Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Zechariah 9:9-12
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
   Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
   triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
   on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
   and the warhorse from Jerusalem;
and the battle-bow shall be cut off,
   and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
   and from the River to the ends of the earth.

As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
   I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
   today I declare that I will restore to you double.

Reflection
The people of the day of this passage and many people of today place all of their hope in so many false ideas and people. People place their hope in the military might of a country. Sometimes people place their hope in the coming of someone who will take control and make things happen. A king of might and power of sorts, maybe this king could be the Messiah. The one to save us from all of our troubles and tribulations.

This passage ties together a messiah and a king and hope. It's not that our might and power dwell with our powerful armies and bombs and jets and ships. These may secure a portion of protection, but they won't save us. It's not that our might and power dwell with our leader of women, men and politicians towards a perfect government. It is that our might and power dwell with the one who comes through humble means and institutes everlasting and permanent change.

This passage must remind you of Palm Sunday. Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. Yes, kings rode donkeys. This is evident through other passages in the Bible. Kings rode donkeys. But kings also rode horses. When the king rode a horse, it was into battle. Jesus rode a donkey. Jesus didn't need a war horse to accomplish salvation. Jesus rode a donkey in humility to face suffering, pain and death.

It would seem the Jesus' death would be the end. It would seem at this point that all hope would dry up and we all would be prisoners of a waterless pit. No hope of Jesus survival and no hope of our survival without a powerful military savior.

But this is not what took place. Yes, Jesus suffered and died but Jesus also rose again. Jesus defeated death in resurrection. Jesus defeated death and we also died with him but thanks be to God, when Jesus rose again we too rose with him. Hope is restored.

It wasn't military might and power that saved us. It wasn't the iron fist of a ruler that saved us through determination. It was our humble Savior who rose from death that saved us. The pit is full of water. Our baptismal fonts overflow and trickle into eternity with this life giving water of hope and salvation and eternal life.

No longer need we place our hope in the power and might and war weapons of nations and rulers. No longer are we prisoners of this hope. Rather we are free in the hope of a humble yet much more powerful Savior that lives in eternity with the Father and the Spirit. That's hope! That's a real hope we can place our lives on! Thanks be to God!

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkMapZB8qMk

Prayer
Jesus, you are my only hope... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Matthew 10:40-42
 ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’

Reflection
We had work hard to prepare for this party. My wife and I had spent endless hours selecting the food, the drink, the decorations, the wine and all that went along with holding a formal gathering of close friends and family. We just wanted to get together in a special way to show our appreciation and love for all of the blessings we have in life, especially our friends and family.

The house was perfect and clean as clean could be. The evening was early and our friends began to arrive. The women in their finest dress and the men wearing suits and ties. This was meant to be a formal gathering with all of us looking our best. Only the best would do.

As the guests arrived at our door both my wife and I extended the warmest of welcomes to each friend and family member. With kisses, handshakes and hugs we personally and lovingly greeted each and every guest in the sincerest of manners. Yes, it was true; each person was a true blessing in our lives. Each and every person was top notch in the depths of our hearts.

The conversation was lively and the laughter was plentiful. Then a couple of hours after the party had started and really settled in we heard the door bell ring. I looked at my wife and she glanced at me. Hadn't all of the welcomes been extended? Weren't all of the guests here? Even the guests seemed to know that everyone invited was here. As my wife went to the door and I followed close behind, the curiosity of the guests was so peaked that even they advanced to the door to see just who else we invited.

As we opened the door, standing in front of us was a man. He was in awful condition. Blood was running down his face. His hands and feet were both bloody along with a putrid, slimy, discharge coming from his side. He was dressed in nothing more than what appeared to be a diaper of some sorts. You could tell that he had been sweating all day and you could smell him as soon as the door opened. This man was an awful sight! Yet, he came to our door expecting to be welcomed. He even said to us, "Won't you welcome me also with a hug and a handshake and the love from the depths of your heart?"

We were speechless! By this time all of the guests had come to our open front door and were staring in disbelief at what they could only see with their eyes. Yet, this man also asked, "Won't you welcome even those like me into your home? Won't you all come outside this clean, safe place of yours and follow me? Will you stay awhile with all those I love as well as those you love. Spend some time with the sick, the poor, the dying, the suffering, the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill? Would you dare to give up all of what you have there behind this door and in your house to feel the pain yet feel the love of those in need? If so, then come out of that house. Yes come out and follow me. I will show you how to welcome any and all people that God loves. I will show you how to extend a proper welcome."

As he turned to walk away from our front door, he turned back and said to all of us standing there, "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."


Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YqHGFtnMOI

Prayer
Lord, open my eyes as I follow you this day to welcome any and all the people you give to me. Show me how to love as you love and care as you care. Grant me the compassion and strength to serve you even in the toughest of times. Build my faith that I may be a source of welcome that all may see your glory and come to believe in the gracious gift you suffered to pay for all the people... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen


Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Matthew 10:40-42
 ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’

Reflection
This passage brings to mind a couple of magnets I had as a child. Both of the magnets had a small hole in the center. The magnets were flat and about twice the thickness of one small section of a Hersey bar. When you held the magnets in one way against each other they would attract. Reverse one and it would seem to push or even cause the other magnet to appear to run away.

This passage makes me think of these magnets. It seems that Jesus has found a way to cause these magnets to always work together with one another no matter the orientation of the magnets. No matter the type of magnet, the prestige of the magnet, the orientation of the magnet, the size, color or anything else about the magnet, rich, poor, healthy, ill, in prison, homeless, addicted or what ever reason... it's the welcome that matters.

The "welcome" draws all people together in Christ. The "welcome" is what Jesus would have us do for anyone. The "welcome" brings people together to see what God has done for all the people in Christ Jesus.

We don't need to push or repel or even pull the other magnet whatsoever. We need to welcome the magnet and the push, pull, repel all combine into the grace of Jesus and what he did for all the people.

When I read this passage, the word welcome pops up over and over and over again. When we see another person... who knows? Maybe we should welcome them. Maybe... just maybe... we are welcoming Jesus in some way. Makes a good case to welcome one and all as far as I'm concerned. How about you?

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVRioESd_4Q

Prayer
Lord, forgive my judgmental eyes and teach me to see you in the eyes of another and welcome them. Welcome them to see the gracious act of your love... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Romans 6:12-23
 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Reflection
When we are baptized and we become children of God and freely receive the gift of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, things begin to change. Things in life change drastically. For some people that change is very fast, for other people that change is slow, for all people that change is a life long change that leads to living the eternal life that Jesus gave to all of us in the resurrection.

This change involves a perspective. We are no longer a slave to that old master Sin. We now have changed owners. We become a "free" slave of sorts to a new Master, God. This change in perspective is life altering. This change may take a life-time of sorts but it is a HUGE change. A change that begins and continues.

Even while we live in a world of sin, death, illness, evil, hunger and so many other negative effects, we have a present and a future hope that is secure in the life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection of God in Christ Jesus. We are no longer bound and chained to the sinfulness that we once were bound of which the results were death. Jesus took care of that for us. We are now free from sin. As a result of this realization and this fact, we boldly and gladly respond to God's love through righteous actions of love and care for God and for one another, just as Jesus acted in love towards us. Once again... a huge change in life and perspective.

In some ways we now realize a move of faith evolving and changing into our spirituality. God's Spirit dwells within us. We say and do things that in reflection seem to be beyond ourselves. When we live with God as our Master, we give ourselves over to God with the hope that God will use us for God's will in this place in which we live our earthly lives.

And when our desires are for the will of God and not the control and will of our own lives, our actions and motives and our very hearts are changed. Changed not by what we have done but rather by what God has done for us in Jesus.

And we stop and ponder in our lives... just what is going on? As we ponder we realize that for the world, maybe God is not in control... but for us... God is in control... and we are just fine with that! We are overjoyed by God's presence and leading in our lives. We look to God and live the righteous life God gives us to live. Sure, we stumble and sin... but remember... through what Jesus did and through the love of God... sin is not our master... God is our Master.

Thanks be to God!

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbe7OruLk8I

Prayer
Lord, as I wake each day and live out the baptismal call, lead me, guide me, and be my Master. For I live for you as you gave your life for me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18
A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, for ever;
   with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established for ever;
   your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

You said, ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
   I have sworn to my servant David:
“I will establish your descendants for ever,
   and build your throne for all generations.” ’
          Selah

Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
   who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
they exult in your name all day long,
   and extol your righteousness.
For you are the glory of their strength;
   by your favour our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the Lord,
   our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Reflection
Lord, you created it all.
   And you rule over it all.
Over the gently flowing streams
   Over the raging floods.
Lord, you created it all.

I come to hear your promise.
   For in your promise I live.
I sing praises and shout for joy.
   For your Word is truth.
I come to hear your promise.

In your strength I live and grow.
   In the rest you provide I am restored.
Salvation comes each morning.
   Life and growth are everywhere.
In your strength I live and grow.

Yet, there is sin in this world.
   I see evil and death.
Governments collapse in corruption.
   Death and suffering are all around.
Yet, there is sin in this world.

I can't seem to comfort.
   The oppressed are defeated.
The hungry starve for food.
   The ill fall and die.
I can't seem to comfort.

I turn my head and see your Jesus.
   Hanging on that wooden cross.
One plea I give to you O Lord.
   "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
I turn my head and see you Jesus.

With a festal shout I praise your glory.
   You are all glory and strength.
You are life eternal in love.
   Lord of all creation.
With a festal shout I praise your glory.

Song

Prayer
Lord, there is good and bad in this world. But I know that you are above and beyond both the good and the bad. You are the life in the midst of sin and death. You are the life in the midst of illness. You are the life in the midst of starvation and homelessness. Use me this day to bring your blessings to those in need. Use me this day to do your will. May I be silent when I'm called to be silent and present. May I proclaim your great salvation when I'm called to shout out. Lead me in your will and your way... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Genesis 22:1-14
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt-offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together.

 When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’

Reflection
It's hard to imagine such obedience to the will and the word of God. Abraham took the commands of God and obeyed them, completely trusting in God for direction. To be able to put your own emotions aside and to follow God's commands without an argument or discussion is amazing to me. How many times, when I am told to do something that I really don't wish to do will I try to talk about it first. I will try to rationalize my way around the situation just to get out of doing what I have been told to do. Abraham does not do this in this passage of scripture. There surely are other times that this is done in scripture and even by Abraham but not here.

How like this situation is like the situation of the Father and the giving of Jesus his son to die upon a cross as a sacrifice. How obedient Jesus is to the Father's will in his death upon the cross. See the contrast of what happened with Jesus. God rescued Isaac from the knife of Abraham and substituted his son Jesus instead as the sacrifice. Yes, Abraham had great faith but Abraham is not God. God took on the responsibility of the sacrifice. God took this upon himself in the form of Jesus. Now it can only be said that we live through Jesus, not the obedience of our own actions.

Yes, we are called to be obedient. We are called to the obedience of Abraham but God has provided the sacrifice and the life. Yet some of us are called also to stay back. Some of us are like the young men and called to stay with the donkey. Some are called to the altar and others are called to the care of things while others serve God at the altar. Both callings are needed. Both callings are ordained. Both callings are acts of faith.

Imagine how the young men must have wanted to go along to worship too. Imagine how the young men were curious. In faith they obeyed the commands of Abraham to stay and watch the donkey. In faith they were called to wait on the return of Abraham and Isaac. Yes, in faith they stayed back.

So, as we turn to God to listen for God's will and God's command in our daily lives, may we too have the obedience and the discipline and the respect to stay or go and obey and trust in God's will and God's way. Yes! God will provide. God provides the wood and the sacrifice and the love and the obedience in the life of Jesus and in our lives as well. God will provide the Spirit and the spark that creates that wonderful flame of love and obedience deep within our hearts. It's not easy but who said any of this discipleship would be easy?

Song
Lord, how you come to each of us just at the right moment and intervene in our lives and spark us with faith, love and obedience.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tadZ8nCLBsI

Prayer
Lord, as I read your Word, as I ponder and listen for your calling in my daily situations, as I seek the place your would have me take in life; keep me obedient and faithful and trusting in all you say... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23rd Reflection by Bill Lynch


Jeremiah 28:5-9
 Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; and the prophet Jeremiah said, ‘Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfil the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.’

Reflection
Jeremiah had a tough job at a tough time. He had to proclaim the word of the Lord to a people that had left all of what God had told them to follow. A people that worshipped many gods and did not do or behave the laws given to the Chosen People that God had rescued from the Egyptians. Jeremiah brought a message as a yoke from God to tell these people the truth. The truth that God had chosen a Babylonian government to rule over them as they were to live in exile from the land given to them by God.

How many prophets came and went with the easy message of how everything would be just fine... don't worry... don't do anything... don't believe this word of Jeremiah. This prophecy was the prophecy that Jeremiah surely wanted to tell the people, but God had a true message that needed to be told that was exactly the opposite of these soothing messages that the favored prophets were telling the people. Jeremiah had a truthful message from God and a message that would not be easy to hear or even to endure. But God's message from Jeremiah was truth.

There will be a time when the prophets will prophecy peace. And when that time comes we will know and understand the prophecy to be true. True prophecy is fulfilled and God's Word will always stand.

So, as we listen to people of this day throw about what will happen and how it will happen... how do we know the truth?... how do we understand truth? We must wait to see the results of the words of these so called prophets.

I don't put much weight into the words of prophets today. I know that I can turn to God and seek the true message and the true hope and the true faith and the true prophecy in the Word set before and given to all people in the Bible. I don't need to be a Bible thump-er to see that God has given us all the hope we need and all the warnings we need and all the messages we need for life through God's Word, the sacraments and in the Holy Spirit in the community of God's Church. That's enough for me... way more than this humble man can handle. Thanks be to God!

Song
We stand to proclaim the God that all people may come to and see salvation. All to the glory of God not to ourselves.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-Ycvifm7T4

Prayer
Lord, show me your will and your way for my life that I may act and say what pleases you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22nd Reflection by Bill Lynch


Matthew 10:24-39
 ‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
 ‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

 ‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

Reflection
This day takes on a special meaning for me along with the words of this passage. It was 58 years ago that Mom gave birth to me in the small hours of the morning way before sunrise. It was 2 years ago that this same great lady died in the late hours of the day after sunset. But it was all the time in between those years that flood back into my mind.

Memories of Mom that was full of fire and spunk. A determined parent to try to make something out of nothing in me and my life. I can remember times that I was defiant of her authority from adolescence into my adulthood and her late years of life sometime my defiance would rage. We both had and have a passion to stand up and take count of this thing or that thing or another thing. Some of those "things" were important and many other of those "things" were trivial in nature. Little did I know that in those "things" I was learning as a disciple of Mom to take a stand and to stake a claim. She was teaching me all along and I didn't even realize this. She was teaching me by example.

Teaching me when, as a small boy, I would witness her alone at the coffee table opening a little white Bible with a zipper. At least I think there was a zipper on that Bible. Did I break that zipper sometime or another? Maybe it didn't have a zipper and my memory fades, but the zipper and the opening of the Bible by Mom, as I watched from a distance, this personal time that Mom would take with the Bible in hand inspired me. This inspired me and made me curious throughout the rest of my life and even today... what is it about those words in that book?

So, from Mom, came this habit of opening the Bible and looking and searching and becoming a disciple of more than Mom but a disciple of Jesus.

And then the time of sitting at the kitchen table with scissors and paper in hand. Just me and Mom reading the passage about the fruits of the Spirit and cutting out the paper into the appropriate shapes.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
(Galatians 5:22-23a)

It seems this exercise was growth for both Mom and for me. How we both needed to exercise some of those fruits. How we both especially needed to exercise our love for one another in self-control. Oh the temper we both had and how to control that one! But it wasn't our control, it was more the giving up of self-control and the realization that both of us were now disciples of Jesus, me at my young age and Mom in her middle age years.

And then into our adult life. How many Bible conversations did we have on Sunday afternoons each week. What does this mean or what does that say to you? Questions with no clear answers and discussion that many times led to heated yet loving and sometimes even joking arguments. Fun times indeed as I remember.

It's hard to express how much took place for me between those pre-dawn hours of my life to those post-sunset hours of Mom's life. And my hope is that it's hard to express for Mom that same time frame. Yet I know at this moment in my life, Mom is beyond all of time and sees clearly the love of Christ Jesus that was working in our midst during that pre-dawn to post-sunset time period in my life and hers.

So, when I read in the passage of scripture above, I can see the angst that surely must be present in all people who seek to follow Jesus. Jesus is not promising that our earthly life will be easy and prosperous and all straight white teeth looking. Jesus tells us to get ready to "rumble." There will be fights and disagreements and arguments and persecution and pain in following Jesus. If we are passionate about being a disciple of Jesus it's not going to be a cake walk down the rosy path of life.

The disciple is not above the teacher. Look what Jesus endured! His family took him to be crazy at times and I'm sure some abandoned him and others fought it out with him and stayed by his side. Can I expect anything different? All secrets are open and the dirty laundry is out for all of the world to see sometimes. 

Yet... yet... if we are passionate and exercise our faith and trust in Jesus we can hear Jesus tell us over and over again... "Do not fear." 

"Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows."

Even with all of the flaws and the raging arguments... you are valuable to God. Yes, God can work with and works through all of that "stuff" for good. It may not be a peaceful experience at times. But as your passion for being a disciple of Christ grows in hope, love and understanding... you grow likewise. You grow to be an example to someone else. Someone else who may witness you picking up that white Bible and reading it. Someone else who may see you question faith, hope, love, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, suffering, death, illness, pain, life and everlasting life. You grow to be an example of the hands and feet of Jesus Christ here on this earth and in this life and in this time.

Yes, as a disciple of Jesus, you are put to the test and held to that passionate fire of the Holy Spirit to live out your faith... from the pre-dawn hours before sunrise till the hours past sunset. Those hours of life when we live for God in the presence of one another. 

Thanks, Mom for the great times. Thanks for showing me the love of God in Christ Jesus. Thanks for all of the discussions and arguments. Thanks for bringing me to see Jesus in you, active and alive forever. Thanks be to God our Father and our Savior and the fire of the Holy Spirit in our passionate love for God. Thanks be to God!

Song
Butterflies had a special meaning to Mom, so I couldn't help but to present this song for your senses. 

Prayer
Lord, I can only be humble and at awe of all you have done. I give you all glory and honor and praise with a thankful heart... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21st Reflection by Bill Lynch


Romans 6:1b-11
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Reflection
There it is! Yes, there it is! It seems all week long the passages have been about questioning the presence of God in our troubled lives. Or the feeling has been that we are in this all on our own. In this passage... There it is! " But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him."

Yes! There is the hope by which we live. A hope that rests, not in our own works, not in our own righteousness, not in our own efforts to attract the eye of God's favor, but in the death and life of Jesus. It's the hope that we can have in all situations of life; the bad and the awful and the lonely and the forgotten situations. "The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God."

Having observed this and having seen the gospel story we too can live in this world of sin in which we live. We too can live in the midst of our own sin. Yes, we too can change it around all because Jesus changed it all around. All in the way that we consider our life here and now and forever. Yes! There it is! That hope that we all must rely on with all of our lives. The hope and joy of the resurrection of Jesus, our God, our Savior, our Brother.

Yes! There it is! "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."

Now even in the midst of our own sin and even in the midst of the sin of this world, we can live a life that is dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Now we GO! Now we go forth to serve all those that Jesus served with an attitude of new life available to all. To all who exist unemployed, ill, in prison, addicted, hungry and all who mourn. We GO and serve all those who can't hear or feel the presence of God in their lives. We GO and tell the wonderful story of a changed life that all people can have because of what God has done in and through Christ Jesus. We GO with our hands, our feet, our hearts, our gifts, our Savior and become what God would have us become through the love of Jesus for and to and among and with those God gives to us day after day.

Yes! There it is! Our Hope and our GO power that takes us from here to eternity. We GO in the confidence that even when God feels absent, God is present with us and all around us and in us and through us... even if we don't know it... we GO with God!

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eHg8s8M4no

Prayer
Lord, send me out with a new and a changed attitude and a realization that Yes! you have victory over sin and in your resurrection you have given me the freedom to live my life victorious over sin as well. Send me out free to love and serve all those you give to me. Send me out free to tell all the wonderful story of what you have done for me and for all people through Christ Jesus. Yes, Lord, send me out to do your will in your way to any and all you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Psalm 69:7-18
It is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
   that shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my kindred,
   an alien to my mother’s children.

It is zeal for your house that has consumed me;
   the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
When I humbled my soul with fasting,
   they insulted me for doing so.
When I made sackcloth my clothing,
   I became a byword to them.
I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate,
   and the drunkards make songs about me.

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
   At an acceptable time, O God,
   in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.
With your faithful help rescue me
   from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
   and from the deep waters.
Do not let the flood sweep over me,
   or the deep swallow me up,
   or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
   according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
Do not hide your face from your servant,
   for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.
Draw near to me, redeem me,

   set me free because of my enemies.

Reflection
How we cry out in pain and plea for God to rescue us. How we cry out to God for freedom from addiction. How we cry out to God for escape from poverty. We cry out to God in the midst of death.

And sometimes all we hear is silence in return. We wonder if God even cares. We try our best to do God's will and think that God will come to our side when we need him the most but sometimes all we get is silence. Where are you Lord? I need your help!

Father, don't let these horrible things happen to me. People make fun of me for having faith in you while they see me suffer from one calamity or another. People who live in comfort and pleasure laugh at my faith in you, O Lord. I need your help!

There are these times in life and we must face into these times with faith and hope. But we only receive our faith and our hope from God... but God seems to be absent and not paying any attention to our needs.

Then I think of the people of Jesus day and time on this earth. How they longed for a Savior a midst the evils of the day. How the persecution of the Romans ruled the lives of so many people and made life miserable. How long, Lord, they must have thought! How long until you send the Savior? And then Jesus arrived.

We live today with the knowledge of Jesus' life on earth. His coming, living, ministry, healing, suffering, death and resurrection. Today we can turn to the pages of the Gospels and read accounts of God's presence even when the people thought they had been abandoned. We can further read in the epistles how God was active in the Church and called people and enlightened them and gifted them and sent them to proclaim God's presence and love for all the people of this world.

Yes, we live today in the Light of Christ. We can rest assured in the faith and hope that we need to pull us through those dark times when we just can't hear or see or sense God's presence in our lives. We can rest assured in the faith and hope that God is present and always with us, even when we can't see or hear God.

When we feel abandoned, God is still there. Stop and be with God. Let it go and complain. Cry out as the psalmist cried and let God hear your complaint. It's OK. God is bigger than anything we could say. And God will sometimes listen and not answer... but that doesn't mean that God is gone. We know that God has shown us salvation in Jesus and that no matter how much we suffer and are rejected and pushed aside, God has a resurrection in mind for us. God has an eternal life planned and ready for us. God will take away the tears and the mourning and the suffering. God saved us from all of this with his son in Jesus.

So, let's just pause. Let's just listen. Let's just read and reflect on the Scriptures and wait. For the results are already assured. Thanks be to God!

And then... and then... at the right time God will send us... and we will go in the strength of the almighty.

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmQzT2upcrY

Prayer
Lord, I'm so glad I can come to you and unload. I'm glad you listen. Help me learn the waiting and then assist me when it's time to get up and go. I look to you and know you are here... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Genesis 21:8-21
 The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.’ The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named after you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, ‘Do not let me look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.

 God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Reflection
Just when Hagar felt all was lost, God came into her life and showed her a different path. Hagar must have felt rejected and cast to the side, no longer a part of God's plan, no longer in God's hands. But even in the depths of her despair and loneliness, when all seemed used up and gone, God heard Hagar's cry and sent an angel to lead and guide her and open her eyes to the goodness of the well of water and new life.

Like Hagar, when we feel lost and without cause and when we feel the despair of loneliness and cry to God, we must spend that time in waiting. The waiting and the silence and the faith and hope that God will hear and be with us to lead and guide us through our most trying moments. We wait for God to point us to that life giving well of water that he has graciously given us in the promise of our baptism.

And we grow... we grow in the life God has given us and in the place God has taken us. Yes, we grow as God leads and guides us in our lives.

Song
Lord, I long for your presence... always.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFlgIk7CXbs

Prayer
Lord, I am your outcast. I am not of the Chosen race. Yet you come to me and you listen to me and you walk with me just the same. Lead and guide me this day. Lead me even in the midst of my sin and the sin of this world that I may do your will and follow in your way... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Jeremiah 20:7-13
O Lord, you have enticed me,
   and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me,
   and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughing-stock all day long;
   everyone mocks me.
For whenever I speak, I must cry out,
   I must shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’
For the word of the Lord has become for me
   a reproach and derision all day long.
If I say, ‘I will not mention him,
   or speak any more in his name’,
then within me there is something like a burning fire
   shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in,
   and I cannot.
For I hear many whispering:
   ‘Terror is all around!
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’
   All my close friends
   are watching for me to stumble.
‘Perhaps he can be enticed,
   and we can prevail against him,
   and take our revenge on him.’
But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior;
   therefore my persecutors will stumble,
   and they will not prevail.
They will be greatly shamed,
   for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonour
   will never be forgotten.
O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous,
   you see the heart and the mind;
let me see your retribution upon them,
   for to you I have committed my cause.

Sing to the Lord;
   praise the Lord!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
   from the hands of evildoers.

Reflection
Jeremiah has a belly-ache session with God in these verses of scripture. Jeremiah has had enough of proclaiming God's Word and God's warning to these people that won't listen and in the midst of an expanding evil empire. God... what are you doing? God is not in control! Get with it God because I need you. I've been telling these people your Word and you have left me in the middle of this mess! God! Take control here! I thought you were in control?

We too can come to God and complain. God can take any and all of our complaints. God doesn't try to take control of every aspect of what happens in this world. In fact God gives us the freedom to live our lives making good decisions along with the bad decisions. The good decisions, I'm sure please God, but our bad decisions make us come back to God to seek God's will and God's guidance in our lives. I think God loves it when we come back as well.

So, there is nothing wrong with coming to God in a prayer of complaint. But don't expect God to be the Shell Answer Man either. Sometimes we are left to struggle with an issue or problem. It's not that God has abandoned us, but more that, God knows that he holds the final and ultimate solution. We grow in the struggle and we grow as well when we wrestle with God. It's in these times of wrestling that we see the angels of heaven come and go on the stairway that opens to heaven itself. I think God wants me to struggle with sin and the world and my life to understand that God will always be with me even in the midst of my struggle and even in the midst of my complaints about these stubborn people all around me and these evil governments and countries that try to take control of everything.

But in the end, I can rest assured that God sent his son, Jesus, to walk this struggle just as I struggle. God sent Jesus to deal with the stubborn, the ill, the sinful, the whiners and all. God sent Jesus as the solution to corrupt governments and sinful people in order to save us and give us everlasting life through a sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus for all. In the end God controls the outcome.

But for now, God let's the rest of us live in a world of decisions. Decisions made by me and by you and by all the people. Decisions that may even bring suffering, illness and death to myself or someone else. God leaves us to live in a universe our own way in spite of all of the controls needed for this universe to exist. And God lives and moves with us all along the way... even in death... to be with us as God escorts us into everlasting life with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in eternity.

What more could we ask for as we seek to do the will of God each day. Maybe we will... and sometimes we won't do God's will. But God will be with us.

What a reason to praise and sing the glory of a God that grants both freedom and grants life!

"Sing to the Lord;
   praise the Lord!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
   from the hands of evildoers."

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxVpInc1y5g

Prayer
Lord, as I jump into this world of decision makers, both good and bad, walk with me and lead me and guide me the best you can that I may do your will... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Matthew 28:16-20
 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Reflection
We go to the mountain and we see Jesus. Even with our doubts and questions. Even while we question why, we go. We go to see Jesus and worship Jesus. We go to the mountain and wonder what Jesus has in store for us. What are we to do with our lives now that Jesus has died and rose again? What are we to do in this still sinful world of war, illness, poverty, fighting, stealing...? What are we going to do now Jesus? It seems the work is not finished after all! So, now what? We thought you were the answer, but it seems that everything just goes on like always! Now what? Now what, that you seem to be leaving us and ascending into heaven? Are you just going to leave us in the midst of this mess to be persecuted and crucified just as you were persecuted and crucified? What's so great about this discipleship thing that you have led us into? Can't you see, Jesus, why we doubt? Can't you see why we wonder if any of all of this was worth any of the effort in the first place? Now, what?

You directed us towards this mountain with all of our doubts and questions and fear and worry... yet when we set our eyes upon you... we worship. We worship and can't help it. We worship even in the midst of our doubt, we fall to our knees in your presence and we worship.

And then... then you declare something we all need to hear. In the midst of this sinful evil world and even in the midst of our very own sinful lives; you declare your authority over everything. I mean everything. Everything, not in just what we can sense with our senses but you even have authority over things that we can't sense with our senses. You have authority even over time! We needed to hear that so badly! We need to know it and you told us... You ARE God! Yes, you are God! Not just man... yes you are a man... but at the same time you are God!

So, since you ARE God, we can put behind ourselves all the negatives. Death, illness, poverty and all of those things we came with in our doubt... you have flipped. You have flipped it all and have given us the hope we need... you ARE God. Yes! You tell us to GO! Go, as a command. And now since you have flipped it all we can now go. Go in the confidence only you can give. In the end, after all, you are God! And the end has been taken care of. So now all of the negatives can't defeat us. All of the illness, the doubt and the suffering will change into everlasting life. Life where we will once again hear the voice of God proclaim...

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
(Revelation 21:3-5)

Yes, Lord and Savior, Jesus, we hear your command to Go! And Going boldly we leave baptizing and making disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we will GO, teaching, praising, singing, rejoicing and shouting your great authority over all of that is seen and unseen. How could we do anything else? For now we know as you have told us... "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

With us in the midst of our sinfulness, our doubt, our worry, our poverty, our illness, our suffering, our persecution, our death, our resurrection, our new and eternal life. You are always with us! Now and forever!

Jesus, you flipped it all for sure. Yes... you flipped our certain death into certain and eternal life!

Thanks be to God!

Song

Prayer
Oh Jesus! Oh Father! Oh Spirit! Oh God! Oh Trinity! You have flipped it for all of us. And we have flipped for you. Lead us in our lives... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14th Reflection by Bill Lynch


2 Corinthians 13:11-13

 Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Reflection
Paul pulls us into this small passage of scripture. He makes us feel as if he is talking directly to us in person. It's a wonderful feeling when you realize that God's message is timeless and involves you as a person and also as a community of believers. His choosing of the word farewell, to many, also means rejoice. Think of that. Paul greets us towards the end of this letter as individual brothers and sisters as well as a group of believers and we rejoice. Just with the words brothers and sisters alone you feel the notion of the group, the family, the corporate sense of believers.

Now Paul wants us to continue in our growth... continue in our forgiveness... continue in our encouragement of one for another... continue to let God mold us and shape us and form us into what God wants us to me, both as a person and as a group. As God shapes us individually and corporately we begin to be of one mind. I don't take this to mean that we will all think the same way or even that we will agree on everything. We will and are all unique creations of God both as individuals and as churches in the body of Christ. We have our differences to be celebrated, but when you put it all together as only God can do... we are One. We live in harmony as One. Not that we become God but rather that God shapes us into what God desires for all y'all's to be. All of us belong to God and all we have is God's... so stop fighting over control and let God control. There's so much more joy in that attitude than the attitude that "I can do this myself!"

And then there is Peace. We can live in peace with one another and with God. For we greet each other with that wonderful and awesome holy kiss. An exchange practiced in the early church and today in the passing of the peace. I've noticed that in the southern United States this takes place more as a hug and in the northern United States it's a little more formal as a handshake and eye to eye contact. Both ways have their advantages. One seems to be contact heart to heart and the other seems to be a deep contact of the minds of one for the other. Although we shake hands or give hugs or sometimes kiss, we are giving this same "holy kiss" out of brotherly and sisterly love, exchanged unique saint to unique saint, all together in One faith. I've been in churches where it seems to stop the service and doesn't end until everyone has moved to all people and I've been in churches where only a brief amount of time is allotted before the service moves on. In each case, this exchange has deep meaning, especially in the consideration of this passage's plea or perhaps command from Paul.

"Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you."

As we do this greeting individually we are joined with all the saints. And I think of it as ALL... past, present, future, because in this greeting we are one with each other and one with God's perfect peace and love.

What a wonderful passage of unity that God gives to us this day. God the Father, God the Savior, God the Holy Spirit... all each and all ALL. What a wonderful thought of God! Thanks be to God.

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B67yS0GXT_g

Prayer
Lord, may you continue to grow me in faith, love, peace and service for what your will is for my life. Use me this day and each day in ways I can know and in ways I don't know or even understand. Unite my life with the life of those in your Church that together we may all become what you want each of us to be and all of us to be. As we have received that Holy Kiss only you can give with the coming, life, ministry, healing, teaching, serving, suffering, dying, saving, resurrecting and eternal life of Jesus; may we freely give of this kiss from ourselves to each other in the spirit of the Holy Spirit which you have firmly planted within us. Lead us in all we do and say... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, June 09, 2014

June 9th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Genesis 1:1-2:4a
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.

 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.

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

Reflection
Such variety in all of creation and this account of creation. Such variety in the separation of the waters. Variety in the taming of the chaos prior to creation. Variety in the creation of light and darkness, of the sea and all that lives in the sea, such variety in the land and the animals and insects and all the creatures of the lands and such variety in the creation of humankind. God creates with variety.

Yet, there is consistency as well. All of this variety comes into being because, "God said..." All of the variety takes shape in the form that God made it "good." All of this variety takes place between the beginning and the ending of the day. And all of this variety and goodness brings forth a day of rest.

"God said" reminds me of the Word made flesh. God said let my Son, Jesus walk upon this good earth with these good people I have created. These people that have strayed from my goodness and fell into the trap of sin, death and evil. I will send my Son, Jesus, the Word made flesh to dwell among them and free them so that I can, once again, bring them into harmony with the goodness and the love and the forgiveness. I will let my Spirit dwell within them so that humankind can take on this same love through the gifts that I give to each, unique in every way as I have created them good and unique in every way that they may glorify their Father in heaven. Yes... "God said" and it came to be through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit moving in this good creation.

And then the day of rest. What? Why would God need rest? No, not God... but creation... but humankind need the rest. God knows that we need rest. God provides rest by setting aside the rest that we need. God takes a day of rest because the good creation needs a day of rest. Creation is easy for God but being created is hard word for the created. We are changing each day. We are changing into what God intends for us to be. God wants to declare that "It is good!" and we change from the dirt of the ground into something good and pleasing to the sight of God. So, as we change, we need rest, and God has set aside that day of rest when we stop and contemplate the goodness of God and the changes and blessing God has done in and through us. We stop to worship and praise and honor and glorify our God right in the midst of that peaceful rest only God could demonstrate and only God could provide.

God the Creator, such a wild imagination! Such a wonderful variety for us to explore throughout all of our lives. God the Creator, full of variety yet consistent. What God says, God's Word stands. God will save us in our sinfulness and has saved us through Jesus. God will gift us with gifts that glorify God. And God will send us into all the world to proclaim the goodness, the love, the forgiveness to all creation.

Such variety and yet so consistent. Thanks be to God!

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CBNE25rtnE

Prayer
Lord, use me this day with the gifts that you have given me that all you give to me may see your glorious goodness and come to follow in the footsteps of the Savior Jesus Christ... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, June 06, 2014

June 6th Reflection by Bill Lynch


Acts 2:1-21
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’
 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
   and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
   and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
   in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
     and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
   and signs on the earth below,
     blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
   and the moon to blood,
     before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Reflection
I've been put into action so many times. It's wonderful when God realizes how you are created, your unique abilities and puts all that you have into action.

The first time I remember was seeing an ocean, no, wait, more that an ocean, but rather the entire body of all water, emotion, and creation, at a boiling point at least. Everything was moving and heaving and moving about in such a chaotic fashion. Then God put me into action and I moved across this mass of what seemed to be water. Just this action of God brought calm and order to whatever this water or whatever it was, that I blew across and made everything ready to be made new or created.

God loves to use me in cases of dealing with water I found out as time passed. Especially when it comes to permitting people to pass through the water to arrive at a destination. God's people were in slavery and were leaving this slavery to worship God. And he did it again. I caused the ground to dry beneath the feet of all of God's people so that they could pass on to safety while the enemy chased them.

Once again with the next generation of God's people I was put into action as these people were brought out of many years of confusion and wandering into a land that God had set as a destination for his people. I stopped the flow of the water through God's Spirit using me.

And oh how many times have I passed over the vocal cords of people to deliver the message God has planned. One time I was blown into a bunch of bones that had been assembled and put together and covered with flesh. When the Spirit blew me into these fleshly beings; they sprang to new life.

God has amazed me time after time. Then there was this time after Jesus had died, rose and ascended that God blew me across a whole assembly of people. You talk about new life. I was even used to pass over these people's vocal cords to permit them to speak in ways that all could understand one another. They could understand because the One true voice of God was passing through them in Spirit.

It goes on today and I believe God will continue to use me forever. I'm pass over the vocal cords of so many people today who speak the Word of God in prayer, in scripture, in the caring conversations of love and forgiveness they have one with another. That's One true voice as well. That's one tongue so to say.

It seems that whenever I am teamed up with the Holy Spirit, God is present and speaking in such a way that all the people can understand what is being said. It's amazing to me that God can use me in ways that I could never have imagined.

Somehow, I'll bet if you stop and take a look at yourself, the gifts God has given you, how you are created and such; you will realize how God has chosen to use you in your life and the life of God's Church. Really! I mean it! And you know what?

Just go with the flow... let God use you for what you are... don't resist a thing. It's amazing what God can do!

Now, I say it all of the time...
Blow Spirit blow!

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3sl6VXDLYM

Prayer
Lord, use me in the way you have created me to be used, that all you give to me and all who pass by may see your gracious act of salvation and may come to know you as their Creator, Savior and Spirit... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen 

Thursday, June 05, 2014

June 5th Reflection by Bill Lynch


John 20:19-23
 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.’

Reflection
How would you have like to have seen that? The resurrected body of Jesus right before your eyes. Jesus showed his hands and his side. Somehow here stands the one we love alive from death in the flesh!

Think of that day when our resurrected bodies will stand together. No pain or tears or worries. No illness... no death! We will be full of the Spirit of God.

But wait! Jesus did breath the Holy Spirit upon the disciples that day. And he freed the disciples to live a life of forgiveness and a life to forgive the sins of those God gives to us. Not only did Jesus come to free the disciples but now the disciples live to free the world too.

The breath of Jesus and the Holy Spirit has changed everything. We live as Jesus lives to forgive one another. We live and we die as Jesus lived and died to love and forgive all the people. We aren't tied down in the hatred and fear of revenge, of that get even spirit when we have been wronged, of that attitude of getting ahead at the expense of another, of that mean spirited competition that is so easy to fall into the trap of living.

No we are now called by the Holy Spirit, given life through Jesus, and created to live a life free from the hatred that comes with sin and live a life that comes with the freedom to live a life of forgiveness for ourselves and granting forgiveness and love to those God gives to us. We are free, not only of the pains of this flesh and the wounds of hatred, but we are free of the bondage and baggage that all of this type of attitude brings into our lives. We are free to live like we are free! We are free to live a life of peace.

Thanks be to God that we can turn to the Holy Spirit and the Word when we feel the pull of that old bag of sinfulness that we continue to live with in this world. We must focus on Jesus and declare our baptism to all the world when sin and the devil attempt to pull us away from this wonderful gift of freedom we have been given. Yes, we declare through the name of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit that we are free and we are baptized! Feel the breath of God and awake to the freedom of living a forgiven life! Thanks be to God!

Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSzU9Ji-tV8

Prayer
Lord, when I feel the pull of sin enter my life, help me to see the freedom you have given. May I feel the breath of life in the Holy Spirit sweep through my flesh and spirit that I may stand in the freedom of life and forgiveness that only you could grant... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen