Our Road to Damascus – Good News for April 23

23 04 2010

Acts of the Apostles 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.

He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”

The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight.”

But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”

So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

The Daily Path: Friends, I ask you to read this passage carefully and often. The story of Saul’s conversion is so important to each of us. Just allow it to sit with you. Look within your own life, as I have with mine, to see similarities between Saul’s road to Damascus and our own journey.

How do we persecute in our lives? How are we called to see? Will we say “yes” when asked? Will we get up off the ground and open our eyes?

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The True Promise – Good News for April 21

21 04 2010

John 6:35-40

Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”

The Daily Path: Earlier this week, a good friend and fellow traveler in the journey shared in confidence the struggle that he and his family are coping with. They are experiencing pain that I pray I never have to feel in my own life. As he described the circumstances, I was vividly reminded that man will let us down, but God won’t.

More and more I’m allowed to witness our inherent weakness. Even those closest to us will ultimately fail to provide what we need. Often the trust we place in them will be betrayed. Jesus experienced this time and again with those he deeply loved in his time of earth. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised when this happens to us. However, we should put our faith in the one true promise, the real hope, that God provides each of us in His Son.

Everyone and everything else will fail in time, but I believe in God’s promise, that through His Son, I will find eternal life at the end of my journey. Of this I am certain… He will not let me down.

Room to Chat: Father, there is one among us who needs the Spirit to deal with the challenges he currently faces on earth. Some whom he has looked to in this life have let him down. Bring Your grace to life in this man and his family so they may find hope in Your truth and strength in the promise of Your Son, Jesus, the Christ. At the same time, may they also find the power of forgiveness, just as Jesus demonstrated when those He loved on earth let Him down.





Ancient Posse – Good News for April 19

19 04 2010

John 6:22-29

The next day (after Jesus feed 5,000 with a couple of fish and a few loaves), the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks.

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”

So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

The Daily Path: Jesus had a posse. Just like today’s sports stars in the NBA and NFL, Jesus had a bunch of hangers-on looking to feed off of his star. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells them to get a life… a true life that focuses on God, not the glittering “bling” of this earth. Now that’s a role model!





Proclaiming – Good News for April 18

18 04 2010

Acts of the Apostles 5:40-42

After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.

And all day long, both at temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus.

The Daily Path: I  wonder if I will have the courage to take my flogging and continue to proclaim?

Today is Sunday. Where will you find the Messiah?





Your Destination – Good News for April 17

17 04 2010

John 6:16-21

When it was evening, the disciples of Jesus went down to the sea, embarked in a boat, and went across the sea to Capernaum. It had already grown dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.

When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they began to be afraid. But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.”

They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.

The Daily Path: Take Jesus into your hearts and you’ll immediately arrive at THE destination.

“It is I. Do not be afraid.”





Common Miracles – Good News for April 16

16 04 2010

John 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.”

One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”

Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.

When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

The Daily Path: “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”

I’ve heard stories of the days of The Great Depression in the U.S…. yes, that would be the FIRST one that began in 1929 and lasted for most of a decade. During those times relatively few people had abundant reserves of anything. Yet, it was common for those who had a little something to share it with those who had nothing. A meal intended for four was stretched to provide sustenance for seven. More water and another precious potato was thrown into a pot of soup so the family next door could eat.

Once again, we are experiencing widespread economic crisis. I don’t think I need to remind anyone of what is going on. All you have to do is follow the news. However, today’s Gospel from John is very timely for all of us…

Common miracles occur every day. The realm of miracles is not that of Jesus alone to perform. Each of us are miracle workers in our own way. Miracles come in all shapes and sizes. Was one neighbor providing a helping of soup to another neighbor a colossal act? Of course not. It was a small sacrifice, but no less a miracle to the out-of-work father who couldn’t provide a meal to his children that evening.

Friends, I see miracles as the act of sharing our abundance. We all have some form of abundance, no matter how difficult our situation may be. There is always something that can be shared with others in need. And it’s not always about money. You’d be amazed at how a few words of encouragement shared at just the right moment can have a lasting and profound impact on someone who may be feeling desperate. Perhaps you have a skill or even just some time to share that can make a huge difference in one life or many. I’ll bet if you took a quick mental inventory of what you have to share, you’d be amazed at the abundance in your possession.

In this Gospel, we see how the fear harbored by Philip – over expense – was overcome by the hope of Andrew who saw where abundance existed. A few fish and a couple of loaves ultimately satisfied five thousand.

What’s in your basket of miracles?





The Compassion Couch – Good News for April 15

15 04 2010

Acts of the Apostles 5:27-33

When the court officers had brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders did we not, to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

The Daily Path: I may get into trouble with some readers over today’s Path reflection, but I always share what is in my heart.

I’m deeply concerned about much of the dialogue going on in the United States. Conservatives are battling liberals. Christians are attacking other Christians. Those who have the blood of immigrants flowing through their veins attack refugees. People who profess belief in God hold up religion as a dividing principle. A lingering racial chasm lurks hidden just below the surface. Our God given Garden of Eden – Earth – grows sicker while industrialists fuel consumerism with inadequate regard for sustainability. Meanwhile we consume with unequal regard for those who do not have the means to achieve even the most basic human dignity.

I feel as though a modern Sanhedrin is at work in a world where the true teachings of Christ are overwhelmed by the shouts of crowds whipped into a frenzy by the high priests of our age. Where is the dialogue of compassion? Sure, you might say that it exists… but not before we get our cut. Not before our interest is met.

ME FIRST.

ME IS JOB ONE.

ME ME ME ME ME

“We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.”

When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

How often do we figuratively “put someone to death” because WE is in conflict with ME?

I’m a flawed human being. A poor example of a follower of Christ. (Perhaps I harbor anger at myself because in so many ways I still allow the Sanhedrin to have power over me.) In my weakness I want to shake those who don’t see the teachings as I do… just as they want to shake me. But as weak and flawed as I am, the teachings of the Son of Man have touched me in ways that nothing else has. I know I’m not alone. Why then can’t we do more to find common ground and engage in the dialogue of Jesus’ teaching?

If I had the means I would buy a sofa and a van. I would take my sofa all over the country. I would ask people involved in the great debates – and those impacted by the outcome – to sit with me on my couch. I would ask them to tell me where compassion has touched their lives. And I would ask them where compassion exists in their position in the great debate. Then I would ask them to assume for a moment the opposite position and repeat the question. (If they answered that compassion didn’t exist in the opposite position, I would encourage them to try again!) After listening to their thoughts on the first three questions, I would ask: What can we do today – as soon as we get off the couch – to realize greater compassion together?

Would it do any good towards advancing the dialogue of compassion and the commonality we share as one in the eyes of God?

If you see me sitting on my sofa will you stop and talk with me?

Am I just a nut case? Don’t answer that.

Send your donation to Kin’s Compassion Couch Tour today! 😉