Resurrecting God

Sunday, April 21, 2019 – Easter Sunday

“While the women were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living dead? Jesus is not here, but has risen. Remember how Jesus told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” [Luke 24:4-7]

The glory of Easter has dawned for the tomb stands empty. The women had come to the tomb numbed by grief, yet resolute in their desire to properly prepare Jesus’ body for burial.  Yet, instead of a shroud wrapped body, they encountered two individuals in dazzling clothes. I personally cannot imagine the disorientation experienced by these women that morning. Continue reading Resurrecting God

Surprising Presence

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. [Luke 24:10-11]

It is frustrating to not be taken seriously.  Yet, it happens to all of us at one point or another. What’s really frustrating though is if our thoughts are discounted simply because of who we are whether it is because of our gender or age, ethnicity or status.  I remember an experience one evening a few years back during a session of Lectio Divina. A group had gathered at a church and one of the individuals present was struggling with Alzheimer’s. He didn’t know most people in the room anymore and he could not remember from one moment to the next what he said. The group could have easily considered any thoughts he shared as idle words. But in the silence of that evening, something stirred within him and the words he shared were profound. In that moment, those of us gathered saw more clearly the miracle of God at work. The words he shared with us carried us into the night, as we saw through him life in the midst of the wilderness.

Prayer

Holy God, I marvel at the beauty of your presence in and through others, especially when I least expect it.  Help me not to discount others simply because of who they are. Help me to expect your presence even in the most surprising people and places. Amen.

How do You Use Power?

Friday, April 19, 2019 – Good Friday

“Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’ They kept heaping many other insults on Jesus.” [Luke 22:63-65]

Have you ever been part of a group that taunted and ridiculed another? This happens on school playgrounds and in school cafeterias.  This happens in the world of work around the water cooler. This happens in the midst of war as enemies are captured.  Why is it that when we have just a little bit of power, as these guards did, we feel empowered to lord it over another? Continue reading How do You Use Power?

Encourage One Another

Thursday, April 18, 2019 – Maundy Thursday

“Jesus said to them, ‘Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’” [Luke 22: 31-32]

Jesus is at table with his disciples. Jesus has broken bread and shared the cup saying, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Yet, the disciples can’t seem to focus. They squabble over who is the greatest among them, even as they wonder who will betray Jesus. Then Jesus speaks of praying for them Continue reading Encourage One Another

Never Stop Trying

“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent—its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.” [Isaiah 65:25]

 Do you remember the words of Mary the mother of Jesus in the opening chapter of the Gospel of Luke? “God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” Jesus ushered in an upside down inside out new creation among us. A new reign where wolves and lambs graze together Continue reading Never Stop Trying

Hold Lightly

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.” [Isaiah 65:17-18]

 I remember the figurative new heaven and new earth I experienced when I moved to Redlands. I had a new home, new neighbors, a new community, a new church family and a new position as your pastor. There was plenty of newness. Yet, it would have been hard for me to not remember or have come to mind former things. Continue reading Hold Lightly

Something New

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.” [Isaiah 65:17a]

Do you like new things? Maybe new clothes or a new car, but what about a whole new way of life? Are you ready for new heavens and a new earth or would you prefer to keep what we have? Given that most of us are creatures of habit, we are probably more likely to prefer what is, with minor tweaks to improve things.  It is hard to welcome wholesale change Continue reading Something New

Don’t Stop

Sunday, April 14, 2019

“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’” [Luke 19:39-40]

Stop! The Pharisees wanted the disciples to stop. Stop praising this Jesus.  But stopping the disciples’ praise would have only caused an even greater commotion. Imagine if all the stones here in Redlands started shouting out, Continue reading Don’t Stop

Praising Joyfully

“As Jesus was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’” [Luke 19:37-38]

 What causes you to begin to praise God joyfully with a loud voice?  What deeds of God’s power prompt you to burst out in loud hosannas? The beauty of God’s natural creation does this for me nearly every morning Continue reading Praising Joyfully

Generously Share

“So those who were sent departed and found it as Jesus had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’ Then they brought it to Jesus.” [Luke 19:32-35a]

Although Jesus had prepared the disciples for what might happen when they found the colt, it never ceases to amaze me that the owners of the colt are satisfied with the disciples’ curt response, “The Lord needs it.”  Is that all I have to do to get something? To simply say, “The Lord needs it.” And poof, I get what I ask for. Continue reading Generously Share