Oh, That First Love!

Monday, November 19, 2018

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Today, in Mercy, we earnestly begin the Book of Revelation. These twelve days of passages will close out the liturgical year before Advent.

Rev 2_4 first love

This book, also commonly known as the Apocalypse, is one of the most controversial in the Bible. Scholars disagree as to its author, its meaning, its literary genre and even its place in the biblical canon.

Wherever we might fall in this spectrum of interpretations, the book still can inspire us to prayer and reflection.

In today’s passage, the author addresses the first of seven churches to whom he will write – the church at Ephesus. He praises them and says that God is pleased with their work, their endurance and their fidelity. That must have made them feel pretty good, right?

But then, the heart-breaking line:

Yet I hold this against you:
you have lost the love you had at first.

We might easily find ourselves in this passage. We’re trying hard to be faithful Christians. But, depending on where we are in our lives, have we lost that first fervor?

The continual grind of work, ministry, family and community responsibility can dim that first fire. Maybe the fresh flower has been choked in the daily weeds. Just the accumulation of years may obscure it.

Today, let’s try to remember that first love which turned our hearts to God and to God’s work in the world. Let’s ask our generous God, Who longs for our love, to renew our passion and energy for the Divine Adventure.

Music: Power of Your Love – Hillsongs

In Those (Scary) Days…

Sunday, November 18, 2018

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Today, in Mercy, our readings offer a taste of “pre-Advent agita”.  You know what I mean. 

Mk 13_29

In the next few weeks:

  • the sun will be darkened,
  • and the moon will not give its light,
  • and the stars will be falling from the sky,
  • and the powers in the heavens will be shaken

The phrase, “In those days” becomes prelude to some scary stuff! What’s going on here?

Well, the Church Year – symbolic of the total Christian life – is coming to an end. With its closing, we are constantly reminded that this might be our last chance to get our act together before we are judged.

I always disliked these apocalyptic readings. As a child, I was frightened by them. As an adult, they don’t easily convey the kind of God Who has loved me into my maturity. But they do reveal the God of fidelity who stays with us through it all to the end.

One line from today’s reading that captures the heart? 

When you see these things happening,
know that He is near, at the gates.

There are still a lot of closed gates in my heart – places I have not yet given over fully to God. You? Same?

This reading challenges us to go to the gate, unlock it, and let our whole heart meet God who is waiting there for us, despite any fears we may harbor – even of the end-time.

Music: Heaven’s Gate – instrumental to pray with as we unlock our gates.