Sunday, February 25, 2018

Lenten Reflections: Second Sunday of Lent

"Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise."

Psalm 51:15-17

There is a profound dichotomy that lies within the season of Lent. Points of light are shrouded in darkness. Each week is a dark and cluttered hallway. Sunday is a point of light that beckons us forward. 

During Lent, we take pause to reflect on the dark places of our lives, and yet open ourselves up for times to rejoice. On Sunday, we turn our focus to the expectation, hope, joy and restoration brought about through the transforming work of Christ; both individually and corporately. We come together in unity, realizing that we are on this journey together. 

Sunday is light. Tomorrow darkness returns. 

We enter another dark hallway, filled with the refuse that is our life.  

Sin reminds us to rejoice. We look to the light. 

Rejoicing reminds us of sin. We look to the darkness.

Repetitive for 40 days.

Today we rejoice. Today we bath in light. Tomorrow we walk back in the dark to reflect once again on the filth that lies within. Another long hallway awaits us, with yet another dim light beckoning to us from the end. Just enough to illumine our way. 

Today we rejoice. 

Today we feast.

Tomorrow we lament. 

Tomorrow we fast. 

Today we embrace.

Tomorrow we sacrifice. 

God, today we embrace the presence of your Spirit. Today we celebrate. Today we rejoice. But as we continue our journey of Lent tomorrow, fill us with anticipation of the hope we have in You through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen    

Thursday, April 20, 2017

God's Rain

God's Spirit falls upon the earth
  like rain in Spring
Saturating all creation
  Covering all
Upon the dry and lifeless soul,
  bound by cold space
Penetrating numb resistance
  Softening stone
Running across vast location
  No direction
Ending and returning without
  Within unknown
Washing away filth and decay
  Leaving exposed
Left behind as the day of birth,
  fresh and open
Peering out at what lies ahead
  Forgotten self
Breathing in as new life springs forth
  God like the rain
quenches a thirsty creation
  longing for more.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Advent Reflections: December 14


“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Luke 2:9-12


Fear of the unknown is a very common emotion these days. As our world continues to change, unknown factors of life increase as well. Our lives are filled with many uncertainties, all of which contain a litany of various unfamiliar aspects and results. When faced with the unfamiliar, many of us find ourselves reacting with every emotion from uneasiness to shear panic. Basically, most us just don’t like to face the unknown.

But with every unknown situation, there is the opportunity for joy to transcend our fears. Unfortunately, fear is one of the greatest factors that hold many of us back from accomplishing extraordinary things. Think about this for a moment. Is it not usually true that when we take a critical step of faith, trusting God even while consumed with fear, that the overwhelming joy we experience overshadows previous fears? Is it not usually worth the risk?  

As the Angel of the Lord appeared to the Shepherds, and the manifestation of the glory of God surrounded them, they were afraid. Who wouldn't be? In the presence of the unknown, fear overshadowed the joy that God was about to proclaim. By the angel’s words, “Do not be afraid”, the Good News of Jesus Christ was proclaimed, and the unknown became known. Fear became joy. Truth transcended uncertainty.          

God, we face many uncertainties in this world and confess that the unknown causes great fear. But in your declaration of truth, through your son, all fears are transcended to joy. Allow the essential truth that was declared to the shepherds to be the same joy that finds us today. 


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Advent Reflections: December 13


“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:18-21


There are times in life when occasions that usually should bring joy do anything but. Two people are married for the wrong reasons. A promotion is accepted, but requires too much time away from home. A new home is purchased, but the debt is overwhelming. A child is born when the pregnancy was unplanned and unexpected. 

Most of us do our best to make good choices in life, but we all make mistakes, don't we? When those mistakes become realities, we hope and pray with all of our heart that God will transform our circumstances and forgive us in our failures. And sometimes we see that our circumstances, although not anticipated or planned for, turn out to be unexpected blessings from a loving God.

Joseph certainly did not anticipate Mary becoming pregnant before they were married. The Bible tells us that he was a righteous man, most likely making good decisions for most of his young life. But yet here he was, facing the possible ending of his relationship with Mary and the ramifications that would affect both of them for the rest of their lives. 

But being a man of God and knowing and knowing that something unusual was going on, Joseph made the best decision that his human mind could comprehend: he would divorce Mary with as much dignity possible. After all, from his perspective, she had been unfaithful.

It was only then that God stepped in to reveal to Joseph that this blessed occasion would not be a burden after all, but an event that would change the world. Joseph made the wrong decision based on his limited knowledge. God revealed that this was not his choice to make, and regardless of the unexpected circumstances, joy would rise from the birth of this unexpected child.


God, in the midst of our mistakes, bad decisions, our failures and unexpected situations in life, help us to see the joy in all that you do through us. Help us to see that while our circumstances may be unexpected, joy can always come through our trust in you.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Advent Reflections - December 10


“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
1 John 4:10

There is no greater emotion than love. Love can envelop an eclectic collection of emotions that often contradict each other and leave us either elated or completely confused. Love can conjure up a range of feelings from happiness, laughter and contentment, to thoughts of anger, hatred and jealousy. Love can lift us up, and love can bring us crashing to the ground. Love unites cultures and love can also divide communities. Love can conquer all obstacles of life and love can leave us utterly defeated. Love can find us included among close friends and family or leave us feeling abandoned and lonely. Love can be all, or it can be nothing.

Love also generates peace, a peace and joyful contentment that transforms the very essence of who we are. It can catapult us from the often mundane pace of life to an exciting journey that leaves us confident of accomplishing anything that we face. Love can consume us with peace, and most often that peace comes from being loved, rather than loving. Being loved by others is a confirming indication that we matter. That we are worthy of love. That the make-up of who we are, has caused another human being to be moved to this radical and all encompassing emotion: Love.

As we read these words today’s passage, we discover a very simple and yet complex and perplexing truth: God loves us. He loves me. He loves you. And all that God has done through Christ, has nothing to do with how much, or how little we love God, but how much he loves us. His love for each one of us is an overwhelming and transforming mystery; the same mystery that revolves around the incarnation. A love so massive and without limit, and yet it was contained and confined in the limited vessel of a small child. A love that compelled the God of all that is, all that has been and all that will be, to descend into the darkness of this chaotic world and live among us. This is love: Emmanuel, God with us!

God, your love for us is without limit, without understanding and without end. In our feeble attempts to love you, God, let us receive your love through the blessings of this Advent Season. Let us rest, feel your peace and be loved by you.