Osama Where Are You?

Osama Where Are You?

On this day in 2011 Osama (whose name I will not type) was killed by US Special Forces. How has the world changed since then? Vengeance or judgment was served perhaps. A warning to terrorists was given. An evil hated filled criminal was taken from the world stage. Yet, are we safer – are we better off? The families of the victims of 9/11 surely wanted their loved ones death avenged – who can blame them?

Here is the bottom line for me – the hearts of humans must change. Hate and violence can not be the way we settle problems. Violence multiplied is more violence. I believe that the love of God changes hearts one at a time and that as a Christian we will continue to share this reality with the world. Removing one evil person at a time is not nearly as effective as changing the heart of an individual from hate to love – love grows exponentially when that happens. When we learn to serve and when we treat each other and the world as something that belongs to God we become stewards and not masters – we are no longer owners but caretakers.

On this day when President Obama walked in front of the cameras to announce that the United States had removed a person who carried out a heinous crimes against humanity -there was dancing in the streets. Now as Christians let’s do the harder work of taking the message of freedom that comes from love and service in the name of the one who went to the cross to save humanity. Let’s keep changing the world one heart at a time.

Be Well…

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Ascension Day is Coming

Ascension Day is Coming

The observance of the Feast of the Ascension – Ascension Day is May 1o, 2018. Bethany Church, where I serve will celebrate with St Paul’s Episcopal Church that evening at Bethany as a part of our exchange worship opportunities. We are inviting the whole community of LaPorte, Indiana to join us. This is an ancient “feast day” of the church.   Eusebius seems to hint at the celebration of it in the 4th century. At the beginning of the 5th century, St. Augustine says that it is of Apostolic origin – that is the apostles of Jesus began this celebration and St Augustine speaks of it in a way that shows it was the universal observance of the Church long before his time.

You can also find it frequently mentioned in the writings of St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and in the Constitution of the Apostles. The Pilgrimage of Aetheria speaks of the vigil of this feast and of the feast itself, as they were kept in the church built over the grotto in Bethlehem in which Christ is traditionally regarded as having been born. It may be that prior to the 5th century the fact narrated in the Gospels was commemorated in conjunction with the feast of Easter or Pentecost.

I stood in the Chapel of the Ascension just a few weeks ago and pondered this event and asked why we don’t celebrate it like it once was. This is a worship of promise. The promise of Christ’s return. The promise of a new heaven and new earth and of Christ being with us always “until the end of the age.” I hope that you celebrate it this year on May 10th.

Be Well…

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THINK

THINK

One of the things I’ve noticed lately is that many in the media believe that people should all think alike. If you do not think a certain way you do not fit in to the way Media-America thinks you should think. The problem stems from a lack of humility. There is a saying that goes…

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

Humility allows us to think about others and their opinions. We listen. We humble ourselves without immediately criticizing what others think and say. Proverbs 29:20 says, “Do you see someone who is hasty in their words? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” Listening to the thoughts of others helps us to humble ourselves to the reality that we are not the center of the universe of thought.

Be Well…

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Eastern Sky

Eastern Sky

On the slopes of the Kidron Valley in Israel across from the Eastern Gate of the old city are tombs, graves, crypts where thousands are buried. The understanding is that on “That Day,” the day of resurrection, the day of the Messiah’s coming or return, as we Christians understand it – the Christ will come from the East. This Sunday, once again the folks from my congregation will gather at our cemetery at 6:00AM to meet the sunrise. It may seem morbid to some but it was a natural place for Christians to gather when the religion was considered a sect and a dangerous one at that in the days of Roman occupation and persecution. It was a natural place to hide in plain sight. It would be normal for people to gather and mourn or remember those witnesses and martyrs who had gone before them in the faith. Then they might gather for prayer and worship.

Perhaps some will think it is weird or at least mildly odd that we should gather at 6:00AM to celebrate the Resurrection but among us are the faithful reminders of those who have gone before us. They have gained their reward and we look forward to that day when we will rejoice together with them as the Church in Heaven. The book of Revelation reminds us that God will make “all things new.” Indeed in this broken painful beautiful world there is a need to remake things in the image of the first creation. A creation that we have spoiled. Jesus resurrection reminds us of what God offers, not just to a select few but what is offered to all. Will we accept the gift – this call of grace that leads from a life that ends in death to new life?

Join me in celebrating this powerful hope we share.

Be Well….

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Kids Walking

Kids Walking

“And a little child shall lead them…”

Do kids have a right to demand that their schools are safe? Yes. We may not all agree how that should be done and these kids may be used by adults and politicians to make a point but let’s be clear – kids everywhere have a right to expect (even demand) that they be safe in school. When you go to learn you should not have to fear. We have passed the bullying stage of school violence and need to take seriously how we will make them safe. Talk is necessary but this above politics – ask leaders to work together to make this happen. Demand it.

Be Well…

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BEGINNINGS

BEGINNINGS

When I think of Jesus ministry and the beginnings of his impact on the world, I think of the Beatitudes. The practices of his followers become the fruit of the Christ Follower’s Life – this is the Church that was built on the site. It is a beautiful amphitheater like hillside where Jesus could speak to a crowd from the shore or a boat and cast a vision instead of a net. Faith built not on accomplishments and law but on love that flows out of a forgiven life and touching lives all over the earth. Read them…

Jesus said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward…..

We are blessed in the living out of these actions – these fruits. Not everyone is called to everything but some of you are called to a mission. It is not to put that mission upon the shoulders of others but for you to do it. You to find fellow disiciples to carry it out – to live it out. This is not a new “Law” but a life that flows from a relationship with Jesus.

Be Well…

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Decadence

Decadence

Herod the great was a show off for his Roman Sponsors. He wasn’t great because he was a great man or great leader but instead he was Herod the “Great Builder.” In Caesarea he built a port, a palace, and a playground for himself and his Roman bosses. He even built a twelve mile aqueduct to bring fresh water to fill his pool (next to the Mediterranean – which evidently wasn’t good enough) and supply the city with fresh water from the nearby mountain. Luxury and self absorption seemed to go hand in hand. Even Pontius Pilate lived here to escape the problems in Jerusalem. Now it all lies in ruins, a reminder that civilizations come and go and morph into other things. The Muslims, the Egyptians, the Crusaders, the Muslims again, the Israelies now control this city between Tel Aviv and Haifa.  Now we travel in relative peace and tranquility. Go see it if you can. These ancient sites like all things ancient fade over time. The bible reminds us, So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90

Be well and Shabbat Shalom…

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