Friday, March 5, 2021
Matthew 6:14. If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
The greatest moments of peace are when there is forgiveness. I know that for my own life. In chapter fourteen we read that forgiveness is the soul of the gospel. Nothing is more important than forgiveness. It is God’s love that forgives us, that gives us a new lease on life, that allows us to continue to love. Jesus's love led to forgiveness, and that led him all the way to the cross and beyond. What does it mean for us to forgive? What does it mean to let go of something so that it no longer zaps our energy, has power over us, controls us? And allows us to fully love? The soul of the gospel asks that we forgive all, that we pray for all. How will we accept the invitation to live out the soul of the gospel?
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Lenten Devotion: Thought for the Day
Proverbs 11:24-25. Some give freely yet grow all the richer, others withhold what is due, and only suffer want. A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water.
Give and forgive. What is that all about? When you read the above passage, what is God asking of us? And what do we need to do or change as a result of hearing those words? The gospel talks about radical generosity. One year I asked my sixth graders to go home, look in their closet and if they had two or three jackets to bring in one for the coat drive. One kid asked if they could bring in the one that was all torn up. To which another kid replied, that isn’t being very kind. In the end, none of the kids brought in a jacket, their reason: all their jackets were their favorites, they would miss them too much. We talked about what it meant to be generous, to give and to share, and how difficult it was at times. A few months later I asked the kids to bring in shoes for the shoe drive. We collected over a 1000 pairs of shoes. I asked the kids what made the different, they said they raided their siblings' shoes and took all the ones that didn’t fit anymore. THE very heart of the gospel is learning generosity. This lent reflect on how you too can give and share and bless another, from the heart. The gospel frees us from selfishness.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Lenten Devotion: Thought for the Day
Colossians 3:12. As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.
I read those words, and I know that I have heard them many times over, yet that is part and partial of who we are as Christians. Matthew Kelly talks about a gift given. If the gift is not given with self love then it is given with expectations in return: praise, liking us, favor, a special thank you, etc. And Kelly says if the person doesn’t like the gift, the giver is disappointed. With self love comes a sense of humility, a sense that we give from a heart of thoughtfulness or generosity. And from that thinking comes humility: the concept that we learn from everyone: the babe in arms, the toddler struggling to express themselves, the rich, the poor, the neighbor, the outcast. We are all important, and we all learn from each other. It is not a power over but an ability to stand with another. Lent is a time to reflect on how we will rise to this kind of love.
Friday, February 26, 2021
Galatians 1:10. Am I now seeking human approval or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I like the question in Chapter 7 of Rediscover Jesus: Do you value yourself anywhere near as much as Jesus values you? Makes me wonder, because when I value myself, it is in no way similar to how Jesus would value me. I have had friends say, well if you value yourself, then treat yourself to something special. But does that really value us? Maybe, but maybe not. When I think about how Jesus values me, I think of how He believes in me more than I could ever believe in myself. I think of how Jesus loves me, and it is so different than the way I love myself or my family. I remember my daughter, she was 3 years old, and we were doing bedtime. She was not tired; I was very tired; we did the bedtime routine, and as I started to walk away, she called out that she could not go to sleep. I turned around, and she gave me that longing look and said you didn’t cross me. I made the cross on her forehead and we both were transformed by the Holy Spirit. What a reminder the cross is.
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect.
When you read this verse, what word or phrase stands out for you? And then read the scripture verse again, and this time what do you think God is trying to convey? And what do you think God wants you to do as a result of hearing this passage? I think of a couple things: one is conform and the other to transform to the will of God. It is so easy to go along with others, to conform to their thinking and join the group. But in this scripture, I am hearing something different. I think of being transformed so that I can actually listen to what God has for me and for my community. I know that when I listen to God and stand for what I believe, the Holy Spirit is guiding me to do and think, and I think and do differently. I believe that following the spirit of God is so very important and not so easy. Today, tune into to the spirit, share the spirit and be blessed.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Wednesday: John 14:6. I am the way, the truth and the life.
When you think about Jesus, what are some images and claims that Jesus makes that you remember? When you say Jesus is the Son of man, son of God what are you saying? What do you think Jesus was saying? When I think about who Jesus is, do we think like Martha and Mary? They believed Jesus had the power to save lives, in particular their brother Lazarus. Jesus: the vine, the bread, the gate, friend, companion, Messiah, savior, healer, God, coach, guide, builder of community and relationships, comforter, partner in mission. The Jews believed Jesus was telling lies; they could not believe in the completeness of who Jesus is. Can we, or do we pick and choose what we want Jesus to be for us? What keeps us from taking in all of who Jesus is?
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
John 18:38: I am in the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to the truth.
If Jesus showed up in church on Sunday and asked “Who do you say that I am?”, what would you say? There is a story about a little woman who was preparing for a special Christmas guest. She was baking and cleaning, and every day someone would stop by and pay a visit. And each time she would say she was busy and needed to get ready for her special guest. She got everything ready and by Christmas morning she sat down relieved that everything was done. But the entire day passed, and there was no guest, no special guest. Do you think that each person that stopped by could have been the special Christmas guest? Who is the face of Jesus? May we never cease to seek Jesus.
Monday, February 22, 2021
John 10:10 I came that you may have life and have it more abundantly.
What fills you with joy? When I think of a good invitation, I think of the joy that comes with it. An invitation brings with it the joy of being included. Perhaps there is a challenge or a celebration or you rediscover something very special. Today Jesus invites us to stop looking for things to add to our life and to start looking for someone. Jesus invites us to partner with him, to follow him, to be his face to the world. Think of the life that is added to our own lives and to the lives of others when we take to heart the invitation of Jesus. What invitation will you acknowledge today? And how will it change your life?
Musical Offering for Monday, February 22:
"For the mountains shall depart" from Elijah, by Felix Mendelssohn
Ecclesiastes 12:7 then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Ash Wednesday somberly recalls our earthly contract, and prepares us for the deep truth of Lent- that the promise of God's love extends beyond all we can see or consider, or know of ourselves. This Lent, may we be drawn deeper into this mystery beyond understanding, and may we know peace.
Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license A-715213. All rights reserved.
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened for you.
God gives you and me second chances. All we have to do is to ask and seek, and be open to the spirit of God. I am always amazed at how the life of Zaccheus was transformed. He was a cheat and a thief and then returned the money he took and followed Jesus. I think of Paul, a man who hated people, who performed hate crimes on Christians and then saw Jesus and became a believer. Their whole lives were transformed because they were open to seeking out the truth about Jesus. They were open to developing a relationship with Jesus. They were open to looking through a different lens that allowed them to experience a God of radical love. Where do you think Jesus is inviting you today?
Friday, February 19, 2021
Matthew 6:33. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
What do you think Jesus is wanting us to hear in that passage? Seek first Jesus. Seek first to see Jesus in the face of another. First look at the actions of another and see the footprint of Jesus. In the prologue to the book Rediscover Jesus, Matthew Kelly tells a profound story, one that provokes thought for Paul. When the blind woman asks Paul, "Are you Jesus?", Paul didn’t know how to answer. But Paul knew that he had a mission, and that mission was to be Christ-like, to love as Jesus loved, to serve as Jesus served, to welcome as Jesus welcomes. Perhaps, today we can reflect on what keeps us so busy that we sidestep the life Jesus is calling us to.