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Redwood Journal

Writings by Harry Martin

Welcome to Redwood Journal

Redwood Journal is a collection of writings authored by Harry Martin, including book and article publications and blog postings collected from earlier websites. It is, in a very real sense, a journal of the author reflecting his life and work, much among the Coast Redwood country of Northern California.  But it is, even more, a journal of his tasks as a servant of the Cross, a douloscross.  It is a journal of one who follows He who died upon the Cross, made red by His blood  and arose from the tomb through His holy love.

Over the years these tasks have included firefighting, restaurant and camp cook, disaster medical planner, Protestant pastor, Permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, fire services chaplain, mental health advocate, Beeswax candle maker, writer and husband and father.   All of these tasks, privileged assignments, for this simple servant of Christ have been sought to be done gloria Dei, for the glory of God.

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Featured post

Listening to St. Patrick

On this St. Patrick’s Day many will be enjoying corn beef and cabbage [A distinctly un-Irish meal / and perhaps heading to the bars for further celebration or taking part in a parade.

While Patrick, a man who knew the Prish well, would not have opposed a bit of refreshment or a celebration he would have been troubled by all the worldly ways.

The images show the gravestone of Patrick at Down Cathedral in Belfast Ireland.  If we would take the time what would this saint say tous?  here are some thoughts from the Confessions of St. Patrick.  The offer  profound insight into the tru heart of the man:

1.) “So I turned with all my heart to the Lord my God, and he looked down on my lowliness and had mercy on my youthful ignorance. He guarded me before I knew him, and before I came to wisdom and could distinguish between good and evil. He protected me and consoled me as a father does for his son.” (Confessio, 2)

2.) “This is how we can repay such blessings, when our lives change and we come to know God, to praise and bear witness to his great wonders before every nation under heaven.” (Confessio, 3)

3.) “Let every tongue confess that Jesus Christ, in whom we believe and whom we await to come back to us in the near future, is Lord and God.” (Confessio, 4)

4.) “This is the one we acknowledge and adore – one God in a Trinity of the sacred name.” (Confessio, 4)

5.) “That is why I must shout aloud in return to the Lord for such great good deeds of his, here and now and forever, which the human mind cannot measure.” (Confessio, 12)

6.) “In the knowledge of this faith in the Trinity, and without letting the dangers prevent it, it is right to make known the gift of God and his eternal consolation. It is right to spread abroad the name of God faithfully and without fear, so that even after my death I may leave something of value to the many thousands of my brothers and sisters – the children whom I baptized in the Lord.” (Confessio, 14)

7.) “I didn’t deserve at all that the Lord would grant such great grace, after hardships and troubles, after captivity, and after so many years among that people. It was something which, when I was young, I never hoped for or even thought of.” (Confessio, 15)

8.) “More and more the love of God increased, and my sense of awe before God.” (Confessio, 16)

9.) “It was in the strength of God that I went – God who turned the direction of my life to good.” (Confessio, 17)

10.) “For that reason, I give thanks to the one who strengthened me in all things, so that he would not impede me in the course I had undertaken and from the works also which I had learned from Christ my Lord.” (Confessio, 30)

The Story of a Soul ~ Nicodemus

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Our Lenten journey of growing closer to God brings us to the 4th Sunday of Lent.  And for our Lenten path God has provided bright and beautiful light from His Word.  It is in His light we see the story of a soul and we see lessons for the story our soul can experience.

Our first reading sets the scene of the people of Israel over the ages.   A people of faith and a people who also, sadly, fell away from their faith when they did not allow the graces of God to grow and change, convert,  their lives.  These are the people, much loved by God, to whom Jesus came and proclaimed His Kingdom.  They are the same beloved souls to which the Psalm testifies that they mourned for their spiritual home in their exile because of sin.

The epistle for today moves the scene of our story to see a people being redeemed by God and growing in His graces learning the call of God to reign with Him, to know and experience that our souls   “…are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance that we should live in them.”

The scene is now set for us to now meet the two main individuals of our Gospel for this day:  Jesus and a man name Nicodemus.  To better appreciate and learn from this encounter between a human soul and God  Let us better acquaint ourselves with this Nicodemus.

Nicodemus is a man whose story is only shared in the Gospel of John.  The fact that he is not mentioned in the three synoptic Gospels is not that he was unknown to Matthew, Mark or Luke.  It is very possible that this silence, from these much earlier Gospel writers, may have been  in recognition of his faith and the perils of faith in the Jewish world at that time.  John’s gospel, written decades latter may have been able to share these insights  into Nicodemus as he may have gone on to his eternal reward.  The Gospel does show Nicodemus was a man of significant stature among the Hebrew people of Jesus’s time.  He was a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin and a man well taught in the laws and courts of his day, reminding the enemies of Christ that anyone accused is entitled to be heard and fairly tried, (John 7)    Nicodemus was also a man of wealth.  As seen when Joseph of Arimathea sought to bury the Body of Jesus in his tomb it was Nicodemus who brought 100 Roman pounds of herbs and spices for His burial, an amount as Pope Benedict XVI pointed out, fit for a royal burial. (John 19). But it is in the Gospel for today we learn the most about the story of Nicodemus.   Although well educated, socially, very successful and wealthy he hungered for more. 

It was to Jesus he came, secretly, in the dark of night to LISTEN, TO BE BORN AGAIN, CONVERTED and grow on to SERVE God.  Nicodemus comes to with Jesus, humble, courageous in his questions, thirsting to hear the Truth of God.  And, Nicodemus LISTENED.  As he listened his faith grew and he was converted.   But Nicodemus had only begun his faith journey with God.  Allowing God to conquer his fears of his peers he would find those fears converted to courage in facing those who sought condemn Jesus.  And it was God’s grace that would bring this powerful man to serve His Savior in love and faith as he brought the herbs and spices for His burial.

Nicodemus, the story of a soul encountering God, repeatedly.  And allowing God to change, convert him from a fearful servant of sin to a humble servant courageous in the love of God.

And so God sent His Son for each of us, to meet, to truly listen to, with hearts hungering for His Truth and celebrate the faith journey of ongoing conversion.  An for each of us to learn, as St. Paul reminded us earlier:  we “…are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance that we should live in them.”

 

“The Stones Cry Out”

The Stones of Notre Dame Cathedral

Luke 19: [40] He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” [41] And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, [42] saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.”

The words of our Lord speak of His return and the stones of the very ruin wrought through the pollution of the environment, the pollution of sin in the world.

Lord, in your mercy help us hear your call to care for your home and our hearts for your glory.

 

“Praise the Lord the Creator”

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From Morning Prayer, Third Sunday of Lent, Psalm 148, Psalm-Prayer:

“Lord, extolled in the heights by angelic powers, you are also praised by all earth’s creatures, each in its own way.  With all the splendor of heavenly worship, you still delight in such tokens of love as earth can offer.  May heaven and earth together acclaim you as King; may the praise that is sung in heaven resound in the heart of every creature.”

In the Redwood

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As a young man of the 1960’s it was an intense privilege of grace to first hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This occured while I worked and lived among the Redwoods of Northern California.  It was during that time I first bought and read the Bible.  Although profoundly ignorant I heard the Word of God with a hunger of faith.  It was while working, walking and living among the Redwood I came to know in my heart Him whose love stained another wood red for the salvation of His creation and even His simple creature working in His garden.

Thank you Lord Jesus.

Be Conscious of our Commerce and Consumption ~ MATERIAL & SPIRITUAL

Meme The TongueMeme Consumption

Following Christ

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“I went without discerning and with no light except for which in my heart was burning.”   ~ St. John of the Cross

Photo:  colour-my-world.tumblr.com

Life & Choice

So many are asking how the mass shootings can keep happening yet refuse to accept we have become a culture of death. We have become a culture where personal choice supersedes any value of a life deemed unwanted, unnecessary or deemed unfit. If one has the ability to chose to destroy another who is unwanted then that choice is deemed more sacred than life itself. Except for those who are killed. Their choice doesn’t matter.27866970_282400295626746_6787909698690842368_n

Giving God Thanks ~ 2017

Thanksgiving Day, The Year of Our Lord, 2017.

Amidst a year with catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes and fires scattered throughout unceasing political strife and turmoil,  fears of conflict and terrorism we gather to give thanks.

The secularization of what was once a national holiday for giving thanks to God has, for many, become a time of a very humanistic thanksgiving for..self.  While we have much to be grateful for in each other and for ourselves to deny praise and thanksgiving to God is to embrace a tragic idolatry with deadly peril.  This climate change of the soul is evident in the sorrows and afflictions we face in our times.

Yet we have the promise, the hope, the opportunity  of returning in becoming, being a people THANK~FULL to God, our creator, Savior, LORD of all.

In the words of a Responsorial Psalm from the Readings for Masses of Thanksgiving we read:

R. (2bc) Lord, I thank you for your faithfulness and love.

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. Lord, I thank you for your faithfulness and love.

Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Lord, I thank you for your faithfulness and love.

All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O LORD
when they hear the words of your mouth;
And they shall sing of the ways of the LORD
“Great is the glory of the LORD
R. Lord, I thank you for your faithfulness and love.  [Psalm 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 4-5]

 

 

 

 

 

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