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Showing posts from August, 2010

Thirsty?

"Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.' The woman said to him, 'Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." - John 4:14-15

"Have you ever been extremely thirsty? If you have experienced deep thirst, you know how wonderful and refreshing cool water can be. We can live for many days without food but only a short time without water. When the Samaritan woman encountered Jesus at Jacob's well, she was searching for that which would quench her body's thirst for life-giving and life-sustaining water. In the presence of Jesus she recognized a deeper thirst, the thirst for God. And it was to this thirst that Jesus offered water and the promise that her thirst for God could be sat…

Do You Want to Be Made Well?

In the Gospel of John, Jesus encounters a lame man that leads to one shocking question. The story goes that Jesus encountered this man at a public place in Jerusalem where - apparently - quite a number of blind, lame and paralyzed men and women lay. In modern terms, this place – called Beth-zatha – was something like a safe-house, an ancient form of the modern day Salvation Army.
In any case, laying there with the others was a man who had spent thirty-eight years of his life. Thirty-eight years! For almost four complete decades, this man's days began and ended in this public place. To many people in Jerusalem, the man had likely become part of the place - almost blending into the paved stones. This should not surprise us. It still happens in our own day - homeless men or women who begin to blend into the environment.

But, for some reason, Jesus noticed the man. More than that, Jesus intentionally went up to this man, and asked him: "Do you want to be made well?"

Wh…

Forgiveness

"I believe with all my heart that the mystery of forgiveness is the entire Gospel. When you 'get' forgiveness, you get it. We use the phrase 'falling in love.' I think forgiveness is almost the same thing. It's a mystery we fall into: the mystery is God. God forgives all things for being imperfect, broken, and poor. Not only Jesus but all the great people who pray that I have met in my life say the same thing. That's the conclusion they come to. The people who know God well, the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God, always meet a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a tyrannical mother, but always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. How different than the 'account manager' that most people seem to worship." - From Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr, as quoted in A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God.

"What can we say about God's love? We can say that God's …

Those Old Weeds

Anna and I have decided to not to spray our yard or our driveway for crabgrass or weeds. This decision seemed like one way we could treat God's good creation with kindness. Well, as we all know, no good deed goes unpunished. In this case, the punishment we received for kindly restraining to use Round-up is a wild harvest of weeds - sprawling into the garden and over the yard. But, most of all, the weeds have run rampant into our gravel driveway. When we arrived home from vacation a few weeks ago, it was hard to tell where the driveway was ... or had been. It had been swallowed by that vibrant, healthy earth.

This is why for the last several weeks I've been out in the gravel and the weeds after dinner time. Little by little, I've been picking at the stiff strands of crabgrass and pulling the tough weed from the ground. Thankfully I've found that with a little tug the whole comes uprooted - it's dirty roots dangling down from my hand with bits of rock and ston…

Caring for Others

Many of us find ourselves caring for members of our family, including caring for our parents as they grow older. Consequently, I am passing along an article to you that was recently published in The New Yorker. It talks specifically about providing care for dying patients, but it is also a great opportunity for us to think about a number of other helpful things - including talking with those we love about our wishes regarding the care we'd like to receive - what are traditionally called Advanced Directives or a Living Will. If you would like information about either of those, please contact me: pastor@cinergymetro.net.

I hope this article is helpful and allows you to see new possibilities for care:

Hospice medical care for dying patients: newyorker.com

God's peace to you,

Wes

Further Thoughts on Prayer

"Prayer is not primarily saying words or thinking thoughts. It is, rather, a stance. It's a way of living in the Presence of God. It is, further, a way of living in awareness of God's presence, even enjoying God's presence. The full contemplative is not just aware of God, but trusts, allows, and delights in God." - From Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

"Those who receive the Lord's blessing are those who, in the course of their lives, are able to pay attention to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the ill, and the imprisoned. It turns out that, unwittingly, they had all along been attending to God in Christ. Prayer, in its implicit form, is the act of attention to realities that are before us. By such acts, we attend, indirectly, to God. Through such acts, God's very self is made known to us, and we are thus more able to pray explicitly." - From Vision and Character by Craig R. Dykstra

Decisions, decisions

"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." - Jeremiah 33:3

I have a really great friend who has lived in the Washington, D.C. area for the last eight years now. He's been living and making a life on the outskirts of our nation's capital. A lot of good things have come from his time out in D.C. - the best thing being the gift of a lovely wife to journey with now for the rest of his life. Well, there is competition. My friend and his wife have also now been given the joy of a little girl.

There is much in their life to be thankful for, and they are gracious and grateful people.

However, in the last few years, a type of discontent arose in my friend and his wife. Having a child made them long for closer ties to family and for a more supportive community.

I knew about my friend's discontent. I also knew about his hopes, his longings. We all have such feelings at certain times - a jumble of hopes, fears…

Prayer as a Way of Life

"Perhaps the disciples also noted that prayer was a priority for Jesus; in fact, his whole life seemed to built around this priority.  In crisis, in need, and when perplexed and weary, Jesus could be found praying.  Prayer was not an additive to life; it was a way of life for Jesus." - Reuben P. Job