Friday, February 27, 2009

peace be within you

This was the Psalm reading for today's Celtic Daily Prayer
Psalm 122:8 -
8 For the sake of my brothers and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."

Immediately I thought of those around me that are suffering, have suffered, going through trials etc. Part of the sickness of being a leader is that I wish I could take these things away by some leadership act, but I cannot. Instead, the only action that I have to take is to say and pray into my loved ones, "peace be within you".

Lent is a season to reflect upon suffering for it has great transformation powers. Don't run from suffering, rather, walk through it in the power of the One who made you. On the other side of that transformation you will be closer to the human-creation you were always meant to be. In Community, our suffering is never alone.

So in solidarity with those who are suffering, I pray peace within you:
-my wife and her healing ankle
-Amy and Micah Palmer for the loss of Mark
-Renee, Colon and Aidan Canipe for the loss of Chad
-Rob, Becky, Sydney, Paige, Ty and Colt for the loss of Kate
-Reg and his brain tumors, including his son Trevor's ailments
-Amy Matalka and her ongoing fight with cancer
-My grandmother's loss of her self to alzheimers
-Cheryl's ongoing fight with cancer and other ailments
-a friend I've lost
-marriages of loved ones
-those in unemployment
-the persecuted around the world
-the poor and hungry


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This is the New Testament passage from Celtic Daily Prayer today and it just really struck me:

1 Corinthians 2
1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

Wisdom From the Spirit
6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.[c] 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:
16"For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

I got really worked up last night listening to Obama's speech. I have respect for his class and integrity, but his words and ideas are just full of foolishness to me and that shouldn't surprise me. The depths of God's thoughts and wisdom will not be found in places of high power amongst the rulers of this world, they are often found in the quiet, poor and lonely places on earth. It is in these places where the portals to the eternal kingdom are found. That's the channel I want to tune into today.

Particularly today being Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lent season, it is appropriate to remember that there is humility in knowing that we didn't bring ourselves into being. From dust we were born and created, and to dust we someday will return.

Stop and notice the Kingdom around you today,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

God of now

Only been close to 3 months since my last blog, I guess its suffice to say I haven't had much to say. Not even sure how many readers I have left but I like to know that I can always come back and type out some thoughts. Well, I know at least I have one loyal anonymous fan-reader who likes to accuse me of atheism, that's always pretty sweet, good to have judges out there looking out for my well-being. And the anonymous piece really helps create dialogue as well. well said.

I think the american economy and general culture of fear has taken the wind out of many sails. Daily I meet with adult students who have lost their jobs, are about to or fear its inevitable. I've been unemployed for a time in my marriage and family life and it was one of the lowest points of my life, something I'd like to never re-live. You just can't make job opportunities happen, its such a matter of timing and skills and networking. When you have mouths to feed, the feelings of letting them down is a tough master. I empathize with so many who find themselves there tonight.

I believe it is absolutely inevitable that the "stimulus" plans by the monarchy will not solve anything but help spike inflation. It is fundamentally a faulty idea not based on free markets or capitalism, but rather on short-sightedness and a lack of discipline. Humans take care of what they earn and squander what is given to them, its a very natural cycle. The problem is not a lack of money, but a lack of understanding that we are nothing without hard work as a society and money does not make itself, it is earned and saved. The Monarchy can re-elect itself over and over if people continue a sense of entitlement. It may be years of actual hard times until the sense of entitlement dies, its a filthy beast.

So in these changing times, I find comfort in these words from the Sermon on the Mount in the Message:
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

So i go to bed not entirely enthused about my work but with the sense that it needs to be done. It is what is before me and I just need to put one foot in front of the other. I'm not entitled to find my voice in this life, but I am invited to give my attention to the God of the now. That's where contentment is.