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Where’s the peace?

What is the Spirit saying to us today?
John 16.12-15. 
Our world is in turmoil. Our souls are not finding peace. Things are changing. Are we wanting to hear the truth that the Spirit is telling us to do? 
…well let us be painfully honest, NO. I don’t care for change nor do most people. We hear people ranting over so many things these days, much like the rumblings of Jesus’ day. Yet Jesus offers an example for us to try to follow. An example of standing up for those that have either lost their voice or are so oppressed they are ready to give up. 
Where will we stand? Will we offer our voice and actions to God’s people being oppressed as Jesus did or will we remain quiet as those in power continue to divide plan to tear up apart? 
The choice is difficult at best, isn’t it? If we side with the oppressed we too may be oppressed, but if we say nothing we are ignoring God’s call upon our lives. I would rather fall on the side of God. For the thing the disciples ( or we for that matter) could bear is that standing up for the unpopular “kids” will bring suffering on us. 
Doing what is right will always be right. The Spirit is always there to give us the strength to continue in the paths of doing what is right. The Spirit will light the path for us to remove the darkness even when it seems to be trying to over take us. 
I pray that we look for the extremely faint light to give us the strength to continue to strive to love the unlovable, strive to offer hope to the hopeless, and offer charity (a hand up) to those that can not return the charity offer in the name of God. 
I ask the if these thoughts help please let me know. 
May we find the peace the Spirit is truly offering to each of us, not the false peace of this world. 
Pax. 

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teaching them to obey…

Teaching them to obey…
Matthew 28.16-end
I have ready over and over the for mentioned passage, but on this occasion the word “obey” has stood out like a sore thumb. What does it really mean to obey? 
Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride’s vows included the word “obey”? I have often wondered why that four letter word was left out of the groom’s vows. What is good for one is good for the other? 
Over time, we have allowed to word “obey” become about having power over the other person, not the true context of the word. We have lost the feeling obey really means to abide with. To abide with someone and to learn from them the ways that Jesus commanded us To abide with someone is a choice. Abiding is communal. You have to want to abide with a person. You have to have some kind of relationship with the person where learning and knowledge can flourish.
To obey is not the evil notion that we have created. To obey is about caring, love, respect and grace. We as the children of God need to unlearn the concept the obeying is punishment. Obeying is about Holding one another accountable for all of our actions toward one another and dispensing grace wherever we may find ourselves.
Pax.

We refuse to come to him to have life…

We refuse to come to him to have life.
John 5.30-end
Why do we judge one another? Yet we get really upset if someone judges us. Unless we see the judgement as praises.When people speak highly of us to others, it is easier for them to stomach.
When we sing our own praises, we come across as ego-centric, yet when others sing our praises people seem to accept it more readily. Yet if we look at this passage from John, we forget or refuse to truly come to Jesus who offers us life. A life that filled with blessing that go beyond this world,if you will, eternal in the heavens. 
That Glory we are offered comes through God not other human beings. We all have people that have been blessings in our journeys, but those folks I feel were placed in our lives by God. They point toward the Glory and blessings that God shares with us. 
As we continue the Lenten journey, let us reflect on the Blessings that flow from the Throne that God has so graciously shared with us. 
We may need to thank those in our lives that help us stay focused on God.
Pax.

Do we have too… Yes we do!!!

Do we really have too…Yes we do!!!

John 6.52-59.
With our modern sensibilities and the popularity of zombies. How can we make sense of this passage. Cannibalism is what the first hearers of Jesus’ words may have heard. In our time we may think of zombies. Creatures that one exist to eat and destroy things around them. But if we look more closely, we see what Jesus is saying. We need to move beyond the world thought the we are here to eat up the resources all around us, even other people. Instead, we need to digest his words to take on Jesus’ persona. To be more like him, so that we can reach an existence that is full of life. An existence to allow others to experience him and have life. 
If we choose not to digest the thought Jesus offers us, we are lifeless. Just going through the motions and do not have him in us nor can we truly dwell with and abide with God the creator of us all.
The first thing , I feel we have to digest is justice. Justice is something all of the created should be extended. Not just those that are like us.justice is not always a punishment but to see that no one abuses their position and power for only themselves.
Next we need to digest love. If love does not flow through the very core of our being, all is lost. Love does not puff up our egos. Love is a gift the comes from the creator and is to be shared with creation, even the least of these.
Lastly, or in my opinion, is digesting how we are to live and that is growing from what i mentioned earlier. Being just without being oppressive. Love one another, even those that are hard to love. We have, more than likely had times in our lives where we have been hard to love, but there has been some that loved us enough to see us through those times. 
If we inwardly digest these thoughts and move beyond those that suck the life out of us, and focus of digesting these thought changes will happen in us and the world around us.
Pax.

Are we rejecting our call?

Are we rejecting our call?
(Luke 7.24-30)
We all have a calling in this life. How we respond to our calling is based upon our biases, as it has been throughout all generations. I have know several people that have joyfully received their calling, and I have know others that have ran from their calling with the same vigor.
How we respond to our call effects and affects our relationship with God and those around us. Those who joyfully receive their call not matter what that call maybe are often those that do not mind going the extra steps it takes to get the job done, so that others will be able to accomplish their tasks also.
A calling can change over time, however the goal remains the same offering glory back to God.
In the days to come, examine where you are and try to discern where God is leading you. Help others recognize their calling, so that God will be glorified in their life as well.
Turn back if you have lost your calling where God can enlighten your path.
Prayers for you all.
Pax.

What have we seen?

What have you seen?
We have seen a lot this past year. Haven’t we? We have seen turmoil. We have seen blessings. We have seen people rise up and make a difference. We have seen people try to hinder others taking a stand for what is right. Yet the things that are mostly reported in the various media sources linger on the bad things. During this Advent season we still cling to the hope of better thing to come. 
In today’s Lesson, Luke 7.18b-23, Jesus gave hope to a people oppressed by the signs he was doing to glorify God. How are we glorifying God in our own lives? We have been given a great task to do things that point toward God’s love. The fires in East TN, Dolly Parton is glorifying God through the blessings she received from God with her talents and treasures. Those suffering with the loss of so much, Dolly has come to stand with and support them in this turmoil. All I can say is Thanks be to God for moving through her.
How would we react if roles we reversed? Would we take our hard earned money and offer it back to others? If we truly believe that All we have comes from God, and we would have nothing without God’s blessing; we would give as freely as it was tendered to us. 
We need to consider the cry of those in need. Oppression can take many forms in this world. Are we going to allow it to continue? Which in many ways our world would like it to continue, however, we are children of God and need a higher standard to receive such a blessing. Not that we have to do it to deserve salvation, but more to live into the love, hope, joy and peace this season brings.
I pray that in the days to come we can share the love, hope, joy and peace that God blesses us with with the world around us, so that all God’s people can experience it.
Pax.

What is precious in your sight?

John 8:3-11
Here are two versions of the same sermon. Yes I know they both could say a lot more, however I think that sometimes we need to wrestle with ourselves with the blank spaces. 
What is precious in your sight?
 It seems lately that I have been taking so much time reflecting on what is vital to my life. Here in the Gospel according to John, makes me think about what is precious in our lives. The scene here is one of those moments where the author of this exchange shows that only Jesus sees how precious this woman truly is. The things we hold as precious we protect. We will keep the things we love away from harm. We would fight for the things we are passionate about with all our being. Wouldn’t we? One of things I hold precious is public school music. As many people who know me know that music one of the things God’s has gifted me.This passage has made me reflect on what I was able share with the students I have had. Sometimes it is extremely easy to associate with people who share the same passions we do. 
 However, we, as broken people, sometimes do not see the humanity of others. Sometimes we do not want to see the humanity of others because they are different than “us.” Why do we allow ourselves to do this? Different Hair color? Piercings? Tattoos?Different political views? Just because someone has a different “look” or has a different “way of doing things” about them, we make judgements about how wrong they are. Were is the Love of God through Christ Jesus in these actions? Simply put, it is not there. In the schools where I have taught, there have had different “clicks.” The “jocks,” the “academically gifted,” and the “band.” Yes, there were more as in any school, but these three seem to have the most tension between them.
 Each of these groups forgot something along the way. They forgot the passion they all shared. A passion to be the best at what they did. They also forgot that each of them shared a passion for their school. Do we really hold our families in this category as well? If the students are lead well they become a family. If we loose sight of our passions and the realization that we express our passion differently, we loose our humanity. We may have more than likely experienced it first hand or know people that do not hold the family as one of the things that are precious. 
 I have had principals like the Scribes and Pharisees who were more concerned with the law than with human life. They could not understand how my students could be so dedicated to the band. It looked like my students were moving around the field and making noise. They could not realize that my students were using this opportunity back to the greater community with the gifts they received from God. The principals like Scribes and Pharisees could not see the humanity in the band or the woman in the passage and lost their own humanity through the execution of the law. 
 Allow me the opportunity to ask a few more questions. Where was the person she was caught in adultery with? Why was he not brought forth as well to be stoned? In the first century world, women were counted as property. Has that really changed in our modern world? In some parts of the world it has not changed much.. We watch the news and social media and see how women are still being treated worse than property. Human trafficking.Sex trafficking. However, it is not only women, it is also children, the elderly and so many other people on the fringes of society. What are we, God’s people, followers of Jesus, going to do about it?
 How does this manifest itself in the day to day lives of those Christians? We have to receive the grace God offers to each of us. The grace that calls us into communion with God and with the rest of the created. Once we receive God’s grace, it will manifest itself in us and transform us into true disciples of Christ Jesus. If we do not receive God’s grace, we become like the people who lost their humanity because they accused the woman in today’s passage, because the only could see the law. The Law blinded them from the humanity that was looking them in the face. Once we receive God’s grace, that Grace drives us to be more and to do more for our loved one’s and the rest of God’s children.
 What can we do to change the world around us to be more and do more? We have to take an active role in changing the status quo. We have to be growing into the “call” God places on each of us that have received God’s grace and share it with everyone we meet. 
 Here at the end of our passage, Jesus reminds us to see the humanity in others. Jesus says to the woman, “Where are those that condemn you?” However the important thing is what Jesus says next… “I do not condemn you either. Go, from now on, sin no more.”
 I know I have fallen short in so many ways in sharing God’s grace; however, I have learned from those moments and long to serve God and God’s people, so that we can reach out to the hurting world and share the fact that we are all precious to God. The more we share God’s love that has been received by us, more people will see the changes in us and desire to receive God’s love themselves, so that the changes they long for will happen for them as well.

Jesus calls each and every one of us to sin no more, and we know we will, yet Jesus wants us to learn for our short- comings and not repeat them.
 When I taught school, I taught band we practiced and practiced. Correcting notes, rhythm patterns and their marching formations, over and over so that they perform to the best of their ability. Practice makes permanent. If we take to heart the example Christ Jesus provides for us, much like when I worked with my students, we learn and become better. If we are actively. “Being Disciples of Christ Jesus, we can grow more and more daily into who and whose we are. If we learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them, we will make ourselves more like the image God has in mind for us.
 Let us pray.
 God of all grace and mercy, transform us into the people you call us to be. Melt our hearts that have become hardened. Open our eyes to the things we have become blind. Make us anew, so that your love can be received. We ask this in the name which is above every name, Jesus your Christ. Amen.

Take two

This lesson makes me think about what is precious in our lives. The scene here is one of those moments where the author of this exchange shows that only Jesus sees how precious this woman truly is. The things we hold as precious we protect. We will keep those we love away from harm. We would fight for them with all our being. Wouldn’t we? Why didn’t the husband? What caused the husband not to act on her behalf? What could have caused their relationship to be so extremely broken?
 We, as broken people, sometimes do not see the humanity of others. Sometimes we do not want to see the humanity of others because they are different than “us.” Why do we allow ourselves to do this? Different Hair color? Piercings? Tattoos?Different political views? Just because someone has a different “look” or has a different “way of doing things” about them, we make judgements about how wrong they are. Were is the Love of God through Christ Jesus in these actions? Simply put, it is not there.
 Here in our lesson, the “husband” was not there for his wife nor was he there to condemn her. We really do not know anything about this women’s husband. As I have already stated he was not present. We can assume that he had connections to the “powers that be” within the temple structure. We can also assume that he no longer wanted to be married to this woman. Which makes me wonder, why did he no longer want to be in this relationship? Why would he go to these extreme measures in humiliating his wife? Why he did not take the needed steps to protect his wife? His wife was no longer wanted, so she no longer had a place in his world. With our modern minds we more often think things are disposable, even people. Don’t we? Those of us that are in committed relationships in this modern age do what we can to make those in our life safe. We try extremely hard to strengthen our bonds to our partners and our friends and families. Instead of allowing them to be subject to humility and pain.
 So, what do we hold in our hearts to be precious? Who in our lives is so important that we would do anything to keep them safe? Do we really hold our families in this category? Or do we do what the husband does in this story? Which was nothing, except to set her up for humiliation. Apparently the husband in our story did not want his wife any longer. We have more than likely experienced it first hand or know people that do not hold the family as one of the things that are precious. These people are only concerned about themselves, and yet think they are Christians. The Scribes and Pharisees were more concerned with the law than with human life. They could not see the humanity in this woman and lost their own humanity through the execution of the law. 
 Allow me the opportunity to ask a few more questions. Where was the person she was caught in adultery with? Why was he not brought forth as well to be stoned? In the first century world, women were counted as property. Has that really changed in our modern world? Not so much. We watch the news and social media and see how women are still being treated worse than property. Human trafficking.Sex trafficking. However, it is not only women, it is also children, the elderly and so many other people On the fringes of society . What are we, God’s people, followers of Jesus, going to do about it?
 In today’s world, we give lip service to being followers and Disciples of Christ Jesus, but where do we show it in our lives? I show up at church, some may say. I tithe on a regular basis, other will say. But how does this manifest itself in the day to day lives of those Christians? We have to receive the grace God offers to each of us. The grace that calls us into communion with God and with the rest of the created. Once we receive God’s grace, it will manifest itself in us and transform us into true disciples of Christ Jesus. If we do not receive God’s grace, we become like the people who lost their humanity because they accused the woman in today’s passage. We become Christians in name only. Once we receive God’s grace, that Grace drives us to be more and to do more for our loved one’s and the rest of God’s children.
 What can we do to change the world around us to be more and do more? We have to take an active role in changing the status quo. We have to be growing into the “call” God places on each of us that have received God’s grace and share it with everyone we meet. 
 Here at the end of our passage, Jesus reminds us to see the humanity in others. Jesus says to the woman, “Where are those that condemn you?” However the important thing is what Jesus says next… “I do not condemn you either. Go, from now on, sin no more.”
 I know I have fallen short in so many ways in sharing God’s grace; however, I have learned from those moments and long to serve God and God’s people, so that we can reach out to the hurting world and share the fact that we are all precious to God. The more we share God’s love that has been received by us, more people will see the changes in us and desire to receive God’s love themselves, so that the changes they long for will happen for them as well.

Jesus calls each and every one of us to sin no more, and we know we will, yet Jesus wants us to learn for our short- comings and not repeat them.
 When I taught school band we practiced and practiced. Correcting notes and their marching formations, over and over so that they perform to the best of their ability. Practice makes permanent. If we take to heart the example Christ Jesus provides for us, much like when I worked with my students, we learn and become better. If we learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them, we will make ourselves more like the image God has in mind for us.