Brevity & Simplicity

The Psalmist remembers how short life is.  “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Ps. 144:3).  The Lord says that his spirit shall not always strive with us.  God gives riches and wealth, “hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God” (Eccl. 5:19).  A Pakistani novelist Moshin Hamid (b. 1971) said, “I take six or seven years to write really small books.  There is a kind of aesthetic of leanness, of brevity.”  Some might feel something is wrong with brevity and look for expanded versions of a publication.  They are right when it comes to writing, but with life it’s different.  The gift of some short lives is filled with glorious moments, while those of longer souls might not.  This has to do with the God-given talents with which people are blessed.

Amazing gifts come from above.  St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), a Spanish knight and priest wrote, “Realize that illness and other temporal setbacks often come to us from the hand of God our Lord, and are sent to help us know ourselves better, to free ourselves of the love of created things, and to reflect on the brevity of this life and, thus, to prepare ourselves for the life which is without end.”  Despite suffering this is the preparation that leads to fulfillment.

It’s often better to come to the point than to beat around the bush.  Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BCE), a Roman philosopher and political theorist said, “Brevity is a great charm of eloquence.”  Hosea Ballou (1771–1852), a Universalist clergyman and theological writer supported this concept, but wrote, “Brevity and conciseness are the parents of correction.”  That’s why minutes of meetings are focused on the essentials and summarized for easy comprehension.

Rules of Life

It’s clear that many people like simplicity in life.  Confucius (551– 497 BCE), a Chinese teacher and philosopher wrote, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”  Do you see life this way?  Are you willing to take it as it comes?  Do you ask questions about life?  Some people feel that living by the Golden Rule is sufficient, while others believe it’s better to live by their own ethical principles.

But why do we follow rules?  People dwell on the past and think about the future.  Buddha (563 or 480 – 483 or 400 BCE), an Indian sage and founder of Buddhism said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”  Buddha lived in the present.  But could people do the same?  Many prefer to reflect on past experiences while thinking about the future.  An Italian poet, novelist, and literary critic Cesare Pavese (1908–1950) wrote, “We do not remember days, we remember moments.”  Does this statement say something about what matters most?  People often recall the good and bad moments in their lives.  These recollections tend to shape them, but living in the present evades them.

Bridges of Hope

In life it’s necessary to build bridges of love vertically and horizontally.  A vertical bridge is to God, Our Heavenly Father.  A horizontal bridge is by loving our neighbors, friends, and strangers.  Jesus Christ who is love died on a cross at Calvary for us.  Let his love flow from above for it unites and sustains.  Its flames are indestructible as if sweeps across our nation transforming people of faith.  It’s inspiring to love and be loved.  Blessed are those who love their enemies, for they are a courageous and compassionate lot.  Elisabeth Elliot (b. 1926), a Christian author and speaker said, “To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross.  And the cross always entails loss.  The great symbol of Christianity means sacrifice and no one who calls himself a Christian can evade this stark fact.”  True love is the cross and a bridge to spiritual maturity because Christ showed where there’s loss there’s gain.

A bridge inspires hope.  It requires lifting people up and proclaiming the risen Christ.  As a fundamental belief Christians are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.  Hope like love is joy, and a shining light.  This means justice for those who are marginalized in society.  And believers find inspiration through the Word that speaks directly to their hearts.  Brad Henry (b. 1963), Governor of Oklahoma wrote, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.”  Learning that’s the foundation of progress builds bridges of hope.

Concerns for Others

The church is a missionary body.  Through their ministries a pastor builds a bridge to communities and the world.  This is accomplished by motivating his or her flock.  Parishioners become literally on fire for Christ as they serve their brothers and sisters.  And they teach the Word of truth to those hungering for justice.  Men and women who embrace these pastoral challenges are enthusiastic innovators.  Their charitable work extends to the slums in cities.  Robert C. Shannon (b. 1930), a preacher said, “Never pity missionaries; envy them.  They are where the real action is – where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge.”

St. Teresa (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary in India wrote, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”  Christians should work with the poor and help change their ways.  They should also attend inter-religious meetings to promote these goals.

No longer must God appear, not to be part of the whole.  Having access to the sacraments has been a sticking point among some Christian denominations. Why should this be?  Christians are taught they are one in the body of Christ.  In some congregations the definition of marriage has changed, and led to breakaway denominations.  Christians are concerned about values, although some are more traditional than others.  Why should believers judge?  God knows of our hearts.  With controversies building a bridge to others isn’t easy, but is still necessary.

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Amazing Bread

God intends that our daily bread sustain us.  By being nurtured and filled we’ll find joy.  Being fed by the fruits of the earth is an amazing gift.  This comes with toil, but the soil has to be prepared in the right way to bear fruit.  It’s thrilling when such abundance is used for the common good.  This is an exceptional blessing.  Our bread is more than a meal, but every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  An Indian spiritual master Sai Baba (1838–1918) said, “Life is a song – sing it.  Life is a game – play it.  Life is a challenge – meet it.  Life is a dream – realize it.  Life is a sacrifice – offer it.  Life is love – enjoy it.”  Such description fully describes the nature and scope of our daily bread.

A French sculptor and graphic artist Camille Claude (1864–1943) wrote, “I am in no mood to be deceived any longer by the crafty devil and false character whose greatest pleasure is to take advantage of everyone.”  Why don’t we become lights in the world?  Such a gift will fill our hearts with love.  By so doing we’ll be with faithful souls as we traverse the earth.  These people are living in peace, and love.  These are blessed saints not ensnared by the pleasures of the world.  They continue to grow in glory, but walk in the spirit.

Our Daily Walk

Being fed the right food we grow healthy.  In our daily walk there’s beauty in our hearts.  By witnessing, visiting the lonely, and those in convalescing homes we’re able to share our stories.  In these ministries we help the depressed by bringing love into their lives.  As disciples we aren’t concerned if some view our efforts as failures.  For we know, we’re doing God’s work by laboring in the fields for the welfare of others.  We’re watering the earth, planting seeds, and awaiting the harvest.  With these efforts inseparable bonds are formed and nurtured.  Being architects of change we’re able to form deep and lasting friendships.

By embracing people we face challenges as protectors of God’s creation.  Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), a leader of India’s independence movement said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.  I hold that the more helpless a creature the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of humankind.”  These are some observations that call for our support.

In giving the food of life we ought to climb every mountain to make life livable for all God’s children.  When we cater for the underprivileged we’ll be sustained with his protection.  We ought therefore resist temptation by worldly desires.  In our dreams we must continue trust God by living in the best possible way.  For all things we should give praise and thanks to Almighty God, for it’s through these gifts his infinite wisdom cares for us.  Let us glorify his wonderful works.  God, Allah, Brahma, or Dao has given us choices, so is the faith and trust this Primal Essence has in us.

@ (Dfurstane) Website