Greetings from Kosova!

January 28, 2012

Dear members of the Chapel Class,

Greetings from Kosova!  If you’re interested in my journey here and developments since, then you’re welcome to read the blog journal; perhaps some of you already have!

I’m wondering how far Peggy has taken you through Ezra.  I just finished the first three chapters and found them right on target, relative to Peggy’s comment about this book providing us guidance as we seek a new pastor and wrestle with denominational questions about ordination and the nature of sin.

Specifically, the first three chapters provide four clear messages, all having to do with paradoxes surrounding the idea of God’s intervention in human affairs and the doctrine of free will.

  1. God takes charge to fulfill his Plan.  We see this idea in King Cyrus’ written proclamation that all those displaced by Nebuchadnezzar return to Jerusalem and build a house of the Lord, an inspired command that fulfills Jeremiah’s prophecy about the return to the homeland.   I didn’t see the Raymonds listed among the families that get to go home; otherwise, chapter 2 reads like a church directory.
  2. That Plan includes the return of the peoples’ stuff—vessels of gold and silver not just their persons—suggesting that God provides for the faithful, repays their suffering.
  3. The people weep and “shout” with joy over their return to the Center.  They know how to be grateful, how to say thank you to their father.
  4. God allows suffering as the consequence of sin—hence the exile—a clear endorsement of the idea that we must choose and that we must accept the consequences of our actions—an existential idea, really.

What still puzzles me is the suffering endured by relative innocents.  You see that my trip has made me no wiser. ;)

But I am indeed grateful for the $500 given me by our Missions Committee and the $250 provided me by our class.  Of course, I will account for every penny as I find Kosovaran sisters and brothers who can benefit from your generosity.

Hope you’re all well.

Peace,
Rich

3 thoughts on “Greetings from Kosova!

  1. Rich: got your blog address today and read it. Melanie and I just got back from Honduras. We went with the South Carolina group. The focus has been changed. Instead of building houses for brother-in-laws, cousins, other kin and friends of the jefe, we are going into the mountains, and I do mean mountains, to do vacation Bible school for the children. We also do music, plays, teeth brushing, deworming, and fluoride treatments.

    Melanie bought 100 pounds of beans and 125 pounds of beans and rice respectively, we put them in plastic bags and stopped on the side of the road and knocked on doors to give the food away. The entire trip was worth it to us when we gave an older lady some beans and rice and she said, through an interpreter, “This came just in time as I do not have anything to eat in my house.”

    You no doubt have the weather report—last night was the coldest of the year here. That coming on the heels of 65 at night and 85-87 during the day in Honduras.

    I know you are enjoying your teaching and meeting new students.
    Remember, tell Judy if she needs anything at all, she can call me or Melanie.

    In Christ
    Ricahrd

  2. Just read your brief exposition of Ezra. Do you think that perhaps these words are allegorical?
    “Exile” is the condition we are in when we have put God and Spiritual things on the “back burner” and consequently lost the empowerment that divine indwelling and inspiration brings to our lives.
    “Jerusalem” represents the return to interiority, a state of living within the heavens of our being. (“The kingdom of heaven is within you.”)
    “Gold and Silver vessels” are the precious cups of our inner being raised in interior worship and gratitude to the Divine.
    “Israel” means Issa/Ra/El. Issa: the interior state of Jesushood (Issa is Arabic for Jesus). Ra: Divine Light. El: the presence of the Lord.
    Hence Is-Ra-El are those who come from all quarters sincerely desiring to live the Jesus life which results in the radiant light of God shining through them to reveal the indwelling presence of the Lord.
    Jesus, The Master, exemplified these three states, but the spiritual states themselves were known and experienced by the prophets of the OT. We are all called to acheive these three states and when that happens Jerusalem (the spiritual Jerusalem/the spiritual Temple) will have been rebuilt.
    Anna Candlin
    Lancashire UK

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