Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

James 1:11

"For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits."

I think there's a common mistake made in the church. We are so often hard on those who possess wealth. Or maybe the language is the problem? We don't know a word in english for someone who has money but refuses to possess it. Those are the saints who give liberally, who "scatter abroad", who lay their piece of land or their gold or their business at the Apostles' feet. They're not possessing anything. They are, in fact, possessed by Christ.

"And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need." (Acts 2:44-45)

"When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."
Matthew 19:22

But we are not only possessors, we are also pursuers. We spend our lives in hot pursuit of people, career, love, meaning. And all the "stuff" we accumulate? It stays here when we finally go. All that I have and all that I "own" will ultimately be lost. Relationships are funny things in that regard. The more I seek to "own" someone, the more lost to me they will ultimately be. The greek word for this is "eros" -- a love that seeks to possess to the point that it causes injury to lover and beloved -- the ultimate avarice. It is not enough that I hold her. I must HAVE her, body, mind, soul if I can. I want to be adored at a level that is destructive in the end. And so, in the end it isn't love that I feel. It is competition. In such a relationship it isn't love that we poor humans feel. It is that thing which competes for our attention with God. How pitiable then when the flower fades and the pedals fall off the rose and we return to God because, as C.S. Lewis has said, "there is 'nothing better' now to be had."

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

Jon

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