April / May 2015 - Vol. 79

Easter Sunday Cross in landscape
Love All Surpassing in Death and Life
reflections by Dave Quintana

Carrying Death, Manifesting Life 
It is said that for the Christian it is always Good Friday and Easter Sunday at the same time.  We are always living this dual reality of Christ’s suffering and death on one hand, and his victory over sin and death in his resurrection on the other. In this life, they go together. They can’t be separated. In fact, even in heaven he still stands (victoriously) as though slain, but we won’t go into that today! The point is that even as an “Easter people,” we experience loss, failure, weakness, limitation – in a word, the cross. But transcending that, and overcoming that, we experience Jesus alive and with us, sharing with us his resurrection life. Let us yield more fully to him, that we might become more fully like him.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (RSV translation)

A Good Day to Die 
I am not a morbid guyreally, I’m not.  But I agree with chief Geronimo as he encouraged his warriors as they prepared for a day’s battle, “Today is a good day to die”. It is. It has to be. If it isn’t a good day to die, then how could it possibly be a good day to live? How could it possibly be a good day to live life to the full if it isn’t also a good day to give it all, to leave nothing back? There is nothing worth living for if there is nothing worth dying for. Let us be those who gladly spend themselves for what and for whom they hold dear.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
– Philippians 1:21-24 (RSV translation)

The Depths of his Love
Corrie Ten Boom was quite a lady. You might be familiar with her story through the book or film, “The Hiding Place.” She was a single Dutch woman, the daughter of a Christian watchmaker. She and her sister were both committed Christians who found themselves resisting the evil of Nazism and providing a “hiding place” for Jews who were fleeing for their lives. Eventually, she was taken to a prison camp where she suffered terribly before eventually being released, thus being able to tell her story. Faced with the atrocities of concentration camps, the horrors of this seemingly God-forsaken place, she resolutely proclaimed, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love isn’t deeper still.” How much have we truly fathomed the depths of his love?
I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I beseech you, save my life!" 
Psalm 116:1-4 (RSV translation)

The Little Lady Who Lived a Big Life
You’ve gotta love Mother Teresa.  Small, frail, bent over, wrinkly
but with a fire in her eyes and a fire in her heartnever afraid to say the hard word, to do the hard thing, to choose a hard path.  She “did small things with great love.” She “loved Christ in his many disguises.” While others asked “Why?”, she asked “Why not?” I find her words a constant challenge:

  • “God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.”
  • “Good works are links that form a chain of love.”
  • “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.”
  • “If you can't feed a hundred peoplethen feed just one.”
  • “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurtsthere can be no more hurt, only more love.”
  • “I know God will not give me anything I can't handleI just wish that He didn't trust me so much.”
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind.
1 Peter 3:8 (RSV translation)

Revolution of Love
Fr. Stan Fortuna is a CFR (Franciscan Friar of the Renewal) and is a good friend. He comes over from the Bronx to do our YI (Youth Initiatives) camps for us. He is quite a musician and he is at his best when he does a spontaneous rap with all his funky reverberaters and sound machines!  Anyway, he will regularly sing about what he calls the “revolution of love.” He says that love is to revolutionize our lives and our worldthat our lives need to be and must be, completely, absolutely, supremely re-ordered by love. That’s the life I want to live. That is the life I challenge you to livea life that is completely, absolutely, supremely re-ordered by love. That’s the stuff revolutions are made of!

And I will show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 12:31 and 13:1-7 (RSV translation)

If He has your Heart
I can’t explain to you exactly why it happened this way, but what I do know is that when God grabbed a hold of my life oh so many years ago that he did so in such a fashion so as to never let go. And just as much to the point, he did so in such a way that I would do my best to never let go of him as well. And so the journey began. A journey with many ups and downs to be sure, and with the occasional “missing the boat” or straying from the pathbut my life has always been clearly in his hands. He has taken me places I never dreamed of going. He has called me to a life I never imagined possible.  And he has also called me to a death that I never thought bearable.  He has asked of me things I would have never thought myself capable of giving, and he has woven it all together for goodaccording to his plans and purposes. And so I think I am beginning to learn the lesson of giving myself fully, whole-heartedly to himand of not holding back in fear or self-concern. As someone once said, “if he has your heart, what does it matter if he asks for … (you fill in your own blank!)?”
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might".

– Deuteronomy6:4-5 (RSV translation)

What Love is First?
A dear Fijian Methodist brother led me to a Methodist spiritual writer named William Sangster. He says that “there is only one love in this life to which all other loves are subordinate and in which all other loves must find their place.” I know, or at least am beginning to know, this to be true. I suppose I have always been somewhat simple-minded in my approach to life. Certainly life in today’s world is plenty complexbut why complicate things that don’t need to be complicated? For each and every one of us, does not one love stand out above all others? Does not one love receive first place? One love drive us more than all others? Sure, it could be love of a person or love of a thing, love of a career or love of a concept.  For me however, and from my perspective for every true Christianthe love of God must be first. And just as importantly, and as a consequence of the love of God being firstlove of all other things must be subordinate to the love of God. So I suppose the question I ask myself each morning, and the question I ask myself each evening is“is the love of God first in my life? How do I, today, subordinate all other loves to the love of God?”

"'I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false; I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
Revelation 2:2-4 (RSV translation)

Dave Quintana is an elder of the Servants of the Word, a missionary brotherhood of men living single for the Lord. He is also Vice-President for the Sword of the Spirit in Europe and the Middle East. He currently lives in Beffast,Northern Ireland.
Daily Meds from the Q Source
by Dave Quintana, published by Tabor House, 2012, 250 pages, $11.00

Dave Quintana's daily meditations and Bible readings to stir our minds and kindle our hearts in 2013. He explores themes important to all who search to be wise men and women in the Lord, and provides a wealth of personal experience from living and ministering in Central America, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Expect to be challenged. Expect to be inspired. Expect to meet the living and loving God. Order from Tabor House.

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