Standing on the Shoulders of Others

by | Jun 29, 2020

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants

-Isaac Newton 

Remember those leading you, who spoke the word of God to you, consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

-Hebrews 13:7

It takes no special talent to look around and point out things that are numbing and depressing.  But becoming keenly and consistently aware of what’s good, true, and beautiful requires we be intentional:  we must open our eyes, minds, and hearts, and keep them open.

One way to do this is to recognize and reflect on the people who have marked our lives.  I have been thinking about this lately and want to write around this theme.  It is a way for me to follow God’s instruction to be a ‘remembering’ people, who remember God’s work of grace throughout history and in our own lives.   This is also a way for me to publicly honor those God has placed in my life. 

We live in a time where it is hard to maintain healthy relationships in our lives, from our own family, to our friends.  We have been disappointed often by those closest to us and we are aware that we too have failed those we love most.  But here is the mystery; although we are weak and frail God chooses to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God to others.  

We also are formed from a very early age by a message, that says we need to be independent and self-sufficient.   As Frank Sinatra so famously sang, “I made it my way.”  But I think this is wrong.  The Biblical example is that we are to follow and learn by imitation from those who walk with Jesus in an intimate way.  We need these spiritual mothers and fathers who can love us and point us to Jesus and allow us to walk with them as they walk with Jesus.  

​Father Peter Hocken is one of those people in my life.  I have gotten to know him over the past few years as we have been part of the Wittenberg 2017 initiative together.  At first I was enamored with him as a gifted teacher, and then this grew into deep respect as I watched him interact with others so genuinely and humbly.  This past June while we were in Wittenberg, Germany together we moved into friendship as we had different opportunities to sit together and share a meal.   One of the last evenings I was able to spend one on one time with him.  We walked through the old town and stopped at a cafe and he bought me a Heineken.  As we sat together enjoying our beers I was able to ask him many questions about his life.  It was one of those events that are sealed into my memory as a transformative moment.  Father Peter, at age 85 continues to pour out his life as an offering and a testimony to the love and power of Jesus.

Who have been the people in your life that have helped shape who you are today? 

Who are the people in your life whom God might be leading you to pursue and invest in.  And who knows, one day may write about the importance of your investment in their life?

Fr Peter Hocken writes about his teaching ministry

In the mid-1990s the Lord gave me a new understanding of the centrality of the second coming of Jesus in the biblical revelation, that His coming in glory is what everything else is preparing for, along with the place of Israel and the Jewish people in the Father’s plan from before creation. I saw that everything the Holy Spirit is doing is preparing for this wonderful consummation. My earlier teaching had focused on the renewal of the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council and on the importance of Christian unity in this renewal. The new light on Israel and the second coming gave a fuller context to that teaching based on a more complete biblical vision. The Lord raises up His Coming in glory and that sheds new light on everything else. Some people have told me I give a “big picture” teaching.

Only in the last three years have I had a website making these teachings of recent years available:

Some of the main areas of this teaching are:

  • The renewal of the Catholic Church in modern times
  • The significance of Pope Francis
  • The three cries of the Holy Spirit: Abba Father, Jesus is Lord, Come Lord Jesus​
  • The One Church of Jew and Gentile Reconciled by the Cross
  • The Reconciliation of all Christian Churches and Confessions
  • Significant Pioneer Figures in Reconciliation


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