First I would like to say seasons greetings to everyone and thank you for taking a moment to read this, for it is in the true spirit of the season that I give this message to all who may need a little help, in and for a new year.
I came across this wonderful but sad poem the other day along with this very expressive picture and, it falls right in line to what this message will challenge in you spiritually speaking.
~ Broken Halos and Wings ~
My halo has plummeted
And I have broken both my wings
I don’t think I will ever be the same again
As I no longer have these things
Yesterday I was young and innocent
I had never been kissed
Now I have fallen and can’t find my way
And my innocence has gone amiss
What happened to the young girl
Who looked upon the world with starry eyes
Who always told the truth and never felt the need to lie
I am afraid she has been exposed to this world
It is a shame that growing up our innocence does take
And how our halo’s plummet from our brow
The way in which our wings do break
And we lose that trusting heart we have somehow
Neva Flores 2010
Thank you, for your artistic view, and poetry. You truly have a God given gift.
As many of you know I enjoy starting my messages with a question and this message is no exception. So with that said, the question is “when was the last time you took your “halo” off to looked at it? Is it still as shinny as the day you got it? And or do you even have a “halo?’ I ask these questions for a specific reason, that being each one takes a different answer. I will add here a word of caution, that being for you not to answer the questions in hast. For when we are finished I am sure you will be asking these very questions of yourself and contemplating your answer more carefully as well.
Anyways, I do not know about you but every once and a while I have to take mine off and use a wee bit of brass-o and elbow grease on it, so as to make it shiny. By the way, for the lay person that reads this consider the term “brass-o” to mean choices we make and the “elbow grease” means to implement or to act on that choice.” Just make sure to put your “halo” back on when your done polishing it up. And with that said it brings me to what this message is about.
The other day I came across an unknown artistic rendition of our Lord and Savior kneeling at a large rock gazing up into the heavens with his hands clinched. So much so, you could almost see his knuckles turning white as he prayed. His eyes were fixed on the heavens with great passion, as if waiting for an answer to the many questions that must be flying through his mind. But what struck me the most was the image of his halo that looked more like a crown upon his head, and how bright and clearly it shined.
I can not but wonder with awe, what patience this artiest must have had in order to paint just this one part. Although there are thousands of renditions of Christ out in the world, this one painting (in my opinion) has to be one of the best of Christ ever made. But as I said it is just my opinion. The image that I am speaking of is one that many of you know and that is of Christ praying the “Lords Prayer” in the Garden of Gethsemane. I wish to thank the (St. Takla.org) for putting it out on the world wide web for the world to gaze upon and reflect upon.
As I gazed upon it I started wondering if I had a halo, and if it shined as bright as that of our Lord Jesus. The more I thought about it, the more questions I started to ask. But ask of whom? Of me, of someone I care about, a stranger that I may have come across at some other point in my journey in life.
Then it hit me, and as the realization sank in more and more, I started to reflect on those things that I need to have forgiveness for. Oh, don’t get to bent here, for we all have sinned, and we all have fallen or at least stumbled at some point. But the more I thought about the condition of my halo, I started to worry about everyone else too.
As a father, as a grandfather and as a Shepard of his flock trusted to me, I began to see that I needed to take my halo off and look at it long and hard. What is it that you may have thought I found? What I found surprised me at first glance but as I looked closer, I saw much, much more. One of the most important things I noticed was that there were many scratches, chips, dings and dents in it, you might as well say that there were many imperfections on it. And yet, as I looked even closer I began to see my own soul, my own salvation and I was saddened to see how tarnished it had become. Although, each year that has gone by brings it’s own triumphs, it also showed those times when I found myself in less than his perfect light. What I can tell you here is that as I reflected on Christs halo, I began to see that I had a long way to go to be pleasing unto the one who has given me so much. I guess that is what reflection is all about.
We need to remember that this is the perfect time of the year to reflect, especially as we prepare to start a new year. Not only is it a time of the year that brings family, friends, and co-workers together, we need to take time in the mites of all the hustle and bustle, to make time. I assure you, it is more important to prepare and do this form of reflection, as it is to be swept up in all the glitz and glamor of the season. Keep also in mind that as you open your gifts and gaze upon them that the gift of self awareness is one that you can use for a lifetime. So when your done opening those gifts and you are about to throw away all the wrapping paper, boxes and other pieces of trash, be sure you don’t throw away this gift from above.
As we celebrate the anniversary birthday, of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the beginning of a new year, we must, greet them both with great expectations and those expectations should ring out loudly. Sorta like the mighty church bell, chiming on a cold and quite Christmas morn.
When reflecting on all the sights and sounds of the holiday, it becomes easy to get so caught up in the moment that the experiences around us can often negate what is just underneath the surface. It is human nature to block out, the pain and suffering that is always there. And your right, Christ said that the poor and less fortunate will always be with us, so why then should we allow mixed emotions and even some less than pleasant memories dampen what is supposed to be a joyous time of the year? It is quite simple, and it is what I have been talking about all along. It is a time for reflection and yes, many times, reflecting hurts. Please don’t be selfish in your reflections, it is proper to take notice of everything around you. Even those things that we may see in someone else. For this is a time to deal with feelings. And when you recognize someones suffering or misfortune, you begin to take a little elbow grease to that halo of yours. Take time to notice the subtleties in human nature. For many times folks remark that they “never say the warning signs”, that caused a tragedy. Always keep in mind that some folks put up a good front or hide the emotional suffering they may have, and by you seeing through their fa-sod, and doing something about it, have just made your halo a bit brighter. Besides, when you do for others in a less than perfect situation, it makes you feel good about yourself. Just make sure that your not one of those people that boast about what you did for someone else. For it is said, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand has done.
Now for most, it is a gay old time of celebration and then, there are some that it does not matter who, what, where, when or even why, care about getting warped up in all of the hoopla. The season may annoy them no matter how hard one tries to cheer them up or help them out. Just do what you can and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit to handle. You, by doing so have planted the seed of Christian love and it is not always you, that is to bring in the harvest. Remember it is being that Christ like light on the table that is important, not what may seem like a lack of appreciation on the other individuals part.
Granted this time of year can be a trying time, a lonely time, a depressing time when one is not in a mood to celebrate the festivities for personal reasons. The holidays to them, is a painful time and a time for them to recall their hurt more so than their gaiety. Yes, I am sure there are quite a few Scrooges and Grinch’s among us. However, I am equally as sure that there are many who can see through the smoke screen and with great compassion, and greet adversity head on, no matter where they find it.
It is difficult to say just how anyone is feeling at any point in time but, there are indicators we can watch for. Body language is one of the most prevalent and easiest to notice. Another one is facial expression and yet another is attitude or it can be an act of isolation or interest in ones character that could give us an indication that something is wrong.. That is to say if someone you know is not acting like, they normally do. I am sure, there are a few more traits and observations that I have forgotten to identify here but more so, any of the fore mentioned can aid us in recognizing problems and changes within our own environment. It is what we do next and with that information that can make a difference in our lives as well as to those around us.
At times it is like a guessing game when we try to figure out things and yet not all of us are good investigators. Note first what needs to be done, is an in depth examination of ourselves first (looking deep into our own halo). The bible states this to be quite plain, in such a case, and for those that are not sure what I mean, then look at the book of Matthew chapter 7 verse 3, it reads like this, “And why do you look at the speck in your brothers eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” (nkjv). To most folks this is self evident and with that said, most people today don’t mind sticking their “nose” into someones business, weather it is asked for or not.
You know the old saying, “The road in life is paved with good intentions”, and how true it really is. But, is that truth of ones involvement given with the right intention or other wise?
For here is the real answer to this question, we need to ask ourselves “am I, the right person to make a decision that can possible change or even destroy someones life forever, because of my “intention or observation”? When we do this self awareness first, then and only then can we “remove the speck from someones eye, in order to see clearly the problem”. Intention can be taken by others as good or bad and the question will always be asked in one way or another, does the intent behind the action justify the means.
When someone does something to someone else just because they can be anonymous it becomes a very dangerous step. That is speaking from a form of ones salvation, ( sorry, I feel the need to stress that word of caution once again) and that being to quote another scripture. This time look at the book of Matthew again and really study the verses around chapter 7, verse 1. It’s pretty simple to comprehend but one many don’t feel pertains to them. Yet this is why I feel so compelled to bring it up. Our judgment is unalienable, this one little verse should speak volumes but maybe some folks and yes maybe even you yourself just don’t care to except or rather “heed these verses as a warning”. It is this attitude that will cost more than what you or that other individual may want to pay. Meaning losing your salvation and spending an eternity in hell. Just because of one act or compulsion.
This is not a joke, although some may not be so concerned with sticking their nose some place where they maybe acting on limited information or maybe even on a piece of gossip that they may feel is coming from a reliable source. Please, please I plead with those that this part of the topic is eluding to, to be slower to make that phone call that may cause a fellow human being such anguish. I speak as an authority for a reason that I know first hand what damage can be do to a family or individual. Keep in mind that you may not like it happening to you so why do it to someone else? No. I am not talking about blatant things that would need involvement, rather if it is a case that requires immediate action do to it being “life or death”, then make your call to 911, rather than say, social services or maybe even family services. If it is truly something that you feel needs to be addressed, then call the proper authorities. In that way the person or persons life you may be helping or even ruining, will have the opportunity to face you, the accuser. Remember it is a whole different ball game when you give someone that opportunity. And if you heed my words, will be more cautious before making that call to judgment. I’m sure if the shoe were on the other foot, you to would want to who is making decisions on your behalf, weather you like it or not. Question is, who gave them the right to be “judge and jury” over your life and or why you think you have the right to be “judge and jury” on their life?
See doing that which we know is right, takes on a whole new level than when one “hides behind anonymous like a cowered”, and that is what it is. A cowardly act! There is so much more that can be alluded to when examining your own “halo” that needs attention than giving attention to doing the devils work. Oh, and if I have offended anyone here with these remarks, than please take under advisement, that you maybe under what we ministers call “conviction” and that it is not unhealthy to examine ones acts but in some countries what we take for granted as “freedom” here in the U.S.A., could cost you your life, somewhere else in the world.
So pray for yourself if you take offense, my words are not meant to hurt anyone, but rather wake up a few instead. And keep in mind those that you might be effecting by accusing unjustly. And if you are offended then you need to take your “halo” off and examine it real, no really, really close. Because karma is a very real thing and life can be like a viper and turn on you and bite back. Use your head and your heart more. For it is one thing for someone who is not a Christian to do such things but for those of you who confess to be a Christian, it is better to side on the side of caution first and for most. For it is a life eternal in true hell and damnation that is what is at hand. Not the other way around, being an eternity in bliss and happiness with our Lord and savior along with loved ones and other heavenly hosts.
Keep in mind again, that this is just one of many things we who call our selves “Christian” need to be concerned with. We should, when influence can be initiated, try to curve those that act ere-rationally in their life. Granted the old adage that misery loves company might be true but a Christian act of love will go far more easier for one who sticks their nose somewhere they aught not.
Once one examines their own halo more closely, they begin to realize that they are not perfect and that maybe even they them self, actually might be the one who really needs the help to clean that tarnish off your own “halo”. Which brings me to my next point. That this is what the “elders” of the body of Christ are to do. They are called to be a mentor and lead those that may not be as deeply spiritual as they should be. So that when those elders in Christ act, they act as Christ would. So doing so will be like putting a wee bit of elbow grease to a fellow brother or sisters halo. I can’t but be reminded here for a moment one last thought that came to mind. That being, when Christ was choosing (or rather calling to service) His disciples and said, “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. So once again the old adage holds true, that when you give a man a fish, he eats for a day but when you teach a man to fish, he eats for a life time. So my final statement her to you is this. “ put the sign on the door and let folks know your going “fishing”.…
Sincerely, and with love of our Father, our Savior and their blessed and ever Holy Spirit, may this year be a great year for all those that profess to be “Christ-like in their life and that when being called a Christian can truly mean life rather than death, eternal. Pray not only for those things that need prayer but look deep inside and pray for your Fathers love, blessing and grace in your life. For we all need grace for without it, we are lost.
God Bless one and all,
Bishop, Andrew Robert Moses Manley DD., O.S.P., O.S.M.
Of the Independent Catholic Church of the Universal Life Church World Head Quarters and also the Universal Life Church of the Celtic Cross a Non-denominational Ministry of 1st Century Christianity in the year of our lord, 2012