Archive | November, 2012

Proper 29 Year B (11/25/12)

17 Nov

2 Samuel 23:1-7 or Track 2 Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Psalm 93

Revelation 1:4b-8

John 18:33-37

Psalm 132:1-13,(14-19)

I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the Lord,
 a dwelling-place for the Mighty One of Jacob.

Opening Questions

  • A wise man once said, “To lead, one must follow”.  How do you interpret the meaning of this phrase?
  • Why might leaders benefit from a more open exposure of their guiding principles/values than followers? 

Appointed Passages

2 Samuel 23: 1-7

1Now these are the last words of David:

The oracle of David, son of Jesse,
the oracle of the man whom God exalted, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the favourite of the Strong One of Israel:

2The spirit of the Lord speaks through me,
his word is upon my tongue.
3The God of Israel has spoken,
the Rock of Israel has said to me:
One who rules over people justly,
ruling in the fear of God,
4is like the light of morning,
like the sun rising on a cloudless morning,

gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.

5Is not my house like this with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.
Will he not cause to prosper
all my help and my desire?
6But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away;
for they cannot be picked up with the hand;
7to touch them one uses an iron bar or the shaft of a spear. And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.

  • Can the reference to “house” (v.5) include a sense of your character or perhaps your family legacy/dynasty ?
  • How do you interpret the “ruling in the fear of God” (v.3)?  If humility a requirement, how do we teach it?
  • What do you think is contained in the “everlasting covenant” (v.5)?

Revelation 1: 4b-8

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7Look! He is coming with the clouds;
   every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
   and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen.

8 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

  • Does the phrase “firstborn of the dead” (v.5) imply Jesus brings a new spiritual era? If so, how is it different?
  • Assuming you and your community are a spiritual “kingdom” (v.6), what is your responsibility to help it grow?

John 18: 33-37

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’

  • What ideals (principles) are more important to you than life itself – and do you spend enough time thinking about them?
  • While we always need ultimately to hear the truth, how do we ensure our openness to receive it?
  • What does someone have to do or be in order to “belong” (v.37) to the truth?

Comment

The angle that is interesting in the exchange between Pilate and Jesus is one of comparative power.  Pilate was indeed ruler over all local affairs and thus had the power to make and enforce all community decisions – including the ultimate choice to send Jesus to his death.  But Jesus’ response was to reference a higher power – something more important.  Something he knew was significantly better.  The irony is that Jesus was right, but being put to death was the ultimate demonstration of living his convictions – and thus more powerful and profound.

The intriguing thing is that we have the freedom to choose exercising this same power – that of living our convictions of belief in God and the principled examples of humanity provided by Jesus.

In this day and age, we have riches of choice unparalleled in human history.  Creature comforts, global communications,  travel, services to the Nth degree – amazing really.  But what is important – and enduring – is how we use them to grow our knowledge of and commitment to principles of living a meaningful life.  Most importantly, how those principles guide our interactions – and thus the quality of – our relationships with others.

My prayer for each of us is that we embrace the power of living our convictions.  Every day provides an opportunity to improve relationships with God, family, and our community in the choices we make.  I hope we all periodically think deeply about the important consequences of our choices.

 

Quotes for Today:

We know the truth, not only by the reason, but by the heart.

Blaise Pascal

 

There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles. 

Stephen Covey

 

Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future. 

Edwin H. Friedman

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Proper 28 Year B (11/18/12)

10 Nov

1 Samuel 1:4-20 & 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (as a canticle)  or Track 2 Daniel 12:1-3

Hebrews 10:11-14(15-18)19-25

Mark 13:1-8

Psalm 16 (Track 2)

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.               

Opening Questions

  • How does the act of prayer bring the ability to heal?
  • How does the act of prayer bring the opportunity to learn something about yourself?
  • When we experience tough times, should we pursue different (perhaps more creative) prayers? 

 Appointed Passages

 1 Samuel 1:4-20

4On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; 5but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. 6Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7So it went on year after year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8Her husband Elkanah said to her, ‘Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?’

9 After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord.  Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. 11She made this vow: ‘O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.’

12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14So Eli said to her, ‘How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.’ 15But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.’ 17Then Eli answered, ‘Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.’ 18And she said, ‘Let your servant find favour in your sight.’ Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.

19 They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked him of the Lord.’

1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Hanna’s prayer as a canticle for today)

2Hannah prayed and said,
‘My heart exults in the Lord;
   my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
   because I rejoice in my victory.

2‘There is no Holy One like the Lord,
   no one besides you;
   there is no Rock like our God.
3Talk no more so very proudly,
   let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
   and by him actions are weighed.
4The bows of the mighty are broken,
   but the feeble gird on strength.
5Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
   but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
   but she who has many children is forlorn.

6The Lord kills and brings to life;
   he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
   he brings low, he also exalts.
8He raises up the poor from the dust;
   he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
   and inherit a seat of honour.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
   and on them he has set the world.

9‘He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
   but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
   for not by might does one prevail.
10The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
   the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
   he will give strength to his king,
   and exalt the power of his anointed.’

  • Does the goal of bearing a son have the same significance in our culture today as in Hannah’s time?
  • Does a woman’s ability to bear children place a special responsibility on them (vs. men)?
  • The birth of a new child is joyous, but is accompanied both initially and over time with many challenges – including personal pain and discomfort (primarily for the mother, but fathers are not totally exempt – speaking from experience).  How are these challenges different from the other difficulties in life?

Hebrews 10:11-14(15-18) 19-25

11 And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God’, 13and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’ 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

16‘This is the covenant that I will make with them
   after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
   and I will write them on their minds’,
17he also adds,
‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.’
18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

19 Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

{Montreal Commentary:  Christ’s sacrifice allows us to enter into God’s presence (“sanctuary”, v. 19) boldly, now that there is no longer a barrier (“curtain”, v. 20) between the faithful and God, and since Christ is “a great [high] priest” (v. 21) who has sacrificed for the Church (“house of God” ), we have three privileges/duties: we can and must –

  1. approach God in faith with clear consciences (v. 22);
  2. hold fast” (v. 23) to our statement of faith (made at baptism), reciprocating God’s fidelity to us, and
  3. stimulate the expression of “love and good deeds” (v. 24) in others.}
  • What action is necessary for us to take in order to receive forgiveness for our sins?
  • How does taking these actions affect the quality of the relationships you have with family and community?

Mark 13: 1-8

1As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!’ 2Then Jesus asked him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’

3 When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?’ 5Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. 6Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

  • If buildings are temporary, what aspects of life are permanent and thus deserve greater attention?
  • Jesus suggests we expect continuing life challenges.  How do we translate them into personal growth?
  • Jesus seems to be suggesting (“Many will come in my name and say,’I am he!’”) that we should carefully assess the motivations of our leaders (particularly those whose articulated goal is to help guide our souls).  If so, how can we do so?

Comment

We are reminded today of the success of prayer by the old testament lesson from Samuel when Hannah’s prayer was answered with a son.  Then, the new testament (Hebrews) directs that through the life and death of Jesus, we have three priviledges (perhaps also construed as duties) to approach God with clear consciences, hold fast to our faith, and stimulate the expression of “love and good deeds” – apparently by our personal example.  Finally, Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of Mark that our world is not enduring – and that perhaps we ought continue to remember our earthly existence is transitory – it will end.

The value of thinking about these things is to come to grips with what is enduring.  If our world and all the physical things in it are not the point, then what is?  I think the point is our ability to live hardships by engaging personal strength from our faith.  This strength translates into resilience which allows us to endure yet transform the bad times into building strong character.  There is an old Marine Corps saying that comes to mind, “…if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger”.  I submit that this may be true; but only if you have the right attitude and know how to learn from the mistakes and difficulties that sometimes seem to hit you randomly in life.

There is another key element; the impact of life’s experiences on those around us.  Relationships are the true testing ground for character.  How we translate life’s difficulties into stronger relationship – or perhaps the personal strength to walk away from relationships that we have learned cannot work – thus freeing up our time and ability to forge new relationships with more beneficial results – is an unusually important skill to develop.

My prayer for all is that we reflect on the impact of life’s challenges to our heart and soul.  Do we reflect the love of God in our hearts and use it to temper the needs of others in strengthening our relationships? 

Quotes for Today:

Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.

Edith Wharton

These days people seek knowledge, not wisdom. Knowledge is of the past, wisdom is of the future.

Vernon Cooper

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Proper 27 Year B (11/11/12)

10 Nov

Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17 or Track 2 1 Kings 17:8-16 & Psalm 146:4-9

Hebrews 9:24-28

Mark 12:38-44

 

Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house,

those who build it labour in vain.               

 

Opening Questions

  • When you believe strongly in someone or some thing, does it enhance your capacity to change?
  • Assuming you are free to choose whom you feel strongly about, what should affect your choices?
  • Is the faith you have for a human being the same faith as you have for God?  If different, how?

Appointed Passages

Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17

1Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. 2Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing-floor. 3Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing-floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4When he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.’ 5She said to her, ‘All that you tell me I will do.’

13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. 14Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.’ 16Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. 17The women of the neighbourhood gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi.’ They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.

{Montreal Commentary: “….Obed becomes grandfather of David (4:17), and here is the point of the story: David had foreign blood [from his lineage], so marrying foreigners is acceptable. (In Matthew 1:5 and Luke 3:31-32, Obed is listed as an ancestor of Jesus.)  Therefor people of all nations have a place in God’s family.}

  • What sort of security is created by forging relationships that translate into family?
  • What elements of “legacy” are important to develop through family relationships?

Hebrews 9: 24-28

24For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; 26for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgement, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

  • In what ways do you make sacrifices of yourself for your family?
  • Does your relationship with Jesus resemble that of a family member?   Should it?
  • How are faith and the strength of a relationship related?

Mark 12: 38-44

38 As he taught, he said, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, 39and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! 40They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’

41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’

{Montreal Commentary:  Certain scribes, as legal trustees of a widow’s estate, charged exorbitantly for their services. The fee was usually a part of the estate, but some took the “widows’ houses” (v. 40). Some kept up an appearance of piety. They will be judged harshly in the greatest court of all on Judgement Day.  Jesus’ disciples are not to be like them.}

  • Is one measure of character the amount of our gifts of time and wealth to others?
  • Are our motivations for giving them more important than the amount?  If so, how do you measure the “rightness” of motivations?
  • How are motivations related to faith?

Comment

How strong is your faith?  I suspect your first thought is “relative to what?”  The interesting question to me is to grapple a bit with the statement made in the opening questions above; specifically, “When you believe strongly in someone or some thing, you receive the capacity to change.”  It seems to me that our capacity for personal change (we hope for the better), is enhanced by strong convictions.

It would also seem to me that strong convictions in many cases are the response to actions of others.  Perhaps being the recipient of a gift (say an act of love that we didn’t feel we deserved).

Prudence suggests that we be appropriately judicious in deciding who is worthy of our faith.  Human beings are subject to human frailty – and we can be taken in by trusting someone whose motivations are for self interest at our expense.  But then again, life is a balancing act – sometimes we have to give of ourselves in the interest of changing those who have not experienced true love.

I’m reminded of the story in Les Miserables when the thief steals the silver from the church.  When he is caught and brought back to the church by the police, the priest, knowing the truth, simply says, “I gave them to him as a gift”.  The thief’s life was irrevocably changed.  He became committed to a life that reflected the gift he had received from the priest by actively doing things for others.

My prayer for today is that we understand the value of our ability to give the capacity of change to those who are ready to receive it – and are motivated by the example of our Lord Jesus and his love of humanity to take action.


Quotes for Today:

When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.

Anais Nin

 

Faith is not belief. Belief is passive. Faith is active.

Edith Hamilton

 

Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.

Mary McLeod Bethune

Proper 26 Year B (11/4/12)

10 Nov

Ruth 1:1-18 or Track 2 – Deuteronomy 6:1-9 & Psalm 119:1-8;

Hebrews 9:11-14

Mark 12:28-34

 

Palm 146

Praise the LORD, O my soul!               

 

Opening Questions

  • What does it take to love someone with all your heart, soul, and mind?
  • Is love toward God the same as love toward your neighbor?
  • Does love require creativity?

Appointed Passages

Ruth 1: 1-18

1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3 But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 These took Moabite wives; the name of one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there for about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons or her husband.

6 Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had had consideration for his people and given them food. 7 So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. 8But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.’ Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. 10 They said to her, ‘No, we will return with you to your people.’ 11 But Naomi said, ‘Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, 13 would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.’ 14 Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 So she said, ‘See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.’

16But Ruth said,
‘Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.

17 Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!’
18 When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

  • What was the source of Ruth’s commitment to Naomi?
  • Have you ever felt that sort of commitment to or from someone?  If so, how does it change you?

Hebrews 9: 11 – 14

11 But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), 12 he entered once for all into the Holy   Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!

  • Does the phrase “purify our conscience from dead works” simply mean that if we accept Jesus as our Lord and savior, that we become purified?
  • Is communion a requirement for salvation, or a reminder of it’s existence?

Mark 12: 28 – 34

28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that “he is one, and besides him there is no other’; 33 and “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and “to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’–this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

  • Does your expression of love to someone other than yourself require a response?
  • Does love come with any conditions to be valid?

Comment

The quote from Mark’s Gospel “…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…..” is part of the liturgy celebrating our faith.  We say it all the time, but does it really reach into our minds and trigger a response?  When you think about it, it’s a pretty tall order.

Particularly in today’s age of such seeming division of political and cultural viewpoints, we have a difficult time getting close to other people.  It is ironic that in a huge expansion of access via the web, we seemingly have a more narrow view of the communities we build or perhaps even less direct personal connections with those around us.

My take on today’s gospel is that we experience God’s love by living it.  How?  By our fundamental belief in his presence in our lives as a catalyst for touching His spiritual presence in others by our words and deeds.  Love is not an ethereal concept that we talk about abstractly.  It is an element of our character that forms the foundation of who we are – IF – we learn to recognize and embrace it daily in our lives.

One way to think of actively embracing Gods love is in building community.  I believe we need community – defined as a group of caring individuals who become somewhat like a family by embracing the needs of the group and taking action to support them.

In the process, we all grow personally by knowing others – not just superficially – but on a deeper more personal basis.  We recognize others strengths and most importantly weaknesses – and position ourselves to help overcome them.  We all become better through collaboration of views and exchanges of ideas.  Most importantly, we hopefully gain respect for others that seems in short supply today.

My prayer is that we work toward a more connected life as faithful Christians.

 

Quotes for Today:

Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.

Andre Gide

 

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

Erich Fromm

 

The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.

Pierre Abelard

 

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.

George McDonald