Unfailing Stream – Good News for June 30

30 06 2010

Amos 5:14-15, 21-24

Seek good and not evil, that you may live; Then truly will the Lord, the God of hosts, be with you as you claim! Hate evil and love good, and let justice prevail at the gate; Then it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will have pity on the remnant of Joseph.

I hate, I spurn your feasts, says the Lord, I take no pleasure in your solemnities; Your cereal offerings I will not accept, nor consider your stall-fed peace offerings. Away with your noisy songs! I will not listen to the melodies of your harps. But if you would offer me burnt offerings, then let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream.

The Daily Path:… let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream.” I’d like to be the unfailing stream of goodness that Amos speaks of in this passage from the Old Testament. Not easy. Yesterday, I felt more like a puddle of mud and frustration. No one likes to dwell next to that!

Until now, I didn’t know anything of Amos or who he was. According to online resources, Amos was the first of the biblical prophets who lived about 750 years before the birth of Christ. For those of you tracking the prophet roster, Amos predated Isaiah. He preached in Judah – in the area of Northern Israel – during a time when the people of Israel had reached a low-point in their devotion to God. They had become greedy and stopped following the accepted values once adhered to.  The wealthy were becoming rich at the expense of others.

Away with the noisy songs and harps! To become a flowing stream of goodness and surging water of justice, I’ll have to dam up “ME” and swim in the “WE”.





Reconnecting – Good News for April 7

7 04 2010

Luke 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”

They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”

They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.

As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”

So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Daily Path: This week we are reading about how Jesus is reconnecting with his friends and disciples following His Resurrection. The selected passages are exciting and full of joy. Who doesn’t like a happy ending?

As I reflect on these readings, it seems that each day we are presented with opportunities to reconnect with Christ in some way. It may be a big renewal, like after thirty years of separation, or perhaps a small one, say after three hours during which time He has not been centered in our heart. I have found it easy to get lonely when I don’t feel connected to God. This feeling of disconnection can also translate into fear. Yes, friends, I am needy, but I take comfort in knowing that we are all a needy bunch. I believe God likes it that way.

A good friend recently reminded me that during the times of crisis in our lives we have to place our worry with God… EVERY minute if need be. He’s correct. And while it’s good to run to the Father when we are hurting, I think we’d hurt less if we stay connected to Him all the time.

One of the other amazing things I have learned is that I often find Jesus walking towards me. Like the disciples in today’s Gospel from Luke, in some instances I don’t immediately recognize Him. Perhaps I’m too lost in momentary grief or too busy living in this world to see Him. But He is there. And He is always ready to reconnect with me, no matter if it’s thirty years or thirty seconds since we last embraced.





Eye Wash – Good News for March 14

14 03 2010

John 9:1

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam”, which means Sent. So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is, “ but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”

So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again,  “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

Daily Path: It’s Sunday… will you cleanse your eyes and see the Lord?

Room to Chat: I do believe, Lord.





They Took Offense – Good News for July 31

31 07 2009

Matthew 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?”

And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.

The Daily Path: “And they took offense at him”

Last evening my father told me a story about how he once invited two men of color to an event hosted by an organization he belonged to. During the 1960’s this same organization was very active in the community, often doing good works in all parts of the city where we lived.

At one point during the event a man who had known my father for many years questioned him about the wisdom of his action. The same man, who professed to be Dad’s friend, then went off and spoke to some other members who clearly had taken offense to this perceived “transgression” of the organization’s unspoken “rules”. These “gentlemen” asked to talk with my father outside where he was met with more criticism and a verbal assault for bringing non-whites to the gathering.

“Who do you think you are?” one asked.

Another even went to so far as to repeatedly poke his index finger accusingly into my father’s chest to accentuate his displeasure.

How is it that a group of individuals can act in wisdom with one breath, yet demonstrate total ignorance with the next?

Why does “ME” so often take offense at what “ME” doesn’t understand?

Why can’t “ME” have enough faith to just be “me”?

Room to Chat: Lord, grant me the vision to always see your way and the wisdom to understand it.

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Never Before – Good News for March 28

28 03 2009

Never before has anyone spoken like this…

John 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”

Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” Then each went to his own house.

The Daily Path: “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” 

I can understand what the guards of the chief priests felt after hearing Jesus speak. When my ears were finally opened to hear the word of Christ, nothing to that point had ever had such an impact on me. Your experience, outlook and internal response mechanisms are changed.

The only comparison I can offer is falling in love. There’s a feeling in your heart that is unlike any other. When the lightning bolt hits, you can’t get enough of that person. You desire more and more. That’s how I feel with my faith in God. I want more and more of me to be touched. I want my old ways of living to die so that a more perfect me can be born. Note that I say “more perfect”, not perfect. Complete perfection can’t happen, but anything is an improvement over my old model. Something has to die in order to be reborn.

As I said, never before have I experienced anything like what God has brought to my life.

Room to Chat: Never before have I wanted to find ways to spend time with God as I do now. I’m actually disappointed when I don’t get enough in my day. The spring weather is kicking in here in California, meaning the hills are green, the weather is warming up, and it’s the perfect time to get outdoors. Regardless of where you are, take a walk today and talk to God by enjoying the beauty around you. Allow yourself to see the things as never before.





My Inheritance – Good News for March 13

13 03 2009

I risk losing my inheritance…

Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned.

Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” They answered him, He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.”

Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes.

Therefore, I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” 

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

The Daily Path: “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.” George Santayana

Would we fail again in recognizing the stranger at our door as Christ? I don’t think it’s a question of “would we?” We do. All the time. I constantly fail to see Christ even though I know Him. I do this when I get angry. In hoarding my abundance. When I deny assistance to someone in need when the power to do so is well within my capability.

I see that the Son of God is here, right now. We’re not waiting for His return. He’s in all of us. Unfortunately, I’m a lousy student. I continue to forget my lessons, and in doing so I risk losing my inheritance as one of our Lord’s heirs.

Room to Chat: Friday the 13th has a bad rap. Let’s flip the expectation. Here in my little blogdom I declare today a day of good fortune. Keep Christ close and see His goodness in many things.





Deal Some Mercy – Good News for February 28

28 02 2009

John 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”

So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”

So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,  “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” Then each went to his own house.

The Daily Path: Here’s a question for Lent. What can you offer up to God that will help someone else?

I don’t see how my giving up candy and ice cream does much to show love and mercy for another. In fact, the resulting downturn in confection sales might actually put someone out of work! Phew. Dodged that bullet.

Seriously though, a precious commodity in this society is our time. Giving up our time during lent to help someone in need seems to be a great way to prepare for the Resurrection of the King of Sacrifice. Find a way to share the burden of the cross that another carries.

Remember, it doesn’t take much. Don’t get caught up in a grand scheme that will never get off the ground. Keep it simple! Perhaps it’s only a minute to bend down and perform a random act of kindness. Consider ten minutes of prayer petitioning God to help someone you know. It can be an hour online researching non-profit aid organizations, while asking the Holy Spirit for inspiration on where you can make a difference. The point is to look for ways to give up your time in the service of someone who needs your help. 

Room to Chat: For the next 24 hours, open your eyes for one opportunity to help. Dealing love and mercy is cool!