Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31st Psalm by Bill Lynch

Read Psalm 78:23-29

The LORD blesses me with all I need.
When I'm hungry... God feeds us
When I'm sad... God comforts us
When I'm ill... God brings healing
When I'm hurt... God sustains us
When I'm in any need... God blesses us

The LORD blesses us
The heavens open and God pours water abundantly
Water to sustain and refresh us
God blesses us in times of trouble
Through those around us... God works
When we are in any need... God blesses

Lord, open my eyes to your miraculous and constant intervention into this world. Open my eyes to your abundant blessings poured out like rain from the sky... constantly minute by minute. You are here and at work... Today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22nd Just Some Personal Ramblings

Ramble On and On

It's been a while since I last entered a blog on this my Daily Reflections Blog. Daily? Sure, I've been in deep daily reflections. Reflections of the wonderful moments I spent at my Mother's death with my sister. Moments of watching Mom pass from this world to something else. Something new and wonderful. Something of an entire new way of being and living. Something I can't understand. Something spiritual and hopeful and pleasing. Something that drew the fascination of my sister, my wife and my daughter all together to glory at the wonderful love of God. A truly wonderful experience that was interrupted by this world's needs and desires within minutes of such a wonderful experience. Unneeded immediate planning that took place in the minutes, probably less than 5 after my mother's death. Emotions that were enraged by the break-in of this world into a spiritual experience. Yes, sinful emotions on my part and on the part of the need to plan. A range of emotions that passed me from one world and the closeness of God at the time into this present world and it's sinfulness in me.

How I longed to remain as long as I could in the spiritual realm that my mother had passed. Remain as long as possible. But, oh how quickly the needs of this world interrupted that special moment. I was present at my Father's death also twenty some years ago. The moment was precious and uninterrupted. It was memorable and moving. It was pleasant in the face of death. Pleasant in the hope that all Christians have for one who has been saved by Jesus Christ. Saved by Jesus' life, ministry, healing, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension. Pleasant in the hope of the communion of the saints. Pleasant in the unity of all yesterday, today and those to come in the life God has blessed us with through Jesus.

But, that wasn't the case this time. This moment was interrupted. Interrupted by my sinfulness and the sinfulness of this world and those present in this world. Mourning was delayed in this instance also. I went from tears to rage. The days to follow were blessed with the presence of my grandchildren from Texas. A blessing that distracted me from mourning my mother's death. As my grandchildren and daughter left to return to Texas, I felt the mourning process resume. An unwelcome delay that brought on and possibly triggered a Crohn's flare and depression. As I mourned and recovered at the same time, I began to process my emotions and to feel the closeness of God and my Mother in worship on Sunday's. I could sense my Mother telling me to pay attention in worship. I had the feeling that she was telling me, or that I was interpreting in my own crudeness a message... "This shit is for real!" This whole "God" thing is for real. Sure, I knew this all along, but now it took on deeper meaning. Wake up and pay attention, Billy! All your reading and worship and reflection and life is a gift from God. Pay attention and live out God's call. God gives life here and now and in death. See it even in the midst of your range of emotions. See it in those special spiritual times and see it upon your return to the earthly times. This shit is for real! Live it to the fullest. Live it in communion with the saints above and live it in communion with the sinful below. Live life with all those God gives to you.

As the days passed from Mom's death, I fell behind in my Old Testament readings. Some of my close friends realize that I read through the Bible each year. This is a separate activity from the blogging that I do in these reflections. So I decided to take time to listen to what God was telling me through scripture and began spending increasing time with my Scripture reading. I delved into my past Old Testament readings in Kings and Chronicles. I ceased to blog as I read and listened and prayed to God to speak to me. God surely speaks through the Word in the Bible, in the Sacraments and in the Word spoken at worship and through so many people day by day. God speaks through creation and life in this world and in the next. I delved into conversation with God in many ways.

And God speaks. God speaks in this world and the next. As my wife struggled with the declining health of her mother and father, God speaks. As I struggled with mourning and this decay of my own body, God speaks. But God also speaks in the joys of family. The joys of my grandchildren playing... the joys of spending time with Stephanie and Sarah... the joys of working with my son, Bryan... the joys of those I work with... the joys of plays and worship at church... the joys of spending time with Sue... the joys of walking and reading... the joys of new Y classes... On and on God speaks loud and clear.

So, I've been spending time with God... the joys... the struggles... my sinfulness... and my journey on this earth with God. I'm healing. I'm healing in a wonderful way. I'm healing in the pain and the joy of life. Life both here and now and life to come.

Daily Reflections... sure, I've been deep in reflection. And soon I will be blogging and posting once again. This blog entry I choose not to email or post on Twitter or Facebook. This blog entry is just a flow of thoughts from mind to keyboard. If this blog entry finds God speaking to you... wonderful! But, if not, please be patient with me.  I'll be emailing and telling the world of all that God does in my life and in the live's of those God gives to me. Thanks to a range of emotions that take place daily, I will continue to follow Jesus each day and listen to him and complain to him and converse with him into eternity. Thanks be to God!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

July 8th Story by Bill Lynch

The Father's Love

Rodney was there for the entire time. He remained at home to learn the trade of his father. Eventually the day came when Rodney's father became weak enough that he couldn't keep working. So Rodney took over the business and made sure that his father was well cared for in his old age.

Rodney loved his father deeply. As Rodney grew and became an adult, his father would teach him all of the tricks of the trade. Along with the trade, Rodney's father would also teach Rodney the tricks of life. Rodney's father was a wise, gentle and kind man, yet fierce with passion when it came to standing up for the weak and compromised. One did not wish to cross Rodney's father with selfishness or deceptive actions.

It wasn't as if Rodney's father was without fault either. His father has made mistakes of his own. His father had been selfish and deceptive also at times. This is where Rodney's father developed his fierce passion to stand against selfishness and lies. Rodney's father had seen and been part of the hurt that comes to so many people in the face of selfish actions and lies.

So Rodney grew to be a man of honor and dignity in the face of his father. Rodney recognized strong character of person when he saw it in another. Rodney was there for the entire time.

Rodney's brother Josh had left home when he completed high school. Josh followed in the ways of his father too and grew with strong moral character. Josh studied his father's trade with a group of people that studied for a lifetime. Josh studied a different kind of trade of his father's. Josh studied his father's trade of honesty and selfless acts. Josh grew into a man that gave of himself completely and stood up for the poor, ill and hurting of society. Josh was a man of action and compassion.

The day that Josh returned to town, the people couldn't believe what a change had taken place. The people were sure that Josh would return with hands of skill at the trade of his father. Yet Josh had returned with the hands of skill at the trade of his father in a far different manner than that of Rodney.

Josh followed first the skill of the love of compassion for other's of his father. Sure, Josh had the hands of the skill of the trade of his father but the order was somehow different. Rodney, by contrast developed the working hands of the trade and then the compassion of love that his father had taught.

The people understood Rodney but rejected Josh. Both men were spitting images in all ways of their father. Both men were honorable men in the image of their father. But, Rodney was accepted and Josh rejected by the townsfolk.

Rodney was there for the entire time. As Josh left town, rejected by the people, Rodney stood up and followed his brother. Both men loved the Father. Both men stood up strong in the faith of the Father. And Rodney stood strong in faith and followed Josh to the ends of the earth and beyond. All in the teaching and faith of the Father. The Father that their father had taught them to live and trust and place all of their hope and faith and life in.

Lord, as I hear your Word, as I read your Word, as I live your Word and take it all in; teach me how to stand up in love and compassion in unselfish ways to follow you in a strong, fierce faith... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, July 07, 2012

July 7th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Mark 6:1-13 (NRSV)
The Twelve sent to preach and heal 

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, "Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house." And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them." So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. 

Jesus had returned to Nazareth. Once before Jesus was rejected, but now he had come again. Before Jesus left as just one of their own, but now Jesus returned as a Rabbi. What would the response be this time?

We seem to miss many miracles today. I think they missed the miracle in Nazareth in this passage also. Here God is among us and in this passage God is among the people in Jesus. 

But God appears as one of themselves, disguised as one of the children from home who had left and come back with knowledge and power. But this couldn't be a miracle of God's presence! This must be the act of the devil and a deception. This is no miracle in the sense that God has shown God's presence in Jesus. They missed it! And we miss is so many times in our day as well.

Jesus' sidekicks became witnesses to the miracle of God present here on this earth. Jesus sends the disciples out to extend God's presence in all the world. The disciples of that day and of this day too are sent to preach repentance, cast out evil and heal the sick. 

Don't miss it yourself. God is present on this earth this day through the movement of the Holy Spirit throughout time and space into this world and throughout heaven, as all the saints declare the awesome miracle of the love of God in Christ Jesus that saves the sinful, heals the sick and defeats all sin, death and evil. Thanks be to God!

Father, Jesus, Spirit... your presence is a miracle. As you abide with us this day send us with your power to proclaim to all the world the miracle of forgiveness, life, and love for all your creation. --- Amen

Friday, July 06, 2012

July 6th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Read Mark 6:1-6


In the early years we spent much time in the dirt and with the scroll. Playing in the dirt was one of my favorite things to do, but rolling the scroll was by far the best. As I rolled the scroll, eyes became as if one with the Word they gazed upon. It was as if as I rolled the scroll, my being became flesh with the Word and the entire body sprang to life.

Then as I grew older, I worked with the wood. The wood became my way of bringing life from dead wood. Wood that once had life and lost it, sprang to new life and new creation in the things that my Father and I created.

But this day was different. I was with those I had lived with all my life and the healing and new life from me was hard for them to believe. Only a few sick were healed. Why can't the believe in this flesh, this Word, this new life?

Lord, open my eyes to your Word, your Flesh, your Blood and the new life you have come to give us all that I may believe. --- Amen

Thursday, July 05, 2012

July 5th Hymn by Bill Lynch

"Oh, Happy Day When We Shall Stand"
Text: Wilhelm A. Wexels, 1797-1866; tr. composite
Verse 1

Oh, happy day when we shall stand
amid the heav'nly throng;
and sing with hosts from ev'ry land
the new celestial song,
 the new celestial song.

"O Lord We Roll Our Eyes T'wards You"
Text: Bill Lynch

O Lord we roll our eyes t'wards you,
And see you face to face.
We sing with joy with all the saints
and praise you in this place
and praise you in this place.

This day we come to see you now,
is only through your grace.
Your love shines brightly from above,
and shines upon our face,
and shines upon our face.

We live your love in earthly life,
and seek to do your will.
We fail and sin and seek your grace,
and yet you bless us still,
and yet you bless us still.

Here now our praise in heaven above,
the Savior saved us still.
For we have seen your Kingdom here,
our life has been fulfilled,
our life has been fulfilled.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

July 4th Psalm by Bill Lynch

Reference Psalm 123

Psalm by Bill Lynch

Lord, I cast my eyes towards heaven.
As I live in this decaying flesh,
I cast my eyes towards heaven.

I desire your presence.
I long to be free of pain and sorrow.
I cast my eyes towards heaven.

I realize your presence here in this place.
I hear your call to this earth.
Yet, I cast my eyes towards heaven.

You give me all I need each day.
I live in your presence day to day.
I cast my eyes towards heaven.

Yet, here you are in this earthly place.
You lead me in this life today.
I cast my eyes towards heaven.

Yet, I see heaven in your presence.
On this earth. In this pain.
I cast my eyes towards heaven.

And I realize that heaven is here.
Here with you and with the hope to come.
I cast my eyes towards heaven.

And see your love wrapped all around.
For you have cast your eyes on me.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

July 3rd Reflection by Bill Lynch

My Granddaughter spent the evening with her Aunt Sarah, known to Kaiya as Aunt Horsey. Horsey's love demonstrated through the childhood joy of a horsey ride on the back of an adult. Kaiya is here shown in her joy and love of the presence of Horsey and the play they enjoyed that evening. In some way Kaiya in heaven with Horsey.

Read 2 Corinthians 12:2-10

The man was snatched away, kind of like the rapture. The man was taken to the presence of God. The man was blessed by God and was with God. What a wonderful thought and an awesome act of God this must have been for this person. Exciting yet fearful in the presence of God. Fearful in the sense that to be in God's presence is at the same time humbling yet exciting and wonderful that God would care that much for one person.

And then the thought of Paradise. Paradise in the sense of a park. A wonderful park like the Garden of Eden. A place of glory and mysterious. It seems that heaven is left this way for us as we read the Word in the Bible. Heaven is mysterious but the image that we paint in our minds is one of hope. Heaven it seems is deliberately blurry but the Word is detailed in our need for salvation to come into the presence of God in Heaven.

Contrast this thought with Paul's situation. We have heaven on one hand and the reality of this present world and the sins, and disease that are present with us now. The flesh brings pain and suffering. We become ill, we decay and we die. We all suffer from the thorn of depression or some illness or just the pain of aging. We desire to be released from our pain and suffering, yet must learn to live with the pain for most of our life. A pain that humbles each one of us in the presence of God.

A contrast of earthly life in the here and now and the heavenly life in the here and now and the yet to come. But we find that God has richly blessed us now in the hope of heaven. God is with us and we are in the presence of God now in our sorrow and pain and we will be in the presence of God in the glorious victory of Jesus Christ defeat of sin and death on our behalf.

God has called us to run the race as we live life on this earth. God has called us to stand tall in the presence of pain and witness God's love to all people that God gives to us each day. There is a salvation to be proclaimed through Jesus Christ that all need to hear and witness to. A salvation made plain and clear in the Word made flesh. A salvation that leads us through this life to a heavenly reward we did not attain through our own, but through the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Monday, July 02, 2012

July 2rd Reflection by Bill Lynch

Stand up and Listen

Read Ezekiel 2:1-5

"So what is heaven like?" Words that I heard said to me the other day. A complex question as we live in this world. If I were to take the passage above and apply this question to it; I would say that heaven is being called by God and given God's words to say to a people that would save a people. Heaven would be the moment that the Spirit entered into me and gave me the power to carry out God's wishes and desires with strength that was beyond my own strength. Heaven would be the salvation of people in a corporate sense. God comes to us individually, for sure, but God also comes to us as a people. God loves and saves the people.

Reflect passages of the Bible and realize that we have a God that is a corporate God saving people and nations. God may come to you as an individual and the Spirit may move in and through you, but it's not for your own benefit as much as it's for the salvation of God's People.

So stand up and listen to God. Stand up not just for yourself. Stand up and may the Spirit move in and through you, not for one person alone all of the time, but perhaps for God's People some of the time too.
Stand up... and listen to God.

Lord, if you call, I will stand and listen to your Word. If you don't call I will stand up and listen to your Word and take action by standing up for your People, by their side and to their defense in compassion and love for all you have taught through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen