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Further Along My Passage

January 2013*

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Happy New Year!

Into this worldour world of bleak midwinterGod arrives. God arrives in the midst of pain and suffering, doubt and disappointment, longing and loneliness and makes a home with us, to be alongside of us. The Gospel of John tells us that God did not stay removed from us or from our sufferings, but that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). For those who find the Christmas season far from the most wonderful time of the year, Immanuel, God with us, comes to be with us in our bleak midwinter, and comes to offer consolation and care in the tears of those who weep with us when we weep.  Those who rejoice and who celebrate this season as the most wonderful time of the year can demonstrate that celebration in ways that take it far beyond lights, trees and presents.  The beauty, joy, and celebration of the season can be brought to those in bleak midwinter, as those who come alongside sharing in their sufferingdoing our part, giving our all, sharing our hearts.        Margaret Manning

Staying Around 3
 
The calendar turns and the River of Life keeps flowing.  The Mayans begin yet another 5125 year calendar, and nothing apocalyptic marks the ending of the old.  The story of Jesus the Christ His Story marks time for only a moment, then moves on.  James S. Stewart lifts me to his upbeat cadence:  From strength to strength, from insight to insight, from glory to glory; from the love of Christ you have today to a still more burning passion of devotion tomorrow; from this years certainty of God to next years still more impregnable conviction the river deepening with every mile!  It is not pretense.  It really happens.  And the secret?  There is only one secret I know, and it is this.  Keep the fellowship of Jesus.  Keep going back far oftener to the manger, the cross, the empty tomb.  Stand with Peter on the shore listening to His voice.  Kneel with Mary Magda-lene at His feet.  Climb the hill outside the city wall.  Run with those two breathless disciples to the tomb on Easter morning.  Keep looking on Him, orienting your life towards Him, identifying yourself with the will of God revealed in Him.  His Spirit will do the rest.  From the dried up channels of the soul there will come again the sound of deep waters and the rising tide.  It is wonderful to know that even if you have been a Christian for forty, fifty years or more you can be making discoveries about Jesus Christ today that you never knew before.

  Cold Business! 

 

This inner sense of friendship and community sets us free to live a worldly life even in the seclusion of a room, since no one should be excluded from our solitude.  But it also allows us to travel light vast distances because for those who share their solitude without fear, all the ground between people has become holy ground. ...when we have once sensed what this solitude can mean, we will never stop searching for it.  Once we have tasted this solitude a new life becomes possible, in which we can become detached from false ties and attached to God and each other in a surprisingly new way.

          Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out

Snow Bunting

That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge: that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  St. Paul, Ephesians 3: 16-19