Thursday, January 19, 2017

God Gives Humanity Its Dignity

Creation: A Divine Cycle
Praise from and for God's Creation


Praise God the Creator

Psalm 8. New International Version

A psalm of David.

1 Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?[c]
5 You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
    and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their[g]feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth


For Reflection
Look closely at the heavens on a clear cool night. Marvel at the glorious display of stars and planets.  Think about what the science of astronomy has added to the understanding of time and space.  Contemplate the Earth and the place that we occupy on it.  Give in to the wonder and mystery of the universe. Accept the mystery of the human mind and know that God will reveal all to us in God's time.  Over generations before us and infinite generations to follow, God, having given us the capacity to question, seek and understand, has, in God's own time, revealed God's self in the glory of God's creation.  In the science of discovery, we find God.

Pray
Thank God for making us in God's image.  Thank God for giving us the power of imagination, of language, of science and of poetry.  Thank God for sharing God's capacity to wonder, to invent and to learn.  Praise God and seek God in all things

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Joy and Wishes for Perfect Harmony

Creation: A Divine Cycle
Praise from and for God's Creation


Praise God the Creator

Psalm 104:31-35. New International Version

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord.
35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
    and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Praise the Lord.

For Reflection
How does one live in harmony with God?  Meditating upon God, studying scriptures, and communing with other believers are necessary, but, no more essential than prayer.  Prayer builds your relationship with God.  In prayer, we fill our souls with the Holy Spirit.

Pray
Pray often and about everything.  Open your soul to the Holy Spirit. Pray so that your life can be centered in God's will.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

God Quenches the Thirsty Earth

Creation: A Divine Cycle
Praise from and for God's Creation


Praise God the Creator

Psalm 104:10-13.  New International Version

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
    it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
    they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
    the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

For Reflection
As the land is satisfied by God's creativity, so shall we be satisfied. God's creation is made to operate in harmony, each element contributing value to the other. We are part of God's creation. We also, exist in harmony with God's creation.   However, God has given us the power to choose to live harmoniously or in dissonance. How are your doing?

Pray
that you will choose to live in harmony with God's creation.  Pray that you will trust in God's will for your life.  Pray that you will live creatively in tune with God's holy melody.

Monday, January 16, 2017

God Sets Boundries on the Earth

Creation: A Divine Cycle
Praise from and for God's Creation


Praise God the Provider

Psalm 104:5-9. New International Version

5 He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.
6 You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
8 they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned for them.
9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
    never again will they cover the earth.


For Reflection
Usually, I quote "The Message" because of its use of contemporary language and its point of view.  Occasionally, especially in more poetic sections, something is said in the brevity and imagery in other versions of Bible that cannot be conveyed otherwise.   Read these passages, not for the facts, but for the truths beyond the language.  Let your mind roam over these images and expand the words visually. Listen to the music that the visions suggest. Let your thoughts go beyond reason into the event as a witness. Suspend your preference for the existential. Allow yourself the pleasure of diving into the creative force that is God and accept the mystery.


Pray
Praise God for God's creative power.  Thank God for blessing you with the ability to experience life as life was meant to be, full of wonder and beauty.  Thank God for endowing the universe with the capacity to create.  Pray that you use your creative powers to the glory and honor of God.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sharing in God's New Community

Creation: A Divine Cycle
Praise from and for God's Creation


Praise God the Provider

Acts 2:37-47. The Message

37 Cut to the quick, those who were there listening asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers! Brothers! So now what do we do?”
38-39 Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”
40 He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!”
41-42 That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
43-45 Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.
46-47 They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

For Reflection
Being part of a community of believers is essential to spiritual growth. Through the community of God worshipers, one reinforces the commitment which was implied in one's baptism.  The church community provides a safe loving environment for learning, confession, and repentance.  In the community of believers, we learn to trust God and to take responsibility for our actions.  In the community of believers, we learn to forgive and love unconditionally. It is the community of believers that beckons the world to worship God and dwell in God's household.

Pray
Pray for the mission of the church universal.   Pray that all people will accept the overture to become God's people.  Pray for all the communities who pray in God's name that they will be true to the word of God.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

God's Restoration of All Humanity

Creation: A Divine Cycle
Praise from and for God's Creation


Praise God the Provider

Isaiah 66:18-23. The Message

18-21 “I know everything they’ve ever done or thought. I’m going to come and then gather everyone—all nations, all languages. They’ll come and see my glory. I’ll set up a station at the center. I’ll send the survivors of judgment all over the world: Spain and Africa, Turkey and Greece, and the far-off islands that have never heard of me, who know nothing of what I’ve done nor who I am. I’ll send them out as missionaries to preach my glory among the nations. They’ll return with all your long-lost brothers and sisters from all over the world. They’ll bring them back and offer them in living worship to God. They’ll bring them on horses and wagons and carts, on mules and camels, straight to my holy mountain Jerusalem,” says God. “They’ll present them just as Israelites present their offerings in a ceremonial vessel in the Temple of God. I’ll even take some of them and make them priests and Levites,” says God.
22-23 “For just as the new heavens and new earth
    that I am making will stand firm before me”
        —God’s Decree—
“So will your children
    and your reputation stand firm.
Month after month and week by week,
    everyone will come to worship me,” God says.


For Reflection
What is it about God's word that can call all peoples to inhabit a world full of the wisdom of love?  The world yearns for justice that is not brought by retribution and violence.  The world yearns for justice.  "Justice is love distributed."*

That is God's Glory, God's promise of hope in a collaborative loving relationship with God and with each other.  God's promised blessing is inclusiveness, equity, and commitment to the common good.

Pray
Pray for the reigniting of the common good brought not by the rule of retribution but by the rule of love.


*Bouma, Gary; Jim 
Burklo; John Dominic Crossan; Margaret Mayman; Paul Alan Laughlin; Nigel Leaves. Why Weren't We Told? (Kindle Locations 1927-1928). Polebridge Press. Kindle Edition. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Let All People Praise God

Creation: A Divine Cycle
Praise from and for God's Creation


Praise God the Provider

Isaiah 66:1-5. The Message 

Living Worship to God

66 1-2 God’s Message:
“Heaven’s my throne,
    earth is my footstool.
What sort of house could you build for me?
    What holiday spot reserve for me?
I made all this! I own all this!”
    God’s Decree.
“But there is something I’m looking for:
    a person simple and plain,
    reverently responsive to what I say.
3-4 “Your acts of worship
    are acts of sin:
Your sacrificial slaughter of the ox
    is no different from murdering the neighbor;
Your offerings for worship,
    no different from dumping pig’s blood on the altar;
Your presentation of memorial gifts,
    no different from honoring a no-god idol.
You choose self-serving worship,
    you delight in self-centered worship—disgusting!
Well, I choose to expose your nonsense
    and let you realize your worst fears,
Because when I invited you, you ignored me;
    when I spoke to you, you brushed me off.
You did the very things I exposed as evil,
    you chose what I hate.”
5 But listen to what God has to say
    to you who reverently respond to his Word:
“Your own families hate you
    and turn you out because of me.
They taunt you, ‘Let us see God’s glory!
    If God’s so great, why aren’t you happy?’
But they’re the ones
    who are going to end up shamed.”


For Reflection
Has Christianity become a barren collection of routinized formulas and gestures? Can the Church's otherworldly ideals be adapted to a society that worships immediate gratification?

Many are listening to what God has to say.  Many accept the idea that God is good. Many reject the forms and superficial acts of pseudo-righteousness and adopt God's invitation to collaborate with God in God's will for humanity.  Many have sacrificed civil conformity for spiritual grace.  God will bless God's people who follow The Way with justice, mercy, and hope.

Pray
Sing to the God of our salvation.  Pray that you will collaborate in fulfilling God's promise of freedom in the Kingdom of God.