Thursday, March 31, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The Journey with Jesus: Poems and Prayers
Selected by Dan Clendenin
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet
Yours are the eyes, you are his body
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on the this World
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I'm still not thru.
The book of creation I like to read
the why, where and the how.
Then the book of His rules
the why, where, and the how.
The best books are the life
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The why, where and the how.
There are books about how
His Church was started and books
of mysteries and histories.
These books were written for you and me
The most words used I've told are
"Fear Not" not only once but many times.
Having trials in your relations
Calamities that shake our psychic
Christ is with us.
Doors open and doors close
Knowing not His purpose or plan,
things we don't understand
"Fear Not" He'll show the way
His will be done and in our final throes
"Fear Not" His promise
He'll always be beside us.
"Fear not only believe"
Sunday, March 13, 2011
First Sunday in Lent
Matthew 4: 1 – 11
Let us pray…..
O Lord Jesus, like Saint Paul, may I count everything as loss in comparison with the supreme advantage of knowing you. I want to know you and what your passion and resurrection can do. Give me grace to make every effort to supplement faith with moral courage, knowledge with self-control, self-control with patience, patience with piety, piety with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. May these virtues keep me both active and fruitful and bring me to the deep knowledge of you, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Welcome to Lent. Welcome to the days of learning, praying, contemplating and experiencing Jesus in a renewed way…because we already know who Jesus is…..or do we? In this season of Gospel texts we will be “meeting Jesus again for the first time”. The Gospel according to Matthew chapter four starts us off. This particular text on temptation is a good beginning for where we are going in our quest for “meeting Jesus again for the first time.” Jesus’ forty days and forty nights in the wilderness are about to end but ours is just beginning. Matthew in his telling of the temptation of Jesus is speaking to a confused audience both then and now. Matthew simply wants to introduce Jesus to those with ears to listen. Today, the first Sunday of Lent we are beginning our quest of “meeting Jesus again for the first time” in the words of the Gospel writer whose writing centralized on this “knowing” of the Son of God which would then lead to believing not because of what he does but because of who is. Matthew spends his literary genius introducing the son of God to the world and again to us. It is the perfect text with which to begin our Lenten Sunday journey. The Gospel according to John will continuing our knowing of Jesus in the weeks to comes but for today Matthew offers answers to the question “Who is this Jesus?”
Matthew uses many titles of Jesus throughout his entire gospel texts: the Messiah, Son of David, and Son of Abraham. God announces, according to Matthew, “This is my Son, the Beloved.” Matthew gives the listener to today’s text a Jesus who knows that his very nature comes from scriptures as he quotes Moses three times during his temptation:
· From Deuteronomy 8: 3 – “One does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
· From Deuteronomy 6: 6 – “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
· From Deuteronomy 6:3 – “The Lord your God you shall fear; him you will serve.”
The use of these ancient texts in the story of Jesus’ temptation points us to the character of Jesus, the Son of God. Matthew uses Old Testament images to preach and teach Jesus as a humble King like Moses, a patient king in the wilderness who trusts God and who has not allure for the trappings and temptations of this world. Jesus lives the talk of the faithful, trusting servant king, the Son of God... This is the golden nugget in today’s Gospel text with which we begin the quest of “knowing Jesus again of the first time.”
The Gospel according to Matthew while rich with opportunities to discuss our own temptations is simply about Jesus, who he is and what sort of character he shows. This temptation story illuminates for us the Son of God. This story is about him, not us. We, my friends cannot put our God to the test in order to meet our selfish need to be able to define Jesus, the Son of God in our own terms. The Son of God:
· Does not turn our stones into bread simply because we would be more comfortable with our given “hungers” if he did so.
· He will not prove God to us simply because we are too lazy to seek God ourselves with all our hearts, mind and souls.
· Jesus will not turn from his very basic nature as the Son of God to embrace the kind of successes WE would applaud and WE would recognize.
Jesus remains the steadfast Son of God. How long will WE stand as HIS Tempters waiting for proof of who Jesus is? We cannot tempt Jesus to be something he is not on this the first Sunday of Lent. We can gather together and begin a quest started in the Gospel according to Matthew to be continued in the Gospel according to John – meeting and knowing Jesus again for the first time. We may think we know Jesus, Matthew and John will be helping us learn Jesus the Son of God!
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
George Herbert (1593–1633)
The Crosse from The Temple (1633)
What is this strange and uncouth thing?
To make me sigh, and seek, and faint, and die,
Untill I had some place, where I might sing,
And serve thee; and not onely I,
But all my wealth and familie might combine
To set thy honour up, as our designe.
And then when after much delay,
Much wrastling, many a combate, this deare end,
So much desir’d, is giv’n, to take away
My power to serve thee; to unbend
All my abilities, my designes confound,
And lay my threatnings bleeding on the ground.
One ague dwelleth in my bones,
Another in my soul (the memorie
What I would do for thee, if once my grones
Could be allow’d for harmonie):
I am in all a weak disabled thing,
Save in the sight thereof, where strength doth sting.
Besides, things sort not to my will,
Ev’n when my will doth studie thy renown:
Thou turnest th’ edge of all things on me still,
Taking me up to throw me down:
So that, ev’n when my hopes seem to be sped,
I am to grief alive, to them as dead.
To have my aim, and yet to be
Further from it then when I bent my bow;
To make my hopes my torture, and the fee
Of all my woes another wo,
Is in the midst of delicates to need,
And ev’n in Paradise to be a weed.
Ah my deare Father, ease my smart!
These contrarieties crush me: these crosse actions
Doe winde a rope about, and cut my heart:
And yet since these thy contradictions
Are properly a crosse felt by the Sonne,
With but foure words, my words, Thy will be done.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Matthew 17: 1- 9
Grace, mercy and peace to you this day in the of the Beloved Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. AMEN
On Sunday nights I sat in front of the big black and white T.V. in our living room waiting for it, waiting for one splendid moment when fantasy held the possibility of reality. Then it appeared….the castle, the fireworks display! For me at a very young age this was the closest thing to glory I could remember. Then in a flash it was gone. But I knew it would return…every Sunday night. I was watching the opening credits for the “Wonderful World of Disney”. I was watching the place were dreams come true. For just a moment it all felt so real. All I wanted was for that one moment to affirm in my very young mind that there was a magical place. I stopped watching for that moment on Sunday nights as I grew older having lost that sense of wonder as my mind developed and my world enlarged. After all, it was just make believe and grownups don’t believe in such nonsense. It was not until forty plus years later that I had the opportunity to recapture this moment of glory in person.
In the preparation of today’s sermon, this bit of my personal history came back to me. This moment on Sunday nights when I was given the opportunity to observe the illumination of the ordinary; not unlike what our disciples experienced today.
During a conversation this past Epiphany season with a pastor friend we discussed “favorite” Gospel texts on which to preach. After a season of the ‘Sermon on the Mount” instructions I commented that I was looking forward to the glory of Transfiguration Sunday; the text which allows us a glimpse of Jesus in his original form, holy, pure and revered as the Son of God and the disciples in their “beginning”, their transformation. In this text the itinerant preacher named Yeshua in the Aramaic tongue of the day or Jesus as we know him is illuminated, transfigured from an ordinary state to the “Beloved” the Son of the Most High God. In a flash Peter, James and John are given a mountain top experience then, in a flash it is over. Briefly they are allowed the privilege of seeing what a “transformed” life looks like. They are momentarily illuminated themselves with the knowledge of who they follow; the one who called them from their nets at the Sea of Galilee a few short years before. In a moment in time on a mountain top they see the Son of God and they too as ordinary men are transformed. What they DO with this illumination is the real issue as disciples.
Despite the brevity of this illumination, this vision that is all informing, the disciples believe that it is real. It is this moment in time that propels them to share with others NOT this particular event but rather what this event did to renew the belief in the one with whom they stood on that mountain top, namely the Beloved Son of the One to whom they were called to LISTEN! Because of this moment they are encouraged as ordinary disciples to witness to other followers illuminating for them the Gospel message of the Beloved Son of God. Peter, James and John were ordinary men who had their own transformation on a mountain top and thus a part in the continuation of the ministry and message of the followers of the Word.
Martha Grace Reese in her book Unbinding the Gospel shares insight from interviews with two thousand people and in short learns this: people come to Jesus through the words, the teaching, the sharing of other Christians and their “mountain top “moments which transfigured, transformed them. Our ability to be ordinary disciples like Peter, James and John and the sharing of our faith in Jesus Christ is what draws others into the illuminating yet ordinary experiences of the church. Our words, our stories, His Gospel of salvation bring light to the dark places in our beings. We like Peter, James and John seek moments of illumination in prayer, service , worship, and study. We as Christians have the illuminating, transformative story to tell of the Beloved Son of God; his life, his love, his death , his resurrection for all humankind. The transformation of the heart of others is, to a great part dependent on our ability and desire to share our faith with those who wait and wonder amidst the difficulties of life without hope.
At the age of fifty my daughter and I traveled to the mountain top of my youth….we went to Disney world. One night we stayed in the magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks. Suddenly I saw it…the flash when the ordinary was illuminated and Cinderella’s castle is covered by the lights of a myriad of fireworks and I literally gasped. What briefly went through my mind were these words, “It’s real!” The depth of this momentary excitement can hardly be articulated yet I found myself wanting to share it with anyone who asked me, “How was your vacation?” Their kind nods and blank stares told me they were only politely interested. Of course, not being an evangelist for the Disney Corporation I let it all drop over time.
I wonder….I can’t HELP but wonder, do we have ordinary experiences in church which are so illuminating to us that our desire to share the mystery and miracle of God is right on the tips of our lips? Are we afraid to share the illumination we feel at this table, at the font, in the forgiveness of our sins, in our worship and our songs? Do we sense the reality of these mountain top experiences and yet keep them to ourselves?
This Lenten season is filled with “ordinary” services which have been planned to be illuminating. I cannot wait to teach and preach the messages of the season to waiting ears. I cannot wait to have others be like Peter, James and John in their sharing of the stories of the Gospel. I cannot not wait to be illumined with the ordinary on Easter morning and gasp in delight as did the disciples because ….it IS real!
How about you and others who you are called to invite to this miracle filled season?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
physically, mentality wandering around.
In our language its called a trip.
We travel by plane or go by ship.
take the train or go by car
to so many places near and far.
We need this and maybe that
so much luggage we must pack.
The shortest, longest trip
is our journey thru life.
filled with good, evil and lots of strife.
Travel with God, He'll see us thru.
We carry no luggage-
Christ carries it all.