Saturday, October 20, 2007

JOY... yet again!

The liberal devises liberal things, and seeks objects of charity. It must be with piety and devotion: The joy of the Lord is your strength. Let it not be a carnal sensual joy, but holy and spiritual, the joy of the Lord, joy in the goodness of God, under the direction and government of the grace of God, joy arising from our interest in the love and favour of God and the tokens of his favour (From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Nehemiah 8).

The joy of the Lord is your strength.

I don’t feel it. I wish to, though.

I feel like Job when he says: “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy” (Job 9:25).

Willing it won’t make it happen… or at least it hasn’t yet.

How do I survive, function as a Christ-follower in this condition? It is the condition in which I DO NOT feel strengthened by the joy of the Lord. Would somebody PLEEEASE answer that question!

In this context, the existential joy of being under God’s goodness and grace is that which motivates charity. I don’t generally live there.

I want to. How do I get there?

Sometimes I think if I just position myself and ponder God’s joy a lot, I will get it. I admit I feel much like Linus must have felt on the morning after Halloween. He had waited all night, expectantly, optimistically, regularly for the Great Pumpkin only to be once again disappointed.

Nothing happens many times.

God, in Christ, asks parabolically (Mt 20:16): “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?”

(Here is where I try to self-preach) God is good; He is a generous God of grace. He has given me Himself (“the keys to the Kingdom”); I cannot possess any more than I possess right this moment! Never mind that I live on this side of the full consummation of this inheritance, I have it – rather, it has me! – and “nothing can snatch me out of His Hand” (from Jn 10:28f)!

So, what am I complaining about?

Is it wrong to want the experience of joy?


I guess my prayer is for patience. I will still be Linus and pray for the gift of joy.

(Psalm 51:8) “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.”

Psalm 86:4) “Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”

(Psalm 45:7) “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Connecting With God's Heart ?

I was talking with my spiritual director yesterday - about a men’s retreat - and the subject of "connecting with God" in a way that, when it happens, I know that it happened. I told him how we had snippets of time to go off and reflect, and how I really longed to have some experience of God - one in which I sensed His Presence, His Arms around me, His encouragement, SOMETHING.

He said something like this: Isn't it interesting that you have a deep sense of longing (for something like what Adam had with God in the Garden prior to the Fall) as well as a deep sense that it isn't happening in a way you (legitimately) desire. This points to our being between the "already" and the "not yet" of the Kingdom. Longing for God is the "already" and the "it ain't happening the way I want" reflects the fallen world in which we live, the "not yet."

So, I wrote this while waiting for God to “do something.”

To connect with the Heart of God...
The silliest of all notions!
Yet, somehow we can...
And somehow we have to.

To connect with the Heart of God.
Is that like to connect with you?
God is the Giver of Life,
The blood that comes from His ... Heart.

To connect with the Heart of God
Is the only way we can live.
All other is merely device.
All other is ignorant fantasy.

The world needs you and me
To connect with the Heart of God.
No other way will they see
God as He really can be.

To connect with the Heart of God.
Is as easy as 1-2-3.
Why look anywhere else
To To truly ... be free.

So, where is the Heart of God?
How does it taste, how does it feel?
Please let it be real
For me to connect with Your Heart.