Month: March 2012
Scripture: Jeremiah 22:3
“Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place.”
Thought for the Day: Today, I find myself weeping uncontrollably.
I weep for all the innocent blood that has been shed in the name of intolerance and hatred.
I weep for the families in Afghanistan and Treyvon Martin in Orlando, and all the faceless victims of intolerance we haven’t even heard about.
I weep for the oppressed in Syria, China, Egypt, America, and around the globe.
I weep for a humanity that seems to have lost its soul.
Why is it so difficult for us to see God in each other’s eyes? Why are we so obsessed with outward appearances, when nothing truly matters but the inner light of God, which glows through all of us equally? Intolerance and violence are the signs of a morally bankrupt, shallow society. We are so much more than what we see ourselves as. As Carl Sagan once said, “We’re made of star stuff.”
We are connected at a biological, natural, and atomic level in profound and divine ways. We are, at the very core of our being, One. Isn’t it time to start looking beyond the physical and start recognizing the inner cosmos we all share?
I think so. I think it’s well beyond that time.
Prayer: Forgiving and Holy Lord, may your blessings and love rain down upon the families of those who have been victimized be hate, fear, and intolerance. May you create in us a new way of looking at the world—more deeply, more lovingly, and more peacefully. Help us all to see, Sustainer of our existence, through the eyes of the Christ, who always urged non-violence and begged us to love each other, and to care for each other, as you love and care for us—without conditions. Amen.
Scripture: John 17:22
“The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one.”
Thought for the Day: While he was on earth, Christ lived in a relationship of complete Oneness with God. Jesus’ message was never about the things Jesus was doing, but about the way God was acting through Jesus; the way God acts in the world. Jesus never took personal credit for his activities; the glory was always given to God. And Christ wanted to share the news of God’s unity with us!
It’s a message that is difficult for 21st century people to grasp, especially Americans, who have heard they have to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” for many decades. It’s become all about us changing our lives. But Jesus reminds us it is not about what we do; rather, it’s about what God does. Salvation and change come by accepting God’s offer of unity—the same unity that Christ exemplified, and teaches us how to embrace. Everything God gave to Christ, Christ has given to us. When we finally allow God to control our lives, then things really start to change on a cosmic level. When we understand that God is reaching out and touching our souls, incredible, beautiful, wonderful things begin to happen, not just for ourselves, but for the entire world. Because when God acts through us, it’s not about us, it’s about God.
So go ahead, let God reach into your soul, so that you might reach out and touch someone’s hand. Let God change your life, so that your life, like Jesus’, can be a testament to the power of God’s love, making the world a better place for every soul on the planet. We can do this, because ultimately it’s not about our work, it’s about Christ’s.
Prayer: Glorious God, who offers me salvation from this self-centered world, may I awaken to your presence within me, and see your presence in the lives of everyone I meet, so that we might all become One in your Spirit. May we learn to let go and let you transform our lives, because when we let yo take control, you make the world a better place for us all. Amen.
Scripture: James 1:2-4
“My brothers and sisters, cheap whenever you face trials of any kind, treatment consider it nothing but joy, viagra because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Thought for the Day: One of my heroes is Nikola Tesla, the brilliant inventor and a contemporary of Thomas Edison. Tesla faced ridicule for continually challenging Edison; for thinking way outside the box. When Edison was championing Direct Current as the nation’s power supply (a scheme which would have required every house in America to have a private coal-burning power plant), Tesla saw a better way—Alternating Current. Tesla literally saw all the necessary components for AC in a vision.
Edison started a bitter smear campaign against Tesla’s AC, yet Tesla endured, and ultimately won the contract to power the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, where the world could see the literal brilliance of Alternating Current. But it took incredible faith from both Tesla and his financier, George Westinghouse (a brilliant inventor in his own right), to endure the slings and arrows of the extremely powerful Edison.
Tesla said, “The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power.” Tesla’s faith allowed him to persevere, even when one of the world’s most powerful men was viciously attacking him.
There was another whose faith also allowed him to persevere against the power elite. Jesus never gave up. Even as he was being ridiculed for his teachings, even as he was being persecuted by one of the most powerful Empires the world has ever seen, even as he was being led to certain death on the cross, Jesus remained faithful to God and to the message God sent all of humanity through the Christ: “I am with you, now and forever. I will never give up on you; so don’t give up on yourselves. I am your source, your light, and your life. Have faith, it will all get better.” Then God proves it will all get better through the resurrection of the Christ. Have faith. Even the most troubled times will eventually improve.
Prayer: Holy God, my source, my life, may I have unwavering faith in you not only when my life is running smoothly, but also, and especially, when the going gets unbearably difficult. It is from you, Lord that I find my strength, it is through you that I persevere, and it is to you that I offer my life. Amen.
Scripture: Acts 1:8a
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…”
Thought for the Day: We live in a constant tension between our spiritual and material selves. We live in a material world so we focus on physical things. But in the revelation of Jesus Christ, we learn that we are more than flesh, that we are indeed spirits in physical bodies. However, we’ve become so focused on the physical aspects of our existence (the body is a harsh taskmaster), that we too often forget there is another, deeper side to us that also requires attentiveness—our spiritual selves.
The Holy Spirit is a gift from God that flows through our being whether we realize it or not. But in quiet moments of peaceful reflection, when we are doing nothing but listening for God, we begin to become the transformed beings Jesus continues to teach us how to be—more spirit than flesh, more focused on our eternal oneness with God than on the fleeting physical moments we spend on this planet. We are spirit, and recognition of the spiritual nature of everyone on the planet is a powerful healing practice for both ourselves and others.
As Sting so eloquently wrote:
“Where does the answer lie?
Living from day to day
If it’s something we can’t buy
There must be another way
We are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world”
Prayer: Holy God of love, may I recognize your Spirit within me a little more each day. Help me focus my attention ever more on the true spiritual nature of all existence, so that my soul may be opened to a new way of living in your grace. Amen.
Scripture: Psalm 25:16
Turn to me and be gracious to me, viagra for I am lonely and afflicted.
Thought for the Day: This is the Psalmist’s cry to God, doctor but it also represents the cry of many within the world today…a cry offered up to anyone who might listen. As agents of God’s grace, treatment is it not our calling to respond on behalf of God to this cry? Mother Teresa thought so when she said, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.” I read those words and find myself concerned that the current body of Christ will be unable to hear or respond to the cries of the lonely and afflicted because it so consumed with its own institutional issues. It is like parents trying to create the perfect life for their family, yet missing the cries of their children who just need their overly occupied parents to notice them.
Prayer: As you, O God, have dispelled my loneliness in this ever expanding universe, I ask that you attune my ears to the cry of others who long to know friendship and care. Amen.
Thought for the Day: We’ve all witnessed people who cannot be happy for someone else. Instead of genuinely celebrating the other person’s achievement, mind it’s all about: “Why is it that I’ve not been recognized?” As the world encourages individualism and competition at the expense of community and humility, it becomes more and more difficult to appreciate someone else’s accomplishment. A scarcity attitude takes over, and people assume that if someone else gets the recognition, there will not be enough for me. The church calls us into an attitude of abundance where there is no longer a need to fear, only celebrate. Robert Heinlein said, “One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.” I write this devotional because I am beside myself with both excitement and pride for one of our own. Rev. Jim Adams was named National Hospice Chaplain of Year, and he and his wife are flying to California for an awards’ dinner and a few days of rest and relaxation. Jim deserves it, and I understood what Paul meant when he said, “… if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.”
Prayer: Dear God, build our connectedness with one another. Allow us to see how one person’s success enriches the lives of everyone. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 20:34
Moved with compassion, buy Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.
Thought for the Day: If someone said to you, viagra sale “I have had some movement in my bowels, stuff ” your first reaction is probably to step away or to suggest that this individual find a restroom immediately. But the word we translate as compassion in the above passage and throughout the New Testament is in the original Greek Splagchnizomai, which means to be moved in the entrails. Our culture tends to attach emotion to the heart, but in most cases of deep sadness or empathy, I think it is felt a little lower… that aching feeling in the gut. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either.” The two blind men in the story had cried out to Jesus, and their cries were felt by Jesus, not in his head (the place associated with intellectual consideration) or the heart (the place associated with romantic infatuation), but in the gut. The crowd wanted the men to hush so Jesus would move on. It appears the people in the crowd were incapable of giving in that moment because they felt nothing for the two blind men. The example of Jesus invites us to truly see the humanity of the other, and when we do so, the other’s pain will bring an ache to our gut that simply cannot be ignored. We must respond if the ache is to ever diminish.
Prayer: Lord, in the same way you have ached for me in my difficulty, may I ache for others in such a way that I respond as you have always responded…with grace. Amen.