Saturday, February 28, 2015

People of the Cross

Mark 8:34-38
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

my mind keeps remembering
those who have died in recent days
because they were
"people of the cross".

I wonder:
Would I have the same courage?
Facing execution,
would I hold strong to my belief in you?

Lord Jesus,
you faced that same question.
Before your accusers,
before those who flogged you,
as the nails split your flesh,
as you faced execution,
not only did you keep your faith,
you spoke words of grace:
"Father forgive them..."

This lent as I make my way
toward the cross
strengthen my faith in you,
build my hope,
transform my fears into your grace filled love
that I too may claim with boldness:
I am of the cross of Christ.
and I forgive just as I have been forgiven.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mind on the Divine

MARK 8:31-33
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

it is hard to keep my mind 
on the divine things.

The daily human things,
the things I think I need/want 
fill my desires.
My life focuses on things like:
being liked, 
being accepted...

what are the divine things?

Lord Jesus,
your life focused on:
caring for others,
compassionate self-giving love,
fulfilling the spirit of the law,
even when that meant not following the letter of the law,
challenging the status quo,
calling us deeper in our faithfulness.

teach me the divine things.
Today and everyday,
help me to keep my mind on the divine.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Change my name!!

GENESIS 17:1-7, 15-16
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” 
God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

names say much about who we are.
You are called by many names:
Rock, Fortress, Lion,
Mother, Father, Nurse,
Almighty, Everlasting, Alpha, Omega,

I too have been called many names:
Chris, Moose, Preacher,
Topher, Denny, Denzel,
Son, Daddy, Honey...

But I also remember those other names:
Nerd, Band Geek,
Mr. Smarty pants,

as part of your covenant promise
to Abraham and Sarah
you changed their names.
They are reminded
every time they hear their name
who you called them to be!

change my name too!
so that I too will be reminded of your covenant promise:
Make my name: Beloved Child of God.
or maybe: Saint by the blood of Christ.
or: One among the "People of the Cross".

Lord, Today and everyday
may I answer to the name: Christian.
For that is who I am.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you

2 KINGS 2:1-12
Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the LORD will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.” 
Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the LORD will take your master away from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.” 
Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, ”As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
thank you for the mentors in my life
for the men and women 
who encourage, pray with, challenge, push, and celebrate life with me,
really they are not only mentors, 
but great friends.

Elijah was an important mentor 
and friend to Elisha.
Apparently Elisha knew all too well
his mentor would soon be taken from him.
Repeatedly he tenaciously stood by to learn from his mentor,
"I will not leave you!" he swore
until the day that Elijah was taken up in the fiery whirlwind. 

I remember standing beside two of my mentors 
in the emergency room as the eldest took his last breath.
A prince of a man, a gifted pastor, 
one who prayed with me early in my ministry.
I too prayed, "Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit."

Thank you, 
Lord Jesus,
for my mentors.
When it is my turn to mentor others,
help me give not only wisdom shared,
but my very spirit,
just as others have given to me.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Everyone's looking for you

MARK 1:29-39
As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.]

Jesus, I know
I should be praying more.
I know I could benefit
from more “alone time”
to think about my life
and share its events with you--
and to bring all my
worries and needs to you.

I know I should spend
more time praising God,
and more time thinking
of how well or how badly
I am responding to
my baptismal call to follow you,
and to grow in your love.

But, Jesus, my life is so hectic,
and my few quiet moments
are so full of interruptions!

But it was the same for you!
Here you are,
trying to go off and pray,
and the disciples come after you
because the crowds
are looking for you.

You don’t complain
about being interrupted.
Instead, you get up and go off
on your mission,
because this is “the purpose”
for which you have come.

Jesus, help me
to find quiet moments
to spend time in prayer.
But when life is hectic
and I’m interrupted,
help me to find
the same sense of
purpose and mission you felt
so that I might
give of myself
out of love for others,
just as you did.

When I am frazzled or weary,
help me to trust that you will
give me the inner peace,
love, courage, patience,
and strength I need
to be your disciple.

Thank you for always being with me,
even when I feel very far from you.

Prayer taken from