Month: March 2013
Scripture: Luke 24:2-5
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, pharmacy but when they entered, sovaldi sale they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, drugstore suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
Thought for the Day: CHRIST IS RISEN!
For centuries, this was the only creed of the Christian church. Then as now though, I think most of us have missed the point, and I think one of the clues to the deeper meaning of the risen Christ is found in the question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” It’s easy (maybe too easy) for us to read the story and directly relate it to the resurrection of Jesus. But the Bible is most powerful when we read through the literal and discover the metaphor. “Christ is risen” also refers to the Spirit of Christ or Christ Consciousness, rising within us. WE are the dead. WE are the people who need resurrection, because our lives have been stolen by our persistent focus on the physical world.
But with the Christ fully alive within us, we too are resurrected. It is the living spirit of God that transforms us from a dead, uninspired, selfish life into a life of sacrifice, in service to the Spirit of God within us all.
CHRIST IS RISEN! May the Christ rise in every one of our souls.
Prayer: Let me feel the power of the living Christ within me, Holy God, so that I too might be raised from the dead. Amen.
Scripture: Romans 12:2a
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, sovaldi but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Thought for the Day: Paul was a smart guy. He understood that spiritual transformation means doing the hard work of deep thinking. It’s our job to study and meditate and never, ever stop questioning. With God inspiring us, we need to look around our neighborhoods, our cities, our countries and the world, and ask, “As a child of God, how do I feel about this or that?” And then, we have to toss aside how we feel, and let the Truth of the Universe inform our decisions, from a place of unconditional love.
The debate about marriage equality this week was stunning in many disturbing ways, but for me, one of the most worrisome aspects was that we even feel it necessary to have a debate about what two people in love are allowed to do, as if we have any right to deny love. Although I suppose by killing Jesus on the cross, that’s exactly what we did.
I hope we all take some time this Dark Saturday to reflect on our Christian faith, and the twisted remnant of Jesus’ love it has become. No longer an institution of love and healing, Christianity divides the world in the most hateful and spiteful ways imaginable. As we look towards the hope of the resurrection tomorrow, it is my fervent prayer that the entire church will once again find its way out of the abyss of hatred, and back into the loving arms and teachings of Jesus. Because the world needs a light now, more than ever, but Christians are too rarely the light, and too often the tools that snuff it out.
Prayer: Sharpen my mind, O Lord, so I stop picking on others just because they’re different. Imbue my soul with respect, God of Love, so that I stop saying hateful things in your name. Enlighten me, so I’ll be a light in a dark world, rather than a mindless tool of ignorance. Make me like Christ. Do it now. Amen.
Thought for the Day: Every now and then someone will randomly ask me if I love Jesus. It’s usually someone in an airport or who’s knocked on my door, and their intention is to prove that, for whatever reason, I do not love Jesus, and until I confess my sin and accept Jesus as my savior, I will be condemned to eternal torture in the fiery pits of Hell. As if Hell could be worse than one of those conversations.
Isn’t the point of the Gospel that God loves us, even when we don’t return that love?
It’s not about how much I love God, but rather that God loves me. God loves us all, every single one of us, and we don’t need to do anything in return. Paul would say we cannot do anything in return. God loves us even when we crucify the greatest example of God’s love that’s ever existed. Beaten and bloodied by humankind’s hatred; hanging broken on the cross, Jesus still expresses God’s unconditional love for us all by simply saying, “Forgive them.”
Prayer: From the depths of my soul and the inner light of my heart, I offer praise and thanks to the One Universal Force that creates and sustains everything, through love. Amen.
Quote: Howard Thurman
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, ambulance and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Thought for the Day: Thurman was a brilliant theologian, viagra educator and author—a lot like Paul. And similarly, prescription Thurman saw the difference between simply living and truly being alive. When we’re doing what we really love, our souls are ignited and our heart soars. Doing something we love is a spiritual experience. When we’re made alive by God, we’re freed from the shackles of bondage to whatever might be enslaving us. Then, able to use our gifts to their fullest, we change the world.
Prayer: Help me trust the gifts you’ve given me, Generous God, so I might be a blessing to others. Amen.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, try who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, treat are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Thought for the Day: Contemplation can affect our lives in profound ways. It’s through deep prayer, meditation, study, or whatever it is you personally do to resonate with God, that we spiritually evolve. It is the work we do so God can do God’s work in and through us. Paul’s theology always gets reduced to “faith v. works,” but that’s an unfortunately gross over simplification of Paul’s deeply complex struggle to understand what God is up to.
Paul was extremely well educated, which takes work, of course. And in Jesus, Paul saw the action of God literally changing reality. A transformation had occurred. Now, Paul needed to understand what it all meant, and that took work, yet it is all work inspired by faith. Because Paul knew that a faith never deeply explored leads to unfortunate over simplifications.
Prayer: Holy and Eternal God, strengthen my faith, encourage my curiosity, and lead me ever to the deep and meaningful relationship with you that ultimately transforms reality as we know it. Amen.
Scripture: Exodus 12:25-28
When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, mind observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, doctor “What does this ceremony mean to you?” then tell them, cialis sale “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.
Thought for the Day: GOOD PESACH! Today is the first day of Passover (technically, it began last night at sundown). For centuries, Jews have made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate this holy time. Jesus would have made the trip with his parents, brothers, and sisters dozens of times, possibly only missing the celebration during the family’s time in exile in the east. This Passover in Jerusalem would be Jesus’ last, however, and as he entered the city as a peaceful protestor, disciples and family at his side, he surely knew he was headed to the inevitable, bloody end of his ministry.
Jesus’ willingness to die for his beliefs, without ever raising a weapon against the Roman Empire that was hunting him, continued the precedent for faithfulness in God set by his forbears in ancient Egypt. Anytime any one of us stands firm against oppression and injustice, we are following in the way of Jesus, following the precedent for liberation God sets in the biblical Book of Exodus. Anytime someone like Martin Luther King, Jr., or Mahatma Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela willingly go to jail to free the rest of us from the chains of Empire, they are following in the way of Jesus, in the way of God.
As followers of Jesus became both Jew and Gentile, Passover turned into Easter. As the new religion became more Gentile than Jewish, I think Christians lost sight of the liberating freedom of the Passover God, and became blinded by the blood spilled on the cross, turning Jesus into a literal sacrifice to a petty and vindictive God, rather than celebrating the Jew who dared to stand against the most powerful Empire the planet has ever seen. This Easter, maybe we can get back to the basics, and remember that Jesus was killed not as some penal atonement for our sins, but simply because power corrupts absolutely, and anyone in opposition to that power will be eliminated, no matter the cost. Jesus continues to be a symbol for the power of God over the power of Empire, and that is what truly sets us free.
Prayer: I know deep faith requires sacrifice, my Loving and Holy God. Give me the strength to go to my own cross, as I do my absolute best to follow in the way of Jesus, showing love, grace, and compassion to every person I meet, always. Amen.
Scripture: 1 Samuel 10:6
The Spirit of the Lord will come on you in power, prescription and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.
Thought for the Day: There are many themes that run throughout the Bible, recipe from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. But to me, thumb few are more powerful than the recurring theme of transformation. In the Bible, as in our world, God works through individuals and groups, through governments and churches, through cities, states, and nations to change the world.
As Christians around the world participate in Holy Week celebrations, I urge us all to think about the events of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as a story of transformation. This week isn’t only about Jesus, it’s about all of us. Jesus represents every single one of us up on that cross, everyone who’s ever been on a spiritual journey, especially a journey that’s put your spiritual revelations against the mainstream. Jesus represents everyone who’s ever been hurt, oppressed, abused, enslaved, impoverished, homeless, hungry or hunted. And ultimately, Jesus represents God’s desire, willingness, and ability to save us from the treacheries of the world, whether inflicted upon us by others, or ourselves.
Prayer: Drive me to become ever more aware of your transformative presence in my life, God who strings us all together in ways unseen, yet somehow always known. Amen.
Scripture: Romans 2:10-11
But glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
Thought for the Day: God does not show favoritism. Now, I’m not a biblical literalist by any means. But Paul is obviously writing exactly what he thinks here: God does not show favoritism. So, why do so many of us continue to insist that God does indeed play favorites? There’s an entire best-selling series of books and made for TV movies that are based on the idea God plays favorites. And those books were written by people who would tell you the Bible is the literal word of God, yet somehow completely miss what Paul clearly writes in literal black and white: God does not show favoritism.
If we’re to find peace on this planet, we all have to remember that God doesn’t play favorites. We’re equal, and in that equality, we have a duty to each other to do good to and for each other. Look what humans have accomplished in 250,000 years! I know we fight all the time, and I know there are evil people out there, like kings who kill their own people simply to retain power. I know it can be a destructive world, and that millions of us are broken and hurt, mentally, physically and spiritually. But we’ve also been to the moon and cured diseases that used to kill millions of us, and invented the transistor and the CPU and even things like the wheel and glass. We are an incredible species, and we’d be even more incredible if we’d stopped getting sidetracked by war.
Ultimately, the message of Christianity, the message we’re headed toward on Easter, is that it gets better. And it gets better here and now, and it gets better for all of us. Because God doesn’t play favorites.
Prayer: I know we’re all your favorites, Creator of Holiness. Keep knocking that into my head, so I’ll always act through you, and treat everyone with respect, even if I disagree with them. Amen.
Scripture: John 14:27
[Jesus said] “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Thought for the Day: We have a beautiful natural forest at the end of our street, ampoule part of the mitigation deal brokered by the company that developed the little village we live in. It’s a neat, compact habitat with an interesting and diverse animal population. My son swears there’s a bear in there, but I’m pretty sure there are no bears in the forest.
Pretty sure. Not 100%.
There are, however, several bird families, mostly Blue Jays and Cardinals, both fabulously swathed in brightly colored plumage that starkly contrasts the greens of the forest. My feathered friends have been raising families the last few months, and I’ve noticed that now, the babies spend less and less time with their parents. Having learned the skills they need to survive in the forest, they are setting out on their own, hearts untroubled and unafraid; confident they have been taught everything they need to thrive on the journey of their lives.
Prayer: I find my way home to you, Eternal God, by following in The Way of the One who teaches peace, and prepares me for the journey. Amen.
Quote: Jimi Hendrix
When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
Thought for the Day: Here’s an interesting exercise: Do a web search for “quotes about peace” and check out some of the results. What caught my attention was the sheer number of quotes about peace and the ways so many of them relate peace and love. This same concept weaves through the Bible, cheap too. When we live in a loving relationship with God, buy we are at peace. Because we are at peace, pharm we lose our lust for power and control. Abraham, ever aware of God’s presence, settles in a peaceful valley, while the world around him becomes corrupt and self-destructive. Jesus is in perfect relationship with God. So he never presents himself as a king—other people give him this title. Jesus is overcome by the power of love, and becomes the epitome of what it means to be human. We too can have peace, if we can finally learn how to love.
Prayer: My love who is love, my light who is light, fill us with a love like Jesus’ so we too may be the presence of peace in a violent world. Amen.