A Saturday reflection…

In this time let us stop still and punctuate each day by pausing to pray.


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In these times of trouble…

A devotional we can share


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For the life of the World

During the pandemic we find our selves asking the questions

What is a life worthy of our humanity?

How can we live it?

Miroslav Volf, Ryan McAnnally-Linz, Matt Croasmun, and Drew Collins of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture have sought through conversation to bring answers.

Three of their conversations have opened me to deeper thinking.

But first, this morning we read

Romans 12:1-8 
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect…

How are we transformed? By education? Surely. By confronting our way of being and exploring it’s bias? By the experience of the other?

I think the breath of God groaning in us at the point of encounter be it by education or by just being present, brings transformation. As we are confronted with the consequences of our sin or the suffering of others we are humbled and God groans in us. It’s entering into this place of prayer, this place of crucifixion, this place of the abiding trinity, that we find transformation.

Transformation starts with humility and in humility we meet with the humility of God who is forgiveness.

Psalm 138   
… For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away. 
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me. 
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. 

In the linked podcasts that follow, two poems are cited,

“Hope” is the thing with feathers


Hope is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.


T.S. Eliot

an extract from no 2 EAST COKER

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

Hopefully this will whet your appetite to listen to these three podcasts

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pentectostAs we speak out God’s inspiration, our accents might give us away but we can trust God that what people hear will inspire them. We have to trust ourselves, that however inadequate we feel, knowing Jesus as Lord is sufficient. He will sort out the rest. Some will scoff, all will be perplexed but we can rest assured of his love. We can also trust others who we know, know Jesus as Lord, and hold our differences in love.

So as beauty, compassion and hope tug on our hearts and we know contrition and humility; when we know the light overcoming the darkness in us, we can grow to trust that voice. Breath in and out and allow the word to to take root. It will become our voice, it will be us living and moving, it will be Christ with us and in us.

This is the gift of the Spirit, not a mere profession but truth; peace.

And there is a time of waiting. Jesus breathes, Peace and the Holy Spirit, in his time, brings power so that all are saved. The message of the kingdom leavens the whole loaf. Give it time. Be patient.

Acts 2:1-21  

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

…Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?   And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language

… All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them,

“…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b  

1 Corinthians 12:3b-13      No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. …

To one is given through the Spirit ….

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

John 20:19-23

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”


Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/onbangladesh/4786279620

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May 17, 2020


Adoption. Bronze Doors Panel Grace Cathedral San Francisco, CA

Our searching of the scriptures this morning was wide ranging.

We contemplated the gift of joy and peace that we can carry in to the future. Psalm 66 speaks of a crying out in prayer in the time of trouble and the offering back of the time as a gift to God. This speaks of this time and of how we seek to make the best in our lives of sometimes desperate situations. The gift we long for and are desperate for is peace in our troubles and to be saved out of the place we find ourselves.

This article about death by Ron Rolheiser LEAVING PEACE BEHIND AS OUR FAREWELL GIFT adds

 …what constitutes peace? When Jesus promises peace as his farewell gift, he identifies it with the Holy Spirit; and, as we know, that is the spirit of charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, long-suffering, fidelity, mildness, and chastity. How do we leave these behind when we leave?

There was a profound discussion about adoption and the court practices in the UK that involves a celebration.

We talked about the longings of the heart that are almost nostalgic for what seems lost and cause every-person to seek or, as it says in the translation, grope for the truth. In many ways our birth is cursed by the collateral of necessity in creation, but Jesus breaths peace into this and brings us to a place of adoption that realises that longing of our hearts for the original blessing of our birth. The gateway to this Jesus by grace and we are able to mediate this for one another through the Spirit. This came out strongly, that resting in our blessing we are able to bless others. In Jesus we are released from the curse of the past and start a new story.

Acts 17:22-31
…From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him–though indeed he is not far from each one of us.
For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said…
While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.

Psalm 66:8-20
… I will pay you my vows, those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
…Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.
…Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.

1 Peter 3:13-22
…Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. …
And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you–not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

John 14:15-21
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.
You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. …
They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

Picture by Wally Gobetz  Some rights reserved
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