Be Ye Not Dismayed


            This message comes from and is inspired by the Gospel of Matthew.  Now let us first examine that.  What then is the gospel and who is Matthew?  Christendom proclaims the Gospel to be the good news that Christ has died for our sins and has risen again.  We know Matthew to have been a reformed tax collector, whose faith allowed him to drop all that he knew and was secure in to follow Jesus.  With this knowledge, oh what a comfort it is for our text to be prefaced in this way.  Before we even begin we know we are to be met and encouraged by the good news, from one of the “faithful.”  Now Matthew begins the book chronicling the genealogy of Jesus, tracing back his bloodline through King David. 

The Text Reads:  Matthew 1:1-16 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Chris, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  To Abraham was born Isaac; and to Isaac, Jacob; and to Jacob, Judah and his brothers; and to Judah were born Perez and Zerah by Tamar; and to Perez was born Hezron; and to Hezron, Ram; and to Ram wasa born Amminadab; and to Amminadab, Nahshon; and to Nahshon, Salmon; and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab; and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth; and to Obed, Jesse; and to Jesse was born David the king.  And to David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah; and to Solomon was born Rehoboam; a nd to Rehoboam, Abijah; and to abijah, Asa; and to Asa was born Jehoshaphat; and to Jehoshaphat, Joram; and to Joram, Uzziah; and to Uzziah was born Jotham; and to Jotham, Ahaz; and to Ahaz, Hezekiah; and to Hezekiah was born Manasseh; and to Manasseh, Amon; and to Amon, Josiah; and to Josiah were born Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.  And after the deportation to Babylon, to Jeconiah was born Shealtiel; and to Shealtiel.  Zerubbabel; and to Zerubbabel was born Abiud; and to Abiud, Eliakim; and to Eliakim, Azor; and to Azor was born Zadok; and to Zadok, Achim; and to Achim, Eliud; and to Eliud was born Eleazar; and to Eleazar, Matthan; and to Matthan, Jacob; husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.  Therefore all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the time of Christ fourteen generations.  

Now as you well see that was a very painstaking process.  Why then would Matthew go through such lengths to begin the story in this way?  A genealogy is a record of ones ancestry, and Matthew wanted us to know that Jesus was a true human being, born of Man and inspired by the divine.  He also wanted the Jews to know Jesus descended from King David, as only a descendent of David could be king of the Jews.  All of this is to be a heuristic device, or a lens by which to see that the Kingdom of God is within you.  Let us revisit the text for a moment:

Matthew 6:26-34  “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span?  And why are you anxious about clothing?  Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say  to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like on of these.  But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will he not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?  Do not be anxious then, saying, What shall we eat?  Or What shall we drink?  Or With what shall we clothe ourselves?  For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

Now in this God has not called anybody to be anybody’s fool!  Though that plant did not toil nor worry about its next meal, it assuredly continued its’ process of photosynthesis, and relied on God to supply the sunlight necessary to carry on.  This parable as with most is more figurative than literal, and should be taking in that light.  To many of us get caught up in the literal, in the defined, in the prepackaged, linear interpretation of the nonlinear, limitlessness that is our God.  Well the WORD says, ask and you shall receive, pray and you shall be answered.”  OK and that same WORD says that faith without works is dead.  You pray for a job and stop looking for one and get back to me on how well that working out for you!  You pray to pay bills wile frivolously spending your earnings on name brands, clubbing, gambling, or good drinks, and let me know when you get an answer!  The problem is that a lot of us are getting these answers in a still small voiced that says quite simply, “No.”  We are just too stubborn, set in our ways, and caught up in the game to listen to the voice of reason and change.  We are far too busy waiting on this theistic ideal of God to reach out of the cosmos and into our situation to enact change, when the non-literal word of God is telling us in no uncertain terms to look within for divine guidance, and enact our own change.  Search for the kingdom by knowing yourself.  Now try that on for size…

This principle is unchanging and undying despite your situation, whether you want to call it a “Secret” or by any other name, but its no secret that you can’t successfully build or add to yourself without first knowing yourself!  We find ourselves being met with trying times in a turbulent world.  But be ye not dismayed.  To be dismayed is to be deprived of courage and filled with bewilderment.  Be ye not dismayed!  I don’t care nor does the universe, what cycle you think you’re caught up in or what maze you can’t find your way out, but if you learn yourself, you goals, your dreams, your aspirations, and strive onward in that singular direction; you will find your way out.  In saying this, I’m not so naïve as to tempt the lie that this is easy, or that there won’t be pitfalls and hurdles, but with perseverance and the knowledge that the fuel of the cosmos lies within you, you will triumph.  Many of us share our largest hurdle, being that of confusion.  It forces us to spread ourselves in all different directions each thinner than the last, until there’s nothing of any use left.  A similar hurdle is trying to please everyone, not to be confused with doing what is right.  But know when doing the will of God, the divine that dwells within you, you cannot and will not please everyone, usually not even most. 

Matthew gave us an example of this in the text:  Matthew 8:28-34 And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gardarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they wee coming out of the tombs; they were so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road.  And behold, they cried out, saying “What do we have to do with you, Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?”  Now there was at a distance from them a herd of many swine feeding.  And the demons began to entreat him saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.”  And He said to them, “Begone!”  And they came out, and went into the swine, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.  And the herdsman ran away, and went to the city, and reported everything, including the incident of the demoniacs.  And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they entreated Him to depart from their region.

Here Jesus casts our demons yet still did not please all because of the consequences of casting those demons out.  Many would ask why Jesus cast the demons into the swine?  You can’t let a lion out of cage and expect to maintain control with out putting him into another.  If Jesus could not please everyone, I suggest you stop trying.  Now in this journey of self discovery, self actualization, and the realization of the divine within you, watch what you say. Do not give dogs what is holy and do not throw your pearls before the swine, lest they trample them under -foot and turn to attack you.  Matthew 7:6  Hear and understand; not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. Matthew 15:10 Let not your good be evil spoken of, and forsake not the assembly, whether you are of like minds or in disagreement, for there is strength in numbers, and knowledge comes from discerning truth of more than one source.  Thank you and may God bless and keep you, and move through you unto others.


Auxilio ab alto By help from on high Br. Maurice D. Ravennah  10-7-08

Jumping Through Hoops

 Welcome to the greatest show on earth,Let your eyes give birth to visions of unfathomable girth.I am the ring leader of this fantastical theatre, my entourageFollows hither and to thereafter, all save my cohort,Counterpart, and mate, for he is my identity and inverse,We are both the mirror and the reverse, we performNever having to rehearse, a show of endless possibility and revelation. On one fine day of circumambulation our universes passed, bringing visions of each other and a partnership meant to last, expect not one blessing without its lesson, andIn this ours is the same, our differences vast,Similarities like, and we knew this before each others names. The watchmaker had set our paths to cross andBring us into view, that we both might live, weBoth might learn, and perhaps create something new.Our likenesses taught us of goods, and evils,Demons and saints did show, in the reflective poolOf eternity through which our hearts did flow.  I learnedThrough him, of my self as he has learned through me.The only fear that rests with me, is when the lesson endsSo might we. 



            An attitude of gratitude is not just a platitude.  It’s amazing the feeling you get when you are truly reminded of the simple things you have to be grateful for, things like life, health, strength.  Not lofty goals of grander, not riches or bliss, but truly the simple and essential.  It can be truly earth shattering to be forced to a point of acknowledgment of these essentials.  It is often said we don’t know what we have until we loose it.  Just earlier today I was moved to within inches of such a point.

            I was moved to this place on a drive back from Myrtle Beach SC, to Charleston.  Today I worked in Myrtle Beach a little later than expected and found myself driving home in slight traffic.  As I was nearing the clear or the end of the traffic the speed picked up on HWY 17 back to highway speed.  The road cleared in front of me and I had not a worry or a care other than getting home.  It was a long day at work and I was growing tired, tired of the day, tired of work, and tired of driving.  I was swiftly loosing sight of the little things I had to be grateful for.

            This was all changed in the instance a silver dodge ram pickup truck with an extended cab darted from my extreme right to my extreme left across three lanes of traffic, cutting me off.  At this point continuing on the same course and speed we would meet a sure collision and possibly sudden death for many of us.  Us being myself my coworker in the passenger seat who had forgotten his seatbelt, and the four people in the pickup truck.  At this course we would have nearly “T-Boned” the Truck.  There was a large Tractor Trailer approaching from behind on the right of us, which left me no choice but to swerve left through a narrow median and towards the oncoming traffic on the other side of the highway.

            It was but for the Grace of God that I was able to make a sharp turn to the right and land in the ditch created by the median so as to not end up in oncoming traffic.  The pickup truck stopped as soon as he saw me swerve out of our collision path.  Once my vehicle stopped in the ditch the drive of the truck ran towards me apologizing and screaming that he didn’t see us and was sorry.  I ended up being able to drive away from this experience having suffered no harm to me, my passenger, or my vehicle. 

            The rest of the trip home was one of quiet contemplation.  I reflected on just how swiftly life can escape us.  Six lives were almost ended in the blink of an eye, yet all were spared.  In light of such events everything else seems to take on immensely less important.  Life is not promised to us and in such we should be grateful for every fleeting minute.  Especially those we can spend with the ones we love.  Thank you and God’s Peace.

 Auxilio ab alto By help from on high Br. Maurice D. Ravennah 



            We spend a lot of time concentrating on both those things we want and those things we lack for the two are not necessarily interchangeable in all cases.  Often our wants don’t reflect our lacks and our lacks may even have little to do with our wants.  With the delicate position we find our selves in from day to day life knowing not the future we often make base choices that aren’t in our own best interest.  I say this to make a point yet not at the expense of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as want is a legitimate and meaningful feeling.  I recently heard a Japanese proverb on the matter that touched me.


“For want of a nail, the horse shoe was lost. 

For want of a horse shoe the stead was lost. 

For want of a stead the message was lost. 

For want of the message the war was lost.” 


Its amazing how simply the proverb depicts the demise of a nation at war spawning from the downward spiral of want and indeed need of something so relatively small, simple, and attainable.  This proverb speaks with a broad yet specific voice if you will.  In indulging me in this little oxymoron one will find that the proverb speaks quite specifically about want and loss but in a broad sense speaks about causality and the necessity for attention to detail.  In hearing the words and taking them at face value one could say that the lost message lost the war, but I think the more specific message was that the lost nail was in fact what lost the war.  Sometimes the simplest details are the ones that can lead to our downfall, and unfortunately sometimes these simple things we lack are not the things we want.  In such they often go overlooked and neglected until the snowball in to a larger lack, loss, or problem.


            We should own our wants and acknowledge them for what they truly are.  More often then not we will find that they are not in true alignment with our lacks and in such are not truly things that we need.  We should pay special attention to what we do have and in being the good steward we were all called to be we should take special care never to neglect it.  The neglect of the horse in our little story seemed simple and insignificant at the onset but eventually changed the fate of a nation.  Finally we should strive to align the two, being our wants and our lacks, when we pay attention to those thing we lack and need and give them priority over those things we simply want, all he wile being thankful for those things we already have, we place ourselves on the road to completion.  We put ourselves one step closer to a fulfilled goal, not just the attainment of a want, but the attainment of a need that will sustain us to and through the attainment of our later wants.  Thank you all, and God’s Peace!

 Auxilio ab alto By help from on high Br. Maurice D. Ravennah 


            As you may well remember, the popular novel The Diary of Anne Frank made note of the wide use of the abbreviation WC for water closet or bathroom.  For our own purposes we will be using the similar abbreviation PC for prayer closet.  With this having been said I’m sure it’s far more than evident where I’m going with this.  We live in a world of here and now and are plagued with the idea of the scarcity of our time.  In the hustle and bustle of day to day life it can often become easy to loose track of our ongoing conversation with God as well as our ongoing dialogue with ourselves.

Between work and or school, volunteering, and taking care of our many miscellaneous obligations we often tell both God and our inner selves, “Caller please hold the line.”  This is not to say that we deliberately slow or stop our conversation, but we often inadvertently either put the conversation on borrowed time, or put it on hold all together.  Its so very easy to tell ourselves, well, I’ll pray tonight after work, or I’m to tired now that work is over so I’ll pray tomorrow in church.  When we do this we create a false reality within ourselves asserting prayer as an obligation and daunting task, when it is and should be quite the opposite.  Prayer is a refuge, the peace within the midst of the storm, bridge over troubled waters, and our link to one another and to our God. 

            Having said all of this I would like to revisit the idea of the equation we started with, WC=PC in which we find the water closet can be our prayer closet.  Prayer is not just the rote and from ideal that society has generally fed us.  Every breath can be a prayer when your intention is to be one with yourself, your God, and your universe.  In as much what better time to pray than during a hot peaceful bath or shower, when you can visualize the negativity and burdens of daily life be washed away.  If we have time for even such a simple activity as a bath or shower, we have time to pray.  It’s amazing the inspirations and comforts that can come in a meditative or prayerful bath or shower.  Keep this in mind in the coming days when there’s more on your plate than you think you have time to swallow.  Thank you for visiting this idea with me.

 God’s Peace,Auxilio ab alto By help from on high. Br. Maurice D. Ravennah 

She Feeds Him 

No, this is no ordinary fruit, it grows of a tree with an

extraordinary root, Its veins run red, not amber as with sap, its appetite rabid as in the Venus Fly Trap, drinking its prey from a well deep within, evoking the power Of the pen to turn man against kin.  Drowning in nectar, the true face of Sin, masking it in perfumes and fresh linen muslin.  She plucks of this Tree its most shimmering fruit, she caught it ripe, just before it fell to the Root, as I said once before, this my friend, is no ordinary fruit.  She Picked it and ran to show him her catch, the devil in the details His peril would fetch.  He peered at the fruit with a lusty gaze, a Tinge of insanity at its onset phase, hardly saint nor demon, without Innocence or guilt, he ate of the fruit as the tree did wilt.  He ate all She gave him, she gave him true lies.  She knew not the truthFor she saw without eyes, a voice in the garden described all to her,The voice of the serpent, the wind did spur, damning this was, toMen yet unborn, men of distinction, raught with scorn.  This fruit thatShe feeds him, from hell it was born and she’ll know nothing until the

Vail is torn.

Not all secrets are secret, andNot all secrets are safe.  I thoughtI had a secret, but it whispered in the night,It mocked knocked at every door, and told everyone in sight.Never had I imagined I would endure such strife,As the day I let my secret walk both in and out my life.Damn that secret’s whispers, and damn thatSecret too, be careful with such secrets or The same could happen to you!