3/30/2015

Hell is truth seen too late

Opening Litany based on Psalm 118

Give Thanks to the Lord (Psalm 118)

Pastor: Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose love endures forever.
 
Congregation: Let everyone say, God’s love endures forever.
 
Pastor: Open the gates of righteousness and we will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
 
Congregation: They are the gates through which I may enter and give thanks for the Lord has become my salvation.
 
Pastor:  I marvel when I see that which was rejected by the world, has become the foundation of humanity
 
Congregation: This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
 
Pastor:  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord, 
 
Congregation: with boughs in hand we will join the festal procession.
 
Pastor: You are our God and we give you thanks and exalt your name
 
Congregation: Give thanks to the Lord who is good and whose love endures forever.


Poem based on The Resurrection of our Lord Mark 16:1-8

Whom do you seek
in this temple dark
amid the stone and cold dust?
The one who was laid here
is held no more
by the limits of our world and trust.
He is not in this place
once dark and filled with death
where he was laid
in love and care.
He is risen and lives
He is risen and gives
life
Life
believe him
Life
Shout from the tops of buildings
Tell all the world
The one who was
King of the Jews
Is King of life for us
Go tell the others
Shout for Joy
---and sing
Everything that was of this world
Has been changed to what has been
The Kingdom is here
Do not be amazed
New Life breaks in
It is here
It is now
The temple has been rebuilt
Christ is Risen
Christ is Risen indeed

Christ is Here

Poem based on Maundy Thursday Mark 14:12-26

Sitting amid the ones who had come so far
was the Christ
the Immanuel
serving these few
Who were gathered at this table with him
(take)
and in a somber moment
that pierced through time
Christ looked at each of the ones gathered
And broke the bread
(this is my body)
to share with all there
in a way that had been done
in so many other Passover meals
and like no other meal
this moment
--held in time
--suspended between what was
----and what will be
was here
as the moment floated into eternity
he gave thanks
(this)
in this somber moment
that pierced through time
and took the cup
given to all
(is my blood)
that they might share with one another
what had been given them
(of the covenant)
feeling the presence of one another
in a new way
in the presence of this Christ 
the moment begin to pass
but not back into a world that was
the night was new
and almost alive
as Christ went out
(which is poured out for many)

to pray

Poem based on Good Friday John 18:1-19:42

Who is this man
They cried
This one
--welcomed just three days ago
as the Messiah
the one who would bring peace to the nation
peace to the world
who is this man
who claims to be the Son of God
who would dare to tempt
the systems we have set in motion
we are
--they cried with a voice united
civilized people
we have our laws and order
--and our punishments for those
--who like our friend here
--choose
----(or are chosen)
----to be more than we have room for
this Jesus from Nazareth
hung up there
in pain and death
--just like any common
--------------(scapegoat)
------------------criminal
the King of Jews
with no kingdom of this world
and few to follow
Our
--------(law and order)
------------------Justice has a way
to keep things from getting
out-------------of----------------control
with anyone
------(God)
who would disrupt
this life of ours
who
-------is this Jesus of Nazareth
-------(Father)
that he should come here
where we have things
as we want them
-----------(forgive them)
and want nothing more

------(for they know not what they do)

gift from God

Sunday April 5th, Isaiah 25: 6 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.  From the beginning of time, the shroud of death and fear has covered humanity.  Through Christ, that shroud has been lifted. Salvation is a gift from God and we are now free to live.  The gift has been given to all people, all nations, everywhere. Now we are called to share that good news with one another.  How can you show those close to you that the shroud has been lifted?  Amos calls us to do justice. In one small way today, bring some hope into someone else’s life.  Amos calls us to show mercy.  In some small way bring some kindness and mercy into someone’s life today.  Amos calls us to walk humbly before our God.  In some big way, live into the understanding that all you have is a gift from God.  Thank God in prayer for the ability to share the Gospel with who and whose you are this day.  

return the favor

Monday April 6th, Acts 10: 34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.  In the kingdom of God there are no favorites!  Not by choice of faith or fate of birth, no favorites in the Kingdom of God period!  As you go about your business today look around at the people you meet.  Each and every one is a child of God, and called to discover for themselves what that means and how to live as a child of God in this world. Each and every one has a unique story and history through which the story of God can percolate into a glorious gift of beauty for humanity. Each and every one has been saved by the Grace of a loving God.  Each and every one is your brother or sister in Christ and sometimes they, as well as you, are aware of that reality and sometimes they are not, but they never cease to be.  Pray today that you would be able to treat each and every one as a brother or sister, and maybe, just maybe, they will be able to return the favor.  That is part of the Easter Gospel, God's love poured out for all.  Ask God to bless you today from one of these unexpected new brothers or sisters, and then return the favor.

hold your tongue

Tuesday April 7th, Acts 10: 39 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. Even Paul, the most prolific writer in the New Testament, could not help himself from putting in a little dig against the Jews.  Maybe it was because Paul was a Jew.   Maybe it was because Paul used to be a Jew.  Probably it was because Paul suffered from the unbridled enthusiasm that newly non-smokers suffer from, evangelistic fervor.  Luther also had his evangelistic fervor when the Jews did not flock to this new Protestant understanding and were rejected by Luther, something for which the Lutheran Church has since apologized. We are not so different from Paul and Luther.  It is so tempting to get irritated and put in a dig in our comments, thoughts and prayers against an individual or group whose actions we find frustrating, often a group for which we have a present or former affinity. The new Indiana law legalizing prejudice is an example. Pray today that God would give you the strength to hold your tongue a little bit and when someone frustrates you, remember them as a child of God and pray for them. Little by little, with the help of God, the world will change.  Patience and giving room and time for God to work is a hallmark of maturity.  

forgiven

Wednesday April 8th, Acts 10: 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. There are many who have forgotten this lesson but….. Christ is the one who judges.  Christ is the one who gave his life that we might have forgiveness of sins and life eternal.  We are the ones who want to judge.  We are the ones who want to call the shots of who is in and who is out.  Think about the things Christ, as judge, will be forgiving you for this day.  Don't just think of the surface sins in our lives.  We all like to play the “I just want everyone to love one another and all my sins to be forgiven” game.  Christ deals with specifics in our lives and calls us to love those we find unlovable in particular.   Generalities are all just part of human original sin, judging others with a different standard than we use to judge ourselves.  Once you have completed the humbling experience of honestly judging yourself, and honestly receiving forgiveness for your real sins, do your part.  Forgive someone else today in the name of Christ for specific transgressions.  Try it!!  Don't just say, "O that's OK, nothing to worry about."  Try saying, "I forgive you, and you are forgiven for……… in the name of Christ."  Watch the world change around and within you.   

possibilities

Thursday April 9th, Mark 16: 3 They asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. Jesus' followers were still not expecting the resurrection.  The disciples were in hiding and the women followers were the ones who came to care for the body.  After all Christ had said and done, they expected the stone to still be there, the tomb to be occupied, death to have won.  Before we get all holier than thou, just remember, we would too.  Many of us still do.  We often shut our eyes and hearts to the wonders God has in store for us. We often shut our eyes and hearts to the hungry and needy.  We often shut our eyes and hearts to those whose opinions differ from our own.  We often shut our eyes and hearts to the children of God who see things different from ourselves.  Pray today that God would help you roll away the stone from your heart, from your own eyes, and open your mind to the possibilities in this world through Christ. Then pray that Christ will help you show those possibilities to others in the way you live your life.  Think back over the day.  In what way did the unexpected bless you?  Thank God for that blessing. Pass it on.  

fear not

Friday April 10th, Mark 16: 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!  In the history of humanity, this is one of the true mind blowing experiences.  After all the times Jesus had told them this would be the reality, they just did not manage to wrap their heads around this one.  When you boil it all down the message of God is one of "fear not."  It was given to Mary at the annunciation, it was given to the women at the tomb at the resurrection, it is given to us as sanctification.  We often however don't hear it.  There are many subtle ways we operate in fear.  We don't say something because we don’t know how someone will take it, which is another way of saying we don't know if they will still like us.   We don't pray in public, we don't talk about our faith or our doubts because it is too personal as if God died only for us and not the whole of creation.  For all of us who live our lives in fear, Fear Not, the Lord is with you.  Let those words echo into your heart today.  Let those words echo into your life today.  Let those words echo into the world today.  And may they echo off you.

Thank God today

Saturday April 11th, Mark 16: 7 Go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark is the earliest Gospel and some say the closest to reality.  The last line in the Gospel tells us they were afraid and didn't tell anyone.  I like that because it seems closer to where I would be in this story.  Christ knows that even with the fear not, we will still have fear.  It is interesting to note that Christ was going on ahead of them to Galilee. It is almost as if he knows what is really going to happen.   As we timidly step out as a Christian in this world, remember Christ has gone on before you to prepare the way.  Just as Christ used the woman at the well in Samaria as the first evangelists, here, the women at the tomb are the first post-resurrection evangelists.  The importance is not in their evangelistic expertise, it is in the story and the presence of Jesus.  Their task is not without fear in a world that will most likely reject them but in the presence of the risen Christ with them.  Christ has gone on ahead of you to break the new ground.  Thank God today that the way has been prepared and ask for the strength to go forward into the world and life Christ has prepared for you.  

3/25/2015

10w for March 29th, Passion Sunday, Matthew, NL.

The following is a 10-minute worship for March 29th, Passion Sunday, Matthew, NL.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List or you may text 10w to 2828 to sign up. The song for the day is: Weeping over Jerusalem by Dakota Road from the album Build Up  http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=product&id=83&parent=4

10w for March 29th, Passion Sunday, Matthew, NL.

The following is a 10-minute worship for March 29th, Passion Sunday, Matthew, NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List or you may text 10w to 2828 to sign up. The song for the day is: Born of Blood and Love by Bryan Sirchio from the CD J-Walking Songs for Justice Workers, it is a song honoring Archbishop Oscar Romareo  and others killed in El Salvador   http://www.sirchio.com/index.php?page=cds&viewas=list

3/23/2015

poem based on Sunday of Passion Mark 14:1-15:47

Some knew
--at least in part
what you were saying
some heard the words you spoke
so gentle
--so clear
about what was to come
your death
the kingdom
some heard
--and followed you because they heard
without fully understanding it
--there was an urgency in your eyes
----they could sense the pain
----the anguish
--in the moment
and silently
--lovingly
she anointed the one who would be the messiah
for what was to come
blessing that which was to be given
for all humanity
while the rest of the world was about its business
--its agendas
that pit one against another
this one knew
of the bud that was to burst into beauty
in a kingdom breaking in
to the business and agendas of our lives

with love

Opening Litany based on Psalm 31:9-16 (New International Version)


Pastor: Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.

Congregation: My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.

Pastor: Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends— those who see me on the street flee from me.

Congregation: I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.

Pastor: But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.


Congregation: Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.

Hosanna, today

Sunday March 29th, Mark 11: Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" The people were ready for a real King, not just a foreign dictator.  The celebration was festive and the crowds were caught up in excitement and hope as Jesus entered the city through the East Gate.  At that same time, entering the city through the West Gate, was Pilate dressed in all his military might and followed by the legions of soldiers.  He represented that foreign power and was moving into the city to maintain control during the Passover.  The Passover after all celebrated a time when the Jewish population won its freedom from an earlier political empire, Egypt.  Pilate was the presence and essence of the military authority who was here to protect the integrity and the image of Caesar, who was known as “the son of god” in this faraway place.  The timing and method of entry Jesus chose was a direct confrontation to the political and religious and military power represented by Pilate and the temple authorities.  Hosanna to the prince of Peace, not the lord of war.  Hosanna to the Hope of the World, not the control of the world.  Hosanna to “The” “Son of God,” not the son of god wannabe.  Hosanna to your hopes and dreams, but not necessarily your safety and security.  Hosanna, today…….. 

conflict

Monday March 30th,  Mark 14:1 Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. The chief priests and teachers of the law were a part of the ruling elite.  They had figured out their niche under this foreign domination.  They were also aware that if they did not maintain the order, Pilot would just come in with the military and maintain order his way.  Pilot’s way would involve lots of bloodshed and that niche of power and prestige enjoyed by the chief priests and teachers of the law would be gone.  They were the large landowners that possessed some of the land that Herod had taken from the peasants.  They were the ones who had the authority and power to rule under Pilate, maintain control and collect the taxes, and reap a good profit, while Pilate lived in more pleasant accommodations in Caesarea by the sea.  It was just another case of religion and politics working together hand in hand, to maintain control and the status quo.  It is the natural tendency of any religious organization, whether they call themselves organized or not. When it happens, it is always the integrity of the religion that loses.  How are these same scenarios being played out today?  

perfume

Tuesday March 31st,  Mark 14:7 She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."  Jesus has been telling the twelve disciples, on their journey from Caesarea Philippi to Jerusalem, what leadership entails.  They, like you and I most of the time, didn’t get it.  Judas takes a very pragmatic approach to ushering in the kingdom by forcing a confrontation between Jesus and the authorities.  Some say it was a plan he and Jesus had worked out all along, most others, and I agree, say he didn’t get it either.  I think most of us, most of the time, don’t get it.  Mark inserts the story of this unnamed woman between those two points.  In the midst of it all, she gave of herself totally and worshiped Jesus.  She was at her wits end which means she had very little of her ego to push and only Jesus to seek.  She exemplified the idea of the servant leader Jesus was trying to get through to the disciples.  She becomes the first Christian, worshiping what would be the risen Christ even before the crucifixion.  She got it.  Sometimes in the midst of life and, yes, even death, we forget what the center of both life and death is all about.  Sometimes we don’t get it.  We still think it is about “us” singular and not “us” as a part of the body of Christ.  Look to the example of this unnamed woman and follow Christ by being a servant leader.  In the midst of it all, she got it, and it starts with loving the Lord your God with all you heart, soul and minds.  

not to slip

Wednesday April 1st,  Mark 14: 10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.  Judas does get a bad rap.  It is nice to have a villain on which to place blame.  It absolves us of our responsibility.  What Judas did was place his own agenda ahead of Jesus’ plan.  He tried to get Jesus to do what “he” wanted him to do.  The messiah was recreated in “his” image.  Not much different from the rest of the disciples.  Not much different from you and I.  It has been going on since that tree thing in the garden.  The disciples didn’t get what the unnamed woman with the perfume got.  Judas didn’t get what the unnamed woman got.  Judas’ sin was that he acted on his inclinations as opposed to the other disciples who did nothing.  It is so easy to get caught up in that take charge doing, and in the process put Jesus in the back seat.  It is so easy to use Christianity to control others.  It is even easier to not get it at all and do nothing.  It is so easy to choose power and death over servant and life.  Judas stands as a warning to us all on how easily we can, and do slip into that same mindset as Judas and set in motion what we would want Jesus to do.  It is also a warning not to slip into the mindset of the rest of the disciples and do nothing.  Where are you on that continuum?

servant hood

Thursday April 2nd,  Mark 14:22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.  "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” Jesus renewed the covenant God made with Moses, not with more laws, but by sharing a meal.  Jesus redefined what had come to be understood as rules of right and wrong, with hospitality and the communal concept of sharing, servant hood and relationship. It was the continuation of the practice of Jesus to include everyone at the table and to see that all were feed.  This meal was a reminder of the feeding of the five thousand where the miracle was when the masses were inclined to share what they were hording and there was an abundance left over.  This meal was the Passover meal that celebrated the liberation from captivity from Egypt, and in practice now celebrates the liberation of humanity from all bondage.  Finally it is the taking of the body and blood, of the total giving of the self for the sake of the kingdom, to which we are all called.  It is servanthood, it is sharing, it is relationship, it is life.

joke

Good Friday, April 3rd, Mark 14:30 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "today--yes, tonight--before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times."  But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." It is not something we like to admit, but most of us have either laughed at or told off color or racial or sexual jokes.  These seemingly innocent gestures poke fun at and demean another person or group of persons created in the image of God.  These jokes deny the totality of Christ in your life.  To tell or laugh at them is to scream to the world, “I DO NOT KNOW HIM.”  By screaming, “I DO NOT RECOGNIZE THE WONDERFUL VASTNESS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.” We have all disowned Christ, not three times but three times infinity, and the beat goes on.  Pray today that God would kick you extra hard when you are about to laugh at or tell a “I do not know him” joke. And I mean, Extra hard!!

glimmer of light

Saturday April 4th, Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" There are times when we feel alone and abandoned.  On the cross, Christ faced the total abandonment of our love that sin represents.  When did you last feel totally alone or Abandoned?  Christ understands.  When did you last feel forgotten and misunderstood?  Christ understands.  When did you last feel used and abused?  Christ understands.  Often when we feel most alone, it is not that God is absent, but rather that we are in such a hole that all we can see is darkness.  Off in the distance there may be a glimmer of light, but we refuse to acknowledge it.  Find a copy of the poem footsteps, read it.  I know it is well worn and schmaltzy, but there are times it is still worth re-reading.   Remember your alone time, and know that God was with you then and will be with you in your next alone time, and always. Now read the 23rd psalm.  

3/20/2015

10w for March 22nd, Fill the world with a joyful noise. Lent 5.

The following is a 10-minute worship for March 22nd, Fill the world with a joyful noise. Lent 5.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List or you may text 10w to 2828 to sign up. The song for the day is: "Fill the Earth With Joy" by Jay Beech from the album, "Everyone Who Is Thirsty, Come!" 2002 Baytonemusic. Available for purchase at: www.baytonemusic.com

3/18/2015

10w for March 22nd, Sheep & Goats, NL.

The following is a 10-minute worship for March 22nd, Sheep & Goats,  NL. You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List or you may text 10w to 2828 to sign up. The song for the day is: "Fill the Earth With Joy" by Jay Beech from the album, "Everyone Who Is Thirsty, Come!" 2002 Baytonemusic. Available for purchase at: www.baytonemusic.com

3/16/2015

Poem based on 5th Sunday in Lent John 12:20-33



Perched on the end of its stock
Out of the reach of the ground
A grain grows
Golden
Full of life that is
And is to be
In the bringing forth of life
Not only to itself
But to all who partake

Lord help me
--(unless)
to face
--that which has been faced
--for generation after generation
--(a grain of wheat)
that which makes no sense
and yet is the only thing
--that makes sense
--(falls)
I fear what is to come to all
I fear accepting my death
As real
And facing the unknown
--(to earth)
even Christ’s soul was troubled
and felt agony
at the facing of what
--was
----to
------be
--------(and dies)
But I know
--in my innermost self
that to live
I must let go
To truly live
I must accept all of life
--even death
and not hang on to my self
--as god
--(it remains alone)
I thank you Lord
For your Son
Who died
--(but if it dies)
that I might live

--(it bears much fruit)

Opening Litany based on Psalm 98 (Narrative Lectionary)



Worship Leader:  Let us raise our voices and sing to the LORD a new song, for all the marvelous things the Lord has done, for the Lord’s right hand and holy arm have brought about salvation.

People: The LORD has brought this message of salvation before all nations and all peoples remembering the love out of which all things and all people were made.

Worship Leader:  Yes, truly all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God therefore let us shout for joy to the Lord over all the earth.

People: Let us burst into jubilant song with all kinds of music from the people as we sing and shout for joy before the Lord our God.

Worship Leader:  Let all of creation resound with songs of joy; let the sea and everything in it resound, let the world and all who live in it resound; let the rivers and mountains and all who live in them resound with clapping of hands and songs before the Lord our God.

People: for the Lord comes as a just judge for all the earth and will look upon all peoples and all creation with righteousness and equity


Opening Litany based on Psalm 51


Worship Leader:  Have mercy on us O God, with your unfailing love and great compassion blot out all our transgressions.

Congregation: Wash away all our iniquities and cleanse us from our sin. For we are aware of our transgressions, the thoughts of those things that stand between us and the God who loves us are always on our minds.


Worship Leader:  When it comes right down to it we realize that it is against God, and God only that we have sinned and done that which is shameful in the sight of God. 

Congregation: Should the Lord judge us, that judgment would be justified.  I have been full of myself and not God from the beginning, perhaps even before I was born. 

Worship Leader:  the Lord desires that truth would be an intimate part of who we are and the basis for teaching us wisdom that would guide our every move. 

Congregation: Cleanse us O Lord with your gracious good will, wash us with your grace and we will be clean.  Let us hear once again of your joy and gladness. 


Worship Leader:  Hide your face from all our sins O Lord and blot out all our iniquities.

Congregation: Create in us a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within us.
 
Worship Leader:  Welcome to Worship at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church. 


Beyond the 10 commandments



Sunday March 22th, Jeremiah 31: 31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt. As children grow in years, parents change the way they deal with them. The household rules for a 10 year old are much different than for a 3 year old. The Lord took the children of Israel by the hand and gave them a covenant at Sinai, the covenant we call the Ten Commandments. It was a good set of external rules for where the children of God were in life at that time. Now that they no longer need to be led by the hand, now that they have grown up a bit, it is time for something different.  Well, not really different, but a new way to get to the same old ideas that call us to love God and love others.  The reason we as a society hang on to the Ten Commandments so tightly is that it is easier to pretend we are in control with external rules than with the internal idea inherent in the call to love one another.  God calls us to that higher, more mature calling, to love one another.  We are called to move beyond the “what is in it for me, to what would be best for us”, and the move does not come easy.  Most of the political debate going on regarding taxes is based on arguing the point that what’s in it for me is the correct God given way to go.   What they just don’t get is God’s calling to the more mature nature within each of us to see the world not as a “me” but as an “us.”  

We are growing up



Monday March 23rd, Jeremiah 31: 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. God will still be our God and we will still be God’s children, but we are older and hopefully more mature now. Everything shouldn’t have to be laid out in black and white in front of us. Now that humanity is older and wiser as the children of God, we have some responsibility. We are not told what to do in every situation except to operate out of the love that God has shown us. It makes for disagreements and disunity, but also opens the door to opportunity and growth. Our spiritual maturity shows in whether we use the disagreements for discussion and growth or judgment and regression.  Our current political discourse has been regressing for a while. Hopefully a little discussion and growth can happen as we move in the other direction and the more mature voices among us get their voices.  Love God and love others; that is what life is all about.  All that judgmental, anti-women and gays and kill the vote talk is nothing more than the two year old temper and tempter tantrum making a lot of noise.  Hopefully they will soon tire and go to sleep and the adults can get some work done.  On top of all that, I am 66 today!!! Maybe I too am growing up. 

Remember your sins no more



Tuesday March 24th, Jeremiah 31: 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." The trouble with most expressions of Christianity is that we still try to teach our neighbor what is right or wrong according to us, and assume that it is what is right or wrong for them. Instead of inviting others to join in the conversation, we want them to sit down, shut up and listen to us as we pontificate. God would rather that we trust the word of God also in their hearts and join in conversation rather than coercion, correction and manipulation.  What if they make mistakes along the way??? It just proves that they are more like us than we want to admit and for that God has promised to remember their sins no more. The good news is that same promise extends to our pontification also.  

We want to see Jesus



Wednesday March 25th, John 12: 20 There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast. 21 They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: "Sir, we want to see Jesus. The Greeks refers not just to those from Greece, but to all from outside the Jewish faith. This new thing that Jesus was ushering into the world, it is not just for a few, it is not just for the frozen chosen, it is not just for those who have the correct knowledge or understanding, it was and is for all. This new thing is that all inclusive love that is the essence and attraction to a God of love who calls us to love one another. They will find out what being a part of the community of God entails soon enough. For now they simply want to see Jesus. Our job as the children of God is to help people see Jesus and announce that the kingdom is near.  Often their first glimpse of Jesus is the actions and acceptance by the ones who claim to follow this Jesus.  Soon, they, the ones who want to see Jesus, as we, the ones who think we know what Jesus is like but still have a lot to learn, will work out what this new community, with these new people, is, and how it operates.  Soon we will discover together the dynamics of this community’s expression of God’s love, forgiveness and calling.  That is when change happens again and we get to discover anew the new and ever changing dynamics of community living in the lap of God’s love.  When that ceases to happen, when we cease living in the lap of God’s love, community dies.   Remember, violence is inviting someone into a situation that must remain unchanged.  It is the kind of violence that kills community. 

Growth



Thursday March 26th, John 12: 24 "Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. We see this enacted again and again, year after year, and yet, it seems to escape us, or does it? Jesus uses the metaphor to explain not only his need to go to the cross, but our need to pick up our cross and follow. The more we hang onto life, the smaller that life becomes. As the days are getting longer and warmer, and as the wannabe green thumb begins to itch, see what nature can teach you about the God who created nature.  Birch trees grow in groups of three or more; last year’s plants that die to self, rise to new life; small little seeds, when nurtured and cared for can grow into amazing, life giving organisms; all the different plants need one another in order to grow healthily, bio-diversity, like all diversity, helps maintain that health.  The easy part is the learning, the harder part is the applying. We need to grow together, work together, give of ourselves and embrace the amazing newness of life and ideas in each and every generation. 

Don't hold on



Friday March 27th, John 12: 25 In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal. Lest you missed the lesson in nature, Jesus gives us a great big hint. This lesson spoken just before the crucifixion carries a double message of not holding on to your life, your ideas, you ego too closely and the call to pick up your cross and follow. Holding on tightly to your life won’t bring it to life; instead it will have the effect of snuffing the glory out of it. We are called rather to pick up our cross and love recklessly. In doing so, not only is our life saved, but the lives around us come to life a bit more. God’s love is about relationships, not rules.  Rules always tend to become about us and maintaining the status quo over time.  Relationships must always be fluid to grow and when they stop growing, they start dying. “The purpose of life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave with a well-preserved body, but rather to Slide in Sideways, completely used up, yelling and screaming, what a ride!” — Author Unknown.  I think that is the kind of life God calls us to.  

Glorify



Saturday March 28th, John 12: 27 "Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? "Father, get me out of this'? No, this is why I came in the first place. 28 I'll say, "Father, put your glory on display.'" A voice came out of the sky: "I have glorified it, and I'll glorify it again." 29 The listening crowd said, "Thunder!" Others said, "An angel spoke to him!" 30 Jesus said, "The voice didn't come for me but for you. Jesus began his ministry when he was baptized in the river Jordan by John, and the voice came from heaven saying, “this is my son in whom I am will pleased.” After teaching the disciples Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the mountain and was transfigured before them and the voice of God spoke, “this is my son, my beloved, listen to him.” Jesus then began the journey toward Jerusalem and the crucifixion, teaching the disciples along the way the meaning of being a self-giving child of God. And now in the garden, the Greeks, those outside the Jewish tradition came seeking this new teaching, this Jesus, and again the voice of God glorifies Jesus’ name for the sake of the whole world. The voice is for us. The message of God’s love, forgiveness, wholeness, the message of God’s kingdom breaking in, lives, primarily in the sharing of that message beyond our borders of comfort.  It is the theological equivalent of bio-diversity.  

3/12/2015

10w for March 15th, Sin Boldly, NL.

The following is a 10-minute worship for March 15th, Sin Boldly, NL.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List or you may text 10w to 2828 to sign up. The song for the day is: What do You Want From Me by Andra Moran from the CD Harmony Grove http://www.andramoran.com/store

10w for March 15th, God So Loved, L4.

The following is a 10-minute worship for March 15th, God So Loved, L4.  You can listen on the flash player below. You now also have the option of receiving these notices each week and on festival days by signing up for the 10W constant contact email list on the right side of the 10W blog where it says "Please Join our Email List or you may text 10w to 2828 to sign up. The song for the day is: Reign of Healing by Dakota Road from the CD All Are Welcome http://www.dakotaroadmusic.com/index.php?p=catalog&parent=4&pg=1

3/09/2015

Opening Litany based on Psalm 107


Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Many Troubles

Worship Leader: O give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good; and the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

Congregation: Let the redeemed of the Lord say so

Worship Leader: Let those redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, East, West, North and South say so.

Congregation: Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the mighty waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, the wondrous works in the deep. 

Worship Leader: For the Lord spoke and raised the stormy wind which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven and went down to the depths

Congregation: Their courage melted away in their calamity and they reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end and then….

Worship Leader: Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and the Lord brought them out from their distress and made the storm be still

Congregation: The waves of the sea were hushed and we were glad because they had quieted and the Lord had brought us to our desired haven

Worship Leader: Let us thank the Lord for the steadfast love and wonderful works the Lord brings into our lives

Congregation: We will praise the name of the Lord before all people.  As the redeemed of the Lord we will sing of the Lords goodness in this land


Poem based on 4th Sunday in Lent John 3:14-21



Lifted up amid the people
Lost and wandering
On their way
--to wherever God would lead them
full of hope
--and wonder
but lost
--without a country
--or land
--or a life
and at time illness would come
in this land far from any land
--that could be called their own
--or home
and for those people
--feeling so lost
--and ill
God gave them hope
That if any should look upon the serpent
Raised up amid the pain of their existence
They would be healed
Made whole
--through the gift of God
--to live again
--to love again
--to praise again

and for us
wandering in our desert
--of loneliness
--and pain
living so far from our longing
God has given
That part
That life
The Messiah
Christ of us all
Lifted up upon the cross
In an act that was meant to bring death
To Christ
--and to hope
but instead
--brings life
to all who gaze upon
this love of God for the world

and the beacon shines bright
in our lives of pain
illuminating the darkness within
and filling our lives
with the love of God

and forgiving us our sin

So you wanna go back to Egypt?



Sunday March 15th,  Numbers 21: 4 They set out from Mount Hor along the Red Sea Road, a detour around the land of Edom. The people became irritable and cross as they traveled. 5 They spoke out against God and Moses: "Why did you drag us out of Egypt to die in this godforsaken country? No decent food; no water--we can't stomach this stuff any longer." So you wanna go back to Egypt where it's warm and secure. Are sorry you bought the one way ticket when you thought you were sure? You wanted to live in the land of promise but now it's getting so hard. Are you sorry you're out here in the desert Instead of your own back yard? Eating leaks and onions by the Nile, Ooh what breath for dining out in style, Ooh, my life's on the skids, building the pyramids. Well there's nothing do but travel and we sure travel a lot, 'Cause it's hard to keep your feet from moving when the sand gets so hot. And in the morning its manna hotcakes, we snack on manna all day, and we sure had a winner last night for dinner flaming manna soufflé. From Keith Green’s song, “So you wanna go back to Egypt” Some people just want to complain no matter what God gives them. I think it is the old wanting to be in charge thing, I prefer to let God be God. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD9W61KZYxk&feature=related

Hell is truth seen too late



Monday March 16th,  Numbers 21: 8 GOD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it on a flagpole: Whoever is bitten and looks at it will live." 9 So Moses made a snake of fiery copper and put it on top of a flagpole. Anyone bitten by a snake who then looked at the copper snake lived. The first thing to do with a life threatening issue is to face it. Only then can you start to deal with the issue. Sometimes the issue is so great it is difficult not to face, like the economy.  Sometimes, the big issues of the day only serve to hide some smaller, but very important issues, like our continued new “isms” of gay rights, women’s rights, voter rights, abortion choice rights, family planning rights, etc.   There is even the continuing resistance to deal with climate change.  Perhaps Now is the time to face these and other critical issues.   Whether or not there is a natural cyclical pattern that is contributing to global warming, dumping millions of tons of garbage into the atmosphere, rivers and oceans is not helping. Going back to the 50’s on women’s reproductive, economic and family planning rights is not helping.  Turning voter rights back to the Jim Crow days is not helping.  Overturning the lessons learned in the last great depression is not helping.  Hell is truth seen too late and if we don’t stop the bozos on the far right, it will be hell.  The Kingdom is near, let us build a world that comes close to God’s vision of peace, rights and hope for all. 

"all" saved by grace



Tuesday March 17th Ephesians 2: 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. The “us” that is referred to in this statement of God’s love and mercy is not just the “you and me.”  The “us” is the “all” of us. One of the real tragedies we constantly have to deal with is the loss of the “all” feeling in the word us. We are constantly flipping the “We” over into a “Me.” When the young man tried to get Jesus to define who the neighbor was, Jesus told him the story of the Good Samaritan and asked who acted like a neighbor. It is not about who they are, it is about who we are. When we find ourselves defining “us” in the narrow sense, it is because our hearts can only conceive of love in a narrow sense. God is not limited by the narrowness of our prejudice. God loves all creation, all cosmos, all children. The reality is that God deals with all of God’s children with grace, and fortunate are the ones who “get” that. Our job is not to narrow the focus, but to go into all the world with the message that the kingdom is near, God’s love is near, God’s grace is near, and we, your brothers and sisters are near.  It is when we start to get the nearness and the inclusiveness of who our brothers and sisters are that we start getting it also.  

Because we are saved



Wednesday March 18th,  Ephesians 2: 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. What good works has God prepared in advance for you to do today? It is true we are saved by grace. The next step however is to reach out and be graceful to others. It is when we move from being recipients only of God’s grace to being the bringers of God’s grace that we really start to get it.  In the midst of every crisis is an opportunity. The crisis we are now facing is a crisis of major power change. For the last thirty years, there has been a steady flow of power and wealth to the top at the expense of those on the bottom. This ripple in the comfort zone of the haves is getting much more attention than the plight of the have nots has ever gotten.  Can we grasp this economic difficulty as an opportunity to work toward the economic changes needed to overturn the direction of the last 30 years and open the door to the poorest in the world?  As we cut back on the number of times we go out to eat, can we find an opportunity to allow someone we don’t know to feed their children at home?  For the sake of our brothers and sisters in Christ we have never met, and never will meet, can we give up 1% of our future wealth to help bring about an increase in their survival? In the story of the Good Samaritan, who do you want to be remembered as, the one who maintained their righteousness through purity and passed by or the one who was truly righteous in God’s eyes and stopped to help? We are saved by grace it is true, but it is not, as Bonhoeffer would say, Cheap Grace. It is Costly Grace that compels us into action. Not action to be saved, but action because we are saved, because we are the children of God, because we are, like it or not, brothers and sisters in Christ. 

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