Sunday, August 02, 2015

August 2nd Reflection

Ephesians 4:1-16 (NRSV)
​Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said,
"When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people."
(When it says, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.

Yes, we are One. We are One together and we are One apart. For in our Oneness we are in Christ.

We are not One like some thing is one. We are not boring or even all the same.

We are One in our unity in Christ but so different one from another.

This is the beauty of the Church of God. There is variety and application of all sorts of blessings through our One Lord.

Christ draws us together in the unity of the cross and in the fulfillment of the resurrection. All of our unique skills, abilities, callings and blessings, work together for One. That's with a capital O for the Oneness of God.

Even as we peer into the mystery of the trinity... God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit all different yet all One; we can see the workings of God in the life of the Church in this world that is leading to that glorious Church eternal.

What a glorious day for each and for all when the baptized realize the beauty of each special life, each child of God that will be part of the ONE.

Thanks be to God!


Lord, lead us in faith and works to the ONE you would have each of us be in you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, August 01, 2015

August 1st Reflection

Psalm 78:23-29
​Yet he commanded the skies above,
and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained down on them manna to eat,
and gave them the grain of heaven.
Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
he sent them food in abundance.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
and by his power he led out the south wind;
he rained flesh upon them like dust,
winged birds like the sand of the seas;
he let them fall within their camp,
all around their dwellings.
And they ate and were well filled,
for he gave them what they craved.

Oh the manna and the quail. How abundantly does our God rain down upon us blessing.

Lord, give us this day our daily bread.
Yes, our daily bread; all that we need to live this life on earth and all the we need to live life in eternity.

God gives us not only what we need to sustain our bodies, such as food and clothing and the money necessary to our needs. God also blesses us with livelihood and friends and family of all types.

God provides for all of our needs. God even gives us graciously, salvation. Salvation from sin, death and the devil.

Oh... the manna and the quail.

And how God rains down all of this on all people. Not just some of the people but all of the people.

See how this blessing was provided to all the Israelites in the wilderness. Those that followed in God's commands and those who didn't.

Our God is a God of abundant grace and blessing to all.

Now what? How do you respond to such blessing?

Clear your doubt for a moment and reach out in the same love God has shown to you and to  all the people in your life with abundant and gracious blessing.

Not so easy? Not at all! Think of blessing those you hate! Think of blessing and providence for those you can't stand!

Yes, if we are to respond, we are to open our minds and our wills and our ways to all the people.

After all... isn't that what God has done for you?

Thanks be to God!

I Am The Bread Of Live~Suzanne Toolan

Lord, how we hunger for the "bread of angels." As you rain down upon us the gracious bread and wine and as we partake of your body and blood; may we go forth fully fed to serve and love in abundance all you those given to us... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, April 05, 2015

April 5th Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 20:1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Mary only saw the stone rolled away! What did she assume? She ran to tell the disciples. It wasn't until later that Mary looked into the tomb to see. Was this her first time looking into the tomb? Did she take a peek inside before running to the disciples? Or did Mary just assume that since the stone was rolled away that Jesus was gone?

I don't know and can't tell from reading this passage. But I can relate to Mary and what she felt and did. Many times in my life the stone has been in the way of my seeing and understanding the call and message that Jesus has for my life. Many times I see the stone rolled away and forget about my encounter with Jesus and run to tell someone else what I assume to be the message.

But then also many times I go back to that tomb. I go back to the place that the stone is rolled away. I go back to death and the dead of my spirit and find Jesus. How did the stone roll away? It was Jesus. It was Jesus that rolled the stone of death from my heart to expose himself in life to me and to call me and stop me and make me lay down. Jesus stops me and shows himself to me and fills me with his Spirit that I may rise to new life in him. That I may hear his call. That I may respond to what God has chosen for me to do in this new life... in this resurrected life... in this life only made possible because Jesus chose to love me and to love all people enough to roll that stone of death away and expose all creation to a new and resurrected life.

Hear the voice of the Teacher call out your name to live the resurrected life in and through him.

Christ has risen!
He has risen indeed!

IN CHRIST ALONE by Adie Camp & Geoff Moore

Lord as I see the stone rolled away. As I witness the empty tomb. As I remember the curtain torn in two. As I see you exposed in life to all the world... may I proclaim your glory... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February 22nd Reflection by Bill Lynch

Mark 1:9-15
 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’

"...he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending..."

Sounds so much like the curtain torn apart at Jesus crucifixion! In Jesus baptism we already have God in the form of flesh with us, and now we have God in Spirit descending upon this world onto Jesus. God in flesh, God in Spirit, God in Creation... all at one in the world God created. God has become one with what God created  in the beginning. Through the baptism of Jesus we have a completion of God among the created.

Yet also as the curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn at Jesus death on the cross; the creation becomes open to heaven. Humanity and earth are open to God. A completion and a defeat of sin, death and the devil. And God is pleased.

Yes, God is pleased, not due to any action I have taken or ever could have taken. Rather, God is pleased because now what God has created, God has saved and made one with God.

But here in this passage of Scripture; Jesus receives the Spirit and is thrown into the wilderness for a long time to deal with Satan. If it were I dealing with Satan, I would lose the battle. But, thanks be to God, Jesus dealt with Satan in my place and defeated sin, death and Satan. All out of love for me, for you and for all people.

And in this is the kingdom of God... near... believe it!


When Jesus comes to be baptized

Lord, thank you for this gift of love. Love that carries me to my death in baptism to new life in you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February 21st Reflection by Bill Lynch

1 Peter 3:18-22
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

"He descended into hell." Or, maybe you prefer to hear it put "He descended to the dead."

Christ suffered for our sins to have this privilege. A privilege? Well maybe more a mission or God's plan. God loves us so much that God suffers for our sins and comes to us even in our death. God comes to us in our sin. God comes to us in this fallen world and in our fallen lives to save us. Yes, Jesus was put to death in order to gain the privilege, the opportunity, complete the mission, of making proclamation to all the spirits in prison and to proclaim a life that brings a huge change... a new life... to all of us who are dead.

In and through our baptism we are claimed and named Children of God. We are chosen and called and brought up in a new life. We come out of the water in death to new life in Christ. We open our eyes and our spirits to hear Jesus proclaim to us something new and something different. Jesus died and rose that we too may die and rise to new life in Christ.

Think about it... just think about that awhile... "He descended into hell... He descended to the dead." For me, for you, for all, past, present and future.

Here is our King - David Crowder Band
Lord, give me pause... real silent pause... to think about how you descended into hell... descended to the dead. May I realize that that was for me. Yes, dear Lord, you wait patiently.... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 18th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
‘Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

 ‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
 ‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
 ‘And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Face it and be humble. Humility is a trait to be desired. Having hope in something other than yourself is a great place to start.

You are a child of God. God loves you. Both of these statements are true. But they are also true of all humanity. God created all that exists. All we have is a gift from God. The good, the bad, all of it is a gift from God. How can the bad be a gift from God? When you fast it hurts. You are weakened in one sense but strengthened in another sense. You realize what gifts God has given you and you appreciate God's presence in those gifts and in your life that much more.

So, today. as we remember the words... remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. Let us feel the grit of the pain that came shortly after the celebration of the palms on Palm Sunday as we rejoiced in Jesus trip into Jerusalem those many years ago. And let us remember the sacrifice that Jesus paid for all humanity. All of us... not one is left out in this sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross.

Yes, we feel the grit and see the dark ash of palm leaves mixed with that same baptismal oil and a different kind of cross is placed upon our forehead. A black cross that reminds us of death and pain yet salvation and love.

That's how the bad can be a gift from God! What God has done for you and for me and for all the people of this earth yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever has changed from bad, to good and gracious love. Not through what we have done. But through what God has done.

So we seek to know God. We seek out God with thankful yet penitent hearts. We remember yet we live out the hope. We wander in the desert knowing the hope of God will be before our eyes.

Even as we feel that mixture of the ashes of joyous palm leaves and the oil. Let the grit upon our foreheads become the oil of our baptism in eternal life through Jesus our Savior.

Chris Tomlin - I Lift My Hands

Lord, as I remember let me live out the hope you have prepared for me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16th Reflection by Bill Lynch

2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,
‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
   and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Now is the time. Today is the day. Accept the grace of God through Jesus. For Jesus became sin for you and for me. Jesus, who did not sin, became the sin that you and I had been born into and have become all wrapped up in, to give his life, in our place. Jesus became my bloody and ugly sin. Jesus took on my sin and your sin so that we could live forgiven in this world and the world to come.

Yes, through Jesus we have eternal life in our one life here in this place, to continue life with Jesus in eternity. So the time is now. The time is today. The place for eternity is here. Whatever may come our way we can live out salvation through God's gracious act in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Through death we come to life and through life we can live to die.

It won't be easy. We will still suffer. We will face many hardships but whatever we face we know that in salvation we live forever in the hope of Christ and the promise of life. Yes in this contrast we may have nothing but have everything.

So live your eternal life here and now. Proclaim Christ and his glory to all the world. Show the love of Jesus as you live out your eternal life beginning now. Boldly live life in service to God knowing the grace of Jesus dwells in you and frees you to proclaim this gift offered to all people.

Now is the time. Today is the day. Accept the grace of God through Jesus.

Jesus Messiah - Chris tomlin

Lord, as I live out this eternal life you have given to me, may I show your glory to all those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 15th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Mark 9:2-9
 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Have you seen the bright light shine through the candle? Perhaps the candle was inside a container with decorative colors. Have you seen the bright light of the candle shine through all of the colors of the candle container?

Have you ever sat in the dark and watched the light of the candle? That light appears, and is, very bright in the midst of the darkness.

Have you been to the homeless shelter and heard the stories told by the homeless and seen the bright light shine through the one speaking? Have you been to the prison and heard the dreams of a prisoner and seen the bright light shine through the prisoner? Have you been to visit someone in the hospital and heard the hope of healing and then seen the bright light shine through that very same person speaking as they lay in the hospital bed?

Have you seen the bright light shine through the one working at the food pantry? Have you seen the bright light shine through that person delivery Thanksgiving Baskets to the needy? Have you seen the bright light shine through the one serving at the soup kitchen? Have you seen the bright light shine through the one teaching?

Have you seen the bright light of Jesus at your door with Moses and Elijah and someone else? Have you heard the voice of Jesus invite you outside to play?

Have you ever thought of the light of Jesus shining through you? Shining through your flaws and sinfulness to make a beautiful array of colors to those who you see Jesus in you from the inside out?

We may not have seen a transfiguration like Peter. We may not have seen the Light of Jesus in the midst of the cloud as the Israelites witnessed in the desert.

But we can see the bright light of Jesus shine through so many people in our world today.

Look around and you will see the Light of Jesus shining. Look around and you will see the Light of Jesus making the flaws of this world beautiful. Look around and you will see the bright Light of Jesus making something wonderful from the inside out of a friend, a stranger, a fellow disciple.

Just look around and you will see the Light of the Transfiguration.

Look to the saving and gracious Light of Jesus and you will see life... eternal life. Life that only God could grant through Jesus.

Just look and see!

"Shine Through Me" Music by Rev. Michael Gott

Lord, as I look to you each day, may your Light shine through me in all that I do and say... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

January 7th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 29
A Psalm of David.

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
   ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
   worship the Lord in holy splendour.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
   the God of glory thunders,
   the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
   the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
   the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
   and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
   the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
   and strips the forest bare;
   and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
   the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
   May the Lord bless his people with peace!

The voice of the Lord... How do I hear the voice of the Lord? Have I ever heard the voice of the Lord? When have I heard the voice of the Lord?

The psalmist speaks often about the voice of the Lord. Even part of this entire blog-site is based upon... How do you hear God speaking to you? How do you hear the voice of the Lord?

The voice of the Lord has spoken to me in the words of Scripture. Perhaps more clearly the Word of Scripture. The Word made flesh. I hear the voice of the Lord speak to me in the sacraments of Baptism and Communion. I hear the voice of the Lord speak to me in the words of so many people in congregations and churches where God is present through the Pastors, the Lay people, and in so many and various ways. I hear the voice of the Lord speak to me in plays, in puppets, in music, in the reading of scripture, in the homeless, in the prisoners I meet, in those people who are the lowliest of society the voice of the Lord speaks to me. I hear the voice of the Lord speak to me in the quiet and contemplative moments alone in nature. I hear the voice of the Lord speak to me in the mighty winds and in thunder and the roar of the ocean.

How many ways do you hear the voice of the Lord?

But it there seems to need to be a time to stop it all. To stop it all and reflect on the voice of the Lord and to listen carefully to the message God has graciously given to each of us and uniquely given to each of us in the voice of the Lord. We must pause and ponder and reflect and hear the calling, the direction, the instruction and the action or no action that God wants us to heed.

Yes, even at the baptism of Jesus, we hear the voice of the Lord call out to all the people. A voice that stops us in our tracks and a voice that calls us to stop and listen.

Yes Lord! Jesus is your Son! Yes Lord! Jesus is your Chosen! Yes Lord! Jesus is our Savior!

As I hear your voice oh Lord... hear my voice of praise and thanksgiving.

The voice of the Lord. Stop... look... listen... hear and understand what it is God is causing you to see... deep within.

Voice Of Truth - Casting Crowns

Lord, give me pause to hear your voice and heed your call and do your will... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, January 05, 2015

January 5th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Genesis 1:1-5
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.

Something out of nothing. A formless void. Try to picture a formless void, something without contents and empty and at the same time formless. I can't even grasp it in my own mind. On top of it all this formless void was darkness. And then God sends a wind to sweep over the face of the waters and gives this formless void light.

There is something to this wind and light that is special. Both come from God and the wind sweeps over the waters and the light separates itself from the darkness that brings a contrast between dark and light, morning and evening.

How can I not help to think of my baptism. In the formless void of the dark waters of my baptism; God brings forth something new. Something newly created that involve God's Word, water, and as I rise out of the waters of baptism, new light and new life. And in this rising from the darkness of the water is my first day. Your first day. The first day of life having been reborn out of the darkness. I rise all wet and with the new life only God can give. The first day...

And in this passage comes to mind baptism, water, and God the Creator, God the Light of the world in Jesus and God the Holy Spirit in the wind; all coming together to create a new life in the baptism of individuals and the baptism of this world and all that exists.


Born Again by Third Day

Lord, as I rise this day, may I recall my baptism and the life you so freely give to me to be in your presence. May I feel the Light of your grace as I rise from death to new life in you and may this be the first day of new life serving you and those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen