Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21st Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 4 (NRSV)
God does wonders for the faithful 

Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?

How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?
But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

When you are disturbed, do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, "O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!"
You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
David prays to God in this evening prayer. A review of the day, taking to God those things of the day that have disturbed him. God is there for us through the day. God greets us in the morning and sustains us at noon. God stays with us in the evening and we can return to God at bedtime and tell God about our day. This is the graceful life we live with God day to day. Thanks be to God!

Lord, as I greet this day and walk through it, I can rest assured that you will always be there with me. As I pause to look, you are there. As I pause to listen you speak. As I pause to speak you listen. Thank you Lord, for being close... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20th Reflection by Bill Lynch

1 John 2:26--28 (NRSV)
Have confidence in the coming one 

I write these things to you concerning those who would deceive you. As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.

Only a couple of verses. Verses that provide a wealth of meaning. The antichrists who deceive are lacking the Holy Spirit. As we grow with the Holy Spirit we take on a radical change. It's not like "born again" but more like born.

We are born into a radical new way of life. It's not a life that just extends this life, or even a life that makes the remainder of our days on this earth have purpose. It's a new life that has no ending. This life does not end in the death of this earthly vessel.

So, we are little children, growing in the teachings of God and gaining confidence in God so that we are in God. Thanks be to God that in our baptism we are born! Born in the Father, born in the Son, born in the Holy Spirit.

Lord, I rise to greet you to a new day in which I grow in you. Teach me all along the way of this life... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19th Reflection by Bill Lynch

1 John 2:18-25 (NRSV)
Remain in union with God 

Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.
John doesn't mean it's the last hour of the day, or the last hour of something. John is leading us to think that it is as the last hour or last time or the final hour. John is explaining a period of history that is about to end. 

All of our lives seem to move through phases as we grow and mature. History of nations does the same from beginning to end. Cultures move through phases of growth and life. John is speaking of an end of a phase of Christianity and the beginning of another. The end here is the coming of many antichrists. The spirit of the antichrist has come.

Antichrists that were members of the church. But they were different. As Christians we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are graciously given this gift and have done nothing to earn God's favor. God comes to us and we form a relationship with God. The Holy Spirit moves in and through our lives bringing growth and action to our faith. We become a part of God and a part of one another that can't be separated.

The antichrists among us have clearly denied Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They have chosen to run away. They have seen yet still chose to turn and run. This running is not a mere difference in interpretation or minute detail of the church; it is a running from God. In this they become false teachers and lying prophets.

John's definition of the antichrist is one who denies the Father and the Son. This is the lie John speaks of in this passage.

But if we believe and are in the Father and the Son; then God will be in us and we will have the fulfillment of eternal life. So John warns us that we must beware and be alert to the cunning messages of the antichrists of this world. A change is coming as we mature in our faith and thanks be to God, God warns us through the writing and witness of John.

Lord, there is a lot of stuff said out there in this world. Help me to discern the truth about what is said and written. Teach me to turn to your Word, the Bible, and search for Truth. Speak Truth to me in my prayer when I'm confused. Lead me to family and friends who speak your Truth. Guide me along your way in life... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Mark 12:18-27 (NRSV)
Jesus teaches about the resurrection 

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that 'if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.' There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her."

Jesus said to them, "Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong."
It's about relationships. It's not all about the letter of the law. It's about how God is with us and we are with God if we are on this earth or not. God created us to be so much more than flesh. God created us to be in relationship with him for eternity, flesh or no flesh. God is our God if our flesh is alive or not. 

Our bodies are useful to us however. We live in this body and live with God even as we decay. Our spirit exists with God in relationship in this body or the new body to come. It's all about relationships and love that God has freely shown to us through Jesus. And in this body we live for God and for the love of one another. Thanks be to God!

Jesus you were the first in resurrection. Your body was given for us to take in flesh and blood. Given for us in relationship with you and for us to be in communion with one another. Teach us how to live the resurrected life this day. --- Amen

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Daniel 6:1-28 (NRSV)
God saves Daniel from the lions 

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps, stationed throughout the whole kingdom, and over them three presidents, including Daniel; to these the satraps gave account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom. So the presidents and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him. The men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God."

So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, "O King Darius, live forever! All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked." Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.

Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously. The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, "O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?" The king answered, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked." Then they responded to the king, "Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the interdict you have signed, but he is saying his prayers three times a day."

When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him. Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, "Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed."

Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!" A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, so that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no food was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?" Daniel then said to the king, "O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong." Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. The king gave a command, and those who had accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: "May you have abundant prosperity! I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:
For he is the living God,
enduring forever.

His kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion has no end.
He delivers and rescues,
he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth;
for he has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions."
So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Jealousy occurs in life. Here jealousy occurred with leaders. Daniel was a faithful servant of the king but more-so a faithful servant of God. Daniel prayed to God and was punished due to a trumped up edict to worship only the king. Even the king didn't care for his own foolish action in going along with the edict the jealous leaders created to trap Daniel.

The punishment for Daniel's disobedience was death by lions in a pit. But God saved Daniel from death. Daniel remained faithful to both God and the king. But God remained faithful to Daniel. God displayed saving action and power through Daniel. 

We too have been cast into a pit of sin and death. But through Jesus we have been saved. God displayed saving action and power through you and I. We can rejoice in Jesus action and display of love and power. Thanks be to God!

Lord, you truly work signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, for you have saved us all from the powers of sin and death. All praise and honor and glory and power are yours. --- Amen

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Daniel 3:1-30 (NRSV)
God saves the three men from the fire 

King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue whose height was sixty cubits and whose width was six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent for the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to assemble and come to the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, assembled for the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. When they were standing before the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the herald proclaimed aloud, "You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, you are to fall down and worship the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire." Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Accordingly, at this time certain Chaldeans came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, shall fall down and worship the golden statue, and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These pay no heed to you, O King. They do not serve your gods and they do not worship the golden statue that you have set up."

Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought in; so they brought those men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?"

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up."

Then Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary, and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. Because the king's command was urgent and the furnace was so overheated, the raging flames killed the men who lifted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But the three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly. He said to his counselors, "Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?" They answered the king, "True, O king." He replied, "But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god." Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and said, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their tunics were not harmed, and not even the smell of fire came from them. Nebuchadnezzar said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king's command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that utters blasphemy against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins; for there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way." Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
A golden statue, perhaps of the king? Has humankind become so selfish that we recognize acts of power with a golden statue that we are to bow down to as a god? Sometimes we set ourselves up for disaster. Jesus came into this world and is our King. But Jesus came as a humble King. There is more to this world than the physical. Jesus is King of the physical and the spiritual world. Jesus is King of all.

But in this passage of scripture the king seeks the worship of a statue as god? This was something that the Jews that had been exiled to Babylon knew was not the desires of the one true God that rescued them from slavery. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to worship the statue.

The three will not worship such a god and rest their case in the hands of God. The three believe and have faith in the one true God.

As a result the three were cast into a furnace. A furnace heated seven times normal. But wait! The king sees a fourth person in the fire --- a pre-incarnate Jesus? This is a God who comes in flesh to save his people. A God who redeems, or saves the three. Even the king recognizes that there is no other god that can deliver in this way. Thanks be to God!

Lord Jesus, you come to us in flesh but bring your Spirit to free us from the flames of sin and death. There is no god that can deliver in this way. You are the One God and Savior of all. --- Amen

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 15th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Second Sunday of Easter
John 20:19-31 (NRSV)
Beholding the wounds of the risen Christ 

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Jesus brings peace to his disciples and all people. After his death on the cross, the gift of peace from Jesus is so much more than a saying. The gift of peace from Jesus is a new beginning, a new life.

And not only does Jesus bring the gift of peace he also gives the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit given by the breath of the risen body of Jesus. Life is so much more than flesh. Life is spirit also. Here the disciples are given the breath of life in the Holy Spirit that only Jesus can give. Jesus is the everlasting new life.

Through this gift of new life in Jesus he brings a third gift. Jesus gives us the gift to forgive sins because we are Christ's disciples in the world. Through each one of us we are to tell of this new life and new hope in faith to all the world. Forgiveness is one of the elements of grace that Jesus has given to us to pronounce to all the world. Jesus uses us to pronounce God's forgiveness of sin. 

And finally we discover through Thomas and so many others that belief leads to faith. God builds our faith throughout life. As we search the Word in the Bible, participate in the Sacraments and as we witness to the world what we have seen, faith builds and grows through and in us and in the belief that new disciples discover.

In faith we come to exclaim, "My Lord and my God!"  ,the highest level of faith. We know that Jesus is God. Faith in Jesus leads to an inheritance of life in Jesus' name. Thanks be to God!

Jesus you are God, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, you are One God. I believe! Grow my faith and witness to all the world... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 14th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Psalm 133 (NRSV)
How good it is to live in unity 

How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
life forevermore. 

This is a psalm of unity. It uses the senses that oil of the day would bring to a person. Oil used in the day brought joy and a wonderful fragrance. Oil of the day brought comfort.

Oil was also used for the sanctification of priests. This was oil used in abundance. God makes the priest holy and oil of joy and life is poured abundantly upon the person to bring that one into fellowship with all people. The priest was to represent all people before God.

And then we have dew. Dew that brings on thoughts of refreshment, early in the morning. Refreshment that brings forth new life. New life given to all people through these gifts from God... oil and dew.

As we rise morning by morning, day by day, we can recall our baptism, the oil and the water, the new life, the fellowship we have with one another and the fellowship God has granted us with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What better way to start the day.

Lord, lead me to anoint those you give to me this day with your oil and dew that all people may know that you love them each and all... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Acts 4:23--31 (NRSV)
Prayer after Peter and John's release 

After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:
'Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
and the rulers have gathered together
against the Lord and against his Messiah.'

For in this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus." When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
Sovereign Lord was a reference and perhaps a Christian liturgy to address God in all power and might.

The Holy Spirit spoke through David and makes clear the eternal activity of the Spirit acting not only through David but also through many of God's servants and many people throughout history.

David spoke in Psalms of the future Messiah. As the Old Testament is read; one can find an abundance of references to Jesus. This is what makes the Old Testament so amazing to read. You will see Jesus all over it. People, years before Jesus' birth were so accurately being used as a mouthpiece of the Spirit of God and speaking of the salvation and coming Christ.

Just as today we live with the activity of the Holy Spirit prevalent in our lives; through Pentecost the Spirit is active in our lives in the telling of the wonderful gift of salvation given freely to all through Jesus' life, teaching, love, compassion, suffering, death and resurrection. Jesus is present today and forever and the Spirit is always active in our lives as we too are the mouthpiece of God.

Lord, use all of my faculties to announce your salvation to all the world... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Acts 2:42-47 (NRSV)
The believers' common life 

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. 

They all had fellowship together. Oh how we love to eat. But this was much more than that, this was breaking bread and prayer. This was a love in fellowship taught to the apostles and disciples by Jesus. This was an action of compassion.

Day by day they were in fellowship with one another and day by day people accepted the salvation offered by this group of Christians and were added to the group. 

All of this took place not because of some plan that was enacted but because of the love and compassion of Jesus that was being shown through the disciples. Makes you think of how we should act out that love in our daily lives. Act out the love of Christ and open our homes and lives in love and compassion to fellowship and teach to the breaking of bread and prayers.

Lord, open my heart and life to your teaching and the teaching of your ways. Open my heart and life to your compassion and love and to the breaking of bread and prayer... day by day. --- Amen

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Mark 16:1-8 (NRSV)
Mark's resurrection account 

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you." So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. 

The resurrection was unseen by humans. We are really not sure how it took place, but the evidence is clear that it did. We can look at what was left in the tomb and conjure up several scenes but none of them matter. God did what Jesus said would be done. Jesus is alive and will meet many people. Jesus comes to us even today, in the Sacraments we know, see, feel and touch Jesus. Jesus comes to us in Word and deed. We hear the voice of Jesus and his Word spoken through sermons and conversations. We read the Word of Jesus as we see him come to life in the Old Testament and as we read the witness of his life in the New Testament. Jesus is alive and the Spirit moves throughout creation today, even though the resurrection was unseen by humans, it's clear; God does what he promises to do. We are saved!

The first sign of the resurrection was the stone's removal. That barrier that blocked the living from the dead was pushed aside. Some accounts indicate that Jesus was already out of the tomb and somehow passed through rock as he passed through door later. Some think that the stone was moved by an earthquake. What does matter is that what was once the place of the dead is now open to life. Angels pass through this same barrier freely as well as humans. Jesus opened up the tombs for all people as the first of the resurrected. What once was dead is now alive. Jesus passed through death to life for all of us to be able to do the same. And Jesus will come again to resurrect the dead.

Angels are seen before Jesus is seen. The heavenly realms of creatures of praise are seen by humans and all creation praises and sings the glories of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Jesus has caused an earth to heaven reunion beyond all thought. 

Peter is singled out among the disciples to go and tell. Make sure we tell Peter, the one in such despair over his denial of Jesus. Jesus loves Peter and each one of us even in our sin. That's the love that goes beyond sin. That's the love willing to die for those who sin. Jesus knows our weaknesses and failures and loves us anyway. As the women go and tell first, this going and telling has continued for all time. We go and tell of a God that loves us so deeply that God would die to give us life. Something unheard of! That's love! Thanks be to God!

Jesus, as I go and tell this day, I tell of a love that surpasses all love. --- Amen

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Genesis 1:20-2:4a (NRSV)
God creates

And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. 

Let the waters swarm with life. Just as in the baptisms at Easter Vigil and the baptisms throughout time, the waters bring forth a swarm of new life. New life and restored relationships with God. It's all so personal here. God comes to each individual in a personal way that the water is felt and the Spirit moves in and through a new child of God. Yes, the waters swarm with life.

In six days God's purpose was completed. God made man and all beings in relationship with God on this sixth day. Jesus focus on his mission to the cross and the grave came with such a creative completion as well. In Jesus' acts on this earth creation was new once again. All beings in relationship with God on this sixth day witnessed life.

On that Sabbath, Jesus had completed the saving act of all people. God finished with rest and them a day of victory and triumph. Thanks be to God!

Lord, your creation continues to swarm with life because of what you accomplished. We turn to you in full relationship as disciples to follow in your will and your way and to love you as we love others. --- Amen

Monday, April 09, 2012

April 9th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Genesis 1:1-19 (NRSV)
God creates 

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it." And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. God made the two great lights -- the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night -- and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
What is the beginning? From God's point of view, what is the beginning? This passage proceeds to tell of the beginning of the creation. That's one beginning, how many other beginnings may God have had also? I think sometimes there are new beginnings happening all of the time. As Jesus comes to us, like he came as a gardener to Mary or empty linen to a disciple, there may have been new beginnings for each person at the resurrection. Is the beginning at my baptism? New life is created. Or perhaps the beginning is in the morning when my feet hit the floor and I think about my baptism? What is the beginning?

Creation is began through the Word of God, God commanded and action took place. As we recall the Word made flesh in Jesus, I think of creation and life. Through Jesus we have new life. Through Jesus we are a new creation. God commands and action takes place, even in you and I. Through the Spirit we are called, empowered and sent. Action takes place because of what God does in and through us.

Daylight alternated with night. We go through cycles of living. God has provided contrast in living. It's not always daytime or night. But through both, God is with us. God created both the day and the night.

The earth was covered from the heavens by a blanket of atmosphere and protection. Just as God covered us with the waters of our baptism, he has covered us with Love. Jesus life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection has covered our lives in God's creation. Covered and protected us into eternity.

The waters below needed to be bound by land but the waters above moved as with the wind. Through the waters of our baptism the Spirit moves freely to lead and guide us along our days and nights as we live in the creation God has made and as we live our new life as new creation in Jesus gift of grace for us. We are bound to this earth in flesh yet at the same time free in the Spirit of God to live with the heavenly beings.

Seed was sown by God and green growth begins. As Jesus was the first seed in the tomb, we too are seeds of Christ that grow out of Jesus' death to a new creation and a new life.

Stars and planets were created as light in the darkness and to indicate seasons. Abraham paused to look at the stars of the skies and God told him how faith would produce as many stars in the sky. When we live our life as new creations in Jesus our joy overwhelms us and Jesus' light shines brightly in and through us to display God's love to all those we meet. This Light of Jesus intrigues and invites our friends and family to come and see what has happened to us as a new creation. Faith grows in us and begins in other's all through this contrast of light and darkness. God's Word of new life spreads and multiplies. Creation continues and the Kingdom of God continues to grow... Thanks be to God!

Jesus, as my mind wanders and wonders at your resurrection; open my eyes to the depths of your glory and move your love in me to those you give to me this day. --- Amen

Sunday, April 08, 2012

April 8th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Resurrection of Our Lord
John 20:1--18 (NRSV)
Seeing the risen Christ 

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her. 

The women went early in the morning to the tomb. During the Easter Vigil we watch and we wait. But we know we can have the hope of the joy of the resurrection in our watching and waiting.

What the women discovered brought the fear of a theft. This has been an awful few days and now this. The stone is moved! Mary returns with the report of what the women had seen. The race is on by Peter and another disciple. A race and a detailed investigation of the place and position of the linens. 

And that's when the other disciple understands. The linens do not reveal a stolen body, but a body that rose. A body that passed through the linens and the napkin used to wrap the head of Jesus. If Jesus body were stolen, surely the thief would have unwound the napkin from Jesus head and cast it aside, not taking time to roll it up. But this napkin is seen rolled up as if Jesus passed through the napkin and it lay in it's original shape having fallen flat.

This brings the moment of faith by the other disciple. He doesn't understand the depths of his faith but knows that something wonderful has taken place, there was more to Jesus than could ever be imagined. God was active in this place and he believes.

Mary remains and weeps, not understanding what the other disciple understood, Mary believes there has been a theft. Who could have done this? Surely it must have been the gardener. Even the angels don't comfort Mary in her fear and sorrow. Rather they challenge her with a question.

Then Mary discovers it! It wasn't a theft, it wasn't the gardener, Jesus is alive! Jesus is with her in the weeping and Jesus is with her in the joy of her new found faith. Jesus is alive! Jesus, her Teacher, lives! Jesus has risen from the dead!

Faith in Jesus comes to us in various ways. Jesus comes to us and gives us faith individually, yet corporately we become one in the knowledge of the depth of his love for us. Sometimes we don't understand our faith, but Jesus uses this as a seed that will grow in the demonstration of free love and grace for those he gives to us in our daily living.

Today our faith and witness take a leap of joy. The watch and the wait and the discovery that Jesus has overcome sin, death and the devil, frees us to a new faith. We are free of the fear of death that separates us forever from God. We are released to live lives in the joy of the hope and knowledge that Jesus will come again. We know of a spiritual life in ourselves that may for a short while be separated from our flesh, but that will live on in glory with Jesus. We know this because of Jesus resurrection. Jesus body and Spirit are one once again. Jesus is the first resurrected body. And those precious ones who have died before us will one day be reunited with a glorified body, just as Jesus body is glorified in the resurrection.

We can live today in spirit and body. We can live even in the pain of a dying body knowing the love of Maundy Thursday that Jesus has taught us. We can live knowing that this body we have that is decaying and dying will not represent the end to life. We can live today in the love that that command on Thursday that was taught to us. In the resurrection of Jesus we can live out the command to love others as Jesus has loved us. 

This is personal, so personal. This involves God and me. But it's also corporate. This love involves Jesus our teacher and that wonderful fulfillment of the command to love all people. This is a resurrection! Christ has risen! Christ has risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Jesus, on this day we remember your resurrection. Live in and through us as we follow your command to love others. Alleluia! --- Amen