Saturday, October 7, 2017
Friday, September 22, 2017
“To me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” Philippians 1:21.
In this passage (Phil. 1:21-30) Paul wrestles with the idea of dying to be one with Christ or living to spread the gospel message. Even though his desire is to die and be with Christ, he understands that his purpose is to help others come to a fuller understanding of a life lived in grace.
By remaining in this life as an encouraging agent, Paul is doing God’s work. Through sharing his struggles, he gives us an example of what it looks like to follow Christ. It is not always easy, but we are assured that the prize is worth the effort. Christ himself is the prize, and Christ himself is our support. We are never alone in our struggle. Christ will always come alongside of us to share our burden.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Romans 14:3. Paul is responding to a problem in the Roman church. Some people believe that they are better than others because of their practices in the faith. He makes it clear in this passage that we are not to pass judgment. Different people are at different places in their walk with Christ, and that’s okay.
Some of us may honor the Lord in different ways and that’s okay. Paul reminds us that we don’t live to ourselves but to the Lord. When we died we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. And our Gospel lesson tells us that we will be judged according to the judgment we have passed on others. One of the hardest things a Christian does might be to learn how to be non-judgmental. We must remember that forgiveness is from God and is always to be passed on to those we meet.
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lantern to my feet and a light upon my path.” There is a reason why more Bibles are sold every year than any other book. It not only talks about eternal salvation, but it lays out a plan for living out our lives here on earth. It gives examples of both right and wrong ways of doing things. It also points out that even when you don’t do everything exactly right, you can still be acceptable before God.
At ordination, an Episcopal priest declares that they believe the Bible to contain all things necessary to salvation. Sometimes when I don’t have a clue about what I’m supposed to do and I yell out, “Oh God, what now?” God’s word can be comforting. It can be challenging. It can place you in God’s presence and help you see that path God has chosen for you to travel. And it is always time well spent reading and contemplating God’s word.
Monday, July 10, 2017
In our first lesson from Genesis 24, We see Isaac’s man-servant going out to find a wife for Isaac. According to the instructions from Abraham, he is going only to Abraham’s kinsfolk. As he approaches the neighborhood, he stops and prays to God to help him find a mate for Isaac. And he doesn’t leave it open to interpretation. He asks for a specific sign (that the woman who gives him water, will also offer to water his camels) so that he will know without a doubt that he has received an answer.
As I was graduating from seminary, I was questioning what God was calling me to do and where he was calling me to be. I thought I was going one place, but then John Logan, then Canon to the Ordinary, called and asked me to go interview in Huntsville for an assistant rector/campus minister position there. I remember praying on the way to Huntsville asking for a sign. I decided that the sign would be that I would be able to see outside from the nave. When I walked into the nave, there were three clear glass windows on either side of the congregation and a large clear glass window behind the altar showing the forest behind it. I had my answer.
I don’t think that the sign we ask for is arbitrary. I believe that God places that specific sign in our mind so that he can answer our question without a doubt. If you don’t ask for a specific sign, it might be possible to miss (or misinterpret) God’s message for you.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Today’s gospel reading (Matthew 10:24-39) is a continuation of last week. Jesus is sending the disciples out to preach the good news in neighboring towns. This is still part of the teaching and instructions before they leave. He encourages them to be like him, and what he has taught them in secret, they are now to go out and proclaim it to all they meet. They are not to be afraid of people who come up against them. When they proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, there are people who will take exception and argue with them. It might even be family members who work against you.
But through it all you are to remember that God considers you precious in his sight and He will be with you. The same is true for us, also. It doesn’t really matter whether it is family members, friends or strangers, there are people who will not agree with us. And it doesn’t have to be about God - people will take exception over religion, or sports, or politics or even about what is a good place to eat. Arguments will happen, friendships will be strained, but through it all, we are to remember that we belong to God. We are made in his image and are his forever. He will give us strength to meet the needs of the day, to find solutions for working together and he will be with us through it all