On “Sabbathical” – Good News for October 26

26 10 2009

Luke 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”

The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?” When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

The Daily Path: Do you ever feel the hypocrite creeping out from within? “It’s not convenient for me to help someone today,” or “It’s been a busy week. I don’t feel up to coming to their aid right now.” I’m ashamed that I’m guilty of this more often than I care to admit. “Come back tomorrow. My synagogue is closed for the sabbath.” Meanwhile someone in need sits at my threshold.

It’s kind of like the Holiday season. We suddenly aspire to new levels of generosity, yet for the other eleven months of the year… we’re on a “sabbathical”.


Love Command – Good News for May 14

14 05 2009

John 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”

The Daily Path:It was not you who chose me…

Looking back on my re-conversion it was indeed God who called out to me, not the other way around. Left to my own making I would still be a slave to the wrong path. I’m reminded that we are called when we can open ourselves to receive the message. Experience shows me it is often times of despair or upheaval, when we come to realize that “our way” doesn’t work, that we can suddenly hear God. Many try to rationalize this knock at their door as being anything but what it truly is: an invitation to accept the greatest love of all.

This I command you: love one another.

What appears to be the easiest assignment issued by Christ is also the hardest. I think of how many times a day I fail. Anger. Gossip. Intentional ignorance. One moment we’re performing an act of love or charity, with love fresh in our mind. Then within minutes that same love is put to the test with the smallest challenge. And what happens? Trip. Crash. Fail.

I’ve come to see that many times within short proximity to feeling most connected to God is when Satan swings into action against me by throwing another hurdle in the path to trip me up. I suppose that should be a sign that I’m doing good because that old devil is pissed off. Hmm. I wonder if I can remember that before I get tripped up again?

Room to Chat: Lord, help me piss off Satan today by embracing your commandment of love. Let me move beyond the anger. Help me ignore the gossip trap. Give me strength to place my ego behind me. Keep love in the forefront of my thoughts.

Get Off My Back! – Good News for April 30

30 04 2009

John 6:44-51

Jesus said to the crowds, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. 

I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”

The Daily Path: Do you ever feel like the devil is riding your back? I guess it’s my week to do battle because there seems to be a hitchhiker who’s been tailing me since Monday. Maybe if I hit the brakes it will smash into my trunk for an ambulance ride back to hell.  

Stan Doubtsall: “Ah ha! Martha, the cracker is finally admitting he’s possessed. Quick, Google “exorcisms” before the devil virus infects this old PC! Damn, I told you we should have bought an Apple.”

Sorry Stan. I just write what I feel along this journey. And right now it feels like the devil is messing with me. There’s only one defense and that’s a counter attack. Spending more time in pursuit of God. More bread from Jesus. Lord if you don’t mind, I’d like two loaves of your grace today. Please put a smile in my heart and infuse more faith, hope, charity, prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice in me. 

I renounce you old satan… so get off my back!

Room to Chat: Lord Jesus, I know I’m not worthy to receive you but please just say the word and let the healing begin.

“Oops” I Did It Again – Good News for February 19

19 02 2009

Mark 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.”

And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly.

Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

The Daily Path: Poor Peter. He always starts out doing great. Then he starts thinking like a human and that’s when he always gets into trouble. I don’t know my Scripture well enough to quote, but two other instances come to mind. One when Ol’ Pete leaps out of the boat and begins to walk on water toward Jesus. “Hey wait… I’m human. I can’t do this.” Splash. The other is at the Garden of Gethsemane on the night Jesus was arrested. Peter says “No way Lord, I’ll never betray you.” Oops.
Most days I feel like Peter. I’ll start out trying to live as Christ taught. Next thing you know… “Oops.” I start thinking like a man and fall down. The good news is that Jesus always gave Peter another chance. Just as he does with all of us.
Room to Chat: Today, when you have “Oops” Moment Number 4,023,677, just get up. Dust yourself off and say “Sorry, God. May I have another chance?”