The Wandering Desert Monk

The Wandering Desert Monk

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Advent 1 - God came into your ragged-edged life

Christmas is a story of God living on the ragged edge. For the next five Sundays, I will be sharing my thoughts on why the story of the first Christmas is very relevant in 2016.

This is the first Sunday of Advent – God uses a young, unmarried woman to bear his Love Gift.

When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s there was a social stigma attached to any woman who became pregnant without the benefit of marriage. There was even more stigma attached to the child born to such a woman. The word, bastard, was often associated with the child born to an unmarried woman. Throughout history, the negative attitude toward children born out of wedlock has marked one of the most denigrating ways to destroy a person’s character. To call a person “a bastard” even if they were born to a married couple was to call into question their character.

You can imagine the stigma attached to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The whispers were all over the village. “You know Anna’s girl? Shhh, I just found out she is pregnant and she isn’t married.” The village gossips were busier than bees at a newly discovered field of flowers. God choses to create a story of disrepute to identify with a broken world; a world shattered by worst of human destruction.

Christmas is God’s story of how God specializes in spending time with those whose lives are on the ragged edge. Maybe your reputation has been sullied by past choices or by the rumors in your community. Maybe your life is in shambles. Christmas is God entering into your ragged-edged life.

Ronald Friesen © 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Real Thanksgiving Feast

While we, Americans, are sitting around tables laden with food, there is a feast awaiting the children of God which makes any table we sit around sound look like a kids McDonald's meal

R. (Rev. 19: 9a) Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.

R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.

R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him; bless his name.

R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

For he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.

R. Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

- Psalm 100

Sunday, November 13, 2016

God rules with justice

This is the Lectionary reading from Psalms for today. I think it is a fitting reading for the first Sunday after the US election:

R. (cf. 9) The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.

R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.

R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Before the LORD, for he comes
for he comes to rule the earth,
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.

R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

-Psalm 96

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

God is in Charge!

(Note: This was written before the US Election. It applies for whoever wins)

God is in charge!

The Bible begins with an assumption – “In the beginning, God....” (Genesis 1:1). The Bible is a sacred writing about God and God’s work in the world. Our starting point is always God. Anything less than God makes our thinking clouded and imperfect.

A Christian worldview is a theocentric or God-centered worldview.

God is at work in the world achieving his purposes.

The Bible is HIStory; God’s activity in the world.

Daniel 2:19- 21

During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.

Romans 13:1

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

How do we respond to God’s ordained government?

I Peter 2:11- 17 11 

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (Compare I Peter 3:15-16)

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. (Compare Romans 13:3-5)

15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Our responsibility:

I Timothy 2: 1-7

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

Questions for discussion:

1.    What does it mean that God ordains who will lead a nation?
2.    What does it mean that government is there for our good?
3.    Why do we pray for our leaders?

4.    What might be the consequence if we fail to keep up our part of the bargain to pray for our government?