God’s Book or Facebook?

The billboard on a local church had some poignant words:  Which do you open more? God’s book or Facebook?

This morning God’s book opened to Jeremiah:

When someone falls, do they not rise again? If they turn away, do they not turn back? Why then do these people resist with persistent rebellion? Why do they cling to deception, refuse to turn back?  I have listened closely: they speak what is not true; No one regrets wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Everyone keeps on running their course, like a horse dashing into battle.

Jeremiah 8:4-6

I have never been a huge Facebook fan.  But I do flip through it from time to time.  And post a few pictures from time to time.  And I notice when I do, I generally start feeling doubt.  I feel regret.  I feel jealous of the perfect lives that others seem to have.  And when I post something, I wait for the affirming “likes” and approvals.

It is amazing how many of us look in the wrong places.  We cling to deception.  The deception that the world sells us.  The deception that we sell ourselves on Facebook and other social media platforms.  We speak what is not true.  And when we do wrong, when we make mistakes, we blame others.  We lash out at others.  It can never be our fault.

The courtrooms are filled with blame.  And the confessionals are empty.  Marriages are marred with divorce.   And children are being raised to believe that they are perfect and no one should tell them differently.  We do not ask “what have I done?”  Instead we exclaim, “Look what was done to me!”

We have convinced ourselves that we are perfect.  We are never to blame.  We are smarter and stronger and richer than others.  We don’t need God.  Our Facebook page proves that we are “liked” and “loved”.  And yet, our society is more depressed than ever.  Clearly we are wrong.

When I turned the page in the Bible, I read this:

Thus says the LORD:

Let not the wise boast of his wisdom, nor the strong boast of his strength, nor the rich man boast of his riches; But rather, let those who boast, boast of this, that in their prudence they know me, Know that I, the LORD, act with fidelity, justice, and integrity on earth. How I take delight in these—oracle of the LORD

Jeremiah 9:23-26

I am not wise.  I am not strong.  I am not rich.  Although I sometimes play those roles on Facebook or otherwise.  I am sometimes headstrong and keep running my course, when I know I should turn back, turn back to God.  I know God, but I want to know Him better.  I know that He acts with fidelity, justice and integrity.  But sometimes I forget.

Lord,

I know that You are the Truth.  In this world of deception, You are the Way.  Your book brings me Hope and Joy.  Your book reminds me what true Love is.  I know that no matter how far we fall, we can rise with You.  Thank you for always being there to remind us.  Thank you for always welcoming us back.  Help me to boast of you, not of me.  Help those who do not know you to find the way back to you, so that they too may boast of your goodness.  You are my God.  I boast of your goodness. I boast that I am your child and I am loved by you!

 

Go, Set the World on Fire

The last few weeks the words “go forth”, “don’t be confined” and St. Ignatius’ words: “ite, inflammate Omnia” (“go, set the world on fire”) have weighed heavy on my mind.  I sit at mass and honestly think mainly about myself, my relationship with God, what I want, what I need.  But then at the end, we are sent out.  Go forth.  Glorify the Lord by your life.  Spread the Good News.

Today the Bible opened to Jeremiah:

The word of the LORD came to me:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

“Ah, Lord GOD!” I said, “I do not know how to speak. I am too young!”

But the LORD answered me, Do not say, “I am too young.” To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you—oracle of the LORD.

Jeremiah 1:4-8

There is so much in this passage.  First, God knows us.  He formed us.  But even before He formed us in the womb, He knew us and He knows us.  He knows you.  He knows me.  He knows what we are capable of and He dedicated each of us for a purpose.  He knows us, better than we know ourselves. As I read that and feel this realization, I have tears in my eyes.  What an incredible feeling to realize this.  He knows us.  I don’t know that any person really knows me.  But He does.

Now to the second point.  As great as the first point makes me feel, the second makes me hang my head, because I feel like I answer God’s call, much like Jeremiah did.  Not me God.  I do not know how to speak.  I am too young.  I do not have the knowledge.  Someone else could do it better.  I don’t know all the rules.  I don’t know all of the scriptures.  What if I say the wrong thing.  What if someone else disagrees with me.  I need someone else to lead me and guide me.  I have lots of reasons why it shouldn’t be me.  Lots of reasons to say no when I feel God nudge me or even out right shout to me.

Which leads to the third point.  God knows us.  He has dedicated us for a purpose.  And when He tells us to go, we should go.  When He tells us to speak, we should speak.  “To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.”  Do not be afraid.  God will lead.  We may not have this, but God does.  He’s got this.  And when He tells us to do something, it is because He knows the plan.  And although we may not know everything, He does.  He knows what we are capable of.  It may be beyond dispute that we cannot do it on our own, but we can do anything through God.

Lord,

Thank you for forming me.  Thank you for knowing me, even when I don’t know myself.  Thank you for having a purpose for me.  Help me be ready to say yes.  No matter how many excuses I throw up, knock down my resistance and my fear.  Send me, Lord.  Help me to hear your call.  Help me to listen.  Help me to respond and follow your plan.  I want to spread your Good News.   I want to help set the world on fire with your Spirit.  Send me, Lord.  Fill me with your Spirit and send me.

 

True Glory

Boast in the Lord!  It is a beautiful fall Sunday morning.  The Lord’s day.  It is a wonderful time to rejoice in the Lord!  He is great indeed.  He hears our prayers!

Today, I opened the Bible to 1 Corinthians 2:6, but then the wind blew the pages to Jeremiah:

Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise boast of his wisdom, nor the strong boast of his strength, nor the rich man boast of his riches;  But rather, let those who boast, boast of this, that in their prudence they know me,  Know that I, the LORD, act with fidelity, justice, and integrity on earth.  How I take delight in these—oracle of the LORD.

Jeremiah 9:22-23

The world teaches us to be wise, strong and rich.  All “glory” on earth seems to go to those who have these attributes.  Many of us strive to achieve these things.  It makes life easier on earth, doesn’t it?  It is so easy to get caught up in, and cater to, the world which rewards those who have strength, wisdom and riches.  Today, millions will watch football players who are richly rewarded for their physical strength.  And then argue over whether they should kneel or stand for the flag.  Certainly our country is great — but is it great because of its wisdom, strength and riches?  (it is certainly no longer great because of its commitment to God)   Although many players pray before the game, there is no announcement over the intercom, there is no fly over or fireworks during it.  We don’t stand together or kneel together to do it.  Although our country is great, far greater is our Lord!

We do not reward or recognize those who know God.  The media doesn’t seem to pay attention.  Money doesn’t follow.  We, as humans, make it hard on ourselves by not celebrating it — by not making it more rewarding on earth.  But then, we miss the point if we are looking for the world to reward us.  The world has nothing on God.  The reward is in heaven.  Perhaps it is not suppose to be easy.  All things worth having are worth fighting for.  Wisdom, strength and riches are nothing unless we know God.

We constantly boast about our children.  Facebook is filled with posts and pictures of their every accomplishment.  Let’s boast about our Father.

Almighty Father,

You are beyond all worldly greatness.  You are greater than we can imagine.  I want to know you more!  I want to know your wisdom, feel your strength and experience the true riches that only you can provide.  You alone provide true glory!