Morning Meditation: 6.12.2020

Can you and I just confess that we need instruction and direction?  That we get stuck in life, need direction, or just some plain encouragement to keep doing good?

My morning times are a means for me to pull myself together and “get into” God’s presence.  Sometimes there is a sense of God’s nearness and warmth.  And other times, it’s flat and boring.  But I suspect both of us are glad the other showed up.  

In these morning times, I read scripture, meditate, and listen.  

Today’s readings offer a reminder to fear God (not in a scary way, but in a respectful manner) because everything we say and do, both good and evil, will be seen and discussed in His presence.  

The liturgists continue by reminding us that since we have received the Spirit, we are to not get burned out as we work for the common good.  

Since we can be a goal oriented workplace and society, here’s a goal:  set your mind this morning to be about the common good for those in your workspace, family space, and network.  

Let’s continue to sow acts of love, mercy, and compassion. This might mean having some conversations with folks and getting into the griddyness of life. But you’re our hope. This current new normal is calling us to live in civility, giving our lives away to one another. We all have a stake in it.

Father, Son, Spirit: we pray for the Spirit to renew us today so that we might seek and do the common good in the pockets of life we have. In this manner, we will give life and receive life from one another. Amen.

Morning Meditation 6.10.2020

Yoke of slavery.  I don’t like using that S word for obvious reasons.  Maybe a truer expression is to be controlled, oppressed.  A yoke of being controlled, manipulated, or made to do something out of threat.  

In all four passages for today’s liturgical readings, there is a whiff of being controlled or manipulated to be someone who goes against your inner fibers.  The people who put in the work to do scripture mashups (which is basically what the liturgy is) had some brilliance.  

In one passage, there is an oppressive, controlling ruler who takes over a city.  He does so by force and many ill words.  But an old man who is quiet and full of wisdom delivers the city.  

As the passages continue, a mashup theme is getting revealed.  The Christ figure says to be mindful of who is teaching you and what they’re teaching.  The disciples are being warned about a group of religious leaders who slant their teachings in a way that distorts God’s true image, which ultimately distorts how we view ourselves and others.  

Paul says to be mindful of “who is confusing you”.  To be confused is to have two or more ideas that are trying to get mingled together.  But they don’t go together.  

A strong Ruler who oppresses // a wise, quiet old man who delivers

Religious leaders who distort God’s image for personal gain // Christ and the Cross

A life devoid of communal awareness // Community relationships inspiring freedom

In a culture of words, pithy statements, broadstroke posts and arguments, God is calling us to slow down and listen.  To be contemplative in a time of crisis is to be communal with Christ and community.  

Father, Son, Spirit, may you guide us into truth-making, wisdom that delivers us and others from oppression and confusion. Make things clear for us. We’re not always the best thinkers and doers. Your words and deeds, Lord Jesus, become our way of defining truth and reality. Amen.

Morning Thoughts 3.16.2020

From Walter Brueggemann’s Lenten Devotional with the sum of the gospel:

*that we are caught in the snares of death;
*that we have been rescued by the power of God;
*that we are released to a new life of gratitude.

We can be on our way with new life and new energy, and new noticing about the need in the world and the resources for healing, seeing now that old enemies are really needy neighbors, seeing that what looked like scarcity is enough when shared, enough to feed a crowd when there is gratitude. And we find that we are less greedy, less anxious, less coercive, less self-preoccupied, because we are able to rest our lives and our bodies down in the bottomless goodness of God.

Brueggemann, Walter. A Way other than Our Own: Devotions for Lent (p. 40). Presbyterian Publishing. Kindle Edition.

A faith rooted in Jesus stays focused on the power of the cross and resurrection when it goes through crisis. We understand that we need rescuing, but that we are also released into a life of gratitude. It makes us be people who don’t just seek self-preservation at the expense of others.

A friend today said that America is a spoiled people. The moment something may be taken from us, we self-protect and hoard at the expense of neighbor.

The Lenten season is about grieving what’s wrong in our spiritual life. Where are we greedy, hoarding, self-protective? Where are we spoiled, self-seeking, and blind?

I was grocery shopping early this morning for the boys. They’re gonna be home for three weeks and we were getting essentials. I was deeply saddened to see shelves of food empty because people bought more than they needed. It’s not the only reason shelves were empty. Most families, like ours, needed to stock up while teenagers are at home. I asked grocery clerks how it was going. Most of them were shocked over how panicked customers were and how much they were hoarding. One clerk said, “I can’t believe how selfish people are…”

Lord Jesus, heal our selfish hearts. Rescue us that we might live in gratefulness, abundance, and God’s goodness.