John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, 407

Today (Sep. 13) the church remembers John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, 407.St. John Chrysostom

In an influential, prosperous, and sophisticated city at the apex of international power, it is rarely popular to advocate restraint, self-control, and responsible living. When the leaders of mighty Constantinople elected John Chrysostom to be Patriarch of the city, they thought they had elected a holy man who would bless and affirm them in their way of living. They were only half right.

Read the entire post on Forward Movement

Are we witnessing a similar ministry in our own day? May the future of Pope Francis be more like his namesake of Assisi and less like Chrysostom’s.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

What do you hear? What do you see? How does the ‘Seer’ speak to you?

In the Sunday Morning Forum (5/5/13) we looked at the Book of Revelation (in a general way) and the appointed reading, Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 (in a specific way).

In general: What we are hearing (reading, if we must) is a book [Revelation] that is (a) prophetic in content, (b) apocalyptic in form, and (c) pastoral in intent.

Prophetic: the function of the prophet is to interpret history as reflecting the action of God. What we see is what is happening on the human scale; what is really going on is the work of God.

Apocalyptic in form: the word apocalypse is the Greek equivalent of revelatio in Latin. It means to unveil or disclose. What is really going on in history is not evident until the prophet draws back the curtain to show what he has seen.

Pastoral in intent: John writes to strengthen and encourage his fellow Christians in a time of peril. Horrors he knows: he has witnessed (or heard about) the execution of Christians in Rome under Nero in 64, the fall of Jerusalem at the end of the Jewish War in 70, the civil war after the death of Nero in 69, a vast destruction resulting from the eruption of Vesuvius in 80.

Revelation by Holt H. Graham on Bible Briefs from VTS

Another Resource for your Bible study

If the pastoral intent long ago was “to strengthen and encourage … fellow Christians in a time of peril” let us assume the intent is the same today. What ‘perils’ do you hear about? What perils do you see? What does the ‘Seer‘ speak to you as you process what you hear and see? The conversation on Sunday was lively. There is much around us to cause fear, dismay, despair. More importantly, as we looked more closely at the text of Revelation (a text we’ve been reading for a while now) we did indeed find encouragement.

Share your thoughts in the Comment section. We want to continue the conversation.

Wind Chimes: 13 Oct 2012

Today the chimes sound questions. What do you hear?

Was Job an explorer?

My own peculiar task in my Church and in my world has been that of the solitary explorer who, instead of jumping on all the latest bandwagons at once, is bound to search the existential depths of faith in its silences, its ambiguities, and in those certainties which lie deeper than the bottom of anxiety. In those depths there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to anything. It is a kind of submarine life in which faith sometimes mysteriously takes on the aspect of doubt, when, in fact, one has to doubt and reject conventional and superstitious surrogates that have taken the place of faith

—Thomas Merton in Faith and Violence quoted in Seeds edited by Robert Inchausti

Was Job a mystic?

Bernard McGinn says that mysticism is “a consciousness of the presence of God that by definition exceeds description and . . . deeply transforms the subject who has experienced it.” If it does not deeply change the lifestyle of the person—their worldview, their economics, their politics, their ability to form community—you have no reason to believe it is genuine mystical experience. It is often just people with an addiction to religion itself, which is not that uncommon.

Mysticism is not just a change in some religious ideas or affirmations, but it is an encounter of such immensity that everything else shifts in position. Mystics have no need to exclude or eliminate others precisely because they have experienced radical inclusivity of themselves into something much bigger. They do not need to define themselves as enlightened or superior, whereas a mere transfer of religious assertions often makes people even more elitist and more exclusionary.

True mystics are glad to be common, ordinary, servants of all, and “just like everybody else,” because any need for specialness has been met once and for all.

Daily Meditation by Richard Rohr on September 23, 2012. Adapted from Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate. (CD/DVD/MP3)

A prayer

O God:
Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;
Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;
Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;
Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;
Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A Prayer For Today  a resource of Forward Movement