is “significance”, the sense that one is meaningful, important, and treasured to at least one other person. In the Garden, there was first… Adam. Adam and God, there they were. Made in God’s image, male and female, Adam and Eve created in God’s own image. Given free reign of the Garden. Able to eat of all but one tree. Naming each animal as presented by God. Called forth to walk with Him in the cool of the evening. Important to God, you think? Significant? Treasured? Or as in Psalm 23, sitting down at a table prepared for man by the Lord in the presence of enemies? Head anointed with oil? Cup running over? To dwell in God’s house forever?

This is to be acknowledged, important, treasured. This is to be free of the all too common fear that we and our lives are meaningless, that we are but cattle in a herd, a nameless cipher among a crowd of equally insignificant parts.

Could it be that the third requirement of true “Happiness”… of “Wholeness”… is to be utterly significant and treasured?

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As I pondered these potential “Answers”, and began to focus on the “Question”, I realized that this is a bigger answer than I can even define. This seems to hold true on every scale, in every application. Countries, races, kingdoms, empires go to war over a lack in one or another of these. Wars and genocides happen when a people gathers strength in order to meet what they consider a “need”, or a “threat”, or the hunger for “prestige”. States go to civil war for what seem to be the same reasons. Families feud, political parties wrangle, and individuals fight, maneuver, argue over these same perceived places of emptiness.

What to do? How do we promote joy, happiness, peace… “Wholeness” and Love?

Each of us have our own piece of Kingdom, our own relationships, our own sphere of influence. Whether this is community, home, workplace, church, or even one relationship at a time…

We know we are to “Love”, but that often breaks down at the “How do we do that?”

What if we try these three…

That every encounter be nurturing, meeting what need stands before us in the moment? Often the need is just some time and attention. Perhaps it is a meal, or a cool drink of water, or a gentle touch, or hug. (Obvious professional cautions apply, depending on the nature of the relationship.) Sometimes, the need is just silent presence.

That every encounter be safe, free of fear? Not just fear of physical harm or danger, but fear of being made to feel bad. Fear of being judged. Fear of being shamed or made to feel small or wrong. What if in each moment, someone felt their burdens lightened in your presence, rather than made heavier?

That every encounter be important and significant? That in the moments of interaction, the other person, group, party, were treasured as relationship to you? As if they were treasured by God Almighty? What if no one were an “interruption” or an “annoyance” or a “burden”, but rather they were a blessing to you as you are meant to be to them?

What’s the question, then?

What if the question is, “How has God always intended us to relate to one another?”  What does it take to live a blessed joyful life? The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything…

And, how do we bring this about in our homes, our days, and our churches?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

3 x S = 42?

Maybe so. I just ponder these things now and again…

Grace to you, Gentle Reader! Bless! — The Little Monk

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To what shall I liken the Kingdom? — The Faberge Egg

egginside I awoke this morning with this phrase ringing through my mind, “To what shall I liken the Kingdom?”…

And I remembered, when I was a little kid, the fabulous Easter Egg Dioramas. Remember them? They were made of sugar, spun sugar (the expensive real ones), and then when my daughter was a child they were often styrofoam. But there was a little window on the end, and you would look in and see this fabulous scene!

Maybe it was a circus, maybe Disneyland, maybe an airport. The “eggshell” was thin white, or decorated some, but light would show through at this wonderful magical scene inside…

I may be showing my age here, because I cannot find any images of exactly what I mean, so perhaps you’ve never gotten to see or hold one. If that’s the case, just imagine with me a moment then…

As I woke, it came to me… One could liken the Kingdom to holding this fabulous Faberge Egg in their hands, looking through the window at all the tremendous joy, blessing, and promise contained therein.

But wait, there’s more… It’s as if, when we looked inside, we were drawn within. That all that joy, blessing, and adventure were there… accessible to us… merely by prayer. That when we “look inside the egg”, when we “pray”, when we focus on the things of Kingdom rather than the mundane things of our lives… we got drawn INSIDE, and could spend the entire day in celebration, in joy, in loving abandonment of all worries, concerns, anxieties, simply safe and celebrating inside the safety of that Egg, securely held in the hands of our Love Father and Jesus.

But wait, there’s more… It’s as if, when we get the the end of this day of celebration within the Egg… when sadly we reflect that it is time to go… it’s time to return to the mundane world of our everyday lives… Our Father and Jesus and Their Breath tell us the Most Wondrous Part! We get to take ALL this BACK WITH US!

How incredible!

To find the Egg. To find the Treasure. To find the Pearl of Great Price… REALLY to FIND IT… is to realize that, however wondrous is our time INSIDE the Egg when we have the freedom to go and do that… We have the unutterable privilege, the unspeakable joy, to BRING ALL THAT OUT WITH US!

I woke this morning, laughing. Not derision, just pure joy.

We never have to “sadly return” from the Joy. We never HAVE to be “exiled to this valley of tears”. We have been given permission to BRING Kingdom here, into our days, into our homes, into our workplaces, among those we love, among family and friends, into the community among acquaintances and strangers… into our streets, among even the odd or the evil.

It’s an amazing truth of what Jesus did… But so many Christians… wondrous, loving, spirit-filled Christians, SEE the inside of that Egg and eagerly await being set free of this earthly tent and mortal frame of our bodies, that in heaven we may celebrate the fullness of Kingdom, once we die and go to heaven.

And yet… and yet… my heart so yearns. Jesus has brought it HERE. That we HAVE Life, and that more abundantly! That God so loved the ENTIRE WORLD that He gave Jesus to bring “the life of heaven itself”… HERE!

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Where do you keep your Egg, Gentle Reader? Take a moment, get apart, go find it. Find the box, find the sock, find the old briefcase, find that hiding place in your heart where you hid the treasures “too good, too fragile, to share with anyone else… lest they get broken”. Go, just for a bit, and pull out your Egg. (I know you have one. Our Father has given each of us one.)

Go find your Egg for a bit. Stare in that little hole/window. Let Him pull you inside to play for as long as you need to. Laugh, play, be His child… no work, no worries, no hassles… (just for a little while).

And then, when He says, “It’s time to go  home now,” and stretches out His hand to leave for the day… When you feel that moment of childlike “heart sink”, thinking you have to leave all this and return to the drudgery of “the world”…

Watch Him turn and ask, “Would you like us to take all this back out with us?”

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What do you say?

Grace — LM

 

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2016 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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Never Too Busy

telephoneI have just wakened from a delightful dream, and it led me to an even more delightful realization, and this needed to be shared.

My dream was of a very busy, very responsible, very wonderful friend. Over the years they have graced me with much of their time, guidance, teaching, and regard. Nowadays, they are very busy, very responsible, doing many things, have moved into some directions different from my own… and, while I am yet welcome to communicate with them, they choose not to respond. This is sad, but understandable. They have many important things to deal with constantly, and I can manage things on my own just fine. So, yet I communicate, but without response. I rather think of it like being dead. From my side of the relationship, they live. From their side, I am dead. And, I endeavor to be as courteous and considerate a corpse as I can. I figure we will have eternity to “catch up”, so no harm, no foul.

But this dream was so simple. My friend called me, and simply stayed on the line as many hours of my day went past. It was, of course, quite strange… but time and again, someone would need my attention, distract me from the call, I would deal with their need, then return to the phone to say.. “Are you there?”, simply to hear, “Yes, I’m still here. Let’s go on.” And there would be such joy in my heart! It was wondrous.

When I woke, I was still caught in a cloud of great joy. I gathered that my friend was well. I knew the Lord had done a “connection thing” as so often He does, and that was fabulous. And beyond all else I was again reminded of the Oneness, the Communion, that is the Church and the Family of Christ. We are all One, always… never truly apart… the Communion of Saints as our liturgical brethren put it… Church Triumphant, Church Militant, Church Suffering.

But what was so heart warming wasn’t WORDS. It wasn’t conversation, particularly. It was PRESENCE. It was what is coming to be called “mindfulness” in the literature nowadays. Simply the regard in which, the respect for one another, of people. (I’ve said elsewhere, the two fundamental needs I find people have are the need for significance, and the security of love from isolation and abandonment. “To be treasured” is the phrase I find that covers both, and utterly describes what God holds towards man, and what we seem to hunger for from Him and from one another.) Anyway, I woke feeling satisfied, filled, joyful, peaceful… and God rode the crest of this wave to another place… where I needed to invite you.

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I realized… (and I know, it’s kind of embarrassing to say stuff I know we all already know… but anyway…) I realized that we have this CONSTANT open line with GOD… and He’s NEVER so busy that we hear, “Well, I’ll get back to you later!”

Isn’t that astonishing?

I mean, REALLY?

God… TREASURES… you and me…

Individually!

It’s one of those “Infinite” things… that He’s NEVER too busy for us. He not only “has all the time in the world”, but He has it an infinite number of times over. To turn to Him, to talk to Him, even to COMPLAIN at Him (cf. Psalms)… is never a waste of His time. Simply to be looking His way, talking His way, thinking His direction, is to engage the fullness of Him in marvelous ways. How important does that make you? Is a measure of the degree to which we are “treasured” by another… the extent to which they will relate to us? engage with us?

Do you ever find yourself rolling your eyes and drumming your fingers when someone on the phone is “wasting your time”, and you are ready to tell them “you’ll let them know?” So.. like… what about God? Do you ever think He rolls His eyes, drums His fingers? I’ve heard people tell me they always feel like apologizing when they pray, or that they only pray about “important things”, because God has to be so dreadfully busy running the universe and all that… who do they think THEY are to imagine that He gives a rip about their piddledy pooh problems? This always makes me shake my head, but I can’t always find words the person can relate to, to help them imagine how far their fears are from the depth and breadth of God’s heart of love for them! He WAITS on their attention, if they can imagine that! All too often, they cannot.

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I have two grandchildren. One is seven, the other five. In recent months they have begun to ask to call me on the phone. These calls delight me. These are precious and important to me. For the seven year old, it is usually about some challenge either overcome or not, and wanting to share with me the experience. The five year old? To be honest, the Mom still has to translate for me a great deal.

Is their “conversation” profound or important?
I suppose not, as the world sees things.

Are they a “waste of my time”?
I suppose, as the world sees things.

Should I decline to take their calls, or rush off the phone to do more important things?
I suppose, as the world sees things.

But… not as *I* see things. No! Why? Not because of their significance or importance in and of themselves… but because of the relationship between us, between them and me.

Their Calls Are Important… because I Treasure THEM! They are precious to me, and I hold them dear to my heart.

And so God does with me.

And so God does with you. God TREASURES you, and delights in the time you attend to Him!

Isn’t that Awesome!?

Grace to you! — The Little Monk

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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