The Father’s Heart.
(A poem from the heart of the Father who was rejected by two sons.)
(Luke 15:11- 32)
Reject me not
Though the world calls you follow.
Reject me not
Though your heart cries out for pleasures.
Reject me not
In the passion of your youth.
But, should I lose you for a moment,
Or your rejection of me stands for years;
Know this for all eternity
I reject you not. Do not fear.
Reject me not
in the self-made sanctuary of your heart.
Reject me not
nor my love which welcomes home those children lost.
Know this for all eternity
I reject you not.
+Br. Michael Daly. CJ
On April 12th 2013 Richard Francis Xavier Manning known to us as Brennan Manning, was caught up into the furious longing of his Abba. He was a man who had struggled all his life with his humanity. “When I am honest, I admit that I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt. I hope and I get discouraged. I love and I have. I feel bad about feeling good. I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games.”
When ambushed by Jesus, Brennan’s life though broken in many ways was caught up into what he called the furious longing of God. He knew that Jesus not only loved him, but liked him. Saved by grace and called to preach grace, he never stopped, though at times crushed by the impostor he had wrestled with from his youth, he pressed on because he was caught up in the love of his Abba. For those of us who have found ourselves broken, dirty, messed up, ragamuffin’s, outcasts, prodigals wrestling daily with sin, hoping against hope that God would still love us, Brennan would resound with the heart of God and take you again and again to the feet of Jesus.
“For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said ‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy burdened’, He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged and disheartened along the way.” Brennan knew this from experience and he wanted to pass on what he had received from the Lord, “…..I have received from the Lord Jesus….His unconditional acceptance of me as I am, not as I should be. He loves me whether in a state of grace or disgrace, whether I live up to the lofty expectations of His gospel or I don’t. He comes to me where I live and loves me AS I AM….Will we let the healing power of the risen Jesus flow through us to reach and touch others, so that they may dream and fight and bear and run where the brave dare not go?”
In his book the ‘Signature of God’, Manning wrote of a dream he had of the last judgement and how he was there with a multitude of people and famous personalities, his name is called and he writes; “I hear my name: “Brennan.” As I step forward, like a bell sounding deep within my soul, I hear the words of the poet T. S. Eliot, “O my soul, be prepared to meet him who knows how ask question”
The Man looks directly at me and then looks through all my bluff and pious rhetoric, through the content of my books and sermons, through all the minimizing and justifying of my lifestyle. For the first time in my life, I am seen and known as I really am.
Trembling, I ask, “What is my judgement, Lord?”
He hands me the Book. The word I spoke has already judged you.” A long pause…then he smiles. I walk up to him and touch his face. He takes my hand and we go home.”
Brennan has now gone home to his Lord, to his Abba and yet his writing and thoughts will continue to encourage, edify and comfort all who are seeking a true and living relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Jesus Christ will return in glory. Every man who has ever drawn breath will be appraised, evaluated and measured solely in terms of their relationship with the Carpenter of Nazareth. This is the realm of the really Real…..The eschatological lordship of Jesus Christ and his primacy in the created order (see Ephesians 1:9-10) are at the very heart of the Gospel proclamation. This is reality.
If I ask myself, “What am I doing walking around this planet? Why do I exist?” as a disciple of Jesus I must answer, “For the sake of Christ.” If the angels ask, it is the same answer. “We exist for the sake of Jesus Christ.” If the entire universe were suddenly to become articulate, from north to south and east to west, it would cry out in chorus, “We exist for the sake of Jesus Christ!” The name of Jesus would issue from the seas and mountains and valleys, it would be tapped out by the pattering rain. It would be written in the skies by lightning. The storms would roar the name “Jesus Christ, God hero!” and the mountains would echo back. The sun on its westward march through the heavens would chant a thunderous hymn. “The whole universe is full of Christ!”
This is the Apostle Paul’s vision of creation, his Christocentric concept of the universe. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1: 15 – 16)
If there is any priority in the personal or professional life of a Christian more important than the lordship of Jesus Christ, he or she is disqualified as a witness to the gospel. Since that glorious morning when Jesus burst the bonds of death and the messianic era erupted into history, there has never been a new agenda, new priorities, and a revolutionary hierarchy of values.
The Nazarene Carpenter did not simply refine Aristotelian ethics; he did not
merely reorder Old Testament spirituality; he did not simply renovate the old creation. He initiated a revolution. We must renounce all that we possess, not just most of it (see Luke 14:33). We must give up the old way of life, not just correct some aberrations in it (see Ephesians 4:22). We are to be an altogether new creation, not simply a refurbished version of it (see Galatians 6:15). We are to be transformed from one glory to another, even into the very image of the Lord – transparent (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). Our minds are to be renewed by a spiritual revolution (see Ephesians 4:23).
The primal sin, of course is to go on acting like it never happened, basing our lives on pop religion and the power of positive thinking, trendy spiritualities and power politics, rather than on the Sermon on the Mount and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
With Manning, “I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behaviour or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery.”
Remembering Brennan Manning !934 – 2013
Michael Daly, CJ
April 13th 2013
None can see you.
The Heavens declare you
But it is your Son whose eyes burn with your love
who reveals you..
Your Sun lights up the world
Your Son melts the frozen hearts
Your Sun raises the heads of flowers
Your Son makes a pathway through the waters…giving life
You pour out your holy rain
upon a desolate dry land
And amidst this deluge
your Sun shines through
dancing with every droplet,
Laughing with every tear of heaven
And as we look up
to see the unknowable
we are greeted with the beauty of the rainbow
which invades us
And comes to abide in our hearts – transforming us
The Sun makes visible the invisible.
The beauty of your cascading colours
In your light we see light
Your Spirit pours down your tears of love and
we see such incomparable beauty
that we are undone!
And the Angels cry
is the Lord!.
Michael Daly. CJ. August 2008