The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

The grace to die...

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” – Luke 23:46

I have sat at the bedside of many dying people over the years. As I visited we would talk about death and dying. I asked, “Are you ready to say, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit?” Many said, “Yes, I am.” Some said, “Not yet.” We talked about what it would mean for them to be ready to say these words. For some, there was still someone they wished to see before they departed this world. For others, there was someone they were struggling to forgive. Whatever the answer, I worked to help the unmet need to be met.

Most of us, reading this meditation, see our day of destiny with death as some distant, future event; there may be some reading this for whom that day is not so distant. Life is terminal; we do not get out of this world alive. Someday we will have to let go of our life and give it back to our Creator. Pray for the grace to say, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” – Ron Friesen

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Are you thirsty?

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” – John 19:28

What was Jesus thirsting for? Many scholars believe that Jesus was thirsty because he craving some relief for his parched body hanging out in the blazing Middle Eastern sun. In his humanity Jesus was like us and endured all of the frailties of human existence. When we look to the cross this Holy Week we know that the One hanging there understands all of our humanity. We have a God who knows our struggles, our disappointments, our fears, our temptations; we are not alone in our suffering.

There is another understanding of these words, “I thirst.” The night before Jesus carried the cross to the mount, he prayed about drinking from a cup that he wished he would not have to drink from:

“He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)

Jesus was embracing an old Hebrew metaphor of death in these words. What is Jesus thirsting for? He is asking to drink from the cup of death. He drinks the cup of death so that our souls who quench for Life never have to drink this cup. Jesus was thirsty for us so we never have to be thirsty again. – Ron Friesen