Wellspring Community

Miscellaneous 019

AMAZING GRACE

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good….every moment of the day brings new opportunities and possibilities.

May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey of life!

In October 539 BCE, the Persian king Cyrus took Babylon, the ancient capital of an oriental empire covering modern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. In a broader sense, Babylon was the ancient world’s capital of scholarship and science. The subject provinces soon recognized Cyrus as their legitimate ruler. Since he was already lord of peripheral regions in modern Turkey and Iran and probably Afghanistan, the conquest of Babylon meant the birth of a true world empire. A remarkable aspect of the capture of Babylon is the fact that Cyrus allowed the Jews, who were exiled in Babylonia to return home.

Cyrus had defeated many nations and finally Babylon and had become the ruler of the then middle east. He was very tolerant and understanding toward the exiles and helped them reestablish themselves in their home land. Isaiah reflected on the attitudes and accomplishments of Cyrus and saw that God was at work in and through him (Isaiah 45:1, 4-6). He says God used the hands of a pagan king, to deliver his people, though the king did not even know it. Such was the love God had for his people. What a surprise!

This is really the “Amazing Grace” – God had used the hands of a pagan king, Cyrus, without even his knowing, and through this “pagan hands” saved His people, Israel. God is a God of everlasting, constant, steadfast Love.

God continues to reveal his plan and purpose even through the most unexpected people and situations. Be open to the surprises of the Spirit.

This is what the Psalmist sings in many of his hymns, poems and psalms…..

Sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all you lands.

Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples his wondrous deeds.

It is a new song that he calls us to sing. We cannot sing the old song of abandonment, alienation, loneliness, shame and such intense feelings. God makes all things new. Each day is a new day and each day calls for a new song. Every day and every moment opens for us new opportunities and new possibilities.

Our God not only brings us to new days and new surprises, but also gives us a new name. He says your name was “desolate”. You shall be called by a new name: My delight, Holy People, redeemed of the Lord, Frequented, not forsaken (Isaiah 62:1-12). “See, upon the palm of my hands, I have written your name” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

God has his own special name for you. He chose you before the foundation of the world, formed you in your mother’s womb, knows and calls you by name right now.

I will change your name. You shall no longer be called wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid. I will change your name. Your name shall be confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one, faithfulness, friend of God, one who seeks my face” (D.J.Butler).

Take a moment and reflect:

Are there any names from which you need healing and freedom?

Do you know someone who is “wounded, outcast, lonely, or afraid? Can you do anything to change that name?

How about a change of name: “Confidence, Joyfulness, Overcoming one, Faithfulness, Friend of God, One who seeks my face.” Write these and other names down – pray about those who need a name change.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will give you “new names” – new identities or deepened sense of identity that God gives you in Jesus.

Dear Lord, sometimes, I feel defined by those aspects of me that fee weak and vulnerable. Speak your word, Lord, the word that defines me anew. Give me that name that will define as your own. AMEN.

The truth about every person is so incredibly rich and profound , beyond comprehension that the Scriptures have much to reveal to us……….

“in the divine image, He created him: male and female he created them” (Gen.1:27).

“made him less than the angels and crowned with glory” (Ps. 8:6).

“thank you God, for I am, fearfully, wonderfully made”, (Ps139:14)

“you are the Body of Christ” (I Cor. 12:27)

“you are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God – being built to become a dwelling place for God in the spirit” (Eph.2:19-22)

One of the true, characteristic quality of religion and spirituality is a sense of awe and wonder at the mystery of man and the vast universe – even a sense of awe and wonder about who and what the thinking and feeling self is!

Psalm 8:4 speaks of God being mindful of man. This is God’s closeness, intimacy, oneness with man – never out of mind, thought, feelings….even when man wanders off. God never lets man slip out of his mind as He weaves his plan for the whole universe.

Psalm 8:5, exclaims: “thou has made him little less than god” (in the original and not angels, as in later translations) “and crowned him with glory”. God made man to image Him – to be “godlike” – to do what he does and to reflect his glory!

There is a legend of a Prince who suffered from a spinal problem. He could not walk straight. He could walk only with his back arched and his face looking down. This caused him great physical and emotional pain and despair.

One day, he went to a great sculptor and asked him to carve a statue that would portray him without spinal deformity. The sculptor created a magnificent likeness of the Prince tall and straight. “Shall I place it in front of the palace gate for all to see”, asked the sculptor. “No”, answered the prince. “I want it placed in my private garden where only I can see it”. The statue was placed just as the prince wanted.

The Prince spent part of the day observing the statue, dreaming of the man that he might have been if his back were straight. As time passed, people in his kingdom noticed a change in the Prince. He was standing a little taller and straighter. A physical change was beginning to happen. As the Prince visualized himself with a straight back, he began to rise up to the image in his mind. The person we see is the person we become .

Psalm 8 declares that we occupy an important and unique place in God’s creation, a position of “glory and honor”. God sees us different – the way He made us – “with glory and honor” In the eyes of our creator, we are worthy of honor, respect, love. We need to share this vision of ourselves. We need to grow into this vision. The person we see is the person we become.

Psalm 139:14 says, “Thank you God, I am fearfully, wonderfully made…” God has carefully created us and has given us all the tools we need to manage our lives with creativity and dignity.

Meditate on these words! You might want to remember them, dwell on them and draw strength from them the next time you feel overwhelmed and under-equipped.

Psalm 139:17    exclaims “How weighty are your designs, O God…” God has created us greater and stronger and more creative than we often believe ourselves to be. We have an inherent ability to expand/develop our physical, mental and spiritual abilities, boundaries, gifts, powers and talents…..

Almighty God has crowded miracles into you. Why not let them come forth and live? (Norman Vincent Peale)

Take a moment and reflect over this thought for some time….

The Psalmist declares his motto: In the Lord, I have taken refuge; how can you say to me, “flee to the mountain like a bird” (Psalm 11:1). Someone, may be a friend, advises him to “flee like a bird to the mountain…evil is all around us….if the foundations are destroyed, what the believer can do……”

The Psalmist replies: “don’t flee from the spot where God has placed you….it is just there that you have to give witness to your faith by obeying his will for you……if the earth quakes and the foundations are destroyed, remember that the Lord is in full charge of your life….”

God is alive and at work in his holy temple (Palm 11:4), hearing prayer, forgiving sins, welcoming sinners home, waiting for people who flee or take refuge in him…..He is not away off in the mountains. God is governing his world from on high, noticing and testing every detail of human life. He tests both the just and the wicked (no favoritism). The upright shall behold God’s Face! (Psalm 11:7). Just be faithful!

Pray Psalm 18 when you have a moment. David wrote this Psalm after he had finally won all his battles. He sees God as his strength, rock, fortress, deliverer, shield, Altar, stronghold and so on. He has learned to trust in God’s provident care. God’s act of deliverance is described in poetic language….God came riding on the cherubs and on the wings of the wind; He drew me out of many waters and brought me to a broad place. He delivered me because, “He delighted in me”. God has given himself to his people in love and his love is loyal, steadfast and unconquerable.

This Psalm carries much for our reflection and prayer. Read and prayerfully reflect over this Psalm. Use your imagination. Visualize if you can, “God riding on the cherubs”, “riding on the wings of the wind”, “leaning toward me” because “He delights in me”.

This truly is the amazing Grace!

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs