Monday, January 25, 2010

You can never see what you have never been told to look for...

"In My Father's house, there are many rooms..." Jesus

Gratitude -
1. A warm home to come home too when it is cold outside...
2. Oti's new grandson - Ethan, and his big brother Michael
3. Being able to follow the progress of my friends receiving treatment for cancer, so far away - prayers for all of you and your families!
4. Spending the afternoon with Beth looking at antiques - most items older than the two of us...
5. Finishing a big task - even if it was on wing and by prayer!

The Kingdom of God is the metaphor Jesus used for who is included in God's grace and who is beloved. The is not a kingdom of stone or place, but within all creation. He is not talking about an afterlife either, as so often is taught - 'just get right with God and then you can die peacefully!'

No He is talking about a way of seeing and being in the present moment - a world without human kingdoms, ethnic communities, national boundaries, or social identifications. That is about as subversive as you can be.

Jesus also told a story about sheep and goats - indicating that one day there would be some type of judgement. That has caused fear and dread for some of us for a long time. However, I believe there is much more 'hopefulness' in that picture than most of us realize...

Jesus plainly states that this is the Father's business! There is no indication that we should ever worry or fear or be concerned about which of our brothers/sisters are in or out - just invite everyone to the banquet!

We are to draw circles AROUND everyone and not be exclusive. The question must be for every Christian: how do we make our story known without sounding like we are in and another is out - winners and losers?

Recently I had the opportunity to be interviewed by a local writer regarding differing religious groups in our area. Some are very exclusive: you must quote certain scripture, or you must follow certain rituals, or you must keep away from certain people, then you can belong and be assured of God's love...

St. Peter had a dream on a house top; an experience that changed his life and ministry forever. The dream said to him - go to EVERYONE - and tell the good news that God is on their side - NOT go ask them how much scripture they can quote or if they are vegetarians!

In other words, when Jesus said that God would take care of judgement, that got us off the hook. Who are we to judge who is getting it right or wrong? Who are we to say who is in and who is out? Who are we to point fingers?

I believe Christians should not be in the business of saying who will be a winner and who will be a loser!

When Jesus said that it 'rains on the just and unjust' - when Jesus said that we should not worry about 'the practices of others who speak in a different way' - 'he that is far us, cannot be against us'. He is saying that we need to fight and run away from dualistic thinking.

PRAYER - God may I this day not leave anyone out of Your grace and mercy. As I have so richly received, may I give and forgive.



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

He that is without sin...

Gratitude Journal
1. Pastoral Care - thanks Wes and JBO
2. Times of silence and reflection - sometimes even that is hard!
3. Ali's visit - great to see her and family...
4. Hope
5. Growth in awareness and insight into a bigger picture.

Jesus said - he that is without sin, cast the first stone!

Jesus was bent down on the ground writing something in the sand. A group of men had brought a woman caught in adultery to him and wanted him to stand with them in stoning her. However, he said just enough to get the attention of the group and the scripture indicates that 'all the men slipped away'.

Blogging has potential for lots of things. It can be a network for staying in touch. It can be a forum for ideas. It can be a time of reflection and challenge. It should never be used to inflict harm!

While I have used blogging for over a year and my Gratitude Journal for six or seven years to share my reflections, I recently posted a blog that was a personal reflection on a 'bully' situation I had experienced. It was part of my own struggle and my own frustration over a recent encounter with something I believed was harmful not only to me, but to a group of folks I have been committed too for a long time.

I honestly shared how my 'humanity' wanted to go one way, but my faith kept getting in my way and calling for me to take another route. However, by sharing my thoughts my 'feelings' came through more than the actual corrective faith stance. The blog was truthful - from my limited perspective - but it caused pain, sadness and grief.

I do not apologize for whatever 'truth' was there... but it was not my plan to inflict more destruction. Therefore I deleted that particular blog.

While I will continue to write about my journey of faith, I will draft it, sleep on it and send it on the following day.

I did not say that I was without sin. However, the blog appeared to some as if that was my implication. For that misunderstanding I apologize. Like St. Paul of scripture, I am chief amongst sinners.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year - EMMANUAL (God with us...)!!!

Gratitude -
1. The gift of 'new time'...
2. The gift of remembrance!
3. The gift of family - both immediate and extended.
4. The gift of call - an incomplete journey.
5. Divine, initiated HOPE - the unexpected...

Tabernacles - a space to worship YAHWEH - moved with the Israelites; other gods stayed home!

I am indebted to my friend Wes (as I am for so many recent gifts from the Spirit) for reminding me of God's history with His people!

In the book of Exodus, God's people were instructed to construct a movable structure called the tabernacle. This elaborate tent was a place where God would meet His people as they moved from place to place. It was a constant reminder that the Spirit was always with them.

The tabernacle was therefore a reminder that the Divine Presence was different from other gods of the time.

When ones god is stuck in one time or one place the rules change when one leaves that particular time and place. A person might even say they are now free from their old rules and therefore there are no rules.

If you have ever had any relationship with an addict you know it is when he or she is away from home that trouble begins. His thoughts or her times of quiet reflection do not 'stay within normal boundaries'. It is easier to get into trouble...

Wes recent suggestion that the idea of tabernacle was a gift to God's people. The major contribution was, no matter where you go God was/is there too. He/She is not stuck back at home.

As I enter 2010 - a new gift of time - God may I remember You move with me. I am not alone. I can trust whatever comes my way. I will be surrounded by Your love and Divine Presence. No matter where I journey in this new year, You are there to greet me.

Thank You for this new gift of time and open me to Your will. Grant me a receptive heart to Your Presence on this wonderful path, each step of the way!

What a gift, indeed!