29 July 2016

"Don't Go Without"

Overheard: "Trying to grasp the overwhelming love and wisdom and power of Jehovah God with our finite minds is like trying to fit Niagara Falls through a straw."

As I was thinking about that quote above, I looked online to see if anyone else had ever used that illustration, and I came across this article. Good thoughts here. 

I have included footnotes for certain terms for those who may not be sure of the meanings. I feel that sometimes just using the plain words of scripture make more sense than trying to ascribe a specially invented word, which may not only cause confusion, but maybe division as well, since certain words and phrases may be so identified with someone that we don't agree with on all things, that we wind up missing the truths of what they observe.

Have you ever had a long-distance relationship or had to spend days, weeks, or months apart from tithe one you loved? I can tell you from experience that it is no fun for either party. When you are captivated by love, the last thing you want is to be separated from your lover.  
Our relationship with Christ is a relationship of love. But it isn’t simply like the love we have for a spouse, a friend, or a child — it’s all of these and much more. They love God has for us, this agape reality, is transformative, renewing, and life-giving. It causes a tangible reaction in us; it’s like the reaction of someone who tis seeing or hearing for the first time or tasting steak when they’ve only had dried bits of beef jerky. As Jesus says, it is like discovering a pearl of great price, something for which we are willing to sell all of our possessions to acquire (Matthew 13:46). 
We were created to receive this type of love and, in doing so, become more authentic in our humanity than we could have previously imagined. Love from God is so indescribable because of his limitless and inexhaustible reality. We could say that receiving it is like attempting to funnel Niagara Falls into a straw. Realistically, it would destroy the straw, but in the true exchange, God enables, us, the recipients, to receive this powerful love in a manner that we were capable of processing. The Eucharist is the overflow of actual love, truly, personally, entirely. Jesus is intentionally concealed in the bread and wine so that we have the opportunity to receive him. He is the entirety of what we long for and the provision and conduit that assist us in making a truly authentic response. It is this exchange of his heart with ours that creates the longing.  
This encounter with God is beyond complete articulation, but he has revealed himself to us intentionally throughout time, showing us that even the limitations of creation will not hinder his generous reaching for us. God doesn’t want us to be away from him for even a moment, so the constant opportunity to receive him in prayer and the sacraments fosters love every moment. God has gone out of his way so that we can hear, see, taste, and experience him. He now invites us to bring him to those who don’t know what they are missing. 
One of my close friends was at a Marian site where he unfortunately brought little money. He worried that he wouldn’t have enough to buy something for his special someone at home if he used his funds for food every day, so he bought one loaf of bread to last him the five days. Every day he grabbed a chunk of bread and walked around the city, visiting the sites, praying, and learning about his faith. He would come home exhausted and hungry. On the last day of wandering about, he stumbled into he home in which he’d been residing, only to be greeted by the family who lived there. They said, “We’ve been wondering how you were doing. It seemed you were always on the go. We had a meal prepared for you every morning and night, but unfortunately, we missed you.” He could have feasted every day! The meals were part of the cost of his lodging, and he went without basic nourishment when he never had to. 
This is like our relationship with God. We often go without, starving because we can’t afford more. God has paid for the feast and always wants us to participate in it with him. He always sets a place for us in the hope that the will receive his generosity. Truly we go without because we are really unaware of what it means to be loved by him. The Eucharist is the feast that nourishes us as we walk about and encounter the world. The Eucharist is the beautiful fulfillment of finally being reunited with our love. 
Don’t go without. God is ready to bless you with a beautiful reunification. 

From the devotional: "Why The Eucharist Matters For Your Life: The Practical Reality of Christ's Power and Presence," by Chris Padgett (The Word Among Us Press, 2014) 

1 agape - c.1600, from Greek agape "brotherly love, charity," from agapan "greet with affection, love," of unknown origin. Agape was used by early Christians for their "love feast" held in connection with the Lord's Supper. In modern use, often in simpler sense of "Christian love". -- Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Eucharist "sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the Communion," mid-14c., from Old French eucariste, from Late Latin eucharistia, from Greek eukharistia "thanksgiving, gratitude," later "the Lord's Supper," .... Eukharisteo is the usual verb for "to thank, to be thankful" in the Septuagint and New Testament. --Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

3 sacraments"outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace," also "the eucharist," c.1200, from Old French sacrament "consecration; mystery" and directly from Latin sacramentum "a consecrating", from sacrare "to consecrate" (see sacred); a Church Latin loan-translation of Greek mysterion (see mystery ). 

Meaning "a holy mystery" in English is from late 14c. The seven sacraments are baptism, penance, confirmation, holy orders, the Eucharist, matrimony, and anointing of the sick. -- Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

4 a Marian site - the term Marian refers to Mary, the mother of Christ, so a Marian site is a place or shrine devoted to Mary and is a destination of a pilgrimage (spiritual journey) for Roman Catholics. 
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