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Praise the Universal Spirit

Praise the universal Spirit,
Present as we draw each breath,
Live and move and have our being,
Pass at length the gate of death.

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Admissions and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Jesus, Part 3

Was Jesus the Christ?
The application of the title “Christ” to Jesus most likely did not come until after Easter. If any of the disciples understood Jesus as the Christ before Easter, their recorded behavior in the gospels was nonsensical.
Where did the word Christ emerge? Christ is our English translation of the Greek word christos, which means “messiah,” “savior,” or “redeemer.” But Christos is an attempt to put the Hebrew word mashiach, which meant “God’s anointed one,” into Greek. In early Israel history the king was also called God’s anointed one.

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Framework of Christmas – first Sunday of Advent in Aotearoa

In Advent, we build the framework of Christmas
together we put up scaffolding
signalling something’s being renovated
something new is being created.

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Come, let us walk the road (Advent Call to Worship)

Come, let us walk the road that Mary walked
the challenging road
from Nazareth to Bethlehem
not knowing what the future holds.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Part Four – God continued

Taking a extraordinarily brief look at the God of the Hebrews as revealed in what we Christians call the Old Testament, God lived on the top of Mt. Sinai, and when the Israelites traveled very far from the mountain they thought they have to carry God with them. The smoke of the burning censer, symbolizing God’s presence, could be seen during the daylight hours as a cloud, and at night the smoke looked like a pillar of fire. That’s the only way the ancient Israelites were able to believe that they had not been left their God behind. Even when they enter “the promised land,” by invasion and slaughter, God remained a jealous, vindictive tyrant, punishing the children for their father’s sins and thinking nothing of turning a terrified woman into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26), ordering massacres (Joshua 8:26), having a helpless old man hacked in pieces (1 Samuel 15:33), or visiting the devoted Job with disease and pain until he longed for death (Job 2:7-10). That is not the God I believe in or would ever consider worthy of worship. Worthy of fear? Yes, definitely!

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Part Three – God

I believe in God. I’m afraid to add anything to that brief statement, because I don’t want to do God an injustice by limiting God with an inadequate definition. God is the most important ingredient in my credo. Belief in God is so central to my creed that I have wondered if I am a Deist, which Webster’s Dictionary defines as, “One who believes in the existence of a God or Supreme Being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.” If by “revealed religion” they mean hypocritical religion, misguided religion, deaf, dumb and blind religion, unthinking religion, religion of rules and laws rather than love, then I wholeheartedly agree. Conversely, if they mean a religion that allows people to, as John Wesley put it, “think and let think,” then I don’t agree. The part of the definition that does not fit me is “basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.”

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Stations of the Cross for Progressive Christians: Grow in Love as You Journey with Christ

A Lenten tradition in Western Christianity is to meditate upon the journey Christ took to Calvary. These stations or steps are found both in the Scriptures and in the traditions and legends of catholic Christianity. For many this practice is used to participate in the suffering and sacrifice endured by Christ. I encourage you to also take up this journey seeing within each station a calling for the modern, progressive Christian to grow in the ways and love of God. Meditate upon each station considering the questions or thoughts presented with a Scriptural verse to ponder and a brief prayer of the heart. In John 15:12 Jesus tells us, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Only by walking with Christ and seeing just how much he truly loved everyone can we begin to love others in the same fashion.

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I Am

I am,
said God to Moses from the burning bush.

I am the light of the world…
I am the way…
I am the gate…
I am the vine…
I am the bread…
Before Abraham was, I am…
said Jesus.

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