Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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The Ascension of the Lord

May 28, 2017

RISING PAST OUR LONELINESS

The Ascension is most closely related, in meaning, to Christmas, for both are incarnational.  At Christmas, what it means to be God became fully a part of what it means to be human.  In Jesus, the human and divine become united in the person and life of one man.  That’s what happened in Christmas.

At the Ascension, this human being – the person and the resurrected body of Jesus – became for all eternity a part of who God is.  The life of a single human being is forever joined to the life of God the Father, the one who created the heavens and the earth.

It was not the spirit of Jesus or the divine nature of Jesus that ascended to the Father.  It was the resurrected body of Jesus: a body that the disciples had touched, a body that ate and drank with them, a real physical, but gloriously resurrected body, bearing the marks of nails and a spear.  This is what ascended.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Ascension of the Lord (Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20)

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6th Sunday of Easter

May 21, 2017

LOVE & PROMISES

Our Gospel today speaks of actions and consequences.  It speaks of love and promises.  But it is our second reading that offers us a path about how we are to love God and one another, and how we are to keep God’s commandments.

John tells us in the Gospel:  If you love me, you will keep my commandments; and you will be sent the Holy Spirit to guide you, because the world will not always understand what you are trying to do, or why you are trying to do it.

Of course, like everything else in the spiritual life, we must be open ourselves to receive the Spirit, which often requires a great amount of trust, and careful attentiveness.  To understand the presence of the Spirit; to understand that we are not alone, requires a particular kind of unlearning and retraining of the senses – which is why we come here.  Here we learn how to see and hear beyond the senses.  Here we train our heart to feel the presence of God.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Acts 8:5-8,14-17; Psalm 66; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21)

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5th Sunday of Easter

May 14, 2017

POLISHED STONES

When I was a teenager, my father decided to build an addition on to our garage so we could keep our boat at home rather than pay for storage.  We had a two-car garage and the plan was to double the size of it by putting an addition onto the back allowing for two cars, then a boat and another car along with room for the tools.

My parents have since moved from my childhood home and movers, at the time, commented that it was the only move they could remember where there was more in the garage than the house itself!

In any case, because garage addition was going to pass over a utility line, my father didn’t want to pour concrete.  Instead he wanted to lay cobblestones so that they could be removed if they ever had to be without destroying the entire floor.

Now you may remember, my father is an engineer, so this isn’t simply a matter of throwing stones down on the ground and moving along.  Especially because this floor would support vehicles, it had to be just right.  So for weeks, he enlisted my help as we leveled the floor and then on our hands and knees, equipped with levels, toothbrushes and funnels, we proceeded to create a stone floor that would rival the pyramids!

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 33; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12)

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4th Sunday of Easter

May 7, 2017

A VOICE BEYOND WORDS

There is a saying I have always loved:  God has no grandchildren.  In other words, you do not enter into a relationship with God by virtue of someone else.  You have to come to God on your own terms, in your own way and in your own time.  Try as we may, we cannot do the work of another person’s soul.  Anyone who has ever tried, knows this to be a cardinal truth.

What we can do is create environments for those we love and care about to better hear and listen to the voice of God – to the voice of the Good Shepherd, who is calling us into belonging – into the sheepfold.  This is the hard work of parents, especially.

This work is easier when we are younger since a child is naturally disposed to wonder.  Unlike ourselves, children are not nearly aware of the past or the future – they do not harbour grudges or carry the baggage of regret; they do not worry about what may or may not happen as a consequence of what action we may or may not decide to take.  Rather, our children teach us how to be present.  They teach us how to live in a moment aware of all that moment offers – and in doing so, they demand our attention so we may not miss it.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Acts 2:14,36-41; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10)

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2nd Sunday of Easter

April 23, 2017

THE PEACE OF COMMUNITY

This is one of those Gospels that gets painted with broad strokes, but the context and details are very, very important.

It is the evening of the Resurrection.  The Apostles are in the upper room, hiding out of fear that their association with Jesus would result in their own crucifixion.  Then, Jesus appears to them offering them peace.

Peace is one of those tricky words – a lot like love.  Peace doesn’t mean no conflict – peace means that we will not lose our ground should conflict occur.  Peace does not mean clear sailing or an easy path; the peace of Christ means that though bad things may happen, we trust that all will be as it needs to be, allowing our heart and mind to be at ease.

Then Jesus breathed to Holy Spirit into them.  And why did he do this?  (So that they may forgive one another).

In other words, in community, we find our peace.  In community we receive that which is necessary to forgive.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Second Sunday of Easter (Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31)

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Easter Sunday 2017

April 16, 2017

FEAR AND LOVE

“And they went quickly from the tomb – fearful yet overjoyed.”

Yesterday, I said that love does not just conquer death; rather, it is in itself death – the death of total surrender.  Love kills our illusions of self-reliance and independence.  Love, when it is true, strips us down and exposes our own ego to ourselves.  And when this happens, it usually takes time for us to find our bearings.  If you have ever been in love, you know this to be true.  Love stops us in our tracks; it dis and re-orients us, and for a moment we have no choice to stand in the silent stillness of our own heart while our head catches up.  In love, I think we are very much like Jesus in the tomb.

But then something happens:  new life.  The service out of love on Thursday leads to the surrender of love in the garden brought to the sacrifice in love of the cross leads us through the silent stillness to love anew and completely.   And to this we react like Mary:  fearful and overjoyed.

CLICK HERE for the readings for Easter Sunday (Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; Matthew 28:1-10)

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Good Friday

April 14, 2017

WHAT LOVE LOOKS LIKE

For those of you who were here last night, you know that I do not believe it is helpful for us to see today simply as a demonstration of divine love.  To do so, immunizes ourselves to love as a path to our own transformation and holiness.

THIS is how much Jesus loves.  Love is what Jesus lived into, and life, our human life, is what Jesus lived into love.  Jesus didn’t do this for us – Jesus didn’t know us.  God did this for us.  Jesus did this for his friends because he knew his friends needed to know God.

Why was this the way?  If this is all about love, surely there are other ways to show it?

Because love always hurts when it decides to create rather than consume.  Because love always hurts because of the sacrifice it requires.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Good Friday (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 31; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42)