Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Be of Good Cheer

Dear Friends,

Be of good cheer, because you belong to Jesus Christ … we all do … the whole of humanity, and all creatures great and small.

Today, you will face challenges – it’s the nature of life to challenge us, even frighten us, because life is so large and we all know how tiny we are. The best way of meeting such a challenge is to be honest about it – life is huge and we’re tiny. And all the bravado in the world, all of our huffing and puffing and chest-thumping doesn’t change it one lick.

Huffing and puffing, we get red in the face.
Chest-thumping, we hurt ourselves.

In reality, we can only be truthful, and that means God!

And what God has given to us in Jesus Christ …

A cross in which the worst is met … and the empty tomb, in which the worst is overcome.

In Christ, we have our daily hope, our daily bread … in Christ, however the worst may come our way, whatever its dimensions, it has already been met in the cross of Christ, and overcome in the empty tomb … the risen Christ takes us by the hand through all of it.

So, be of good cheer.

Face your life with the faith of Christ – that Christ is faithful to us, no matter what … in all of life, and in all of death … in the best of times and in the worst of times … in body and soul, here and now, then and there – all of it, the whole of it – nothing overlooked and nothing beyond the work of grace.

Face your life with honesty … for we are small.
Face your life with faith … for Christ is good.

Live your life with good works … for this is the way of Christ.
Live your life for others … for this is the love of Christ.


Friday, August 13, 2010

August 18, 2010 - Cream for Your Coffee

The courage to think outside the box!

Dr. Thomas C Peebles isolated the measles virus, and it was his discovery, early in his career that led to the vaccine now used so successfully.

Later in his career, Dr. Peebles wrote:

I am sure, as is often the case in scientific endeavor, that much of the successful recognition and isolation of this virus lay in perseverance, newness to the field, and failure to be bound by the preconceived ideas that caused others in the laboratory to miss this new effect.  ~ from the LA Times, August 13, 2010.

Thinking outside the box is a hallmark of the heroes of our faith and the God whom they serve.

Folks like Sarah and Abraham think and live outside the box ... and Moses and a Deborah ... the prophets who dreamed the dreams of a just and faithful world for everyone ... the Apostle Paul who thought and lived outside the box and built bridges where others dug chasms ... and down through the centuries, the women and men who dreamed big and thought far and wide.

Sometimes they were called heretics and trouble-makers. Sometimes they were imprisoned or burned at the stake, as they followed the biggest out-of-the-box thinker of them all - Jesus of Nazareth. I always envision the moment in heaven when God announced that God's Son would be born in our midst, like one of us, and born humbly, in a stable in a small town in Palestine. I can only imagine angels, with their jaws dropped, hands held tightly to the sides of their head (Do angels say, O my God?) - because it was such a daring move on God's part.

When Jesus walked this good earth to announce that the Kingdom of God was close at hand, close enough for us to grasp it and begin to live it, some folks though he was nuts, or even dangerous, and when he suggested that it was possible to love God without the temple in Jerusalem, the temple-folks got hot and bothered and collaborated with their enemies, the Roman overlords, to do Jesus in. Because he dared to think outside the box - just like God. But those who thought they knew so much God couldn't stand the real God at all.

Because love is infinite.

The temple-people said, "No, it's not that big!" And Jesus said, "Yes it is, and bigger still."

It takes courage to live and think outside the box, but thank God for those who do.

Chances to think outside the box come our way infrequently (thankfully), but when they do, and today may be day for you, at work, with a friend, a new idea, a challenging opportunity - who knows - to think and live outside the box.

Others may advise caution, but sometimes we have to throw caution to the wind. Others may shout "tradition," but we may have to say, "Shed the shackles of tradition!"

Jesus did ... and so did Dr. Peeples.

We worship a God who always surprises us with daring ideas, and to everyone reading this today, live your courage!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 4, 2010 - Cream for Your Coffee

I may not be totally perfect, but parts of me are excellent!

~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Our lack of "perfection," whatever that may be, keeps us humble with others, and keeps us learning and growing. The excellent parts bring us joy and help us make a lasting contribution to our world.

Enjoy the day, it's the day the Lord has made for you.
You will meet people who test your spirit.
You will meet people who surprise you with their love.

You will meet yourself, coming and going.
You will read something good.
You will eat something delicious.

You will hear a bird sing and be delighted.
You will see a face and see the face of God.
You will say something profound and wonderful.

Someone will thank you.
Someone will bless you.
Someone will give you a helping hand.

Such is life ...
To God be the glory ...
And to all, a good day!

Pastor Tom