I will be waiting here….
For your silence to break,
For your soul to shake,
For your love to wake!
We have been in the season of Visiting Angels and Daring Dreams. Lives were touched and directions reconsidered – this is what happens when the air is filled with angels work and a showering of God’s love.
Joseph slept only to hear the voice of an angel saying, take Mary as your wife as you have planned She has said yes to carrying the sacred child, the son of God. She will need the strength of your shoulder and the comfort of your love.
So they traveled to a place they had never been before- together. There the baby was born. Maybe Joseph stood in awe as the miracle of sacred birth unfolded before him and maybe he tried to find his place as the stable filled with shepherds and wise men from another country far away.
It was through an angel’s visit in a dream that his will was strengthed to begin this uncharted journey.
And once again he lay to sleep in a stable, rough and bare, only to be roused by another dream, an angel’s visit. Awaken, pack quickly. King Herod has entered this day in a rage.
He Qi – The Magi
The wise men rose from their sleep having been warned in a dream that Herod could not be trusted. They left by a different path. And then the unthinkable occurred. Hundreds of young children were killed by Herod’s command. Herod – a King in Jerusalem angered by the news of a newborn child who had come to bring peace and serve justice.
Joseph’s life was changed forever. These angel-filled dreams guided him as he began to follow a path unlike any he could have imagined.
We are now in our own season of Visiting Angels and Daring Dreams. We must stay alert – for the path ahead will certainly be filled with experiences unfamiliar. May we listen closely remembering that angels often appear in unexpected ways. May we pay attention to our dreams for through them our ‘souls may shake’ and ‘love awake’.
First Image : Jude Allen
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)
I really like this portrayal of the Magi given to us by the artist, He Qi. These three kings look to be resting so peacefully. During this time of angel visits and instructions through dreams, there is a sense of awakening but no fear. Ideas are planted and their deep trust in the signs and wonders of their own faith tradition encourage them to pack for adventure and follow the prophetic star.
It is Epiphany – a time when we hear stories of innocence and evil. A child free from guilt is born and ‘angels in their joy dance across the sky with song’. Good news is sent to shepherds and visions to kings far to the East. The earth is electric with hope and celebration.
But as always the story is balanced with other reactions. The ruling Roman king, Herod, does not find this birth good news but a threat. He would turn the joyful moments into horror killing small boys as an act of ultimate insecurity.
Something about this story feels painfully familiar. Our world today is filled with examples of horrible actions taken due to insecurity and greed. So how do we recognize the news from angels in our dreams and live in hope?
Isaiah’s prophetic wisdom reminds us that through darkness light shines. We hear his cry, ‘Arise, shine for your light has come.’ This is a call to action. We must carry that light like a candle needing shelter in the wind. For it is still a young flame and it’s earthly protectors are still forming family.
When the kings and shepherds have returned to their homes, we are still here, present as this young family begins a risky journey to Egypt so to hide in safety until they can return to their own land and make home.
It is Epiphany. A time of enlightenment and honor. Like those wise ones from the East, may we pay attention to our surroundings and nurture our own faith-in-practice.
(Grateful thanks is given for the inspiration shared by John Foley S. J.)
Was it a normal day? How would she ever remember? One minute she was sweeping the floor or brushing her hair and the next… Angels arrive. Maybe there was bright light, maybe her ears rang with music – certainly she felt her ground shift.
The angel knew her name and shared God’s greeting. She was blessed and God’s beloved. What did this mean? She was confused and could not understand why the angel stood before her. In turn she was comforted and told not to be afraid (something angels often need to do).
Mary was awakened in the middle of the day, when sleep was not a part of the schedule. Before her stood an angel, an archangel, proclaiming news too remarkable to fathom. Her eyes were open, yet what she saw and heard must have felt like a dream.
This ‘announcing’ visit filled her with a brilliant awareness. As quick as she was visited by this angel, she was once again, alone. She could only comprehend this news with the strength and courage one gets from acting on faith. She did not know the story’s end but was willing to be this important part of its beginning.
Henry Ossawa Tanner
These “visits” are filled with the mystery of God’s movement. There is little logic, for we, like Mary, are asked to use our intuition – to step forward in faith.
There are scary things happening in this world. Where fear is not real, it appears people are trying to create it. May we walk through these days assuring ourselves and those we meet ‘all will be well’, living in faith not fear.
Be not afraid
Angel words to humans
Easier said than done
Let not your hearts be troubled
There is so much to make us afraid
So many things that are just wrong and hard
So many broken places, people and hearts – so many sobbing…
My heart, your heart, Boston, Texas, Conn, Oklahoma, Ground Zero, the world, the world, the world…
Your heart, my soul
Your mind, my heart
Be not afraid
Let not your hearts be troubled…
May God help us not to give into fear and or despair…
Encourage a friend today…
Mark Bozzuti-Jones: Blog- The Fullness
So many mornings I awake grateful for a new day. During this time of my transition I have had to depend on people who I never knew until I came to my new home in the North Carolina’s mountains. I have been blessed with caregivers who are full of energy, fun to be with, and very knowledgeable about the area. I have begun to meet people and forge new friendships. And now I am beginning to connect with a larger community who are involved with faith formation (Christian Education) – it will be good to offer my time and resources when possible. I never thought I would have to retire so early. This has been a journey of ‘trust’.
Below I share a ‘blessing’ with you. May it enrich your moments as it has mine:
Be blessed today, blessed in who you are, in the time you are, in the place you are. Blessed in your moment of rising, when what waits for you still waits, either good or bad, so that you may face it knowing you are not alone. Blessed in your acts of creation, great and small, the things you will do to make a world for yourself, doing all that you can to make that world a better place. Blessed in your hours of resting, when you seek to leave it all behind, embracing the peace of angels who watch over you, keeping you blessed while the quiet stars shine above you. Bishop Steven Charleston
Each year our church calendar offers differing perspectives of our faith story during the Lenten season. Feast days – major or minor – stay in place (their dates are set) as the 40 days of Lent and Easter move along with the spring equinox.
Throughout our Lenten observance we are in preparation for the tense and traumatic days when Jesus, the provider of hope and wholeness, was abused and killed. These days and this part of our story are important but none-the-less horrific. Yet as we round the corner to Holy Week, we hear readings that tell of angels and dreams.
Within this week, one Sunday to the next, we are invited to another time. A time when the news of Jesus’ arrival was only offered to those entrusted to care for him as a baby and nurture him in his growing years. Like bookends – the week begins with Joseph’s feast day and concludes with the celebration of Mary’s hearing of her role in bringing the Good News into our world.
Both were visited by angels. Joseph was awakened in a dream to the importance of his life and commitment to Mary and Jesus. Mary was awakened in the middle of the day, when sleep was not a part of the schedule. Before her stood an angel, an archangel, to proclaim news too remarkable to comprehend. Her eyes were open, yet what greeted her must have felt like a dream.
These “visits” are filled with the mystery of God’s movement among us. There is little logic, for we just like Mary and Joseph, are asked to use our intuition – to step forward in faith. At once we are faced with all the wonder of new life even in the midst of apparent death.
Both of these visitations filled their beholders with brilliant awareness. Joseph was left with a resolve to care for his beloved and be present to his son as mentor and role model. Mary was left knowing that she had accepted an invitation she could only experience with the strength and courage that comes through faith.
Neither knew the story’s end and maybe this is the point. Lest we sit too comfortably in the midst of these next few weeks – may we remember that the story is alive. God continues to move among us and we are best to be prepared – for angels continue to appear, in the most unlikely places.