Tag Archives: Jewish tradition

ANTICIPATION DAYS

Ya know how you wait and you wait and you wait for special days? Anticipation takes over almost every waiting minute? Lists of things to accomplish before the event occurs? While the pit of your stomach aches just to go to sleep, so you can wake up before it arrives and get more done?

That’s what it has been like in NC this week.

Switching between the weather channel and local news. Walking outside to recheck what might need to be stashed or tied down or chucked in the trash. Checking on friends living close to the coast. Answering notes of messages of concern from friends in other states. Checking on older neighbors. Praying for, not just our coast, but all the other coasts, states and countries that are battling their own natural disasters.
The workers that stand in the gap.
The uncertainty.
The loss of stuff.
The worry.
The prayer.

‘We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act!”~Dan 9:18b-19a

As always – knowing me well and my constant need for reassurance – my many devotions centered on the power of prayer and a merciful and loving Father who not only hears but anticipates our every need – even before we voice it. Oh but He loves to hear our voices cry out to Him, so He waits. Like us – whom He created in His own image – 
waiting – 
anticipating – 
loving – 
completely knowing us to depths of ourselves that even we don’t know.

These are the nights and the days of anticipation. The days of the shofar. Jewish tradition says that every night when sleep comes, the souls rise to heaven and record what they did that day in a book- the real good, the good, the bad, the ugly bad – and then attest to it with their signature.

A part of me likes this idea. Being accountable for my actions was drilled into me over and over as I grew up. Recording them while they are still fresh with joy or heavy with dread – in my soul seems like good parenting. Signing my name in full to the real good, the good, the bad, the ugly bad helps me face what I have done with my day. But in my mind I see something more – something so full of love that my breath catches in anticipation.

When the shofar blows at sunrise, I see a cross stamped – – – completely blotting out my deeds and signature. My tear-filled eyes blink to see His nailed-scared hand holding mine, easing the eternal back into the temporal. Our eyes meet in that silver cord second, and His smile remains within me for the rest of the day. His song singing in my soul as the sun rises above the horizon, and I swing my feet over the side of the bed to start anew.

I am fully known, fully forgiven and fully loved..

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”~Ps 32:1a

  [google images/Akiane art]

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Sunshine + rain + some kind of high pressure that is pushing 
that old bag of wind Florence further South = humidity overload to the nth degree.

The head hurts.

It has been a humid summer. Even most native North Carolinians have wiped their brow a few times. Today was no different until about 6:00 when the girls and I stuck our nose outside. The humidity had dropped (a little). Enough that we decided to take our rambling walk down the hill to the neighbors.

I love these walks because the girls are happily exploring, sniffing out new aromas, chasing random squirrels that drop out of a tree, and eventually – checking back in on me. As for me, it is the quiet of the neighborhood and my time to try to listen a little harder to my Father. I have this tendency to talk or think too much. Getting outside – whether walking or sitting on our swing – is my quiet time. Which – believe it or not – is really hard for me.

“The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom.”~Prov 4:7

As much as I like being by myself, I am not a quiet person. I talk to myself. I write stories in my head, Songs may interrupt me at any time. I tend to have this running commentary going on in my head at all times. Meditation is extremely SO hard. If I am quiet – I’m generally asleep within 5 minutes. So listening to God is hard – – – really, really hard.

So today as the sun was setting, I was doing my best to listen and suddenly, last night’s dream popped into my mind. I remembered I was dreaming in French. Now you have to understand that I hated learning French and don’t really remember much. But I understood everything last night – even the song that was being sung by a bunch of dancers in white – except for one. That one had a copper skirt that only showed when she kicked her feet up in the air.

I figured my mind was getting me off track again, so I prayed a little on some prayer requests circling around and tried to still my mind again. By that time, I found a rock that had moss growing on it, and I had to take a picture of it, right? Then the dogs were under foot and smiling at me, so I had to stop and talk to them. Do you see why being quiet is so hard for me?

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the Light of Your presence, LORD.”~Ps 89:15

I tried a couple more times before I finally just smiled up at my Father, shrugged my shoulders, and asked for His forgiveness for not being a good listener, and I swear I could almost hear Him laugh and I was thankful.

Earlier today, I was reading about the shofar blasts that are used during High Holy Days. There is one blast that is a series of 9 notes. The word for it is “teruah”. It is also the original Hebrew word that is used in Ps 89:15. It is usually translated as “to acclaim” in English. Jewish wisdom looks at it slightly different. They say, “Blessed are those who know the secret of the sofar blast…”

Can you keep a secret?

The first shofar was created after God showed His grace, His mercy and His love to Abraham and Issac by providing a sacrifice. Thus, to hear a shofar is always a reminder of His mercy – His grace – His love to all people. A reminder that when we, as a people blow our horn and are able to accept responsibility for our foolishness – our sins – all on our own, God doesn’t have to correct our behavior for us. Instead, He can blow His grace, His mercy and His love over us and smile.

Starting the 4th day of the High Holy Days – a little wiser and a whole lot more thankful that My Father certainly knows and loves my heart and hopefully, as I grow a little wiser, my heart will be a little more like His. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”~Matt 5:8

 [personal/google image]

BREADCRUMBS: Crumbly Day

This was a crumbly day. Bits and pieces smashed together. Not bad. Not good. Just a day when the pieces just didn’t seem to leave me with any sort of cohesive picture or feeling of what was accomplished.

Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle caught her 5th mouse (I wonder when I will quit counting them?) which I almost stepped on as I was racing about trying to get morning chores done before church. Worshiped and tried to absorb another great message. Drove the long way home to pick up some fresh foods – – sidetracked by some colorful flowers, seed packets and children who love to talk. Walked the dogs. Dug weeds in the gardens. Re-filled the garden tub with dirt and planted lettuce (threat of snow/ice for Wednesday – sigh). Watched a couple of movies. Messed with new printer – which I managed to get working all by myself. ……. I think.

And yet – – 
at the end of the day – – 
I feel like the crumbles are just lying in my hand waiting to be blown away by any stray wind that passes. So tonight, like on other nights when I have this disjointed uneasiness, I turned back to the WORD. It is the only way I know to change the lens in my eyes.

“May God be merciful and bless us.
May his face smile with favor on us.” v.1

Earlier, I ran across Psalm 67 in one of my on-line devotions. It is one of the shorter Psalms, and one I have read often. Jewish traditions says that this Psalm was originally given by Our Father to only two people – Moses and David. It is also said that it was given to them both in the shape of the menorah during a vision.

“May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere.
May the nations praise you, O GOD.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.”v.2-3

I’m not sure why this drew me back this evening. Maybe it was because it was given in a vision. Maybe it is because this Psalm is so full of joy. Maybe it is because this Psalm doesn’t crumble in your hands at the end of the day. It’s strength rings with Truth.

“Let the whole world sing for joy,
because you govern the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world.”v.4

Jewish traditions say that King David engraved the Psalm 67 image from his vision onto his battle shield. The first three verses made up the right branches of the Menorah. The 4th verse embodied the trunk. The last 3 verses filled in the last 3 branches. It is said to be the reason he was successful in battle.

According to Rabbinical wisdom, our eyes are often drawn to the deeper wisdom of G-d by the placement of the verses within the whole. Sometimes this is by repetitive phrases. Sometimes it is by the choice of words. Sometimes the simple placement of “jot and tittle”. In this case, it is the placement of the verse placed on the central beam of the Menorah. The strength of the Menorah as it upholds all the branches.

“May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us.”v.5-6

Tonight, the grumbly stomach calmed down as I saw that the day really wasn’t as crumbly as I originally thought. It never was. Like King David I just needed to tap back into trunk of the WORD. Singing for joy in the strength of what has been given and knowing that Our Father is truly governing and guiding me – all of us – every step of the way – even on crumbly, disjointed, unsettling days.

“Yes, God will bless us,
and people all over the world will fear him.” Ps 67:1-7 

  [google images]

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #11

You know how it is.  You scroll through your e-mail – your social media feed – clicking away.  Usually, I ignore random pop-up anything. I don’t like to waste my reading time. But when  God winks, you have to blink and then sometimes double blink just to make sure you saw what you saw.  Come to think about it, there was another devotion that got those blinks started even earlier.

In Jewish tradition, this is the week they remember Moses giving Israel its final blessing before he climbed the mountain to return to YHWH.  I’ve read this passage a few times over the decades, but this time I really saw Moses as that preacher/teacher man that he must have been.  Here’s a bunch of people gathered around – watching him – waiting for direction – impatient – worried.  Some enthusiastically chose to follow.  Some were probably pressured to join.  Some were family members and had no choice. Some probably just wanted to get outta that ‘Egyptian’ Dodge.  In any case, LOTS of people, left their friends and other family members choosing to follow this Moses character and help him build a new tent.

Good people.  Untrained people. People of all ages. People who had only known slavery and abuse. Angry people. Stubborn people.  Confused people.  Sinful people.  Hopeful people.  Needy people.  Rebellious people. Luckily, people that didn’t have to worry about food, or illness, or clothing, or even shelter.  God covered those bases.  Still – all in all – it was a lot of people.  

I remember a few classrooms that were full of the same kind of people – just not so many.  I remember the frustration of having so many hands in the air – waiting for help – waiting for more direction –  trying to find the words that would explain what I had already said a dozen times before.  Lucky for me – kids are not quite as set in their ways –  not so fragmented  – not so clueless. Moses throwing those tablets really didn’t really surprise me when I thought about it.  After all, Moses was a human, too, and frailty is our middle name. 

“For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. ~Deut 34:12

Which brings me back to the second blink. Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach always signed his completed work with the acronym: AMDG?   Ad Majorem Dei Gloria. In the old days, when we were required to take Latin in high school, we knew this could be translated, ‘To the great glory of God.’ 

Seeing that little phrase threw me right back to 1971 when my college choral group started practicing the Bach B-Minor Mass. Our choir director pointed out that dedication because he wanted us to understand what Bach heard in his head as he wrote it. Little did I know that in the few months we worked on it my life would change. You see, two months after my father died, we performed that work, and for the rest of my life, nothing will ever surpass the Glory of God that surrounded me that night.

What if we looked at everything like Herr Bach?  Roll out of bed.  Feed the dogs.  Wash the dishes.  Drive the car. Do the same job we did the day before. Listen to whiny people.  Help a child with homework. Signing everything as we completed it with the initials, AMDG.

What if? 

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”~Lk 12:32

So there you go, and that is my prayer for pastors tonight.  In Yeshua’s name, I pray that you are able to write the acronym, AMDG, at the end of your day – every day. Whether it be after all the trips at all hours of the night, or the millionth complaint about the length of the sermon, or the gossip that is circulating in the junior high group, or the furnace that needs replacing, or the funeral that is coming tomorrow,  or the day that seems to have no end or money that is never enough. That somehow – like Moses, you are able to perform awesome deeds and mighty works that always reflects the Glory of God. 

 

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #9

“Every one who is called by My name, even for My honour I have created him, I have formed him, yea, I have made him.”~Is 43:7

There is something about a fall bouquet of flowers that makes me linger just a little longer as I add water – fuss a little more – breathe a little deeper the freshness that will soon be tucked back into the ground until spring’s warm breath softens the ground and a tiny shoot appears. It makes me wish I had just a little longer to sit on the swing and watch butterflies flit over the lantana as a silly kitten tries to catch them.

In Jewish tradition the High Holy Days are ending.  The new year has begun and even though the people are ready to get back to “life”, they linger – they sigh – they drag their feet.  After all, who ever wants to leave their Father’s presence and return to “normal”?  YHWH heard that silent whisper in their hearts and granted them one more holy day – a day to linger – a day to honor – a day to breathe their Father deeply into themselves – deeply enough to break through the crustiness of the days ahead that they might bloom in the fullness of His will.

And that is what I am praying over all pastors tonight.

I am praying in Yeshua’s name that as each day begins, pastors, their spouses, their families, their congregations (and me) all find time to remember that very first time when they chose to honor YHWH – to linger a little longer in His presence before beginning the day – to breathe even deeper the essence of the “Live-giver” as they head into daily life – to re-establish the very purpose which brought them to this path in the beginning – to pray continuously throughout the day – to laugh with loved ones and with the Father of us all as the sun begins to set – and to wish for just one more minute in prayer before the eyes drift into sleep once more.  

It is our purpose – our deepest desire – just one more minute – just one more chapter in the Book – just a little longer by the life-giving waters – just one more song sung in His presence – just a little more time to see clearly the path His Son showed us to walk – just a little more time for the sake of a few.  That is my prayer tonight for all of you – for our country – for our world – for me – so that someday we might all be able to repeat this verse as best we can – 

“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”~Jn 17:4

THERE

In the quiet of the morning, God walks with me and our girls. His Spirit breathes energy into my steps. And as I walk down the first hill – I can almost see it. The New Garden. There. Can you see it?

Just over the next hill. Around the bend. That place Yeshua will bring His many roomed mansion. The New Garden. The New Jerusalem. The place where we will walk together with the One who loves us best.

Walk together.

An amazing concept. Walking together. Side by side. Conversing. Laughing. Singing. Praying. As a people, we all don’t walk together so well since we quit walking with Our Father.

Our neighborhood is a quiet place by the time I take my dogs for their walk. The School buses have made their rumbling journey down the road. Construction workers rolled out of bed even earlier to reach their sites.  Office workers not long after. While those who cart their children to charter schools have also driven off with their agendas set for the day.

The girls and I enjoy our walks. How can we not? Birds sing to us.  The chatter of fall bugs (or it could be the ringing in my ears, depending on the day).  Stray cats dart out of our path while the dogs give chase. Squirrels throw hickory nuts on our heads. And – when we stop to gather a few scuppernong/muscadine grapes to eat on our return journey, a young female deer comes within inches of us before she sees us – – – and the dogs give chase – – again.

It is a good way to start the day.

Pray. Day. Way.

I often wonder if they rhyme for a reason. A Jewish sage once said that humans can not breathe without breathing God’s true name. The name that is ineffable, unutterable, distinctive – a breath of a name – YHWH. It is a breath of a sound. A breath returning to the Creator who breathed it first into our nostrils – – – the “breath of life” in so many ways beyond physical.

The walk allows time for many thoughts to circle. Breathe in. Breathe out. My conscious mind absorbs His name and lets it soak deep into my lungs. It flow through my heart – fills my mind with His Light – circles my soul with His Love. A day that starts as I pray. Pray for walks were we all join together. Pray for those trying to find life amid destruction. Pray for those who forget to breathe His name. Pray for – – –

– – -there.

There. That place over the hill – beyond the bend – where a many room mansion is almost complete – where a Garden waits to bloom – – where The Gardner waits to walk – to talk – to sing – to laugh with me and my girls as He dries my tears and offers me water that I might never thirst again.

Pray.

Day.

The Way.

“For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”~Rev 7:17

SCROLL OF LIFE

Been a busy couple of weeks. Visiting days at the Grands’ schools. Planting new starts for the terrace gardens. Reading umpteen things that I find totally absorbing. Not to mention, Easter and the end of Lent. And – – – loving every minute of it.

Didn’t write much this year about where I was heading with my spiritual journey. I’ve said this before, bu I think it has just been my time to absorb and reflect on the blessings of this past year. I am somewhat healthier. Our new NC home feels so much more like home. Plants are flourishing – just like Hubby and I am. It has been that way since my 100 Day Ration and Advent writings – 140 days of writing and then a restful time by the sea. A time of enjoying the present moment and absorbing all I can as my scroll unfolds before me.

You see, the Jewish word that is usually translated as book in English is “sefer”. Sefer means scroll. Thus – “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your BOOK before one of them came to be.” [Ps 139:16] Would actually be – “…were written in Your SCROLL…”

Books are ‘a whole ‘nother thing’ as Mama Mick used to say. We can easily flip pages in a book. We can look back. We can skip forward. We can even take a peek at the very end so we don’t have to wait for it to unfold. And – while you can do the same thing in a scroll you can only see pieces of the one scroll that you hold in your hands.

“…and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ “~Lk 4:17-21

God wink moments happened to Yeshua, the man, and to all those people attending service that morning. He had to unroll the scroll the attendant handed to him – not the scroll He had choosen – and find the place that fulfilled the promise of that moment. Not the moments that lay in the past. Not the moments that would come in the future. But that moment. That moment when a promise was fulfilled. A wrinkle in time being lived to its fullest.

I like to think that this is what I have been doing in the past few weeks. Living my wrinkle in time. Talking with shut-ins. Running errands for those who are struggling to stand without falling. Playing with Grands that won’t be tiny munchkins much longer. Reading and printing things to absorb. Praying for family, friends, and country in my war room.

Speaking of which – this week – I cleaned off the door to my war room. All my prayer lists and Bible verses are filed away in one of my notebooks, so I can look back at them occasionally and see where I’ve been. Good use for a book. I seem to need that reassurance every now and then. A acknowledgment to myself, that my path – while somewhat crooked – is becoming straighter and easier to walk.

Today, I hung 3 new verses on that door. Verses that will reassure me on the dark days and challenge me to keep my path straight through the rainstorms of life. And, as the scroll unfolds a little more, I will write up a new prayer list which will be full of colorful names and requests. I like using different colors because that is the way Abba created everything – – – full of rich hues, vibrancy, diversity. Full of a little heaven on earth.

It’s funny. As I read back through today’s musings, this definitely wasn’t what I had in mind when I started to write. God winks are like that. The scroll unrolls – words leap off the page and into my head – and I just marvel at the path of thoughts that He plants with His WORD and Spirit. As always, I can’t wait to unroll the scroll a little more and see what He has planned for me this day.

Whatever it is – it will be for my good. [google images]

EVEN SO

There have always been periods of brokenness – in self – in families – in societies – It has been there since the Adam and Eve hid themselves in a tree.

Did you know that?

In the original language, Adam and Eve did not don leaves to cover themselves. Instead, they hid in the tree. Obviously, an omniscient God knew where they were even though He asked, “Where are you?” He wanted to hear their voice seek Him as much as He was seeking them. Later though, He follows it up with another question, He asks, “Who told you that you were naked?”

Most of us who read these verses assume that the serpent told them or they learned it when their eyes were opened. However, Jewish traditions say that God told them when they were first created that they were naked in all their glory, just as He was naked in all His glory. There was nothing between them when they walked in that Garden together. Nothing that separated Creator from His Creations. Just their love – filling each other up – making what is separate  – one.

Today, amid all our brokenness, we hide in our separate trees and silently hope that Our Father doesn’t call out, “Where are you?” We don’t enjoy the garden of genders or colors or thoughts that He created for us. We are afraid. Like Adam and Eve, we each find a place to lay the blame. “It’s her fault.” “It’s his fault.” “It’s their fault.” And when none of that works, we shake our fist at Heaven and whisper – – – “It’s Your fault.”

I am reading more about God, Jewish traditions, and in-depth biographies than I have ever read in my life – well – except for the year I devoured all those orange covered biographies in our school and public libraries which sent me into a long bout of non-fiction reading on strange subjects. Good thing I worked in a library all through high school and college.

These readings keep leading me to other readings and podcasts and research that continually loop and feed into each other. Somedays, my head just aches, and I find myself impatient with the bickering of this world on whose fault it is. It is mine. Like everyone else, I have eaten of the fruit and hide my face from the One who still loves me enough to sit on the floor with me letting His love whisper, “Even so”.

“Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off…is…the truest index of our real situation.”~C.S. Lewis

As soon as they ate the forbidden fruit, our fore-parents felt that yearning – that longing – for what they thought they would never have again. Brokenness that started with one bite. The ripples extending out to where we stand today in a sea of churning brokenness tearing away the land from beneath our feet. The Garden seems further away then ever…and yet…

And yet…the Father knew – He knew our yearning would never be filled by genders, colors or thoughts of this world by themselves. They could only be filled with a reunion with the Creator. A place where we could walk with Him in a Garden. A place where we wouldn’t have to hide in our separate trees. A place so filled with His love that the yearning disappears completely, and we feel complete once more. A place where we can sit, face-to-face and hear His Son’s love whisper over and over…“Even so”.

[google images]

Advent Peace #1: Sing a New Song

Tonight, after driving home from my daughters’, I made myself a salad and sat down to find a Christmas movie. The movie was to entertain me while I work on the Grands’ Christmas stockings. For whatever reason, my TV remote didn’t log all the numbers correctly and up popped Christmas music that had me sitting back in my chair and ignoring everything else.

Christmas Under The Stars 2016 at BYU was beyond just a seasonal show – it was a blessing.

Michael W. Smith – Amy Grant – Jordan Smith – BYU orchestra and choir – – –

Really? Who could ask for more on the first day of the Peace Advent?

“Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.” — Psalm 96:1

Jewish tradition teaches that when the Messiah establishes his kingdom on the earth, the world will sing a new song. Not only will it sing a new song – there will be a new note added to the musical scale. The note will signify to all Creation that balance has been restored. God, man and all creation will walk in the garden together once again.

As Christians we wait to sing that new song through Christ’s return. A Sovereign LORD bringing peace upon this war-torn earth. A Shepherd who has carried us through those wars – who wrapped his body around us, protecting his lambs from the worst of the arrows – who will continue to carry each of us close to His heart as He returns a peaceful balance to the Garden He created.

As we light the second candle of peace. We remember Christ in His first Advent, and we celebrate the second Advent that is just around the corner. We may not know the specific times, but we know to watch the signs that He taught us during His first Advent.

In his devotions for the 2nd week of Advent, Max Lucado quotes Frederick Buechner: “It is He who made us, and not we ourselves, made us out of His peace to live in peace, out of His light to dwell in light, out of his Love to be above all things loved and loving.” (p161)

As I sang those old carols tonight (and some new ones)– because who can possible watch a show with Christmas songs and not sing along??? – right??? I loved finding my voice again, and the memories those songs brought with them. But oooo…with each turn of the earth, I am getting more excited about singing that new Advent song. And of course – that sets of that crazy pondering latch in my head as I try to imagine exactly what that new note will sound like – ? – hmmmm – will all music then be re=written? – – – was there an 8th note before the fall?? when – – – -????

“O Zion, messenger of good news,
shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.b
Shout, and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
“Your God is coming!”
Yes, the Sovereign LORD is coming in power.
He will rule with a powerful arm.
See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”~Is 40:9-11 [google image]

#perhapstoday #singanewsong

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #87

It is the month of thankfulness, and I am sooooo thankful that the political ads are about to go away – – -for a space of time. I am also thankful that we don’t watch regular TV very often, or I might be REALLY sick of the continuous play of political nonsense that only spews hate and venom instead of issues. Needless to say – today’s Ration was on point again.
 
‘We grow ‘righteously indignant’ abut our own grievances, and remain cool and calm in the face of corruption in high places, the exploitation of the helpless, and we shut our eyes to manifold evils that kindled the fire of anger in the heart of our Lord.’~1942 Ration #87
 
It reminded me of Manasseh. This boy king of Judah grew up and undid everything that is father had tried to establish – leading his people off G-d’s perfect path and onto his own destructive path. Then he took it up a notch by walking away from all righteousness, truth, love, and character – to the point of sacrificing his own children to Baal and killing the prophets who were sent to warn him – including his grandfather, Isaiah. [2 Chronicles 33]
 
As always, there is a price to pay. Manasseh was captured, tortured and, according to Jewish tradition, put in a bronze cauldron with a fire lit beneath him. It was then that he called out to all the gods he had been worshiping. In desperation, he finally cried out to G-d, the God of his fathers.
 
Jewish sages say that G-d was moved, but the angels were not. They argued back and forth that such a despicable man did not deserve mercy. G-d replied, “If I do not accept him in repentance, I am locking the door before all repentant sinners.” God forgave him and for the rest of his life, he tried to undo all that he had done. A side note – the rest of his life was 33 years which I find interesting.
 
There is a Jewish prayer that is used during fast times and the High Holy Days that I am adding to my prayers these last few days before the election. It is this line that holds me on my knees just a little longer: “…although we have no worthy deeds, treat us with charity and kindness, and save us.” Thank you for not locking the door. Thank you for forgiving us. Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
 
1942 Daily Rations: ” ‘He…looked…with anger.’~Mark 3:3
 
“Jesus could get angry! But it is very significant that his anger was never for himself though he suffered injustice and abuse far exceeding anything that any of us will ever know. But it was the exploitation of others, especially the weak and innocent, that aroused his wrath. The selfish and callous subordination of the needs of man to the letter of the law, the desecration of the house of God by human greed, the perversion of abuse of God’s human greed, the perversion of abuse of God’s ‘little ones’– – -these were the things that made him look ‘with anger’.
 
Besides the splendid indignation of Jesus how petty are most of our outbursts of anger! We grow ‘righteously indignant’ abut our own grievances, and remain cool and calm in the face of corruption in high places, the exploitation of the helpless, and we shut our eyes to manifold evils that kindled the fire of anger in the heart of our Lord. If we would look ‘with anger’ through his eyes, we would do more about the wrongs of the world.
 
“Prayer: Forgive us, O Lord, for our anger over our own grievances and difficulties and grant us so to have ‘the mind of Christ’ that we may be deeply aroused by the evils that hurt and degrade our brothers In his name. Amen.”   [google images]