Saturday, February 25, 2012

Many Miniature Lives and Deaths, O Mercy!

[*note to Kyril re Orthodox comment at end of this post]

I saw it as crystalline clear as a cold plains day when you can see for miles . . . .

There is a moment, immediately upon awaking . . . before the worries and thoughts of the day start pouring in . . . where you have a choice how you are going to approach the day.  Another day is here with many of the same things involved in it--perhaps shower, breakfast, chores, business, home life, interactions with others, just like the day before . . . .

An open space . . . precedes all this to follow, in your mind, your heart.  Then, a moment later, your habitual attitude towards it all starts to gear up.  Frustration, worry, resentments--all the attached thoughts you habitually maintain return and there is the tendency to proceed . . . same as always . . . maybe depressed, angry . . . a spirit of complaint and niggling, your old, tired friend who you keep, jumps on your back and off you go . . . to repeat the same response to the various events and routines to follow . . . .

But it need not be.

In the first micro-moment . . . before it all rushes in--the habitual negative attitude--YOU CAN CHOOSE to reject . . . and then replace with gratitude for all the good things and provision that IS there to be found.  Usually, not much changes from day to day as far as the external routines that go on.  But your ATTITUDE you CAN change . . . and are commanded to change.

In John 16:33, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” 

Do you have faith or not?  Do you believe or not . . . that He overcame the world?  If you do, then BE OF GOOD CHEER!

As a believer . . . you are bound to "have tribulation."  The phrase in Greek "be of good cheer" is "tharseo" which means to exercise courage, to be bold and confident.  So, He is saying we are to make an active, courageous, bold EFFORT in our attitude . . . and not just allow, passively, that tendency to acquiesce to the EGO'S habit of glomming onto a negative response to the daily routines . . . .

Let's say there are 20 years of your life Saved or even 20 years of being reasonably self aware and as an earnest seeker.  Within that time we have about 7300 little lives and deaths.  Every day is like a little life which begins anew . . . things happen . . . and then comes the night, sleep . . . and that little death.

So many opportunities . . . .

Every day is like a miniature version of one life.  In that very first waking moment, before you habitually take on the same old suit . . . and end up reacting . . .  the same old ways--you can STOP, refuse the old suit and try something different; start the little life (the day) with a clean attempt to focus solely on the Lord's purpose and assume a mode of being . . . as if HE were starting the day, in and through you--NOT the old, worn out, tedious, trite . . . ego with it's baggage--it's suitcase full of remembered sleights, scores to settle, hurts to mull upon . . . .

Put that dirty old thing away!  And start fresh and clean, determined to try something different!

For, once you awaken to the new day, the new life of the day . . . and immediately allow all the old habits and patterns to charge up, then THEY drive the day, enslave you, and cover you with old rot . . . so that a tired, dirty participant in the world's meaningless diversions . . . falls into bed . . . with little hope, no glory, no joy or peace, but just the same old walking, talking garbage . . . which spreads no light, no love, no spirit, but only mucked about in the darkness of another rote, uninspired day . . . .

What a way to die . . . .

WHEREAS, the opportunity is there to change course--tack into a fresh, living new wind!  One day is like a little life, with its birth . . . its works . . . and then falling to death, to sleep.

We only have ONE life to live, to get it right, to find and live for God . . . . But, mercifully, He has given us many hundreds and thousands of miniature versions of life and death--to exercise, to practice, to start again, to re-appraise and alter course--the DAYS and nights of our life, where each one can be taken as a new version, a re-do of the ONE sacred, actual life and death.

Here is the chance, again and again . . . to NOT take on the old suit and suitcase, every morning, but awaken . . . AWARE of the meaning and profundity of LIFE and of the day to be . . . and then, at the end of the day (at the end of the little life) . . . to look back, learn, repent and determine to do better.  And mercifully, sleep will come . . . and then, another life, another day, another chance!

The key . . . is in rushing to awareness . . . being CONSCIOUS and intentional straightaway . . . by thinking immediately about Jesus first thing and thus becoming aligned with His Spirit--before the old suit and baggage starts foisting itself on and in to you.  And there is a CHOICE--a sacred FREE WILL CHOICE . . . to either focus on HIM or be passive, acquiescent to the habitual mode of the living dead . . . .

When you look at Him first thing . . . it is like becoming a magnifying glass which aligns with the sun/Son. . . and then HIS power and light and radiation . . . becomes focused and intensified in and on you and starts to burn away all the rot and decaying matter (rot and decay being the memories and ideas you cling on to which once were relevant and part of life but now are dead, yet you keep them as the old suit and suitcase and put them on every day, even as they stink and rot off your living soul!) and just by looking at Him and hearing Him, using His Name . . . the clinging dead parts of yourself . . . begin to dissolve, fade away, burn off, by His radiating love and light . . . and the purifying process is underway.

NOW when you reach the end of the day, you've got something to be thankful for . . . because, rather than dragging your old, habitual self around and participating in the congregation of zombies--of the living dead, NOW you have allowed some measure of the Lord to operate more overtly in the world, through you--His light shining on all who cross your path, whatever small the measure . . . .

Again, I think of all the things people train themselves to do and be . . . and yet this one, simple thing goes untried, day after day.

You see, just like the athlete or academic . . . trains and develops skills for a particular profession, EVERY person can make some effort and train . . . themselves . . . so that EVERY MORNING, first thing, upon awakening, before the zombie suit starts animating and puts itself in and on and all through you--YOU can instead rush STRAIGHT to God, to the Lord in thought and intention and . . . consciously . . . determine that at the very least, you will try to approach the day with HIS spirit dominating and leading; not the old, reactionary self with all its attached thoughts and prideful baggage.

Same thing at night, at the time of the little death.  There is a moment to connect, to face the Lord and repent, BUT WITH GOOD CHEER, determined . . . boldly . . . courageously . . . to acknowledge the (spiritual) mistakes of the day and thank Him for His grace and mercy . . . . Relieved and eager . . . that another day/life is coming, in the morning, to try again.  Not, of course, because you are counting on your works to save you, but that you have the opportunity to align with the Son and show Him your love and devotion to His glory . . . yet again!

Kyril . . . I can't seem to find what writing of mine you are referring to.  But no, I did not  intend to imply that the Orthodox worship saints.  Maybe I worded something unclearly.  Because I do appreciate the difference between veneration and worship.  Same with icons.  I studied Icons and Orthodox history and doctrine with a scholar on the subject for nearly a year (circa 1995-96) and it was then I learned the position and explanation of the Orthodox re that subject.  Do you mind pointing out where you think I implied that Orthodox worship saints?  I am curious to see it as I am always interested in writing with precise clarity (as much as possible) and expressing better.  I generally try to be very careful with the language I use, though sometimes I know things are still misunderstood and I fail at conveying the intended precision.  Anyway, thanks for comment and the links . . . . and rest assured I understand and even respect the distinction :)


Trish Daniel said...


Anonymous said...

That was an exceptionally great message.

Lee in TN said...

Bro T,
Perhaps Kyril was somewhat recalling when you wrote -

"I am in sympathy with the Orthodox--the long tradition, shown and explained in the Bible--in admiring and honoring the saints and missionaries through the ages into today . . . who have renounced position, wealth, comfort, all for the preaching and exemplifying of the Gospel. Of course, we do not worship men and women, and I only pray to God; but I warmly recognize and gain insight and light by observing and studying how GOD has worked through His people--His called and devoted servants in this fallen realm!"

- from To Be Spat Out, Do Nothing
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Thanks ongoing! Always in my prayers -


Kyril Stosz said...

Thank you Brother Thomas for replying to my comment and considering what I had to say. Yes, I was referring to the excerpt from "To Be Spat Out, Do Nothing," included herein by Lee in TN. Forgive me if I misunderstood you.
Also I know people often do not appreciate proselytizing, but you seem to be much less reactionary than most and so I added those links. I would hate to be an un-asked-for annoyance, but I just love to share.
If you have studied Orthodoxy for a year than perhaps you don't need to reexamine a basic doctrine such as iconography. Yet with all things Orthodox there is a long history and complex beauty to iconography; it is often misunderstood, by the heterodox and even some of the orthodox people.
Have you had a chance to look at the couple of books (The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios; and Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future) which I sent to you?

God Bless

Brother Thomas ©2015

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