Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I can only dream

Since it is “house blessing season” I have been spending a great deal of time in the car driving from house to house, and therefore listening to more news than normal. It isn’t that I avoid the news, although there are many evenings I do just that since the news can be so depressing. But in the car, I tend to have the radio on, so every “top of the hour” no matter what station I have tuned in, I hear the news. Today’s news, beside the unfulfilled snow storm that was less than expected, featured a regularly updated and repeated blurb about the “sell off” in the Stock Market.

Now I’m no financial guru mind you, so hearing about bulls and bears is lost on me, but I sensed a bit of urgency in the news reports of the large “sell off” of stocks. Coincidentally
(?) since it is “tax season” I also hear more than my fair share of tax services and “wealth management” commercials during the news. That’s when I decided I wanted to blog today. As a society, we are consumed with wealth! Everywhere you turn, wealth is either the goal or the benchmark of success.

  • Is the news about politics? Then a solid economy and surging stock market are supposed to be indicators that our nation is “doing well” and the government is to be commended.
  • Is the news about the decay of the family? (as we Orthodox Christian would understand) The “real” strain isn’t teens having babies out of wedlock, but families losing the homes they couldn’t afford in the first place.
  • Is the news about global climate change? Then the affect of high oil prices is supposed to be inspiration for Americans to change their habits.
  • Is the news about retails sales during Christmas? Then, in direct contradiction to the climate change reports, we supposed to be happy for LOW oil prices which allows for more discretionary spending during the holidays.

In the midst of “all this” talk of wealth and economic stability, we are neglecting our souls as a nation. We are more wasteful of our communal resources and less generous with our personal finances than a so-called “Christian Nation” ought to be, to which I can only ask, quoting our Lord, “What will it profit a man if he gains [or saves in a 401K for distribution to his heirs] the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8.36)

What if you turned on the evening news and heard, “The State of the Union is good. People are attending Church more than ever before; more families are getting the guidance they need to remain together; and we finally learned that Christmas isn’t about the presents under the tree, but the “baby in the manger...” I can only dream....

Can You Hear God Calling?

The world is filled with distractions, from busy street sounds to hectic lifestyles, many of which can stop us from hearing God’s voice. The story of Zacchaeus teaches us the benefit of filtering through all the commotion in our life so we can focus on God. Until we can eliminate the clutter from our lives, we will continue to be lost, unable to hear God calling us to safety. The Orthodox Christian way of life offers us an opportunity to learn to filter through these distractions of wealth and comfort, and welcome God into our hearts.

Friday, January 23, 2015

God is Calling You....Are You Coming?

Every parent knows the feeling.....you call and call but your children never seem to appear from around the corner. It isn’t because they’re hiding. Most likely, they are either listening to music and can’t hear you, or they are so engrossed in what they are doing; they’re not paying attention to the sound of your voice. So you call and call, and eventually go looking for them. “Didn’t you hear me?” And so the story of every parent-child relationship goes...

One day Jesus was calling a young man named Zacchaeus, who like so many others, spent many hours each day going about his work. “He was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.” (Luke 19.2) But unlike typical children, he immediately ran to see God and welcomed Him into his house joyfully. As a result of his immediate response to God’s call, he received a great gift.

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19.10) If Zacchaeus had not been paying attention, he would not have heard God calling him; and if he didn’t hear God calling, he would never have received his blessing. He received the gift of salvation simply because he answered God’s call and responded.

God is calling you.....are you coming?