Peace doesn’t come from the decree of a king, no matter how wise or just. Peace comes because “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.” Nelson Mandela’s Peace came from a deep gnosis that we each must play a part, large or small, in the realization of the interconnectedness of the world; an interconnectedness that is symbolized in the Nativity.
As we approach Christmas, may our Peace come from our commitment to the same goal.
We define our religion in terms of doctrine. But what about our faith? Religion is a set of rules and regulations. Faith is our living relationship with Theos. It’s the ongoing and sometimes unexpected encounter with the Divine.
Strong Man (Photo credit: Max-California)
“Strength” is expressed, and experienced, in all kinds of ways. And yet there are times when it seems as though many of us aren’t sure how to express the strength of our faith from a progressive stand point. We end up seeming uncertain or hesitant.
When we take time to reflect today, let’s make a point of considering how it is that we can express the strength of our faith “in every good work and deed.”
… comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:17
Feel The Noise (Photo credit: Blue Yonder)
In the Old Testament, the hymns – the psalms –frequently call for people to “shout out” and be “joyful.” This in spite of the fact that they also spend a lot of time talking about how God’s gonna wipe them out for being stiff-necked and selfish.
Personally, I prefer the former.
I also think that, following our theme of reflection for this week, that it’s worth our while to consider what it is that we have to be joyful about. Regardless of the challenges we’re facing, let’s take a few minutes to find one thing that we can center our thoughts on that could make us “break forth into joyous song.”
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. Psalm 98:4
An outer view of the Druze shrine of Prophet Job (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, Job 19:25-26
We would interpret the excerpt above in a totally different way than the people that the author of Job wrote it for. Job’s “Redeemer” wasn’t the Christ. He would have been a mediator – a lawyer- to make Job’s case to God that he didn’t deserve what was being heaped on him. What would he have thought, I wonder, in the context of the story, to find out that it was God who had set him up for it?
In a traditional Christian context, the “Redeemer” fixed our relationship with God. But in a progressive Christian context we know that our relationship isn’t broken. Perhaps our Redeemer, as mediator, can help us to understand what it means to live an inseverable relationship with Theos and all of Creation.
Before you start the daily routine of your life today, take a few minutes to consider what it means to live in the context of an all-encompassing network of mutuality.
Meditation (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)
Yes, the ancient Israelites might have thought of Yahweh in Zeus-god terms, but I still like this image.
Creation, totality of everything that exists, truly is glorious, splendid, magnificent, wondrous. The infinitesimally small bit of it that we’ve barely begun to understand hints at a complexity that boggles the mind. Is it any wonder that we resort to simplistic explanations, whether natural or supernatural? The full extent of the Truth is beyond our comprehension.
Today, let’s take a few minutes to reflect on the scope of that Truth. Not because we expect to unravel its mysteries, but because we are an integral part of it.
On the glorious splendour of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. Psalm 145:5
Of all of the elements of communication, language is the most critical part. The way we put words together, and the words we use, are essential to our ability to exchange ideas. And words change. So does culture. We no longer, for the most part , think of God as a “father” or people as “lost” and in need to correction to avoid “hell.”
But we do recognize that we need to expend some energy in order to develop our moral and spiritual lives. And when we do, just like Zaccheaus we may find that we’re moved to transform ourselves and those around us.
Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’ Luke 19: 8-10