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Ink Slingers

Our God is Here

our-god-is-here

The Mass three weekend’s ago was perfect. Of course, every Mass is technically perfect, but this one felt like the beginning when the liturgy was new to us and we were breathlessly aware of being part of the worship of the millenia with the cloud of witnesses both on earth and on the other side. Beautiful music not too high to sing, beloved Bible passages from Psalm 145 and Luke 19, and an expressive homily by a visiting Irish priest with a lovely accent. I’m sure it helped that my children were a little tired and droopy in the pews, without their usual boisterous participation. Even the seven year old shook hands sedately and murmured “Peace be with you” for the sign of peace instead of his usual hand-pumping “Howdy.” No one asked to leave to use the restroom, no one got tripped moving about and around for Holy Communion, and no one hung on my back while I was kneeling for prayer. It was a short mountaintop experience for this tired mother that rivaled any retreat from my younger days. Thank you, Lord, for such an oasis!

Sometimes it all comes together: the facts, the faith, and the feelings. Do you know this maxim? “Fact, faith, and feeling went walking on a wall. Feeling took a tumble and faith began to fall. Fact pulled them up again ’til all were walking tall.” It’s good to have the feelings perfectly in place with the facts and faith. But feelings make fickle masters because they are affected by everything. Or nothing. Much of the Christian life involves decisions based on the facts. Our “credo” – Latin for “I believe” – is a solid foundation upon which our faith rests. “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith,” calls the priest and the congregation sings, “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death O Lord, until you come again.”

Now that we know who our president and congressmen will be, I’m praying that my faith in the facts of salvation centered on Christ will keep a tight hold on my tenuous feelings. 

The Mass three weeks ago opened with, “Before the Lord, the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth. But you spare all things because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls (Wisdom 11:22,26).” And we sang from Psalm 145, “I will extol you, my God and king; I will bless your name forever. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. All your works give you thanks, O Lord, and your faithful bless you. You are near to those who call upon you, to all who call upon you in truth.” These inerrant words help me to breathe easier. Our time here is short. There is much we can do as civilized Americans and as Christians to be the hands of Jesus to ease pain and make our world a better place no matter who sits in our state capitols or Washington, D.C. 

Our Gospel reading that weekend was the story of Zaccheus. While the deacon was reading, I was mentally singing “Zaccheus was a wee little man; a wee little man was he…” from my Sunday school days! Whatever is happening; whatever good or bad place I may find myself; whether it’s my fault or not;  Jesus notices me. He notices everyone. When Zaccheus answered Jesus and let the Lord come in, he vowed to return what he’d taken and give away half of what he had. He was changed for the better and his sphere was changed for the better. It happens all the time when people listen to Jesus. Good things come from messes when Our Lord is involved, whether or not our chosen political candidates win.

The song that moved me to tears that weekend and that I’ve been humming ever since is called Our God is Here and it sounds like the song of the angels John saw in his revelation visions. “Here in this time, here in this place, our God is here. Here for the broken, here for the strong, here in this temple we belong. We are his body living as one, our God is here. And we cry holy, holy, holy are you. We cry holy, holy, holy and true. Amen we do believe our God is here.”

That’s my song. Whatever direction my beloved country may take, I will cry with the angels, Holy are you, holy and true; my God is here.

holy-holy-holy

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Adrienne Communion Doctrine Faith Formation Ink Slingers Mass Sacraments Sacred Scripture

Bible 101: Beginning with a Beginner

Gospel of John Chapter 1, NAB

“In the beginning…” Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1

I’ve been attending Mass all my life, and thus whether or not I was listening, I have been exposed to the whole Bible, most all passages as least once, and many passages (especially those in the Gospels) more times than could ever be counted. Yet… until recently I couldn’t have told you squat about squat in the Bible. So, here’s my attempt to help the me of yester-year (or, maybe even last year, or the year before). And for anyone out there who is at a similar place of complete indirection, I am inviting you into the Bible with me! I’m no Bible scholar, I’ve taken no formal classes, I have no credentials to do this … come, join me!

I’m planning to do a series on this subject, but have no plan laid out, except to get you to a place that you should be able to figure out where to find something in the Bible, beginning with the Gospels and the New Testament. Did I already lose you?

Many years ago I was watching an episode of Friends where the guys are in a hotel, and Ross steals the Bible from the nightstand drawer. Chandler asks Ross (a Jew) what he’s going to do with it, because it’s a New Testament! “Huh!” I thought. Yes, it was a light bulb moment. That’s how I learned that the New Testament has Jesus in it. The Old doesn’t. Thank you, Friends! I’m still impressed that at that time I even knew it was Jesus who separated Jews from Christians (Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, the Jews do not and are still preparing for the Messiah).

When I was just beginning Catholic apologetics, I knew I needed (and had) Scripture on my side, and I would find my self asking the question, “I wonder where all in the Bible we can find out what Jesus actually said and did?” The answer was painted in the cupola of my parish church…. it would be Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… you know, the four Gospel writers. It was then I finally learned what distinguished the Gospels from other books in the Bible. Though, that left me wondering what was in the remaining 69 books…. I mean, isn’t the Bible supposed to be about God, and Jesus? Why only four books for Jesus? We’ll get to that in my series of rambling posts on beginning Scripture!

So, journey with me, your utterly unqualified tour guide, through the Sacred Scriptures! I’m hoping for an interactive learning experience. So please leave your questions (and encouragement!) in the com boxes, and for the Biblically enlightened among us, please, share your knowledge in the com boxes!

Up Next…

Next time we will be exploring Scripture in the Mass!  You’re on pins and needles, aren’t you?  I can see it in the glow of the screen on your face.  I love your enthusiasm!!

Homework

I will be assigning homework with each post to keep things interactive.  Today’s homework is to either find your Bible at home, or click the link below!  There.  You have a Bible at your fingertips.

Find readings for any day of the week and find also the Bible online here: http://www.usccb.org/bible/.