What Does Being Like Angels Have to Do With Marriage in Heaven?

What if, when Jesus said, “They neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in Heaven,” He was not denouncing any possibility of an enduring union between a man and a woman, but declaring that what the Saducees (and doubtless the Pharisees also) called ‘marriage’ had nothing to do with real marriage, with the union He had created?

I write this tentatively, alerting any readers to the fact that while there is something here, with regards to this topic of which I am certain (else I would not be writing this) there is much more which I do not know, and it is not even very clear to me how to differentiate between what I know and what I suggest only in order to provide a frame in which to suggest what I know to others. Continue reading “What Does Being Like Angels Have to Do With Marriage in Heaven?”

Call Me Blessed, for the Mighty One Has Done Great Things for Me

“My soul exults in the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has had regard for the lowly state of His handmaid. From this day on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His Name. His mercy is upon generations of those who fear Him… He casts down rulers from their thrones, and exalts those who were humbled. He fills the hungry with good things, while the rich He has sent empty away…”

Thus runs Mary’s Magnificat, her song in which she praises God’s mercy towards herself – and towards all. Continue reading “Call Me Blessed, for the Mighty One Has Done Great Things for Me”

Worship Belongs to the Little Children

“Out of the mouths of infants You have ordained praise for Yourself, because of the foe and the adversary.”

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”

“Truly, truly I say to you, unless you receive the Kingdom of Heaven like a little child, you shall not enter it.”

“Unless you become as little children, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“I thank You, Father, that Thou hast hidden these things from the prudent and the wise, and hast revealed them to little children, yeah, Father, for so it pleased you.”

The Kingdom of God is as open to children as it is to anyone. Children can know God. It is not harder for a child to worship God than for an adult. It is not more difficult for God to reveal Himself to a baby than to a grown-up.

The entirety of our being is made by and for God. Therefore Continue reading “Worship Belongs to the Little Children”

Celibacy, Hospitality, and Church Leadership

What is “Church Leadership?” What does it even mean?

Why do so many (at least in Evangelical circles of various denominations) consider lifelong dedicated celibacy so lowly? Why is it something almost no one considers, while marriage is lauded everywhere? Why is it something no one sees and no one is encouraged to consider?

Maybe the two questions are related? Maybe “Church Leadership” and celibacy, though not identical, should often be seen together?

What if “Church Leadership” is more than preaching sermons and getting to know “church members” and “counseling” people? What if “Church Leadership” should mean being an example to both the brethren and those who do not yet believe? What if, anyone who isn’t so, is by definition not a “Church Leader?” Continue reading “Celibacy, Hospitality, and Church Leadership”

Heaven: To See the Face of God in Christ and Be Like Him

“I shall see Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied when I awake after Thy likeness.”

“Little children, it is not yet manifest what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

“Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God.”

“We who behold with unveiled faces the glory of the Lord as in a mirror are being transformed into that same image as from glory to glory.”

“Now we know in part; then we shall know in full. Now we see as in a mirror dimly; then we shall see face to face.”

“He predestined us to be conformed to the image of Christ so that He should be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Heaven is the fulfillment of our nature. It is to see Him whom we were created to see, and by seeing to be like Him. It is the Beatific Vision: the direct, immediate (not mediated) presence of God in and to the soul.

In Heaven, we shall be like Christ. Continue reading “Heaven: To See the Face of God in Christ and Be Like Him”

Loving Soldiers and All Men and Why Christians Cannot Go to War

We are made to love the Lord God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbors as our own selves. That means all of our neighbors – all fellow human beings are our neighbors, the children of Adam and Eve and our brothers and sisters, created in the image and likeness of God Himself, each one’s name known specially to God before the creation of the world.

Indeed, we are to love our neighbors as Jesus Christ Himself has loved us. He laid down His life for us.

We do not get to pick and choose who is our neighbor, whom we must love as we love ourselves, love as Jesus loved us. Continue reading “Loving Soldiers and All Men and Why Christians Cannot Go to War”

What It Really Means to Take the Name of the Lord in Vain

“You shall not take the name of YHWH your God in vain.”

“Father, hallowed be Your Name.”

God is Holy. His Greatness – His Truth – His Love – His Goodness, all these call us to approach Him and to speak His Name with reverence and with joy, not flippantly, not carelessly, but meaning what we say as nearly as we can, knowing that He of Whom we speak is so real and true we cannot grasp Him, so high and loving and beautiful we stand in awe of His supreme goodness. Continue reading “What It Really Means to Take the Name of the Lord in Vain”

Do You Want to Know Goodness and Love?

How many of you who deny or reject God would want, if it were possible, to know, love, and serve a Being who not only loves but was the very incarnation of Love, a Person who not only was good but was goodness itself?

If you’ve read other writings of mine, most of the time when I use the word ‘God’ I do not mean an exceptionally powerful creature with an ego problem or anything like that. Perhaps, it will make things clearer if, in this post, I don’t use the word ‘God’ or any words associated with that word at all to describe the thing of which I am thinking and which I am putting forward for your consideration, but I’m not sure how to do that. There’s only so many words in the world, or at least in any given language. Continue reading “Do You Want to Know Goodness and Love?”

Stop Wondering What It’s Like to Be Persecuted or if You Would Deny Jesus

I’ve never been able to understand the way in which many people in America think about persecution and martyrdom. I might literally shiver with fear, but the way of thinking about persecution I knew was that of the Apostles when they “went forth from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer shame for the sake of the Name” or that with which the Christian writings from the era of the Roman persecutions seeps: the crown, the victor’s palm, the fulfillment of martyrdom. They counted torture for the sake of Christ a joy. There is a line, descriptive of the whole tone which meets one in their writings and in the accounts of their deaths, in the autobiography of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, about martyrs who watched their brothers die, “consoling themselves with the thought that perhaps they were being kept for greater torments.” Not that I understood all of this all, or even most, of the time. But it was the way Christians thought. I was an abnormal Christian when and because I didn’t think and feel this way, never when or because I did. Continue reading “Stop Wondering What It’s Like to Be Persecuted or if You Would Deny Jesus”