my books: friends & counselors #10

John W. Frye’s poetic reflection on relating to God as we relate to others made “in his image” speaks deeply to me every time I read it. The wonder of relationship!

Wrinkles at the corner of the eyes,
a softening inflection of the voice,
a sigh, a slight turn of the head,
a friend speaks to me.
A sacred entity in wearied body
bearing the Image –
priceless, deep imprint of the Other.
Gesturing, fumbling hands,
awkward silences and jump-start
phrase
coming from inside a being,
from a silence unknown to me
except for this series of sounds.
Conversation is a miracle,
a treasure hunt
for meaning, acceptance;
an audio map
Out of the complex wilderness
for two simple, broken wanderers
who drink hot coffee.
Are those wrinkles in the corner of the eyes
or are they branches of the burning bush?
What is this space, other than holy ground?
How is it that our feeble, speaking voices
usher us into the Eternal Silence
where words cannot convey this exact moment?
Holy, holy, holy is this moment almighty!
Two brings, coffee on their breathes,
with puffs of air exchange their souls
on wispy sounds, from very deep to deep!
I walk away from the moment
with a new limp
and
with a new hope,
for I have wrestled with God
in another whom I call
“friend.”

Liberate Your Praying Heart by John W. Frye (Credo House Publishers, 2017); p.42

my books: friends & counselors #9

C.K. Barrett gives us a crucial, timeless reminder in his comments on 2 Cor. 1.9

Physical illness, the shadow of death, the failure of his work in Corinth, were among the causes that led to the breaking down of a man who, if any had ground for confidence in the flesh, had more (Phil. 3.4; cf. 2 Cor. 11.22f). The church at Corinth, like many another since, thought it could by-pass affliction on the way to comfort; the theme of the epistle is that this is impossible (cf. Acts 14.22). Christian discipline means, for an apostle and for the church as a whole, a progressive weakening of man’s instinctive self-confidence, and of the self-despair to which this leads, and the growth of radical confidence in God.

The Second Epistle to the Corinthians by Charles Kingsley Barrett (Hendrickson, 1987); p.66

my books: friends & counselors #7

George Knight, in his comments on Leviticus 4.13-5.13 – which happens to be a portion of our reading today in the IMMERSE Bible reading project at MoSt Church – makes the following, moving observation on God and sin:

To a man, an inadvertent sin may appear to be quite unimportant. But God actually ‘smells’ an odor of it in his nostrils, that is to say, it comes right up into the very experience of his own person and affects him. Human sin reaches God, touches him, it hurts him, it moves him. But what happens is that it moves him to be deeply compassionate, and so God is ready to forgive man despite man’s insolent attack upon the revelation of his will and loving purpose.

Leviticus by George A.F. Knight (Westminster Press, 1981); p.34

my books: friends & counselors: #5

Lord God, God of peace, God of knowledge, God of grace, we come before You, diligently seeking from You that which is severely lacking in our world: peace.

On a national level, we are torn with the violence of enemies within and foes without, and often by our own self-driven divisiveness. On a worldwide scale, we are appalled and distressed by the lack of regard for human sanctity, and wonder if Your word of value for all Your children will ever be heard by the masses.

We confess, lord, that the outer battles we humans fight are the result of our own inner conflicts, our own sinful pride, our own drive for power and control, our own willful response to hidden fears and unspoken guilt.

Forgive us, God, when we champion violence as the only answer to violence. Forgive us when we demand justice for our enemies and expect mercy for ourselves.

Help us, father, to be a people who love You and Your ways, a people who love much and hate little, a people who desire and declare Your healing, reconciliation, and joy, a people who speak the language of love and resist the tongue of evil.

We praise and honor You, Lord, and lay our request at Your feet, and ask for peace within ourselves, and within our world, through the Name of the One who blesses the peacemakers. Amen.

Rekindled: Warmed by Fires of Hope by Virgil M. Fry (Leafwood Publishers, 2007); pp.61-62