The act of communication is an amazingly difficult task, because we humans communicate on so many levels: Verbal (obviously), Visual (both in writing and gestures, facial expressions), Auditory, and Sensory. We communicate, intentionally and unintentionally along all these spectrums all the time. And guess what, we still struggle with misunderstanding!
Just think of the multitude of “messages” you send everyday, both great and small. It’s an amazing thing this art of communication.
Have you ever thought about all those people Jesus healed during His ministry here on earth? They were so happy, grateful, and changed. In some cases (the illness of leprosy) they were now free to rejoin society, be reunited with their families, and finally get their life back. They went on to live their lives. Some became great saints of the Church.
I love this quote from C.S. Lewis: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”
The great 20th century thinker, Aldous Huxley, once said “Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.”
Funny, now that I think about it, he’s right. Children have the power of a clarity of thought that is absolute and clear. No wonder they are so stubborn when they want something. It simply never occurred to them that they didn’t have the absolute right to have what they want when they want it!
You know the old saying “God works in mysterious ways.” Well, that may be true, but that doesn’t make my confusion over why things happen in my life any better! In fact, I have to confess to you that most of the short and cute little theological phrases (“Just trust the Lord” or “It’s all for the best” or “It was God’s will”) we use to “comfort” others during hard times are simply not helpful.
There goes some of my best one-liners to make me sound like I care and know what to do!
But seriously, why all the mystery about God’s will for my life? Why is it so difficult at times to “see” His purpose or His plan for me? It gets pretty frustrating at times, and there are too many stories to tell here of those who have lost their faith altogether when their life didn’t make sense.
Life can be frustrating, confusing, and scary, and the whole message that “this is all a test” doesn’t really help and usually hurts! Who wants to worship a god who just toys with you?
On this Sunday of the Holy Fathers, our Lord Jesus reminds us that “you are the light of the world”, not “you should be the light”, nor “you can be the light of the world”, but “you are…” If the light of the world doesn’t shine, then darkness trips us up. What obstacles in your life block you from shining?
Gives us some vital perspectives about an historic and theologically wise attitude towards death and, specifically, the Christian funeral. The truth is the Eastern Orthodox funeral service is one of the most profound services for Christian truth! Please don’t say these six things at my funeral!
The old saying is “blood is thicker than water” and it seems that every culture has some form of this saying to reinforce the idea that family comes first!
One of the strongest memories that I have as a boy growing up is my own mother reminding me that my behavior reflects on her and how she did as a mother to me. Bringing shame on my mother through bad behavior was always seen as something to be avoided at all costs. Besides, she would remind me, you have a family name to live up to. Family comes first!