Friday, April 27, 2012

I Know My Own and My Own Know

As a follow up to our discussion on Wednesday, there is a profound difference between believing in a personal God and knowing God personally. Believing in a personal God, that is giving mental assent to the existence of a supernatural entity, may or may not make a difference in the life of the believer. Without transformation, belief is empty.

On the other hand we are transformed when we relate to God personally, knowing that each of us is accepted just as we are, and trusting that it’s possible to interpret everything real in one’s life as a gift and a blessing in disguise. (Dowd, Thank God for Evolution)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Lord is My Shepherd; I Shall Not Be in Want

Our Gospel reading in John 10:11-18 begs the question: What does it mean to be a sheep of Jesus' flock?

It means that we enter through his gate.

It means Jesus is the way to salvation.

It means we know his voice and follow him.

It means He cares for us, and is keeping us safe.

And when we wander away, which we know we do all too often, He comes searching for us.
…And there will be "one flock, one shepherd" and it is God, in Jesus Christ, through the Holy SpiritJohn 10:11-18

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Of all the things for which the human spirit yearns, it most needs hope

Last night we discussed that the turning point for the disciples came when they encountered the presence of the resurrected Lord. It was the resurrected Jesus who took the initiative to come to them to open their eyes to a new reality, to new possibilities because of that reality, and so brought them a hope that went beyond the endings of the past. This calls us to that encounter with the presence of the risen Christ today. There are many ways that we could define how that encounter should or ought to occur. Perhaps how is not so important as proclaiming the possibility of the encounter that brings healing and wholeness, and hope. To meet the risen Lord is as much a possibility now as it was for the disciples or for Paul. It is not something that people in despair and hopelessness can muster enough faith to do. But part of our task as modern disciples is to proclaim to hopeless people the reality that Jesus is already seeking that encounter, and therefore that hope is alive!

The Voice, Christian Resource Institute, Third Sunday of Easter April 22, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

God comes to us in Jesus in surprising ways when we least expect it.

Our reading for Wednesday evening is the Gospel of Luke 24:36b-48

I wonder what we would do if all the things we have thought and said and believed about God are contradicted by the things we actually experience in life? Could the disciples still be able to believe that Jesus was indeed the Messiah? Perhaps the only way that this could happen would be through a new beginning. It was in the midst of such uncertainty, questioning, and hopelessness that Jesus came to them, walked along with them, stood beside them, and opened up for them the possibility of renewal. And so the story continues beyond even the resurrection in Luke 24:36b-48. The story goes on not because the disciples found within themselves a will to press on into the future. The story goes on because the resurrected Jesus came and sought his doubting, questioning, failing, and hopeless followers. Therein lies our hope. God comes to us in Jesus in surprising ways when we least expect it.(The Voice, Christian Resource Institute, Third Sunday of Easter April 22, 2012)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

“Hey Thomas, guess who showed up while you were gone?”

Our Gospel reading for this week is  John 20:19-31

Isn’t interesting how quickly we are willing to make Thomas the “poster child” for faithless doubt? Yet, the so-called “faithful” disciples, stay locked up in the upper room after the appearance of Jesus. Who are the real doubters? Where did Thomas go while the others were in hiding?  What prompted him to return to his community? It was to the community that Jesus came to him, and without so much as a confession or absolution, offered him what he needed to believe: “Touch, me Thomas. Do not be faithless, but believing.”  

Perhaps one of Thomas’ great virtues is that he refused to say that he understood what he did not understand, or that he believed what he did not believe. There was an honesty about him. Thomas would never satisfy his doubts by pretending that they did not exist. Like us, Thomas had doubts, but he refused to surrender to the fear which kept the disciples shut up in that locked room. He both ventured out and had the courage to return: to face a community which had had an experience he did not share and be willing to insist on his own experience of Lord and my God.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Woman, why are you weeping?

In John 20:1-18 it is to Simon Peter and “the other disciple, whom Jesus loved” that Mary announces that the stone has been rolled away. This unnamed disciple (also called the “beloved disciple”) appears several times throughout the gospel of John (13:23-25; 19:26-27; 21:1-25, and probably 1:35-40 and 18:15-16). There is considerable debate over the identity of this disciple, and the purpose here is not to wade into the interpretive gymnastics of that debate, especially since it has little bearing on the central resurrection event. Whether he or she is named is immaterial.

It is interesting to note that the beloved disciple does see and believe something about who Jesus is, but Peter, standing in the same empty tomb, has no such moment of belief. Why the difference? Could it be that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” sees something different in the empty tomb as a result of Jesus’ love for him? If that is his primary defining characteristic, then might we conclude that not only the empty tomb, but all things and all people, are perceived differently if viewed through the lens of Christ’s love? This is certainly a notion worth reflecting on in light of this text.  (Lee Koontz,First Look, 3/29/10)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Just Whisper My Name...I Will Be There

And if I go while you’re still here…
Know that I still live on,
Vibrating to a different measure
Behind a thin veil you cannot see through

You will not see me so you must have faith.
I want the time when we can soar together again,
both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to the fullest.
and when you need me
just whisper my name in your heart,

    ….I will be there
                                                                       Colleen  Hitchcock                                                                                                                                                            

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Oh Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead
                                                   Walt Whitman