Morning by Morning

"The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward." Isaiah 50:4-5

Friday, December 18, 2015

After the Shepherds Left

“It was a long journey and cold,” said the Donkey,
        stamping his feet.
“The man led the way, I walked, and she rode,
        all on a winter’s day.”

The Ox looked down on the man and the maid and the little babe
        all asleep on the hay,
        and said in awe and wonder,
“They’re very tiny when they are newborn.”

“Yes,” said the Donkey, “but consider this,
“It takes years of love and nurture
        to bring each of them to full maturity.”

“I know,” said the sentimental Ox,
looking down at the babe in the manger
        and shaking his head all on a Christmas day.

“Don’t be deceived by what you see,” said the Donkey,
“This one will conquer death and hell,
        and overthrow all the kingdoms of the earth
        and the sky.”

Monday, December 7, 2015



Shell Chrysallis
I shed thee
Spreading golden wings
For him to see.

Poor pupa
Golden pain
Springing joyous
Christening me.
Death’s baptism
Into life,
Into love,
In the midst of life.

Christo sunestauromia
Shedding only shell
My being ever living.
Ever living
Lives in me.

Sanctifica me,
Salve me,
Inebria me.
Christen me
with thine own self,
For thou dost know me
for what I am.
Thou knowest I need thee.

Deep-laid in a soft red womb,
Absconde me
Ne permittas me
Separari a te,
Intra tua vulnera!
Bring to me
third birth
beyond death,
Spreading golden wings
for Him to see.

He died,
He lives,
I died.
I will die again,
I will ever live.

Deo gratia!


Chrysos.                                             Gold               
Chrystus.                                           Christ

Christo sunestauromia                    I am co-crucified with Christ

Sanctifica me,                                    Sanctify me
Salve me,                                           Save me
Inebria me.                                        Inebriate me

Absconde me                                     Hide me
Ne permittas me                              Do not permit me
Separari a te,                                     To be separated from Thee
Intra tua vulnera!                            In your wounds!

Deo gratia!                                         Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

God Initiates, Man Responds. A Meditation from Ephesians

From time to time in my morning Lectio Divina I write a reflection on the Scriptures I have been reading. Lectio Divina has four parts: Read the passage, Reflect on its meaning, Respond to God, and Rest in His presence. My Response this morning is to humbly give thanks for the riches of His grace.

It is God our Father who says to us, “You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” [Isaiah 43:4], “even when we were dead in our trespasses” [Ephesians 2:4]. We were loved at the very lowest point of our lives. It is there that He finds us. Those who will admit no need cannot be found. That is true of me, and it is true of all of us.”

 “By grace you have been saved,” occurs in verse 5 and is repeated in verse 8. We are saved by grace, God’s unmerited favour, not by faith. It important to realize that faith is not another work, but is a response on our part to God’s grace which initiates our salvation. Faith is essential, but without God’s initiating grace it has nothing to hang its hat on.

What is said of Isaiah is true for each of us, “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name” [Isaiah 49:1]. Paul repeats the same theme in Romans 8:29 “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” And note that we are individually foreknown and predestined to be part of the family of God, not to stand alone.

The focus is on God, and his work, not on us and our faith. Grace is God’s loving kindness towards us; the unmerited favour which he extends toward us. Our faith is only the connecting link, the channel through which grace flows. There is an important theological paradigm at work here: God initiates, Man responds. God’s steadfast love has been extended to you from the moment you were conceived. That is why St. Paul emphasizes that, “this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”


Ephesians 2:4-10  4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved -  6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Where Be All the Splinters of Bone?

Where be all the splinters of that bone, which a shot hath shivered and scattered in the air?  Where be all the atoms of that flesh, which a corrosive hath eat away, or a consumption hat breathed, and exhaled away from our arms, and other limbs?  In what wrinkle, in what furrow, in what bowel of earth, lie all the grains of the ashes of a body burnt a thousand years since?  In what corner, in what ventricle of the sea, lies all the jelly of a body drowned in the general flood?  

What coherence, what sympathy, what dependence maintains any relation, any correspondence, between that arm that was lost in Europe, and that leg that was lost in Afrique or Aisa, scores of years between?  … all dies, and all dries, and moulders into dust, and that dust is blown into the river, and that puddled water tumbled into the sea, and that ebbs and flows in infinite revolutions, and still, still God knows in what cabinet every seed-pearl lives, in what part of the world every grain of a man’s dust lies; and … he whispers, he hisses, he beckons for the bodies of his saints, and in the twinkling of an eye, that body that was scattered over all the elements is sat down at the right hand of God, in glorious resurrection.   

  – John Donne, The Resurrection of the Body, Sermon, 19 November, 1627

Friday, September 18, 2015

On Making Mistakes

I noticed with some amusement a mistake  I had made in an earlier article.  Apparently I quoted the Western “Dessert” Fathers, Instead of the Western “Desert” Fathers, saying, “If you have a snake or a scorpion, put it in a box and put the lid on it, and sooner or later it will die.”    I take it that the Western Dessert Fathers wore powder blue leisure suits and lived primarily on cheesecake and mimosas; while the Western Desert Fathers wore coarse garments, spent their time praying and fasting, and also recorded a few of their pithy sayings.

Everybody makes mistakes and even Smellcheck can’t catch them all.  Mothers and fathers make mistakes, old and young make mistakes, smart people and not-so-smart people make mistakes.  Lay people make mistakes.  Bishops, priests, and deacons make mistakes.  Pharisees and Sadducees make mistakes.  Making mistakes is a normal part of life.

Did I say, “Pharisees” make mistakes?  Here we have a problem.  Pharisees don’t accept a fact that is obvious to everybody around them, that is that even Pharisees make mistakes.  They also don’t accept that others are allowed to make mistakes.  The result is that they spend an inordinate amount of time correcting other people’s mistakes.  They live for the adrenalin rush that comes when they can point out the mistakes of everybody around them.

I once had a prominent and very devout church member who felt that it was his spiritual 
right every Monday, to present the Office Staff with a list of their mistakes in the Sunday bulletin.  Those who knew him knew that he had a few glaring flaws of his own, notably a lack of love and common courtesy, and a serious problem with shaming and blaming.  His attitude was like painting a “correct” smile on the Mona Lisa; it spoiled his reflection of the image of Christ.

The problem we face is that while some are blatant Pharisees, there is a little streak of the Pharisee in the best of us.  It is so very easy to cloak our own anxieties and feelings of inadequacy by critiquing others. 

Two things will help.  The first is the simple acknowledgement that everybody makes mistakes.  Second, we need to lighten up and develop a sense of humour.  Who knows?  There may actually be some Western Dessert Fathers who wear blue leisure suits, and live entirely on cheesecake and mimosas.

Monday, August 31, 2015

You Don't Know Alice

You don’t know Alice, but I did. Long ago she went to meet her Maker Who I am sure had some incisive questions to ask her. In the early nineteen seventies I was in a small parish in Massachusetts.  Alice was a member of our parish and for a number of years she had been a bishop’s secretary in a diocese in Pennsylvania. Her church experience was extensive, which is not quite the same thing as having a living faith. She had now reached her seniority and that point in life where she felt that neither tact nor courtesy should govern her words.

The encounter happened in the center aisle of the nave immediately after the Sunday morning service. She was fuming.  She started, “Young man . . .” and I knew immediately for a reason soon to be apparent that I was in trouble. “Young man. You not only talk too much about Jesus, you even make the mistake of praying to him.” She didn’t realize that what she considered to be a stern rebuke I received as a compliment.

What else is Christian faith about if it is not about Jesus the Christ. Take “Christ” out of “Christianity” and all you are left with is “ianity,” which is close to inanity. From the viewpoint of the Theologian Hans Kung, the question at issue is basic” “The wholly personal decision for God and for Jesus is the properly basic Christian decision: It is a question of Christian existence or non-existence, of being a Christian or not being a Christian” (Hans Kung, The Christian Challenge (New York: Doubleday, 1979), p. 260.)

If you truly believe the promise of Jesus, "Lo, I am with you always," why would you give him the silent treatment. As for the place of prayers to Jesus in our tradition consider the following from the Te Deum laudamus in The Book of Common Prayer. 

You, Christ, are the king of glory, 
the eternal Son of the Father. 
When you became man to set us free 
you did not shun the Virgin's womb. 
You overcame the sting of death 
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. 
You are seated at God's right hand in glory. 
We believe that you will come and be our judge. 
Come then, Lord, and help your people, 
bought with the price of your own blood, 
and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Friday, August 21, 2015

What Pastor's Are Seldom Taught

I have sometimes thought that if I knew at the beginning of my ministry what I know now, I would have been much more effective. There were many things that seminaries don’t teach you; some of the things omitted were practical things like how to operate or fix office equipment, or the simple fact that the pastor is not going to fix people either. Sometimes the best you can do is to love them; but note, you have to love your God, yourself, your wife, and your kids, and your congregation, in that order; because if you invert the order you end up with a train wreck. One of the many things omitted is the following from the Rule of St. Benedict:

The Abbot, or any pastoral leader, or even any parent should give heed to St. Benedict’s advice, “He must show forethought and consideration in his orders, and whether the task he assigns concerns God or the world, he should be discerning and moderate, bearing in mind the discretion of holy Jacob, who said, “If I drive my flocks too hard, they will all die in a single day (Genesis 33:13). Therefore drawing on this and other examples of discretion, the mother of virtues, he must so arrange everything that the strong have something to yearn for and the weak nothing to run from” (RB Chapter 64:17-19).

Friday, August 14, 2015



"Cast away, then, all cowardice out of thine heart,
and with knightly valour ride with me in the lists:
for it becomes not the squire to hesitate,
where his lord goes forward with gallantry and courage.
. . .
No vicarious atonement, then,
will satisfy the instinct of the true lover of reality.
He desires life with all its accidents and misfortunes:
the high heroic life of the chivalry of God."[1]
. . .
My Lord,
so often have I gone out with thee into the lists
not knowing wither I go,
sometimes armed and sometimes not,
sometimes consciously to do battle,
sometimes oblivious of the battle at hand.

Lord, I recognize the lists

as one of the themes of my life.
I praise Thee,
that has called me,
and kept me company.
. . .

Now my liege Lord

I place upon me the panoply of God:
I gird my loins with truth and integrity
and place upon my chest the breastplate
of Your righteousness.
My feet are shod with the Gospel of peace
and I stand ready to bear witness to You
in the midst of the fray.
I hold secure the shield of faith,
its colors the red of your shed blood
its white the purity you purchased for me,
its insignia the rampant Lion and the Lamb.
I fear not the fiery darts of the wicked one.
On my head I place the helm of salvation
its golden plume the sign of
Your victory over death and the grave.
In my hand I grasp the blade of the Spirit
which is the Word of God
sharper than any two-edged sword
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,
joints and marrow.

My liege Lord
I stand by your side.
I hear the rumble of drums.
My ears ring with the trumpet call.
Lead me, My Lord.
I follow you to battle

[1]John Cordelier, The Path of Eternal Wisdom, (London: John M. Watkins. 1922), p. 17.       Copyright © 2011  Robin P. Smith

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Birthday Reflection 2015

Seventy-six trombones led the big parade
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.
They were followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuosos,
The cream of ev'ry famous band. 

As the years roll by, always with their looming threat of mortality, I have a contrary opinion,

I'm gonna live forever
I'm gonna learn how to fly
I feel it coming together
I'm gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame.” (Pop song edited)

I am rather of the opinion that the fate of Menelaus, king of Sparta, is mine; but for very different reasons than Homer would recognize:

But about your own destiny, Menelaus,
Dear to Zeus, it is not for you to die
and meet your fate in the stallion-land of Argos.

No, the deathless ones will sweep you off to the world’s end
the Elysian fields . . .where life glides on in immortal ease for mortal man;

There is never a downpour there; no snow, no winter onslaught,
but night and day the Ocean River sends up breezes,
singing winds, of the West refreshing all mankind.
(Homer, trans. Robert Fagles, The Odyssey, (Penguin Books: New York, 1996). p. 142, edited RPS)

For a Christian, by virtue of the death and resurrection of the Christ, this life is contiguous with the next, there is no break.  We travel through the wonder and of this middle earth with measured pace and in a twinkling of an eye we are transformed and walk through Elysian fields of splendour in the glory of God’s heaven bright.  But not yet, not yet.

Rather my lot, a gift from God, is the continuing journey through this lovely realm wherein we dwell.  I love being here amongst those whom I love.  In particular I treasure being with my wife Diana from whom I have learned so much of love.  All our loves are a blessing of His love.  From time to time the darkling forests grim may seem foreboding, but that is a matter of perspective.  My old father-in-law Archie had the right view.  Every morning I would greet him, “Morning Archie, how are you?” He would reply succinctly, “I got up.”  Every day is a gift, and even the darkling forests are just part of the rhythm of the journey.  There is a wonder in the woods that I would be loath to miss.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

(Robert Frost: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The 45th Anniversary of My Ordination

St. Chrysostom's Episcopal Church, Wollaston, MA.

When you step through a doorway there is no telling where you will end up. Bilbo Baggins had it right,

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

I had absolutely no idea where going through that doorway would lead us, and I say “us” because the call is not just my own, but is shared over a forty-five year journey with my wife Diana. We have travelled this road together hand in hand.

If I had my druthers I would rather be living in a seashore cottage and walking along the rocky shore of a windswept beach. But where has the journey taken us? From Boston, to Nashville, to Steel Valley, PA, to Northern Kentucky, and finally, quite unpredictably to planting a church near Dallas, Texas. I still miss the sound of waves crashing on the beach, and the tang of salt laden air; but God has not called me to the places that might have been my first choice.

I am an Oblate of the Order of St. Benedict, and I have made an Oblation of my life in the context of a specific Benedictine community. The principles laid down by St. Benedict guide my life, and my understanding of Ordination as a Priest. Benedict says, “Let him who is to be received make before all, in the Oratory, a promise of STABILITY, CONVERSION OF LIFE, and OBEDIENCE, in the presence of God and of his saints.” That applies not only to making an Oblation of my life as a Benedictine, it also applies to my understanding of a call to ministry.

Every journey has its ups and downs, its false steps, and even stupid errors. That is just part of being human. Nevertheless I take seriously the call to Stability, Conversion of Life, and Obedience. That also accounts for why we are living here in the Dallas area in Texas. I take seriously the word of the prophet Jeremiah,

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” [Jeremiah 29:4-7].    
I am a man under authority. Where He leads me, I will follow. Forty-five years ago I took the following questions and vows seriously, and I still do.

From the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:

Bishop. DO you think in your heart, that you are truly called, according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and according to the Canons of this Church, to the Order and Ministry of Priesthood?
Answer. I think it.

Bishop. Are you persuaded that the Holy Scriptures contain all Doctrine required as necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? And are you determined, out of the said Scriptures to instruct the people committed to your charge; and to teach nothing, as necessary to eternal salvation, but that which you shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the Scripture?
Answer. I am so persuaded, and have so determined, by God’s grace.

Bishop. Will you then give your faithful diligence always so to minister the Doctrine and Sacraments, and the Discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded, and as this Church hath received the same, according to the Commandments of God; so that you may teach the people committed to your Cure and Charge with all diligence to keep and observe the same?
Answer. I will so do, by the help of the Lord.

Bishop. Will you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word; and to use both public and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole, within your Cures, as need shall require, and occasion shall be given?
Answer. I will, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop. Will you be diligent in Prayers, and in reading the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the flesh?
Answer. I will endeavour so to do, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop. Will you be diligent to frame and fashion your own selves, and your families, according to the Doctrine of Christ; and to make both yourselves and them, as much as in you lieth, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ?
Answer. I will apply myself thereto, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop. Will you maintain and set forwards, as much as lieth in you, quietness, peace, and love, among all Christian people, and especially among them that are or shall be committed to your charge?
Answer. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.

Bishop. Will you reverently obey your Bishop, and other chief Ministers, who, according to the Canons of the Church, may have the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, and submitting yourselves to their godly judgments?
Answer. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.

¶ Then, all standing, shall the Bishop say,

ALMIGHTY God, who hath given you this will to do all these things; Grant also unto you strength and power to perform the same, that he may accomplish his work which he hath begun in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Twelve Everyday Collects for Everyday People

A Collect for When One is a Miserable Twit
God, you know what a funk I am in and the causes are not hidden from you. Insofar as it is good for me, give me insight into those causes and lift me out of this mood I am in, and grant me the grace not to be a miserable twit; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

A Collect for When One has Done Something Stupid
Lord, the Author of all knowledge, You know exactly what I did, and I’m not fooling you. Forgive me and give me the grace to do it differently next time, so that I don’t embarrass myself again; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

A Collect for When One has Had a Great Day
God, the giver of every good thing, thank You for a great day filled with love and laughter. What more could I ask than that which You have given? Some days are just too great not to be repeated. Thanks again in Jesus Name, Amen.

A Collect for When is Dealing With a Compulsive Talker
Lord God of all patience, what am I going to do? She never shuts up! Talk, Talk, Talk; and I’m worn to a frazzle! Lord God, help me to see her as you see her; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Remembering that God is the Center of All
Lord God, You keep the earth, the moon, the sun and the stars in their orbits Help me to remember that everything doesn’t revolve around me, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

A Collect for a Mid-Day Nap
Almighty, Eternal God, how do you do it? You are never worn out, and I’m really dead on my feet. Help me unhook from all the stuff going on around me and take a rest, so that I can rise again and serve you better; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for When One is Slightly Ridiculous
God, you are sitting in the heavens and having a good laugh; grant us most graciously to have a sense of humour about ourselves, that we might truly appreciate the silly side of our frailty and not be a nuisance to others; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

A Collect for When One is Taking Things too Personally
Gracious Father, your perspective is eternal and all encompassing; grant us such a vision of the immensity and diversity of the world around us, that we might have the grace to realize when life gets difficult that it’s not all about us and that we aren’t really all that important; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for When One is Too Serious
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Light of lights, shine your light on us so that we can lighten up and stop taking ourselves and everything else so seriously.  We know all too well that there is some serious stuff out that there, but help us to keep things in perspective.  Grant this for sake of your joy. Amen.

A Collect for When We Think We’re in Control
Oh Lord, you are in control and we’re not.  Help us to so recognize that truth that we might give ourselves and those around us a break, and instead rest in trust on your perpetual grace; in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

A Collect for When One is Being a Jerk
Almighty God, you see the trouble I cause myself and others.  Help me to take seriously the things that I should take seriously and help me stop playing the fool when I should be doing what you want me to do.  Help me to keep the balance for the sake of your glory; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns one God for ever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for the Other Idiots Out There

Lord God Almighty¸ you know exactly who is on my mind again. Grant them the grace not to be a nuisance to me and to others; that way we would all have a lot more peace, and things would go more smoothly.  Which reminds me, also help me not take their inventory, I have enough trouble with myself; through Jesus Christ my Lord.  Amen.

Crusader Rabbit: A Response to a Query

There is a fine line between giving care and trying to fix the problems of others.  In our family we are well acquainted with the Crusader Rabbit syndrome.  Crusader Rabbit is large, white, fluffy bunny that takes his sword, his shield and his lance, mounts his white stallion and charges down on a problem situation (or person) and attempts to fix things.  The problem is, that fixing things is not our responsibility, but loving and giving care is.  Generally speaking, when Crusader Rabbit mounts his white horse and charges down he is about to get knocked off his horse.

Unlike the shrunken soul who said that the best advice he ever received was to never volunteer, I think it is a good thing to volunteer; You have remarked that as a child you were told not to speak unless spoken to and to that you were to wait until you were asked, before doing something.”  As a child I remember the dictum, "children should be seen and not heard", (and I might, add “and preferably not seen either!”). That kind of attitude was a vestige of those halcyon days when the governess presented the children to the parents after dinner for inspection, but for little else.  Children should be respectful, but so should adults, even of children.  On a simple level even respectful children would bless their parents by volunteering to wash the dishes or walk the dog.

As for your living arrangement.  There are so many mixed motives and emotions in any family living arrangement.  What's done is done.  However there is here a matter for some serious and persistent prayer.  The question is not "What should I have done?", but, "What should I do now?"  The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

The Bottomless Well

Some of us by nature are caregivers; it is in our blood, in the very fibre, muscle and bone of our being.  It is not just that there are those who need our care.  We ourselves need to care, to mend and heal, to rescue and restore.  I suspect that trait in one degree of another is found in most people.  Natural care givers often hold suspect those who have no apparent need to give care, and recognize as pathological those who instead of giving care, victimize those who either need care or give care.  That proclivity is not just pathological, it is wicked.

There is only One who is a bottomless well.  Through the Christ flows the water of the Spirit, the gift of the Father’s love.  All the rest of us lesser caregivers fall into one of two major categories; the shallow well that taps ground water, and the well spring that has tapped a source deeper than itself.

The caregiver that functions as a shallow well is soon drained of inner resources and only slowly filled by fresh rain water seeping through the soil.  The shallow well, giving of its own fleshly strength and human power, gladly gives all it has but then sits depleted, empty and tired, very tired of caring.  Some shallow wells are slowly repleted, others, once depleted, sit as dry holes for times upon times; their care giving days are over.

The caregiver that functions as a wellspring has tapped into the deeper artesian spring of God’s love and presence and even if depleted is quickly filled.  Contrasting the earthly and heavenly well there is One who said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13,14).

There are some limits to caregiving that must be recognized.  Even Christ the Caregiver is limited by the freedom of will that is an intrinsic right of those for whom He cares.  He allows us to say “No!”  We ourselves are bound by the same reality in our offers to care for others.  On another level there is no comparison of His ability as a caregiver with our lesser ability.  It is not for nothing that He is called the Redeemer, and we the redeemed.  His caregiving becomes incarnate in our caregiving but subject to our humanity and limitations; but by the grace of God we are what we are and His grace in us is not in vain.  Caregivers give care only by virtue of their connection with the Christ in the power of the Spirit.

Being filled with this amazing water of the Holy Spirit requires both inflow and outflow.  Without the inflow that comes through worship, praise, prayer and reflection on God’s word the well soon dries up.  It is necessary to drink daily and drink deeply.  Without outflow, without giving care the water becomes stagnant and the well itself becomes dank and drear.  The one who actively leans upon Him is like a tree planted the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  The one who drinks deeply of His Presence is like a deep well of water springing forth and giving life to those who need care.