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Sunday, March 22, 2015, 3:40 PM
To be hospitable, you need to accept pluralism as a natural condition in the world. Celebrate the diversity of the Creation. One particularly valuable spin-off of hospitality is inter-religious dialogue. Spirit speaks in many languages, and this spiritual practice helps us receive these multiple messages. — Henri J. M. Nouwen in Ministry and Spirituality
To celebrate the diversity of religions, write out a story in your journal about an encounter with another religion — a conversation with a believer, a visit to a sacred site, attendance at a ritual, or use of a practice — and what you learned from the experience. If you have the opportunity, share your story with another person.
Sunday, March 15, 2015, 4:13 PM
Surprisingly, we cannot see light itself
only reflected light.
Even at that light and darkness,
brightness and shadow,
provide the necessary contrast
that make it possible for us to see.
God is only known in the reflection.
You are the reflection!
You are the reflection in all your brightness
I took an art class many years ago. I remember only one repeated line the instructor used: “drawing is made up of light and shadow.” That’s true of seeing too, light and shadow. Look around you. What do you see? Could you see it without light? Could you see it without shadows?
Take a few minutes to write your answers to these questions. What does this exercise tell you about light and shadow in your life? Consider whether you can really appreciate one without the other?
Sunday, March 8, 2015, 5:26 PM
At the beginning of Lent, we considered the call of Jesus.
Jesus invites us to a way of celebration, meeting and feasting with the humble and poor. Jesus beckons us to a way of risk, letting go of our security.
Jesus challenges us to listen to the voices of those who have nothing to lose.
Jesus points us to a way of self-giving, where power and status are overturned.
Jesus calls us to follow the way of the cross, where despair is transformed by the promise of new life.
Has one of these calls felt significant to you as you take this year’s Lenten journey? How has the call affected you?
Sunday, March 1, 2015, 4:22 PM
Jesus had a vision of a different world order. His central message was that he was bringing the new order into being. “The reign of God is at hand,” is Mark’s way of summarizing Jesus’ message. The way of the cross is a symbol of Jesus’ commitment to his vision.
Jesus invited his first followers-and by extension us-to share his vision and to bring about this new world order. He also invited individuals to transformation,
to leave behind the security of this world, to place their trust for security and well being in the realm of God.
During this week spend some time each day with your journal and reflect on these questions:
In what ways has Jesus brought transformation in your life? Has the transformation included putting your trust for security in the realm of God?
In what ways do you sense Jesus calling you to more fully embrace God’s realm?
How do your answers reflect “the way of the cross?”
Sunday, February 22, 2015, 12:35 PM
Consider what Jesus calls you to at the beginning of this year’s Lenten journey.
- Jesus invites us to a way of celebration, meeting and feasting with the humble and poor. Jesus beckons us to a way of risk, letting go of our security.
- Jesus challenges us to listen to the voices of those who have nothing to lose.
- Jesus points us to a way of self-giving, where power and status are overturned.
- Jesus calls us to follow the way of the cross, where despair is transformed by the promise of new life.
Which of these calls feels most significant to you on this first Sunday of Lent?
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 7:20 PM
Prayers for healing have been part of the Christian tradition since the time of the New Testament. One Sunday each month I offer special prayers for healing as part of our worship. Even though I have done this for many years and it has been a meaningful act of worship, it seems as if in the past few months, I have gained insight in a new way with regard to healing. I would like to share some key insights here.
A prayer from The United Methodist Book of Worship suggested for use at services of healing includes this line: “May the power of God’s indwelling presence heal you of all illness—of body, mind, spirit, and relationship.” This suggests to me that healing energy tenaciously moves toward health and wholeness.
It appears to me that healing is often a matter of being restored to health and wholeness that you already possess. Sometimes it is a matter of removing obstacles or accumulated conditioning and then letting nature’s healing power move through you.
Further, it appears to me that to acknowledge the life force within and to give thanks for its tenacity to bring health and wholeness in itself has healing power.
I have found it surprising that something always happens. Sometimes the seeker is aware of changes immediately, sometimes after passage of some time, sometimes never. I encourage my congregation to receive the gift; be open to receive whatever comes.
As I reflect on what happens, I can summarize under three headings the possibilities.
One, things can remain the same or two, things can get worse. In either case, we can be aware of God’s presence to walk along side. Three, things can change for the better. Of course that’s what we would like to have happen.
In this regard it is clear to me that prayers for healing are not magic, “magic” in the sense of its root meaning to bend the laws of nature to conform to our desires. In fact, we may need to change our expectations and accept what is.
Healing and cure are different things. In the end, it appears that healing is not an end to achieve. It is a path to walk. And, this very body, with its aches and its pleasures is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive.
This article was published 2/18/15 in the Newberg Graphic
Sunday, February 15, 2015, 5:39 PM
The Holy God revealed divine glory in Jesus Christ, and has given us a share in Spirit. Light and life, spirit and divinity surround us.
Look around you this week and see beyond, above, and below the physical presence. Are you aware of spirit even in the common things you see? Be aware of the movement of spirit within you. Be one with God’s spirit.
Sunday, February 8, 2015, 6:43 PM
Healing is often a matter of being restored to health and wholeness that you already possess. Sometimes it is a matter of removing the obstacles or accumulated conditioning and then to let nature’s healing move through you. During this week, acknowledge the life force within and give thanks for its tenacity to bring health and wholeness. Ask yourself, “what might be blocking the flow of life?” and “What might I do to remove obstacles obstructing the flow of life?”
Even having said that healing and wholeness are already our possession, “Realize that this very body, with its aches and it pleasures… is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.”
Sunday, February 1, 2015, 4:42 PM
Jesus taught as one who had authority. On the one hand, that incensed his opponents. On the other, it attracted followers. I assume that Jesus was the embodiment of characteristics that his followers held in high esteem, the ideals that described their highest self.
Here is an exercise you can try this week. Write down five characteristics that attract you to Jesus. These qualities really are reflections of your highest ideals. Once you have made your list, use those characteristics to describe yourself. I am [insert an item from your list]. Repeat this process until you have completed every item on your list. Let these Jesus qualities inspire you this week.
Sunday, January 25, 2015, 4:29 PM
The vision that calls us, like the call Jesus issued to his first disciples, inspires us, energizes us, mobilizes us. In meditation hold the vision and nurture it.
In our practice we deepen our experience so we can share our vision with others. This is our contribution to changing the world.
During this week, let the vision which brings you bliss inspire you. Meditate on it. Practice it. Share it.