Advent Day 7 – Good News for December 4

4 12 2010

Matthew 9:35-10:1

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

The Daily Path

“Trying to do as much good as possible in the limited time I have on this planet.”

Hugh Romney, aka:Wavy Gravy

How is that for a life mission statement?

Wavy is best known in pop culture as a member of author Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters from the Beat and Woodstock generations. He’s been a lifelong activist sporting a diverse resume that few can match. Some may view him as nothing more than one of the last remnants of the psychedelic hippies, a living artifact of society gone wild. I would challenge them to look beneath the colorful exterior at Gravy’s spiritual side and the deeper mission. In fact, I think Hugh Romney might have fit in nicely with a certain band of Twelve that followed the Christ.

Advent Day 3 – Good News for November 30

30 11 2010

St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 10:9-13

Brothers and sisters,

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.

The Scripture says, No one who believes in him will be put to shame. There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

The Daily Path: Remember your best friend from childhood? Have you lost touch over the years with that someone who was once joined to your hip? Has a silly squabble kept you apart? Imagine the joy that could be rekindled through a simple outreach. No strings attached. The gift of friendship is more valuable than anything in the Neiman Marcus catalog. Forgive and forget this season of Advent.

Come Down – Good News for November 16

16 11 2010

Luke 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy.

When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

The Daily Path: Insert your name in the following…

(Your name) come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And (your name) came down quickly and received him with joy.

New You – Good News for November 10

10 11 2010

Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”

As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.

Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

The Daily Path: Excerpt from Richard Rohr’s Adult Christianity and How to Get There

For most of the people I meet, the only way to get over the hump to the second half of life is some kind of suffering.  Nothing else is strong enough to force us to let go of our ego structures and our old wineskins. We’re not ready at age twenty, although there are exceptions (like kids with cancer).

Some of our private salvation project has to fall apart and disappoint us.  At that point the temptation is to go back and do the tasks of the first half of life with even greater diligence.

Organized Christianity in its Sunday form tends to encourage people to do the tasks of the first half of life over and over again (firming up the container instead of getting to the contents).  The clergy do not question this because the container is what gives us a job.  But it is also why many people become disillusioned by midlife, and also why we have the constant phenomenon of groups emerging on the side, like religious orders, hermits, and prayer and service groups where people actually try to live the message.

Saving Faith – Good News for September 17

17 09 2009

Luke 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?”

Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”

He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The Daily Path: I want to share this passage from Timothy 4:12-26 as it has great meaning to me personally.

Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands by the presbyterate.

Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.

In recent days I have felt a little disconnected. I can’t explain why as I don’t understand it myself. But then again, I don’t need to rationalize, nor should I. The good news is that right on schedule, God sent me a little reminder this morning through St. Paul’s pastoral epistle to Timothy. I’m reminded to “be diligent” and “persevere” along my spiritual journey and continue what I have been inspired to do.

I’m not special in this reminder. We all feel disconnected at times. And God reminds us all to remain diligent and persevere in our faith… so that we will be saved.

Room to Chat: Father, thank you for holding me close. Continue to shepherd me in the true direction. Keep this reminder fresh in my mind and heart.


My Enemy Within – Good News for March 7

7 03 2009

Am I my own worst enemy?

Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Daily Path: Yesterday, I reflected on forgiveness and letting go of the garbage in life that holds me back. There is another reminder in today’s  gospel about loving my enemies. As I sat with Jesus teaching for a moment I felt inspired to visit my old friend Mr. Dictionary. (I don’t visit with him often enough!)

Mr. Dictionary advised that an enemy in this case is a plural noun. Hmm. I don’t harbor any hatred towards nouns and can’t recall the last time a noun ever hurt me. There was that time in 3rd grade… sorry, I digress. Mr. D went on to further explain the definition of enemy is: a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.

As I thought about the definition it occurred to me that much of my own recent experience with “the enemy” could be the result of my own inability to assume innocence in the action of another. The antagonistic activity that drove me to the trenches in defense or led to a vigorous counterattack may have been nothing more than someone’s desire to help. Or it could have been well intentioned deployment of a limited skill in some area of engagement.

How can I find fault in someone who is trying their best but falling short of my expectation. Is adjusting my expectations one way I can demonstrate the love that Jesus speaks of? Will assuming innocence keep the list of enemies short, while growing the roll of friends? Am I my own worst enemy?

I wonder if Jesus and Mr. Dictionary are collaborating on my salvation? Hmm.

Room to Chat: Speaking of collaboration, have you ever considered working with others toward a common good to be a form of prayer?