Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Dec 19, 2013 | Comments (0)

First Sunday After Christmas

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for the First Sunday After Christmas

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

All Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. He is the complete revelation of God’s will of grace for salvation. Grace is the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than trying to be more faithful to become faithful, we become faithful by feeling the Faith God already has for and in us.

The Strength of Christianity is Grace

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Another name for Jesus is "Grace". Another name for God is "Grace". We are saved by GRACE. "Love" is not Love if it is not grace. This is true for "Faith", "Hope", "Joy" and all other theological words of significance in the scripture.

Until someone experiences the grace gift in their lives, all other theological words have no real meaning. Why not begin to use the word "grace" in place of "Jesus", "God", "the Spirit", "Love" and so on? It might seem inappropriate to do so. However, until it is actually experienced it will make no sense at all.

That is what this year is all about. Grace, did you get it?

Praying Gracefully

Prayers are from the Collects for the weekly Scriptures.

Pray this prayer: "Almighty God mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Now quietly move into God's Presence and pray the prayer again: "Almighty God mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

What was the difference?

Matthew 2:13-23 An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went.

Christmas is about Peace on Earth and good will toward everyone. All is calm and all is bright, sleep in gentle sleep.

If this has been a meaningful Christmas for you because of all that happened, well and good. It will not last long. Here comes the New Year of unknowns and out of control, sudden occurrences. If this has been a meaningful Christmas to you because you came into it and through it in the Peace and Presence of Jesus, it will last through this New Year and on.

It was not a peaceful serene time for Joseph and Mary and it may not be for you now.

In today’s Gospel there is a critical spiritual lesson. Joseph is in a difficult position. He has just arrived in Bethlehem. There was no room for them in the Inn. That was only for a moment. He had friends and family who now could take Him in. He moved into a house where the Three Magi offered gifts to his Son. He just had become settled and suddenly the Angel of the Lord is telling him to move on. It is the old Greek anagram ODTAO. (One Damn Thing After Another.)

What is significant about the words the angel said is that Joseph was spiritually open to hear the message. Both he and Mary were in that condition of openness. Mary heard the Angel tell her of her Son. Her wise response was. “Let it Be!” It was not that she had to believe it to be possible. It was as if she was saying, “If you think you can pull that off, Go to it, be my guest.”

Joseph had to decide whether to put Mary away or take her to him. The angel told him to take her and he did. In all of these cases they were spiritually open to hear the Word of God.

To know how to be open to the Word of God needs to be the center of faith for individual’s and church’s religion. How do we know they were spiritually open? It was because they heard the Word. If they were not open they would not have heard it. It must be pointed out that you do not have to be spiritual or religious to hear the Word. You only have to be open. An Atheist at times hears the word when they happen to be spiritually open. In each case the challenge was out of their control. Mary could not control being pregnant and not married to Joseph. Joseph could not control her being pregnant and not married to him. Then there were the difficulties of no room anywhere, the birth of the babe in a manger. Now this: get out of town while you are free. Where to go? When to go? How to go? Just do it!

This may or may not be a time that you are in the same situation, but if not, it has been and it will be. For sure! That is one thing you cannot control but know full well for sure. Let us remember that Joseph and Mary not only knew when things were out of their control, they knew how to control the uncontrollable. Get open and into the Presence. Why is it that only God can control the uncontrollable? Because that is what He does. St Paul tells us we never lose hope. That is because we never know what God is going to do next. The challenge is it is up to us to find out: not what He is going to do, but what He is doing right now.

This is not hard to do. Do you want to know what He is doing? He tells us how to find out, ask Him. Before we ask Him we must seek Him. We seek Him by His knock. It is not our knocking at His door. He is knocking at our door. Knock, Knock! Who’s there? God is knocking. Will we let Him in? Remember there is no handle on the outside of the door. We have the handle to let Him in.

Merry Christmas and Peace be with you.

THE DISCIPLE-SHIFT: The Virtual Small Group: Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.

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