Daily Riches: God Has the Last Laugh (Donald McCullough, William Bausch)

“If God can succumb to the limitation–death–and transform it . . . into the world’s salvation . . . then we can move beyond optimism into an assured hope that our own death will become a doorway into life, a translation into an order of being that we cannot now comprehend. This being the case, we have good reason to believe that all the other limitations, while difficult and often painful, will also become, in the hands of God, instruments of healing and growth that will finally make possible the fulfillment of joy. God has the last laugh, in other words. There is an ancient Russian Orthodox tradition that devotes the day after Easter to sitting around a table and telling jokes. Why? According to William J. Bausch,

They were imitating that cosmic joke that God pulled on Satan in the resurrection. Satan thought he had won, and was smug in his victory, smiling to himself, having had the last word. So he thought. Then God raised Jesus from the dead, and life and salvation become the last words. And the whole world laughed at the devil’s discomfort. This attitude passed into the medieval concept of hilaritas, which did not mean mindless giggling, but that even at the moment of disaster one may wink because he or she knows there is a God.

The limitations of life, by themselves, are no joke. There is nothing funny about bodies wearing out, relationships coming to grief, achievements falling short, money running out, time slipping away, or any of the others. But when we view these things in the light of Easter, we must wink, if not laugh. We know that the story is not yet finished; if it now seems like a tragedy, it will, by an astonishing turn of events, become a comedy.” Donald McCullough

“May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 6:10 NLT

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • It’s hard to face the tragedy in our world. Can you periodically “go there?”
  • Are you praying daily for the soon coming of God’s kingdom? If not, why not?
  • Can you move “beyond optimism?” Can you laugh no matter how dark the times?

Jesus, may you find me neither in denial, numb or overwhelmed by the tragedy everywhere in my world. In our darkness shine your light.

For More: The Consolations of Imperfection by Donald McCullough

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Daily Riches: Galumphing at God’s Heels (William J. O’Malley, and Matt Groening)

“The big black Lab galumphs beside me as I walk,
tongue lolling, eyes intent upon the stick.
He’s submissive to my whistle, not my trifling talk,
nor well-wrought reasons, much less rhetoric.
He trots ahead and turns, impatient for the throw,
snaps off a bark, then lumbers halfway back.
He cocks his head and huffs to tell me I’m too slow.
I throw and off he goes, a blur of black.
The world exists for him: the stick, the roadside, me.
We’re here to serve his simple solipsism.
Except for unpredictable caprice, he’s free,
without the humbling need for baptism.
 .
“To save him from a truck, I choke his collar short.
What earthly link? That noise, this loss of breath?
He punctuates his protest with a snort;
until they meet, no need to ponder death.
What a narrow scope of truth his mind explores:
betrayal, hunger, curiosity.
He knows my mind about as I do yours;
my thoughts as closed to him as yours to me.
How humbling to confront one’s hubris, open-eyed,
to fathom what this big black mongrel feels.
I’d thought that you and I were striding side by side,
when all the time I was galumphing at your heels.”
William J. O’Malley
 .
 “When I was a child, I used to talk, think, argue like a child–who has
just enough grasp of the truth to be thoroughly confused.
When I grew up, I was somewhat better than that, but hardly perfect.
I still see God through a smear of distorting glass.
Ah! but then we will see God face-to-face!
Now I know God so incompletely; then,
I will know God through and through, as God knows me now.”
1 Corinthians 13:8-12 (O’Malley paraphrase)
.

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Remember when Bart tries to explain to “Santa’s Little Helper”, how his disobedience is leading to trouble? The dog wants to please, but just can’t understand. He hears only noise, thinks only of food. Imagine the challenge God has in explaining things to you.
  • None of us are “striding side by side” with God – just “galumphing at [His] heels.” Have you made peace with this sometimes painful reality?

Abba, I’m no longer thoroughly confused but I still don’t really understand myself or you. I look forward to when I will know you “as you know me now.”

For More: Daily Prayers for Busy People by William J. O’Malley

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Your Intuitive Prejudice In Favor of Self (Thomas Merton, A. D. Sertillanges)

“To proportion one’s task to one’s powers, to undertake to speak only when one knows, not to force oneself to think what one does not think, or to understand what one does not understand – to avoid the danger of missing the substance of things and disguising its absence under big words: all that is great wisdom. Pride rebels against it; but pride is the enemy.” A. D. Sertillanges

“We ought to have the humility to admit we do not know all about ourselves, that we are not experts at running our own lives. We ought to stop taking our conscious plans and decisions with such infinite seriousness. It may well be that we are not the martyrs or the mystics or the apostles or the leaders or the lovers of God that we imagine ourselves to be. Our subconscious mind may be trying to tell us this in many ways and we have trained ourselves with the most egregious self-righteousness to turn a deaf ear. …One of the effects of original sin is an intuitive prejudice in favor of our own selfish desires. We see things as they are not, because we see them centered on ourselves. Fear, anxiety, greed, ambition, and our hopeless need for pleasure all distort the image of reality that is reflected in our minds. Grace does not completely correct this distortion all at once: but it gives us a means of recognizing and allowing for it. And it tells us what we must do to correct it. Sincerity must be bought at a price: the humility to recognize our innumerable errors, and fidelity in tirelessly setting them right. The sincere man, therefore, is one who has the grace to know that he may be instinctively insincere, and that even his natural sincerity may become a camouflage for irresponsibility and moral cowardice: as if it were enough to recognize the truth, and do nothing about it!” Thomas Merton

“with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you aware of your “intuitive prejudice in favor of your own selfish desires?”
  • Do you listen, in the voice of God, others, or your self-conscious such that your “infinite seriousness” about your spirituality could be questioned?
  • How can you refuse to be “instinctively insincere” before God, and thereby learn to practice truthfulness with others about your weaknesses and limitations?

Self-humbling God, help me humbly receive truth about myself.

For More: No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Sniffing Out Wrong in the Neighborhood (Eugene Peterson)

“Anger is a most useful diagnostic tool. When anger erupts in us it is a signal that something is wrong. Something isn’t working right. There is evil or incompetence or stupidity lurking about. Anger is our sixth sense for sniffing out wrong in the neighborhood. What anger fails to do, though, is to tell us whether the wrong is outside or inside us. We usually begin by assuming that the wrong is outside us–our spouse, or our child, or God has done something wrong, and we are angry. But when we track the anger carefully, we often find it leads to wrong within us–wrong information, inadequate understanding, underdeveloped heart.” Eugene Peterson

In your anger do not sin.” Ephesians 4:26

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does anger function in your life more as a gift (“a diagnostic tool”) or as a trigger for sin (blaming, defending, judging, acting out)?
  • When anger rises up in you, can you look within yourself first and ask, “What does my response say about me?”
  • Think about “the wrong information, the inadequate understanding, the underdeveloped heart” that you may have. Can you resolve to be more “slow to anger?” By delaying your anger, can you create space for God to work in the situation and in you?

Abba, may I respond more often with humility as I consider the limitations of my perspective, and more often with love as I develop a heart for you. I trust in you all day long. Save me from myself.

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For More: Under the Unpredictable Plant by Eugene Peterson

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

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