Saturday, January 29, 2011

Observation


There is a very wonderful icon in our Mother of God’s little Chapel – Holy Annunciation.
It is an icon of St. Peter raising St. Tabitha. St. Peter is standing above her as she is laying on her couch, while the women standing behind her are mourning. I was startled by what one doesn’t see as I was waiting for the service to begin. It is the triad that is part of the intent of the icon, God the third ‘person’ in that image.
(Note: In any icon there is always the "outside" image of God. God is seen in a variety of ways, as a small Christ with a blessing hand in the corner, or as in the case of the Annunciation icon or Descent of the Holy Spirit icon as a circle with rays and perhaps a dove descending and sometimes with no image depicted but an understood Presence.)_

How like the Trinity that is in concept, three persons, The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit, all entities loving one another in absolute harmony, and One in thought, in regard for one another, and in equality. Behold, the One who makes the healing possible. And what a revelation in the concept of healing. The doer, the do-ee, and the God Head making all things happen.

Returning to the theme of the previous two blogs written about giving to God on a personal level = it could be said that a gift needs to be especially aimed at the receiver. We wouldn’t give a cook a shovel, unless the cook also loved to garden.

One thing we surely know about God is how much He loves his people. What great lengths he has gone to help them out of their fall into sin! (departure from God).

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. (James 2:8)

The Peter/Tabitha icon is a type for who we need to be in our relation to God - as loving, helping people and in our relation to our neighbor - as loving, helping people.


Some background:
36In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcasb), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
39Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
40Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Strawberries


Continuing in the same vein, as the entry below, that is, moving in a truly personal relationship with God lets think about this. How does this work?

With a loved one you would say for example… ‘Here I brought you a chocolate truffle. I bought it just for you.’

This entails your going down to the store (time), using your money to buy something very special and maybe a little pricey (so perhaps there is some added sacrifice there), for the person that you love. In your attempt to show them how much you love them you step out of your way to do or even create something that is thoughtful and special for them.

How can one do that for God? Here is a beautiful example!

HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT MACARIUS THE GREAT
In Egypt, in the desert
Great loved reigned
Among the simple monks,
As in the kingdom of the saints.

Saint Macarius was
as a cherubim among them.
In every good deed
An example to the monks was he.

Macarius became ill;
For him, a monk went out to seek wild strawberries,
He went forth, he found, and he brought them
To soothe his elder's pain.

To partake of them, Macarius did not want,
He said, "There is a brother more ill.
Bring it to him; this gift is
more needed to that brother."

The second ailing brother cried and,
To the gift-bearer, said: "Forgive me!
But my neighbor is more needy
Of this charity than I."

The gift-bearer, the gift he took away
And, to that neighbor, gave it,
This one gave it to a third,
And that one to a fourth; all in order,

From cell to cell,
And from brother to brother,
Until the last one with the strawberries
To Macarius, at the door!

"Behold, father, you are ill!"
Macarius began to weep,
Seeing this wonderful brotherly love -
Neither did he want to eat.

He spilled them over the hot sand,
And, to God he gave thanks,
That the dead, arid desert,
Because of love, became Paradise.

The more a brother loves his brother
Than he loves himself:
"O Lord, the gift is this,
The gift of love, the gift from You!"

From the Prologue of Ohrid, St. Nikolai Velimirovch for January 19

Here is also an example of St. Nikolai's love of St. Marcarius and of God!

Monday, January 17, 2011

From Personal Blindness



I have been pondering my eyes,that are beginning, rather have begun... to be somewhat useless on their own for close work. I have to put on glasses now to read, where before I could at least squint and get by with it. It is frustrating as a physical reality.

But what does that me to me on a spiritual basis?

How much does God do for me in His amazing Mercy and Grace that I am unaware of?

That is the question of the week.


I see a lot of things that come my way by just thinking, 'Here is a need'. And before I know it, God in His graciousness has filled that need.

Hmmm.

I was thinking today while I was in the grocery store: 'I don't do enough for You.' So I bought an expensive bottle of olive oil to burn. I was surprised that was hard to do. The ready advice says, "What a waste of perfectly good money."

But then I did buy it...'Just for You because you are so wonderful to me.'
As I was taking it down from the shelf, I had another little conversation with myself, saying as I was thinking of buying it:

'Maybe I should give this same money to someone who needs it'. But it seemed very right to buy a really beautiful gift for my beloved God. So I did.

When I got outside the grocery store, there was a young woman who approached me and was begging, needing money to catch a bus home. She was running away from a brutal relationship. So I gave her half the fare. In retrospect I see that it was the same amount as the bottle of olive oil.

God gave me the opportunity to give to him in both ways today. Wasn't that interesting.

God is as close as one's calling upon Him (crying out to Him.)

How much more can I see if I look really closely.