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Showing posts from March, 2016

Now What?

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Jesus has died and been resurrected, so now what? As his followers, how are we supposed to react? In Mark, the oldest of the four Gospels, we see that Jesus’ original followers react with horror (Mark 16:1-8). They run away from the empty tomb and don’t say a word to anyone about what they saw—or in this case, what they didn’t see, namely, Jesus’ body.

Obviously, though, the two Marys eventually told someone, as here we are today, about 2000 years later, still talking about Jesus and the resurrection.

So, what does it mean? What does it call us to do?

To discover the answer, we have to remember the context in which the Jesus resurrection stories were written: 1st Century Judea under Roman occupation. These stories were written in occupied territory. Unhappily occupied territory.

It was the occupied territory of a people—the Jewish people—with a history that was thousands of years old, with traditions and culture and literature and a very defined sense of self as a people—specifically, as…

Monday Meditation

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Universal Love,
ignite within me
a burning desire
for an ever heightened awareness
of your presence
in my life
and the lives of every soul I meet.

[pause for a heightened awareness of God’s presence]

Help me learn from many sources.
Compel me to recognize that
my next great spiritual revelation
might be from
the person who bags my groceries,
the friendly smile of
a stranger I pass in town,
my neighbor or my mis-perceived enemy.

Love comes from
the most unexpected places,
melting our hearts
and changing our lives,
when we least expect it.

[pause for a heightened awareness of God’s presence]

You, my Holy Inspiration,
are constantly
expanding my consciousness,
sometimes with a force
so powerful
it knocks my life
in new and unexpected directions.

But more frequently,
you gently whisper
in my ear:
I am with you,
from now to the end of time.
Trust me.
I have always been with you.
Open your heart
and mind
and let me enter.

[pause for a heightened awareness of God’s presence]

Throughout our lives
we will meet
many people
filled with y…

A Lenten Journey: Epilogue

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As Jesus left the desert, he was “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4.14). He overcame the temptation to interpret what it means to be Messiah in the traditional ways. At the time, the Jewish people expected a Messiah who would use power and strength to conquer Israel’s foes. Their idea of a Messiah was one that would, unfortunately, come back into prominence later in the development of Christianity: the warrior Jesus astride a great battle stallion, fiery swords in both hands.

The warrior's way was not the way Jesus understood messiahship. Rather, Jesus believed a true Messiah was a servant. The temptation story is about Jesus’ struggle to accept his true calling, to live fully into his authentic self as a servant of God, and therefore, as a servant of humankind.

Furthermore, the temptation story is an allegory about every human being and our call to service. In fact, the entirety of the Second Testament can be read as an allegory about our true human nature, our divine self, with …

A Lenten Journey, part 5: Getting Personal with Our Higher Selves

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Hopefully, we are now at the point on our Lenten journey where we’re starting to learn some new things about our true spiritual identity. There is a much higher state of being buried deep within our psyche. Throughout our lives, that higher state—our true self—claws and scratches its way to the surface, revealing clues to the meaning of life and the nature of identity along the way. Most of the time we fail to notice. We write the revelations of our souls off as dreams (or nightmares). We relegate the quest for meaningful answers to life’s deepest mysteries to philosophers and college students, and sometimes we ridicule both for wasting their time.

But philosophy is a peculiarly human trait, and without asking questions that seem unanswerable, there would be no art, culture, or even science. Working to become a more enlightened being is never a waste of time. From where do we come? Why are we here? Where are we going? Is this all there is? We wrestle with the meaning of life both esot…

Monday Meditation

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Holy God of homecoming,
we give thanks
for the houses of love
you build within every human being.
We pray for hearts
that always welcome
both friend and stranger.
Create in us,
minds that are open
to new experiences and ideas.
Give us souls
that are filled
with the gentle grace
of Jesus Christ.
[pause for the graceful touch of God]
We live in a confusing world
and an even more confused time.
We are obsessed with
war and terror,
glitz and glamor,
sizzle without substance.
We run away
from your house of love
and instead run recklessly
into the hellish wilderness
created by the inner demons
of our unnecessarily frightened minds.
We act like children
fighting over toys,
afraid to lose some
insignificant bauble.
We think, “This land is my land,
it’s not your land.
This house is my house,
it’s not your house.
This love is my love,
it’s not your love,”
And in so thinking,
we create a reality
that separates us
from each other
and from you.
We fail to understand
that this land is your land,
God whose very existence
creates the land.

A Lenten Journey, part 4: Discovering Our At-One-Ment With God

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The words “tempt” and “temptation” appear over 100 times in the Bible. They are most often used to portray something that entices us away from our Oneness with God. This can be an addiction, selfishness, greed, envy, petulance—any behavior that creates negative energy.

Negative energy, which is created by negative thought patterns and behaviors, causes a chasm between God and us. For the vast majority of humans, this is our modus operandi—we plod through life without giving a thought to anything other than survival. This unconscious trekking is the key to understanding the temptation stories about Jesus.

In the wilderness stories we’ve been meditating on this Lenten season, the devil in the wilderness represents our human desires: our fear of lack and limitation (Matthew 4:3-4), our hubris (5-7), and our lust for power (8-10). When our lives are guided by negative thought patterns, all we concentrate on is power and survival (and typically, survival by abusing power). These stories are …