John E. Marshall, Jr.'s Blog

Page 1 - Holy Thursday

Page 2 - Emergence

Page 3 - Where Is God Located?

Page 4 - Words

Page 5 - Faith, Hope & Love

Page 6 - What God's Voice Telling Us

Page 7 - Are We Wrapped Up Too Much in Earthly Things?



by John E. Marshall, Jr. | 2015

Get a load of our Collect today. “Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”

Quite a mouthful for our Souls and our times, isn’t it? Don’t be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly. It is a rare person that I know that is not experiencing some type of difficulty in this day and age. Many of God’s children are feeling the pinch of money problems. Some are dealing with some serious relationship issues. Many of us have experienced some type of loss sometime in the recent past. It could have been the death or sickness of a loved one or our own bouts with various stages of health problems. It could have been the loss of property or employment, or any other type of what we call earthly possessions. Bottom line, we all seem to be going through something. That is what makes our Collect today so poignant. We are told that we are placed among things that are passing away and we are praying here to hold fast to those that shall endure. Can I get an “Amen” to that?

It seems to me that we are all being made humble when it comes to our Souls. Lest we forget that humility is a great part of what it means to be a follower of Christ. If we want to follow the Way of Christ, we must delve deep into ourselves and present ourselves naked and unguarded before our Lord our God. Being an arrogant Christian is wholly and antithetical to following Christ. But we see a lot of arrogant Christians these days, don’t we? Too much braggadocio when it comes to our belief and our faith. It is as if we are somewhat better than others because of our belief. How anti Christ-like. If we are to call ourselves followers of Christ, we must pay more attention to the life and, therefore, the Way of Christ.

We see Christian arrogance in many of our churches. People bragging about how their faith, their church, their pastor or preacher, their choir, or their following of the bible is better that anyone else’s. We see a lot of that when we see some of these mega-churches. It is as if the more people you have in your seats, the more money you take up in your collection, the outward and inner appearance of your church somehow proves that you are a better heart and soul and therefore closer to God. How many times have we seen Jesus in the Bible admonish the temple leaders, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes for their haughtiness, arrogance, and holier than thou behavior? I hate to say it, but the way I see it, many people who call themselves Christians are just Christians for show. It is all about how they look and their appearance as a Christian. Many Christians just wear their Christianity on their sleeves. It is more about opulence than humility and faith. Frankly, I see many of the services that is supposed to be about giving God and Jesus glory be actually about giving themselves and their church glory. To be even more blunt, many churches are just glorified carnivals to me, with people and services performing roles as if they are really followers of Christ. Who could forget what Jesus said in Matthew 22? This was after the Sadducees tried to trick Jesus and Jesus put them in their place. “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’  Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

To be a true follower of Christ and for a church to be a true place that follows the Way of Christ, this must be front and center in their consciousness and practice. You just cannot flap your lips and have words pass over your gums about it. This is something that must be focused on in the following of the Way of Christ. I am sorry, but I have a hard time with many people these days and their arrogance in their Christianity when there seems to be no trace of this type of sensibility within them. Seriously, if you are going to come to me about Spirituality, to get my attention and my buy in, you've got to come correct. It has gotta be about Loving God with all your heart, your mind, and your soul, and Loving all others as you love yourself. And that means everybody in every circumstance. Otherwise, you will get me to discard you as not quite ready, at the very least.

I know I am being a little bit harsh, but I think all of this needs to be said. To me, you cannot be a follower of Christ and think yourself better than anyone else. One of the key Ways of Christ was Him in His persistence in behaving in a humble, loving, forgiving, and compassionate way. He didn’t go around putting people down and call them losers. He went around trying to lift up whomever He could and tried His best to inject them with Love, Hope, Faith, and Compassion. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you can tell who is a real follower of Christ. They seek to lift up and not tear down. They seek to love and not disparage. They come to you with the humbleness of Christ and because of that humility are more compassionate towards their fellow human, no matter their belief, because they have learned that they, indeed, need a bit of compassion themselves.

It would do us well to etch that Collect of ours today into our permanent memory. It would also do us well to read our second reading of James 3 and 4 over and over and over again. Especially where it says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.”

We are to pray for one another and seek to build each other up if we are to demonstrate we have a real relationship with our Lord. Hope and strength should be the ready gifts that we constantly seek to give. Indeed, many of us are going through some very difficult times. Some of us feel a bit overwhelmed by their circumstances of being a living soul on this Earth.  Admit it. You feel that way sometimes. I feel that way sometimes. I sometimes wonder how I am going to get through this and that from time to time. Then, it occurred to me this week as to the answer to that. I said to myself, “If you'd only quiet yourself, you'd find it. It's there. The strength you need. The power you seek. The vision you need for the wisdom, the joy, and the peace you wish to see. Your connection to the underlying, deepest Principle. Fueled by your inner most Love and Compassion. You'll find it, and when you do you will become kinder and gentler to everyone and everything, including yourself. There it is.”

The resources we need to make it through are not material, earthly things at all. It lies mostly in our Faith. It lies mostly in our hearts. The answers lie in the brains and wisdom that God gives to us. And rarely if ever does it mean that you have to stand over someone else or be selfish in order to get the answer. God is not a God of limits. God is a God of abundance. When we become arrogant, haughty, selfish, and self centered, we choke off most of the abundance that God is trying to give to us because we are not seeing things in the way that God sees it. It is so stupid and dumb to think we are better or above anyone else. I always get a bit of a chuckle every time I read the passage that was in our Gospel reading of today, Mark 9. “Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.” Can you imagine? Peter saying, “I am greater than all of you all.” John saying, “No Peter, I am greater than you.” James saying, “Both of you are wrong, I am greater than the both of you put together.” Thomas saying, “you all are so dumb and gullible. I am better than any of you.” And on and on. I tell you, Jesus must look at us with His eyes squinting to the point where they almost look like dime slots, sometimes. We can be so silly and be such knuckle heads at times. Thank God, Jesus is a forgiving sort.  Thank God that we have a forgiving God who constantly shows us mercy. You are familiar with the mercy of God, aren’t you? How many times have you thought yourself in so much trouble that you would never get out of it and then “bang” “bing” God has pulled you through? Then you are forced to ask yourself, “Where was my Faith, then? Hasn’t God always pulled me through? Haven’t some of the trials I’ve been through made me a better, more loving, more wise, stronger, more hopeful person? And what was it that I was searching for, anyway?” More than likely it was for something that doesn’t matter, like what was alluded to in our Collect today. Something earthly that passes like the wind and like dust in the end. Something, most of the time, that was really inconsequential, when it comes right down to it. When we seek those things that are Godly, we more often than not get them and we often get them in our humility. Our humility that we have no type of real strength without the presence of our Lord. We have no real wisdom without Him. All of our Hope lies in His arms and we must bring ourselves close to Him in order to see it and have it fulfilled. All of our Joy lies in our really and truly living out the edict of Loving God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our Souls and Loving all others as we Love ourselves. Our closeness with our Lord depends on us being more compassionate and more kind with one another. It depends on our capacity to forgive one another and to also forgive ourselves. We are called to be humble before God and be humble amongst each other. That is how you can tell a true follower of Christ.  That is how you can tell if a church is a church that really is there to give God all the glory and Jesus his propers as our Lord and Savior. Earthly things can be nice and all that. But they are nothing if you do not elevate your heart and Soul by having a deep and loving relationship with God.  That is what matters. That is what makes a true child of God. Find that and you will likely find the answers that you need in this life. Wants are fine and we all have them. However, it is your needs that gives you life and more often than not, God will give them to you. Keep your head to the sky and on God. You will be alright.

John E. Marshall, Jr.'s Facebook Page

Blog Page One


Social Security Administration:
Chicago Metropolitan Area Work Incentives Coordinator · January 1983 to present · Chicago, Illinois I am the point person for the agency in the city for issues surrounding people with disabilities and work. I am also the point person for the agency in the city for issues surrounding the homeless. I represent the agency in coalitions boards, and other organizations to establish joint policies, programs, and events that seek to engender and facilitate work for people with disabilities and help to entitle the homeless to Social Security benefits. I am also the coordinator for 28 Work Incentive Liaisons/Technical Experts located in all 20 SSA offices in metro Chicago.

US Postal Service

University of Chicago:
Masters · School of Social Service Administration · Chicago, Illinois

Northeastern Illinois University:
Class of 1984 · Sociology · Chicago, Illinois

Mendel Catholic College Preparatory High School
Class of 1977 · Chicago, Illinois

Bradley University
Peoria, Illinois

John E. Marshall, Jr.





Art Frames

Order Framed Art Quotes by Dean A. Banks, D.D.
Click the pic to order prints!
Click here for Main Store.

Creating More Blessings by Dean A. Banks, D.D.
Creating More Blessings
by Dean A. Banks, D.D.




Short and Sweet

Short and Sweet

Spiritual Humor

Spiritual Humor