Listening to the Good Shepherd’s True Voice by Rev Pojen Lee
Thursday, Dec 24 – DAY 27
On the eve of holy love’s renewed arrival in the world, we prepare ourselves. How do you get ready to welcome love at the door of your heart? To answer when it knocks on the threshold of your life?
Perhaps simply by listening. Waiting. And setting aside any sense that you can do enough, or be enough, to earn such love and grace.
Ideally, you have chosen an ethical path. Optimally, you have lived out what you believe. And yet …
And yet, as humans, we always fall short. Can you ever deserve holy love’s presence? Not really. It’s a gift.
Part of the gift of grace is that holy love simply shows up. Even when it’s not reasonable. Not rational. Even when we cannot possibly deserve it or earn it.
Amazingly, love chooses us, in spite of ourselves, simply because we are beloved children of God. This holy love accepts us and embraces us, just as we are. At the same time, this love believes in all we might yet become.
Are you ready? Probably not. Yet love is coming anyway. — Rev Gail
… It was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. — Isaiah 63:9
… you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. — Mark 12:30-31
For this reason, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. — John 10:17
Agape is what some call spiritual love. It is an unconditional love, bigger than ourselves, a boundless compassion, an infinite empathy. It is what the Buddhists describe as “mettā” or “universal loving kindness.” It is the purest form of love that is free from desires and expectations, and loves regardless of the flaws and shortcomings of others. Agape is the love that is felt for that which we intuitively know as the divine truth: the love that accepts, forgives and believes for our greater good. — Mateo Sol
Look at your hands. Open your palm. Examine your fingers and thumb. Consider what they accomplish for you.
If your hands have been harmed or slowed down by changes in wellbeing, appreciate what they once did, and give thanks for their current functionality. Appreciate how we switch gears, continue our passions, or choose new ones as our bodies alter functionality. Sometimes other hands do what our own cannot do.
Hands offer touch and connection. Translate the world for us. Write and communicate. Gesture and speak. Manipulate and mediate the outer world and the human experience.
Sometimes they tear down or build up. Release or hold. Crush or caress. Wreck or write.
Hands make. Shape. Create. Express.
Today, give thanks for hands. — Rev Gail
His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands.
In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being. — Job 12:10
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. — John 10:27-30
I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still possess. — Corrie ten Boom
Facebook Live video.
If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate,
you are sure to wake up somebody. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
— William Ernest Henley
There are 84,000 doors to Enlightenment. — Pali Canon
With gates there are rules. With gates there are principles of which to be aware. With gates come obligations that every person should follow … A way through is what was needed. Helping each other to a way through – to the way through, is our witness as people of faith. And the gate rules are compassion, care and grace.— Christopher Burkett
It’s gettin’ dark, too dark to see
I feel I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door.
— Bob Dylan
Questions to consider:
- Name the thresholds you have crossed in life: the moments of change, the milestones that mark transformations.
- Who and what have you brought with you as you open doors, and walk through them? What have you discovered on the other side of those passages?
- Who has opened doors for you? For whom have you created opportunities?
- What has holy Love made available or accessible to you?
- Knocking at your Door by O.A.R./Of A Revolution (pop)
- Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door by Bob Dylan
- Brandenburg Gate by Anti-Flag (punk)
- Girl Next Door by Brandy Clark (country)
- Lions at the Gate by Selahphonic (pop)
- Bjork the Gate (folk/celtic)
- Vertical Music’s Open the Gate (Christian pop)
- We Enter your Gates by Jonathan Lewis (Christian pop)
Breath remains the vehicle to unite body and mind and to open the gate to wisdom. – Thich Nhat Hanh
A Zen master would call the True Self “the face we had before we were born.” Paul would call it who you are “in Christ, hidden in God” (Colossians 3:3). It is who you are before having done anything right or anything wrong, who you are before having thought about who you are. Thinking creates the false self, the ego self, the insecure self. The God-given contemplative mind, on the other hand, recognizes the God Self, the Christ Self, the True Self of abundance and deep inner security. We start with mere seeing; we end up with recognizing. — Richard Rohr
If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. Otherwise, you’ll just be rearranging furniture in rooms you’ve already been in. ― Anne Lamott
Many of us were taught that if you do not fit inside the circle of the church’s behavioral codes, God is not pleased with you, so we whittled ourselves down to a shape that could fit those teachings, or we denied those parts of ourselves entirely. ― Nadia Bolz-Weber
We did not choose to be the guardians of the gate, but there is no one else. — Lyndon B. Johnson
At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. … It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely … I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere. — Thomas Merton
Both in thought and in feeling, even though time be real, to realise the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom. — Bertrand Russell
And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best … In plain language, the question should never be: ‘Do I like that kind of service?’ but ‘Are these doctrines true: is holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this? Is my reluctance to knock at this door due to my pride, or my mere taste, or my personal dislike of this particular door-keeper?’ — CS Lewis
Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
The hardest thing to find in life is balance – especially the more success you have, the more you look to the other side of the gate. What do I need to stay grounded, in touch, in love, connected, emotionally balanced? Look within yourself. — Celine Dion
No man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men: neither is there any other thing which keepeth us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief. — John Calvin
We have to understand that we should, at all times, have the right and the power to make decisions about our bodies. And that is an idea that must be taught at a young age. You can’t wait until a person is 18 years old and say, ‘Now you have the right’. You have to start that from the gate. — Jada Pinkett Smith
Only a person who has passed through the gate of humility can ascend to the heights of the spirit. — Rudolf Steiner
When I’m in the starting gate, it’s just me and the hill. — Mikaela Shiffrin
The key to heaven’s gate cannot be duplicated. — Douglas Horton
On the king’s gate the moss grew gray; The king came not. They call’d him dead; And made his eldest son, one day, Slave in his father’s stead. — Helen Hunt Jackson
I believe the future is only the past again, entered through another gate. — Arthur Wing Pinero
Giving, loving, helping, forgiving; all these begin to transform us as we wash the feet of those whom society regards as beneath it, and give to those who take from us … It is likely that we ourselves will need to walk through the gate back into the place of sacrifice in far too literal terms for our comfort. — Andrew Prior
Blessing of the Gate
— Jan Richardson
Press your hand
to this blessing,
where you can feel
Follow the seam
and you will find
this blessing turns.
catch on them—
the slightest pressure
sending the gate
in a glad welcome.
Wait, did I say
press your hand
to this blessing?
What I meant was
press your hand
to your heart.
Rest it over that
place in your chest
that has grown
closed and tight,
where the rust,
with its talent
for making decay
has bitten into
what you once
Press on the knot
and feel how it
begins to give way,
of your heart.
Notice how it
and wider still
as you exhale,
spilling you out
into a realm
where you never dreamed
but cannot now imagine
living this life
Heaven’s Gate — Robert Morgan
In her nineties and afraid of weather
and of falling if she wandered far outside her door,
my mother took to strolling in the house.
Around and round she’d go,
stalking into corners, backtrack,
then turn and speed down hallway,
stop almost at doorways,
skirt a table, march up to the kitchen sink
and wheel to left, then swing into the bathroom,
almost stumble on a carpet there.
She must have walked a hundred miles
or more among her furniture and family pics,
mementos of her late husband.
Exercising heart and limb,
outwalking stroke, attack,
she strode, not restless like a lion in zoo,
but with a purpose and a gait,
and kept her eyes on heaven’s gate.
He had the vague sense of standing on a threshold, the crossing of which would change everything. ― Kate Morton
In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors. ― William Blake
Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. — Andrew Carnegie
The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. — Khalil Gibran
Luck is everything… My good luck in life was to be a really frightened person. I’m fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn’t make a good suspense film. — Alfred Hitchcock
We are ever on the threshold of new journeys and new discoveries. Can you imagine the excitement of the Wright brothers on the morning of that first flight? The anticipation of Jonas Salk as he analyzed the data that demonstrated a way to prevent polio? — Joseph B. Wirthlin
I have a thing for doors. I always think of them as a threshold to something new. — Jada Pinkett Smith