Christmas is a time to move into the world of
images and dreams, a time to allow the ‘make
believe’ happen. Let us be still and reflective.
I could feel the warm afternoon wind blowing a few moments before; right through the window where I was standing, stacking some bowls.
A moment later it blew again, only this time it was cool and refreshing, and even smelled sweet like hyssop, or juniper, or jasmine.read more
A few years back a book called The Secret took the world by storm, and it is still prominently displayed on the shelves of most bookstores today. The message of the book was to invoke the laws of attraction and intention to attain the life and circumstances that we desired. And because of the books popularity I was compelled to grab a copy to see what all the hype was about. As I was reading it I wondered how a book could really promise those kinds of results, and why so many people were swearing by its results. And then it hit me that the best selling book in the history of the world really isn’t all that different. And this got me to wondering if Jesus and King David may have been teaching us this same “secret” thousands of years prior?read more
For those like me who see Jesus, not as the divine Son of God in our midst, but as a courageous sage and social prophet, and for those of us who see God as other than an all-powerful distant deity – the language of reverence is rooted in the story of existence and the universe itself. That becomes a religious story whispering of a larger meaning of our existence or in Bumbaugh’s words each of us is “a self present in the singularity that produced the emergent universe; a self present at the birth of the stars; a self related through time to every living thing on this planet; a self that contains within it the seeds of a future we cannot imagine in our wildest flights of fantasy.” That non-traditional evolutionary sacred story invites us to stand in awe; and it calls us to create a whole new vocabulary of reverence even as we commit to cherishing and caring for the earth.read more
The varieties of religious experience call forth hymns and songs, emerging from the varieties of cultures, personality types, and religious expressions. Our worship and song reflects this diversity. We join in sacred worship traditional and contemporary, North American and African, and European and Asian. We chant hymns from Taize and melodies from Iona, and dance to “Siyahamba” (We are marching in the light of God), sometimes in the same service.read more
Hebrew Scripture’s View of Life after Death It wasn’t until after the Babylonian Exile that the Pharisees accepted the idea of heaven and the resurrection of the faithful, but the Sadducees, the Essenes, and the community of …read more
Taking time to be in stillness is important for physical and mental well-being, and it is absolutely vital if we want an inner experience of spirit. It is not easy to quiet the storms of excitement and learn to be comfortable with stillness. Providing opportunities to practice is a priceless gift we can give children.read more
For Christians grace is God’s gift of pardon. According to William Barclay the Greek word for grace was originally a military term. When an emperor came to the throne or celebrated a birthday, he would give his troops a donatirim (donation), which was a free gift that they had not earned; it was given out of the goodness of the emperor’s heart. This idea was picked up by the Christian scripture writers when they wrote about the grace of God. Grace is something that is unearned and undeserved – unmerited pardon.read more
Structured for Lent, but practical for any time of the year, this new resource examines the lament psalms for their connections to contemporary experiences. The introduction acquaints the reader with Dr. Walter Brueggemann’s analysis of the psalms into the categories of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. A contemporary psalm/poem for each entry discerns the emotional tenor of the psalms and makes it relevant for the challenges of contemporary life and relationships.read more
The dry bones raised by Ezekiel are a metaphor for those who died in the service of God’s justice: those who died working to restore God’s distributive justice-compassion to God’s Earth, and who themselves never saw the transformation. The army of dry bones is an army exiled from justice. Fairness demands that if Jesus was resurrected into an Earth transformed into God’s realm of justice-compassion, then all the other martyrs who died too soon should also be raised with him. “But in fact,” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” It is the Christ – the transformed and transfigured post-Easter Jesus – who has started that general resurrection, which restores justice-compassion to a transformed Earth. The transformation has begun with Jesus, and continues with you and me – IF we sign on to the program.read more