The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Are you angry?

Have you ever been really angry? No, I mean really angry. So angry that you wanted to see babies thrown on rocks and their bodies smashed?

Well, not sure if I have ever been that angry. Been pretty angry in my lifetime.

Here is the Palmist expressing his anger over being hauled off to a foreign country and enslaved:

Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us.

Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. – Psalm 137:8-9

Why would the Bible record this kind of raw, human anger? Is God saying it is okay to drop newborns onto rocks?

The Bible never sanitizes the raw reality of human emotion. There are days that people do get so angry that they wish terrible evil on the children of their enemies. “After all beat me up but don’t touch my children,” we say. It is difficult to express your anger more powerfully than to say you wish terrible tragedy on someone’s child.

God did not strike the Psalmist dead for expressing his anger in this most violent manner. God is big enough for your anger. God already knows how angry you are; just admit it. – Ron Friesen

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sing me a song...

Many followers of Jesus think that their faith is under siege. Around them they see people attacking their beliefs and the practice of these beliefs. It isn’t the first time that the followers of God have found themselves surrounded by unfriendly forces. Over 2,500 years ago God’s people were hauled off to be slaves of a foreign power. There captors taunted them to sing praises to God in face of the toil of forced labor and homelessness. The Psalmist, recording this experience, asks:

How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? – Psalm 137:4

If we are going to faithfully live our faith in a post-Christian world, we will need to learn to sing the songs the Lord in a foreign land. What do you think? – Ron Friesen 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Dark Night completed

The Dark Night Completed

O, the bliss of the lilies
amongst whom my cares rest.
Trumpets of white and yellow
sanctuary the heart’s burden
in tenderness and security.

I sought this field of care
with abandon and forgetfulness
a search for the Beloved
who alone could satisfy my soul
pained in hungering desire.

Satisfied I must take the love
the Beloved has bestowed
to a world covering its soul pain
in accumulated goods hiding
the true diagnosis.

O, how my heart desires
To bury my face in the breast
of holy love, yet
true love is only known
in generosity.

Dandelion and thistle around me
testimonies of false promises
of beauty and protection.
Only those who rest in lilies
know Beauty and Protection.

Light and hope unfold in the leaving
To touch those whose homes
Dark and concealed
Cry out for the Beloved
-         Ah, the sheer grace! –

Ronald Friesen © 2011

Friday, April 25, 2014

Living in the Shadow...

The picture is of people running down the street fleeing a huge cloud of dust and smoke. It is a photograph burned into my mind of September 11, 2001. The cloud of dust and smoke created a giant shadow over the panicking victims.

Many people live in shadows: some of their own making, many of them created by life around them. It is tempting to live our lives under these shadows, feeling we are going to be overtaken any minute.

Yet there is another shadow we can live under. It is not a shadow created by us or by life; it is a shadow created by a God who wants to have a personal relationship with us. A few thousands of years ago, the Psalmist captured this truth:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:1-2

Today is another opportunity for us to move our lives from the shadow of panic into the shadow of God wh

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Epilogue: The Good News of Easter

The Good News of Easter
She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” – John 20:14-16
There are two heart-felt needs we all have: someone to recognize our tears and some one to know our name.
In the first instance, we want acknowledgement of our pain. It easy to get someone to smile with us; it is more difficult to find some one to cry with us. We really don’t care if they know our name or if we know their name: all we ask for is some one to validate our pain. Easter is about the Suffering Jesus seeing our pain – whatever it might be.
In the second instance, we want acknowledgement of our existence: someone to know our name. The theme song of television show, Cheers, was “Where everyone knows your name.” That is all anyone of us wants: someone to know our name. The God of heaven knows your name. God invites you to come to the empty tomb and celebrate the victory over death. – Ron Friesen

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"It is finished!"

"It is finished!" - John 19:30

What is finished, Jesus? A few days earlier Jesus and the Father were having a talk (we call it a prayer) when Jesus said,

Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (John 17:1-5)

What is Jesus talking about? What is finished? It cannot be the establishment of the church as this was not to happen for several moths. What is finished is the full revelation of who God the Father is in the world. To know Jesus is to know the Father; to meet Jesus is to meet the Father. What is God like? Love, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, friendship, strength, grace under fire… - Ron Friesen