Rise, My Beloved, Press on in Hope, Ever Ascending — Today

My wife and I watched the ball drop in New York City. Not in person of course, but on TV. We watched the festivities in Nashville and in San Francisco. In each and every case, people were asked, in one way or another what they hoped for in 2015. After all, isn’t that what a New Year’s resolution is, a commitment to invest in the hope for a better tomorrow?!

But, the better tomorrow is really about how we live TODAY, isn’t it? After all, today is the only day in which we can live.

So, I would ask, “What is your today resolution?” OR “How do you intend to invest yourself — attitudes and actions — to living differently right NOW?!”

Today is the day that ANY and EVERY resolution is either accomplished or put off once again. Today is the day.

The end — the Omega, Christ Jesus — the fulfillment for which we hope, encounters us not tomorrow, not in the past, but in the present, today, right now. Christ Jesus doesn’t call us into tomorrow. He calls us into the fulfillment of the Eternal Now — the consummation of His life in us and our life in Him which is, already accomplished and being fulfilled. When?? Today.

This is the day the Lord has made, not tomorrow.

Today is the acceptable time — the kairos “full-filling” the chronos — clothing it as it were from within and without with incorruptibility, though appearances may not confirm it (faith confirms it). Today is the day of salvation my brothers and sisters, not tomorrow. The invitation to engage in life in this way redefines concepts such as “when” and “how much” and “progress.”

Happy New Year? Well, Okay, yes…

But, I say Happy New Today ! !

———————

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Hear my cry.
Give heed to the voice of my supplication,
My King and my God,
For to You will I pray, O Lord.
In the morning You shall hear my voice;
In the morning I will stand before You,
And I will watch. (Psalm 5.2-4)

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Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places. (Habakkuk 3.17-19)

———————–

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5.1-5)

———————–

Isaiah says,
“There shall come the root of Jesse,
And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles,
In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15.12-13)

———————–

A READING FROM THE COMMENTARY ON THE SONG OF SONGS BY ST GREGORY OF NYSSA

How should we interpret the words, Behold he comes, leaping over the mountains? Perhaps they foresee the divine plan, spoken of in the Gospel and foretold by the prophets, whereby the Word of God became visible to us by his coming in the flesh. See, there he stands, looking through the windows, peeping through the lattices. The Word unites humanity to God methodically, step by step. First he enlightens us through the prophets and the precepts of the law; for we take the prophets to be the windows admitting the light and the network of the law’s commands to be the lattice. Through both of these steals the brilliance of the true light. Afterward comes the full illumination when by union with our nature the true light shines upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. First the light of the ideas contained in the prophets and the law shines upon the soul through windows and lattices apprehended by our minds, filling it with a desire to see the sun in the open air. Then the desire is fulfilled.

Rise up my companion, my fair one, my dove, and come. How much the Word teaches us in these few words! We watch him leading the bride to the heights along the ascending path of virtue, as though up a flight of steps. First he sends her a ray of light through the windows which are the prophets and the lattice which is the precepts of the law, calling her to approach the light and to become beautiful as she takes on in the light the form of a dove. Then when she has taken on as much of the divine beauty as she can, as though she had not yet received any part in it, he draws her once again from the beginning toward the supreme Beauty in which she is to share. As a result her desire becomes more intense the further she advances toward what is continually being revealed to her. Moreover, because of the surpassing greatness of the blessings she is always receiving by his grace who surpasses all, she seems to be making the journey for the first time.

And so, after she has risen the Word again says ‘Rise’ and after she has come he says ‘Come’. One who has thus risen never lacks the opportunity to rise further and one who is running toward the Lord never reaches the end of the space available for the divine race. We should always be rising and those whom the race is bringing close to the goal should never stop. Each time the Word says ‘Rise’ and ‘Come’ he gives the power to ascend to still loftier heights.

———————–

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. (2 Thessalonians 2.13-17)

———————–

And so, we are eager to awaken the dawn of today with hope…

“Awake, my glory! (my whole being)
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!” (Psalm 57.8)

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