A wonderful exegesis of the Samson and Delilah story from one of my favorite writers.
In my quest to write my own Midrashim (alternate explanations for gaps in the biblical text, AKA biblical fan fiction), I’ve found that I’m drawn to stories about wicked women, like Jezebel, because I always wonder if the biblical authors were telling the whole truth or slanting the stories to fit their prejudices. It also […]
Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed, droops on the little hands, little golden head; Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares! Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.
Vespers by A. A. Milne
When I was a child I knelt every night at the side of my bed and said my prayers. Somewhere in the teen years this habit faded. I started worrying that I wasn’t praying properly. My pryaers became sporadic.
There is no right or wrong way to pray. Whether we do it formally together in church, by ourselves, or just talk to God as we go through the day, our prayers are still heard.
Prayer: Help me to learn that all of life is a prayer. But let me remember that time for intentional, concentrated prayer is important too.
Once again I am thinking about the prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book. There is one phrase that has had me thinking for quite a while. I suspect that I will keep on thinking about it.
“Loving God in whom is heaven”
What a unique way to see heaven. Not as streets lined with gold or some other image that we might conjure up….but God himself/herself. In God is heaven. Being drawn into God to become part of all creation. I love that idea.
I am sure there are other ways to interpret this phrase but that is the one I am pondering now.
I have heard that some evangelists are using this crisis to say that it is God’s wrath coming down on us for our evil ways. Well, there is one thing for sure. There are plenty of evil ways out there and have been since the beginning. Unfortunately mankind has not changed much over the centuries. There are still people who believe in doing good and people who don’t. In reality I believe that most people fall between the two. Some more on the good side and some on the bad.
The Bible tells us that we should strive always for the good. It also tells us that God is loving…he loves each and every one of us. He wants the best for us. He told us clearly in this passage from John
6 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Our God is a loving God. He did not send a pandemic but I’m sure he hopes we will learn from it. I reminded me of this song from my era. God asks”When will they ever learn?”
How often we create God to be what we want. Each of us has an image of God and I wouldn’t be surprised it they were all different. If we were raised as Christians our earliest images were probably Jesus with the children or some other pleasant and kind fatherly image. As we grow that image can change along with us. The more we learn the more we alter that image. We have to be careful to read the Bible and pay attention to the words of Jesus. His statements about and the parables give us an image to think about.
Jesus is God translated to us as we would translate a book. He makes God visible. His many examples of God’s kingdom teach us the way. The parables so clearly show the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught so that we would understand. There are many references to Jesus’ teachings on this. Here are just a few.
We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. Free will gives us the ability to make wrong choices. Sometimes those choices hurt other people. Sometimes the mistakes hurt us. The fact that we made a mistake is not important. What is important is that we acknowledge the mistake and learn from it. God knows that we will err and forgives us.
Vocation is not a goal to be achieved but a gift to be received. Every life experience becomes a vehicle for God’s call to be realized in vocation. In learning our limits and embracing failures, we can begin to recognize God’s particular gifts for us, which infuse our very being and form in us our unique vocation.
Doubt can be a scary word. As children we are taught that some things are just true and we accept that. As we grow older we begin to realize that not everything we were taught is true. Our exposure to the world makes us begin asking questions. Some of the truths that held us up are taken away. We find ourselves in a dark place.
Many of us believe that doubt is the opposite of faith but I don’t think that. I think the opposite of faith is disbelief. Doubt is not sinful. It is a nudge to push us forward. It makes us question and by doing so…grow. It makes us search for God and look in places we have not explored.
Don’t be afraid of doubt. Embrace it and look deeper, listen more, learn and grow.
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.
A study that I attended was about how people view God. Each of us has our own view and to define it can be difficult. There are some people for who God is part of something visual. They may feel closer to God in the church they have attended all their lives. The only difficulty comes when something in that building is changed. The connection can be shaken. That is why changing something we have associated with our faith all our lives can be so distressing.
We can’t stay connected to the past. We have to live in the present. The words of the service may change, the building may change but our faith must stay connected to Jesus Christ himself.