Be careful

Religion tends to prefer and protect the status quo or the supposedly wonderful past, yet what we now see is that religion often simply preserves its own power and privilege. God does not need our protecting. We often worship old things as substitutes for eternal things.

Richard Rohr

dont make idols

We have to be careful to remember what is really important. We can easily substitute “the way we have always done it” for God Himself. We can’t make idols of things that make us feel comfortable. Jesus spent a lot of time making people uncomfortable.

Stories

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Have you noticed that Jesus rarely answered questions. Most of the time he told stories. We call them parables. He was one of the best storytellers of all time. His stories always had a moral and always left us thinking about the meaning. Stories stick with people better than anything else. It is hard to forget about the Prodigal Son or the Good Samaritan. If we grew up Christian just the mention of these stories brings up images. Go to the New Testament. Pick out and read the stories.

It’s not fashionable

Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them. –Mother Teresa

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This is so true! Most of us would prefer to avoid the homeless or those begging on our streets. We see them as “less than” us. It’s as if we are concerned about becoming contaminated by them. We have to begin to look through Jesus’ eyes and see them as children of God just like us. Then we will be willing to talk with them.

Maundy Thursday

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”         Matthew 20:28

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It is so difficult to believe that someone would give his life for me. I don’t feel worthy of such a sacrifice. Think about it. You are standing on a street corner and a car comes up over the curb. The person next to you pushes you out of the way and is killed instead of you. Knowing this I would have to live my life differently.

That is why, knowing Christ’s sacrifice, I need to look carefully at how I am living my life.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for sacrificing your life for me. I am unworthy of your love. Bring my life closer to your example. Amen

 

 

 

Faith of convenience

A faith of convenience is a hollow faith.  ~M*A*S*H, Father Mulcahy, “A Holy Mess,” 1982

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Christianity did not begin as a belief of convenience. In fact, it was very inconvenient as the early Christians were persecuted and killed. Now that it is an “accepted religion” we take it for granted. It is convenient to go to church on Sundays. It is also convenient that we can choose to not go. It is interesting to know that Christianity is growing the most in places where Christians are persecuted. Maybe we are too comfortable.

Prayer: Patient God, move us out of our comfort zone and help us to not take you for granted. Amen

 

Hymn: “You have come down to the lakeshore”: Jesus is calling us

Today I want to share another hymn that is special to me. The words speak to me when I sing it. Truly God is calling each of us to follow. He wants us abandon our selfish ways and follow him. He want us abandon the things that are holding us back. Come, he says, I am waiting.

This is a favorite version as it uses the Spanish (and English) and is played in that style. It doesn’t have all the verses but is beautiful.

Lyrics:
You have come down to the lakeshore
Seeking neither the wise nor the wealthy,
But only asking for me to follow.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You know full well what I have, Lord;
Neither treasure nor weapons for conquest,
Just these my fishnets and will for working.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You need my hands, my exhaustion,
Working love for the rest of the weary,
A love that’s willing to go on loving.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You who have fished other waters;
You, the longing of souls that are yearning;
O loving Friend, you have come to call me.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You don’t have to know the result

I think this is the perfect time to center on a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

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I am sure that Christ had no plan to be the most important person the world has ever known. His plan was to teach us about his father and how to live our lives. Each of us has a choice each day to live as Christ taught us. What is right is always the thing to do. We don’t know what the impact of that choice will be. It doesn’t matter.

Follow Jesus

Isaiah has a clear picture of what we wait for during Advent. We wait for Jesus who can show us how to live. His life is our path. Follow it.

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Isaiah 61: 1-3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

1 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.

Who are you following?

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It is so easy to follow the crowd. Our society encourages us to conform. People who don’t follow the group are considered odd. Certainly if we follow Jesus and the things that he did we will be considered odd. After all helping the poor, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless are not high priorities for society as a whole. Yet we are called to do as Jesus did.

God, you want us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Help us to follow his path in spite of societies ideas. AMEN