Month: June 2013
Scripture: Psalm 35:23
Awake, pharmacy and rise to my defense!
Contend for me, my God and Lord.
Thought for the Day: I have to imagine that whistleblowers are among God’s favorite people. Jesus was certainly a whistleblower. Martin Luther called out the corruption of the Catholic Church and started a revolution in religious thinking. Thank God for people like them, and Edward Snowden, who have the courage to speak out against perceived injustices—and a nation illegally spying on its own people is certainly an injustice.
I know some people see Ed Snowden as a hero, and others (mostly people involved in government or working for Fox News) see him as a criminal. He’s obviously a little bit of both, but then again, so was Jesus. Anybody who stands up against the status quo is a criminal in the eyes of the status quo. Here’s to more of this sort of “criminal” activity; it’s the only thing that can possibly help fix the rampant disregard for civil liberty running throughout the U.S. intelligence community. Your job, NSA, is not to arrest me because I speak out against your actions. Your job is to protect the Constitution that gives me the right and the obligation to do so.
Prayer: Remind us all, God of all goodness, that our job as your children is not to punish the just, but to fight injustice in all its forms. Amen.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:6-9
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, prescription not by sight. We are confident, ambulance I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Thought for the Day: Paul was not a fan of the flesh. I think there were some deep psychosexual reasons for this, and that Paul developed a philosophy of judgment both because he was so uncomfortable in his own skin, and because he was disillusioned with the corruption of the Empire. Paul looks at the world and judges it lacking, then imprints his view on God, who Paul claims will judge us all at some time in the future, and find us lacking. For Paul, being embodied was in and of itself a sin.
What Paul failed to understand, and what I think most Christians today fail to understand, is that even while we are embodied, we are home, as close to God as our breath. Becoming physical doesn’t mean we have left God’s presence. We can never leave God’s presence. Nothing physical can leave God’s presence, because everything physical is the presence of God. God is always part of us, because God is the foundation of all things spiritual or physical. Now, we can ignore God, or pretend God isn’t with us; we can try to run away from God, and do terrible things to our selves or to others, but we are never separated from God. Physically, we are literally the stuff of God. It’s the mental and spiritual connection we’re having trouble with, at least in part because we’re distracted by the physical, but this doesn’t make the physical an error.
God is every one of us, and God loves us all without exception, no matter how poorly we act in this physical incarnation. God is with us. Home is with us. No matter how far away we think we are, no matter how unworthy we think we are; we’re always welcome home, and please remember, we are always worthy. No exceptions.
Prayer: Reconnect me, Glorious God, so I might discover a fuller, more deeply meaningful spiritual and physical life, lived constantly and consciously in your presence. Amen.
Scripture: 2 Chronicles 15:4
But in their distress they turned to the Lord, medicine the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.
Thought for the Day: Sometimes we might travel far away from home. We might set out intentionally, to discover the wonders of other cultures around the world. Maybe we need to escape from unfortunate and unbearable situations. Often, we leave home to sort of “make our way” in the world, to seek our fame and fortune.
Inevitably, we will run into hurdles. Nobody’s life journey is a straight walk from God right back to God. Our lives are full of twists and turns, some manufactured by us, others simply the way things work out. But no matter where we find ourselves, we’re always welcome home; welcome to seek out God for a warm and encouraging embrace.
The famous novelist Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again,” but I think he was wrong. The truth is, you can never leave home. Home is always with us, both in our memories of loved ones, and in the very real, very persistent presence of God.
Prayer: God of persistent presence, remind me that although I may find myself far away, returning to you is as simple as praying, “Be with me, Lord. Be with me” Amen.
Scripture: Job 31:32
But no stranger had to spend the night in the street, medical
for my door was always open to the traveler.
Thought for the Day: Can you imagine living in an age when your door could always be open to a traveler? I mean, troche a traveler in Naples couldn’t even get through the gates of most of the communities here, much less make it to someone’s house. And would the traveler receive a warm welcome once crashing the gates and trampling over the well-manicured lawns? Sure they would. By the police.
Accommodating a stranger actually happened quite frequently in the ancient world. What we know of as hostels today started as a spare bed in someone’s home several thousand years ago. And while most of us don’t run hostels out of our homes any longer, the broader implication of Job’s story is this: God is running a hostel, too, and all of us are always welcome. God doesn’t’ live in a gated community—I’ve always disliked the “pearly gates” idea. There are no gates in God’s neighborhood. Every one of us is always welcome to crash on God’s couch for a night, a month, or even a lifetime.
Prayer: Thanks for always being my home as I travel through this life, my loving and welcoming God. Amen.
Scripture: Proverbs 14:29
Those who are patient have great understanding, help
but the quick-tempered display folly.
Thought for the Day: Ever make a snap judgment, remedy only to discover later you were completely wrong about someone or a situation? Humans are great at jumping to conclusions, but we have trouble with patience. We want things now. We get impatient when we’re trying to work out our differences with others, and we unfortunately rely on violence to solve our differences, rather than patiently working things out with each other. The folly of humanity is only trumped by our willingness to kill each other over our differences.
If the world is to become a more loving place, we all need to start understanding that love and patience are the keys to a more peaceful world. And I can’t help but wonder if the incredible pace of our technological and scientific achievements wouldn’t even be more astounding if we were working together for the benefit of humankind, rather than constantly drawing lines in the sand.
Prayer: Teach us to share, Holy God, the way you share your very essence with all of us in creation, through inspiration, through revelation of the world’s mysteries, and ultimately, through infinite love. Amen.
Thought for the Day: Imagine for a moment you were one of the folks by Jesus’ side throughout his ministry. Imagine you were his flesh-and-blood brother as well, like James. For you, Jesus is someone you love with the deep, unbreakable bond of family, but also the most brilliant Rabbi you’ve ever met. Jesus is someone whose ideals and ideas are literally changing the world. And then, he’s gone, killed like a common criminal. The grief must have been unbearable.
Yet Jesus taught that the Christ is an eternal, essential nature of our being. Although Jesus was dead, the Christ was just starting its activity in the world. The early disciples were so distraught, that when Jesus didn’t immediately return physically, they began to lose faith. What they didn’t realize, and what many of us fail to realize, is that Jesus the Christ returned immediately after Jesus the man was murdered. In fact, the Christ never went away, and is still alive today, in every single human on the planet. Unfortunately, it lies dormant, waiting for us to wake up, waiting for us to realize that what we’ve been waiting for is already here, and has been all along.
How do we make the world a more loving place? We shake the slumber from our souls. We get over the idea we are broken, soulless, despised by God. We start to understand that we are more than loved, we are love.
Prayer: Wake me up already, God! Why do you let me sleep through the most interesting part of the day? Wake me up! Fulfill me, use me to help people see a new world, a new way to live in communion with each other. Show your love through me, Eternal Lover, so my brothers and sisters will also awaken to your glory, already here, patiently waiting for us all. Amen.
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 7:8
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, medicine
and patience is better than pride.
Thought for the Day: How does the world become a more loving place? When we replace the quest for power and fame with meditation and tuning into the higher universal presence of God.
If I were an alien observing humanity, buy cialis my report to my home planet would be headlined: “EGO RUN AMUCK ON EARTH!” We’re a completely self-obsessed species, sildenafil demanding immediate gratification for things we’re told we want. We’re full of pride and sorely lacking patience. And it seems to me the only thing pride is bringing us is closer to extinction. Listen, it’s cool to win awards. But when existence becomes solely about winning awards, I think we’re living a pretty shallow life.
There are so many mysteries to life! We’re so much more than automatons, mindlessly going about our daily business. We are connected to the fabric of space-time in a very intense and intimate fashion. We’re just starting to realize both the truth of that and what it means for our lives. Jesus knew the answers to these questions, and he also knew it would take some time for his teachings to take root and flower. With patience comes the opportunity for spiritual evolution. With pride comes inevitable extinction. The choice is ours.
Prayer: I can feel you in my life and in the world, God who is all reality. Give me patience and grant me awareness as I continue to evolve into the image of the Christ. Amen.
Thought for the Day: How does the world ultimately become a more loving place? Stop the gossip. Replace gossiping with discussions about loving our neighbors and helping people the system has trampled. Stop spreading misinformation across the PUBLIC airwaves (better yet, just stop spreading misinformation). You know what my grandmother NEVER used to say? “If you can’t say something nice about someone, say it REALLY LOUDLY and to as many people as possible!”
Love is growing in the world, but it’s growing in a soil of hatred and fanaticism. Which doesn’t exactly give love the nourishment it needs to blossom or spread very quickly. Perhaps we should give God some better material to work with. Let’s stop fertilizing our souls with garbage, and instead let God feed us with Divine Love.
Prayer: Give us visions of the peaceable kingdom, God of Peace. Show us the harmonious, productive, inventive, creative world that’s possible when we fertilize loving faith instead of hatred. Let us see that world, and hold it so firmly in our thoughts, that the very actions of our lives change because of it. Amen.
Scripture: 1 John 4:16
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, sale and God in them.
Thought for the Day: How does the world ultimately become a more loving place? It happens slowly, pharmacy one person at a time. As God is love, check we are love. In every act of charity, in every confession, in every request for forgiveness, God’s love lives in us. With every one of us who awaken to God’s call, the world grows a little kinder, a little more peaceful, a little more loving.
Prayer: Holy God, enter my being. Enrapture me, enlighten me, fulfill me. Amen.
Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:4
Therefore, illness among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
Thought for the Day: Humans are a tenacious species. Our history is filled with stories of individuals and civilizations who overcame tremendous adversities. From famine through holocaust, we have endured the terrors we unleash on one another. Maybe we’ve even made some progress.
It can be difficult to look around the world and see God. The world doesn’t look very loving when children are being kidnapped and entire cultures are being decimated. And as the news paints reality in unquestionably horrific tones, keeping faith—persevering with the idea that God is love, seems quaint and antiquated to the larger, more jaded population.
Faith demands we take the long view, the God view. We persevere because we have faith that love is at work in the universe; that underneath the treachery of a too-often dark humanity, love is at work. It takes faith, because the world is a trying place. But it’s faith in love that over time, changes everything.
Prayer: Help me keep the faith, God. Constantly remind me that Love is here, now. All-loving God, replace my fear with hope. Replace terror with delight, and warm our cold souls so we might never grow hateful. Amen.