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November 20, 2013, 9:30 AM

Do you see what I see?

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father...  Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”  But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” 
MATTHEW 24:36,42-44 NRSV

Can you believe it is that time of year again? It seems like only yesterday you and I were celebrating our first Advent season together. I thank God for each and every one of you, yes every one of you, everyday and I pray for you all continuously.

I wonder do you hear what I hear? Do you see what I see? Do you see the star rising in the sky...again? Do see the dawn on high breaking down upon us?

Each week I walk in amongst you all and try to teach, I try to step out of the way and let the Holy Spirit enter into the conversation. Each week I am energized ( are you surprised...lol?) just as I begin to shake your hands. All of the "stuff" the week brought seems to lift off of my shoulders.

Anne Lamott tells a story in which she didn't feel she could even go to church because she didn't quite have the right attitude, she would be a "buzzkill." Then suddenly she remembered something her pastor told the community of believers in one of her sermons...sometimes "you think you need to get it together before you come to God and community , but actually, you may not be ABLE to get it together until you come to God and community." She reminded me that it was once said that "80% of life is just showing up." She "got her 'joice back ...she rejoiced" (Anne  Lamott, Facebook posting Nov. 18,2013)

We come not as a body, smooth and full, happy with no problems or concerns but a body chipped and maybe even broken and leaking, a body with worries about health, jobs, age, family, friends. But I ask you to reflect that we are called to reflect the face of Jesus, the light of our world and in that reflection we have the opportunity to bring a piece of that light within us to bring peace to those around us. So as Leonard Cohen suggests light not only comes in via the cracks it also shines out of them!

We are not built to go it alone...
   God gives us each other...
      Yes, the Body of Christ.
         You and me with God's only begotten Son
            so we might contribute and
               be part of the body...
                  to heal and be healed.

The good news, the news that we should be thankful for, ready for is that the unexpected hour has come and we celebrate the Son who was born, whose light shined on us, who taught, who died, who rose for us. Each and every one of us has light shining through our cracks that heal each other when we see that light. The light that comes from that little babe, in the manger growing up to save each and every one of us. The little babe that brings us back into the right relationship with our loving God. The little babe's hand reaching up and out towards us.

You and I are called to offer the helping hand, the glancing smile, the warm embrace that will ....notice I didn't say might...will brighten someone's day...and perhaps yours will be too!  Sing loud...Smile brightly...Grasp the hands you touch more firmly and stay awake because the Son has come ....lowly, in a manger of humble beginnings a stature of the Living God.

The time is upon us... We will gather and worship. We will sing familiar songs. Perhaps we will smile more brightly and we will give thanks for each other in this Season of Advent. We gather together as the body of Christ, on Sundays, on The Longest Night, and on Christmas Eve... we give thanks for our King.. the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace who reigns forever and ever.  AMEN!

Hope, Peace, Joy and Love

November 20, 2013, 9:18 AM

No Do Overs

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried."  LUKE 16:19-22 NRSV
 I lifted up all summer long that we are called to action, to serve, to forgive and repent. Jesus calls us to be generous and serve compassionately in every way and every day. It is the result of our relationship with Jesus that being a disciple of Jesus is a way of life. This parable, is not a roadmap, or a how to, of the great beyond, but it reveals the certainties or the cause and affect our choices carry with them and that there are no do over's.
 Jesus does not teach us that riches are bad and poverty is good. Poverty is not a virtue. He stresses that abundance carries with it the responsibilities that God entrusts to us. We can choose many things but the real choice is how we live our lives, how we use the abundance that God gives us.  Notice that the rich man is not even named...because the rich man could be anyone of us and the poor man is lifted up complete with a name Lazarus, it personalizes those in need. It shows that our status in life here does not save us. We are reminded that only by the grace God offers are we saved it is not by our works or deeds. WE are called to serve!

I ask you to look backwards in Luke to see the "yeah well" to the selfish, "blind" rich man...The Good Samaritan, who saw another man close to death and provided him food, shelter, clothing, and medical care...anything that was needed....anything.

Jesus, in his "comedic" fashion catches folks off guard...those that are nodding thinking to themselves, puffing up their chests, "I sure am glad I am not like the rich man." Understand Jesus does not want us giving the scraps of our abundance to the poor! Instead, he commands us, his followers to not only give, help and support but seat the poor at our tables. Jesus doesn't let folks get too comfortable with themselves as we/they read this parable condemning the rich man as we are "baited" about those scrapes of abundance. The rich man does what most of us do, we turn our eyes away from the needs of others and spend our attention and most of our resources on ourselves. I dare not go on with this thread as I will go to another page as it is almost like going over the hour on Sunday! Most certainly another time!

Life determines destiny…
    Life determines eternity...
        Life determines eternal life...

There are no mistakes! WE continually need to be reminded that we are saved by Grace but we are called to serve in our faithful response to God's love. Did I just repeat myself....oh no!

What must I do to inherit eternal life?
The question is always in the air
    always in front of us and
        always following us.

I believe we all know the answer to the question...
    just like the lawyer did back in Luke 10 or
        the Rich Man or
            the Pharisees, the Sadducees or the Chief Priests.
Like the tax collectors,
    the disciples,
                deacons or
                    anyone who hears the words,
                        we know the answer to the question...

But is my neighbor really….
     that man on the grate begging for money?
                THERE ARE NO DOOVERS!

But is my neighbor really….
    that person shivering on the corner looking for warmth?
                THERE ARE NO DOOVERS!

But is my neighbor really….
    that woman who sees us we get our morning coffee and a donut?    
                 THERE ARE NO DOOVERS!                   

But is my neighbor really….
    the person limping along as a result of no medical care?
                 THERE ARE NO DOOVERS!      

But is my neighbor really....
    that person who sleeps on the streets whose roof is the sky?
                THERE ARE NO DOOVERS!
 Hear their cries...
    listen to their calls...
        see them...
            feel their pain...
                use the abundance God gives to us...      
                                                                            THERE ARE NO DOOVERS!

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