Centering Prayer

Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 51:10-12,15

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
   and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
   and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
   and sustain in me a willing spirit.

O Lord, open my lips,
   and my mouth will declare your praise.

The Cloth And The Flame

…the moth will eat them up.  There’s an expression “like moths to a flame,” suggesting the tendency to be drawn to the attractiveness of light. The light generally represents something both good and desirable. Moths on the other hand don’t necessarily enjoy the same favorable characteristic. Adult moths are positively phototactic, meaning they automatically move toward light. They are “charmed” by the light even if it leads to their demise! In reality, moths prefer darkness but when the light shines they can’t help themselves. Moths in the larvae stage are drawn to natural fiber garments such as furs, silks and wools, also considered good and desirable. However their attraction to the protein keratin contained in such garments is far more beneficial to the moth, leaving the garment destroyed and full of holes. Gracious God, pesky moth that I am, in my maturity draw me forever towards your flame, away from the darkness and death of the garment that is eaten away, that I may live eternally in your light.

Love Never Forgets

Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Stretches of time sometimes makes it difficult for believers to believe that God has not forgotten. Exactly one year ago today I started a new ministry. I had no way of knowing how it would affect my life or the lives of anyone else. Deep within, we can envision and we can imagine but if we are not willing to make the first step nothing will manifest. As we approach the celebration of Black History Month, I am reminded of the visionaries who lived out their vision, inspired by God our first visionary expressed by one word, Love. It was during his Crozer Seminary years (specifically mentioned as a shout out to the City of Chester) that Martin Luther King Jr., expressed the vision of “a society in which all men and women, will be controlled by the eternal love of God.”  Thank you God for deep within, you provide the vision. Let us not forget that it is your Love that drives the vision and by your Love that we live into its manifestation. When God’s vision is our vision, we can be encouraged that in every effort great or small, known or unknown it is that same Love which never forgets.

Can a woman forget her nursing child… See I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands…

According To Myers-Briggs

I’ve heard it said that if you don’t understand an introvert you are probably not asking enough questions and if you don’t understand an extrovert you are probably not listening enough. I may be wrong but I like to think that Jesus was an introvert drawing his energy from the Spirit of God that was within him and an extrovert because he longed to be among his people. He drew energy from the crowds of believers and and although quite tactical, never shied away from the non-believers. If Jesus took a Myers-Briggs I think he’d start out dead center and depending on who or what he was dealing with could be found anywhere on the grid! According to Myers-Briggs we tend not to be so flexible. We have behavioral preferences and tend to cling to them rather tightly. Perhaps because of this every now and then we find our selves moving in directions we didn’t think we’d be going. We find that our works are not reflecting the person that we are. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t do our very best to be who God created us to be, if we remember to ask questions and balance them with patiently listening, the intro-extrovert will meet us where we are and guide us in the way God wants us to go and be who God calls us to be.

But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. Galatians 2:11-21

Shaking Off The Dust

I’ve often thought about this phrase; “shake off the dust from your feet” and for years believed that it meant you were never to return to a place because it turned out to be so unhealthy. After all what would be the purpose for returning once you’ve shaken off  every remnant of dust? I think though that it’s not so much about the place, as it is about us shaking off a not so good experience and giving ourselves and opportunity to walk in “clean” as we enter in to a new environment. In this way we don’t bring our hurt or feelings of dissappointment to the new place. Whatever drama was happening in the place we left will simply have to work itself out without us and it doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t return. At times our journey can become discouraging, but if we can shake off the dust from that discouragement, the path ahead isn’t quite so heavy. I thank you God because the harvest is plentiful. You encourage us to “shake it off” and  keep moving as we walk annointed in your grace and mercy.

He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two…  Mark 6:1-13

Where Can I Go?

Where is Tarshish? It’s that place we end up when we’re trying to run away from something or somebody, only to find out that the something or somebody has followed us. When we think that we are running away from situations, sometimes we find that we are really running away from God, as if that could actually happen! I thank you God, for where can I go from your Spirit? You follow me to the ends of the earth, like the loving mother who never gives up on her child until the day she finally says, “Here am I Lord – Send me.”

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time… Jonah 3:1

Centering Prayer

Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 30:4-5,11-12

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
   and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
   his favour is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
   but joy comes with the morning. 

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
   you have taken off my sackcloth
   and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul* may praise you and not be silent.
   O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you for ever.

Every Drama Is Not Our Storm

…do you not care…?  I remember a time in middle school when I jumped in some girl’s face expecting her to go toe to toe with me over some issue that I can’t recall. What I do remember is her turning her back on me and walking away. It was the perfect opportunity for me to make a bigger fool of myself which is exactly what I did. I also remember that when she walked away, my anger about the situation quickly turned to embarrassment. I was 12 at the time doing what I thought I was suppose to do. Today, when I think about it, given my size it’s hysterically funny. To my benefit, she walked away choosing not to be drawn into my drama. There are storms that rise in our lives without much provoking. Often they have very little to do with us, and what do we do? We create more storm! We alert other people to the situation, sometimes hysterically and when we don’t get the response we’re looking for we think nothing is being done. Leaning on the presence of God requires that we trust, that our faith in God’s Love for us is greater than other people’s dramatic hysterics (OPD), and more importantly greater than our own fears.

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord. Psalm 31:24  Be still and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10

What’s On Your Lamp Stand?

Okay – Although lately I haven’t had much time for television, I’ve probably been watching too many episodes of “Criminal Minds.” Recently, while exiting my car a young man @ 15 years old unexpectedly approached me from behind and said; “My mom has a car just like that.” Ordinarily, I would engage such conversation except that the young man had this half smile look on his face and he was holding a shovel in his hand. I’ve seen a lot of kids in the neighborhood but he was new to me and my heart was racing. I kind of dismissed the issue with the car and decided to ask how he was doing, did he or his mom go to church etc. and eventually asked what was he going to do with the shovel. He replied, “I’m waiting for the snow to finish falling so that I can shovel some sidewalks. It was a great reason for having a shovel except he didn’t have the rectangular shaped shovel generally used for snow. He had a shovel generally used for digging holes and based on my “Criminal Minds” education the kind often used to hit people over the head. So I mentioned he probably had a long wait (suggesting that he may want to go inside) because although the flurries were heavy  they weren’t sticking to the ground and that might take some time. He thought about what I said and with the shovel still in his hand, went back to my inspecting car. Now my heartbeat is doing double-time so I decided to simply listen to his full inspection and comparisons and together we concluded that his mother did in fact have the same car. On one had I felt good about my attentiveness to the situation and even with my heart still racing I did invite him to church. Yet, on the other hand I felt silly and embarrassed when I learned from others that this young man was no “criminal mind” and in fact harmless.  Not every encounter or situation is a harmless one but I realize that sometimes, it doesn’t take much to affect the actions of our heart and mind. Thank you God for I better understand the importance of what we daily put on our “lamp stand,” and the effect we sometimes experience when we give room on that lamp stand for things that do not belong.

Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lamp stand? Mark 4:21-34   Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise… Ephesians 5:15-16

A Numbers Game

Such a very large crowd gathered around him. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on the dedicated few who are eager or desiring the benefit of whatever it is that one has to offer. However, as a marketing major you learn that growth in part is a numbers game. The more people you reach with your message, the greater your chance of bringing in more dedicated people. Not everyone will jump on board right away. Not everyone will recognize the benefits and of those who initially understand the value, not all of them will remain dedicated. Jesus, the first marketing major understood this all too well. As he looked out on the crowds gathered around him, he knew that some were only there simply out of curiosity, while others were fully ready for change. Knowing that not everyone is prepared to receive his message, the parable of the sower speaks to the maturity of our consciousness of God and forces us to question ourselves as to where we are in our relationship to God. How healthy is our soil? Not the soil of the world, but rather how healthy is the soil of our heart?

Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-14