Friday, March 29, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 29, 2013

God as journey. If you have any comments - []That cross is no place to be. It is the place of rejection and ridicule where scapegoats

are thrown when the world wants to be pleased with itself. God as journey is up

on the cross - every cross in every time alongside each and every person who is

able to be thrown away because other want to have life. Odd. When we want to live

- we feel free to throw other away - we feel threatened by the life others have

- we are willing to nail the other so that we will not get nailed. God as journey

is God for us without exception. It is the whirlwind of forgiveness that cannot

be controlled and therefore is often feared by those who want to remain in control

of life - all life. The cross is no place to be and yet it is the place that shapes

the life that comes through unending forgiveness and love. God as journey will take

us into something we have yet to make our own. This is a promise. This is how the

day is to open before us even when we have been stuffed into a tomb. Wait and see.

O God of love and new life, teach us to dance around the cross and to dance through

its power so that we will be life in the midst of the power of death. Amen.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 28, 2013

God as journey. If you have any comments - []The journey on Thursday of Holy Week is not one we all want to take. It is into

the place of utter service to other - it is the washing of feet - it is the forgiving

until there is nothing left - it is giving and sharing and shedding life. God as

journey takes us for a ride - the ride of our lives. When there must have been

so many expectations as to who Jesus would become as the days continued on, we hear

him speaking of bread and wine and being a servant of all. God as journey takes

us in the way of God's intention - not ours. We are invited to go all the way. On

Friday we will hear that the journey is one into the very center of the life of

God's Reign - forgiveness. The shape of the day to day life on this journey through

the cross and into life eternal is forgiveness. God as journey is forgiveness -

we do not know that way because it is not the way humanity has chosen to take itself

since the beginning of all things. And yet - rather than stay away at a distance

to that life God takes us by the hand and will pull us beyond our hesitancy and

present us with a new order for the rest of our days. This is a journey that will

be a daily adventure.

O God of love and new life, you are the ground beneath us as we move into your future

that make the whole world new. Never cease taking us by the hand and leading the

way - we will, by the power of your Spirit, follow you. Amen.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 27, 2013

God as journey. If you have any comments - []The odd part about a life full of forgiveness is that we do not know how things

will go for us. God as journey is to be a part of a road that is available and yet

we cannot be sure of all that will unfold as we go along that way. Then again, we

can be assured that it is the life into which our God calls us and the life our

God hands to us and the life that will transform all things. But - how will it unfold.

Forgiveness can lead to humiliation by others. Forgiveness can lead to rejection.

Forgiveness can lead to death - yes death. God as journey is the God who will be

with us as that life unfolds as our life in the world. I continue to pray that

I can be a part of this life - it is not easy. Therefore, I rely on this God to

sit down next to me and say 'let's go' - 'let's do it' - let's be amazed.' The journey

into forgiveness - the journey into reconciliation - the journey into a vulnerability

that humanity resists at every turn in the road - is the journey our God walks with

us. So, it takes a bit of imagination. What if we forgive - what can be the shape

of that life - how will it change the day - how will it change me? Our God as journey

simply extends a hand and invites us to enter the questions - the promise. Otherwise,

I will stay in the same place as I have always been and the world will remain broken

and at war.

O God of love and new life, let's begin the journey - stick around again. Amen.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 26, 2013

God as journey. If you have any comments - []In many states in the U.S. legislators tied to the group ALEC have brought forth

many pieces of work from that conservative working group. One of them is the now-well-known

'stand your ground' law. It is meant to give folks the ability to use lethal force

if threatened. In the stories of the week of the Passion in Luke, there is a scene

in which Jesus 'stands his ground.' In the face of being humiliated and beaten,

he stands without attaching. He takes it. He knows who he is and he knows that his

journey has been one that reflects the love of the God who journeys with him. Stand

your ground as a follow of Jesus is not a position of self-protection or retaliation

or tit-for-tat. Stand your ground is to be grounded in an identity as the beloved

of God - no matter what the world may think about who we are or who we have been

accused of being. God as journey takes us through the days of our lives that can

so easily move us to fight back and try to control how things will go - and in the

middle of all that we are invited to rest in God alone. Rest within the power of

a love that works for the well-being of those who threaten us and those who are

threatened. This 'well-being' is the vital force that will not stop working for

reconciliation until all sides are taken up into the mercy and justice and peace

of God's Reign. That must be a non-violent journey otherwise, we will fall for scenes

of beatings and humiliation and spit and degradation. God as journey promises to

take us along for the ride of our lives.

O God of love and new life, take us on that ride - move us along the way of your

peace - open our minds and our lives to your endless healing ways. Amen.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 25, 2013

God as journey. If you have any comments - []It is the beginning of Holy Week. It is the beginning of an intense look at the

shape of non-violence. Throughout the week we will see God-in-the-flesh walk within

the way of truthfulness that manifests itself as non-violence. This God as journey

is moving - always moving - never contained and set up on the altar or on a book

shelf or in a religious place of honor. God as journey is the unfolding of the

wideness of a love that will flow into and through all things. No evil can shut

it out. God will travel into it and abide within its demonic power. No untruth can

preside. God will keep opening the door and the light of the truth of God Reigning

love will continue to reveal what untruth tries to hide. No fear will be able to

clear the room and build a castle of hate and intolerance. God will step into the

room and walk around the room and show that there is nothing to fear when the love

of God walks among us. God as journey is Jesus in the Temple engaged in all that

straight talk that is like a light that exposes the fears that too often rule even

the places we have come to call holy. God as journey is the life that continues

to reveal itself in new ways even when we think we have a handle on the 'way.' Therefore,

the journey is the life - a life that never ends and is never controlled.

O God of love and new life, walk with us and guide us and lead us into the realm

of your love that is the power to rest within the way of your gracious and forgiving

Reign that is the day at hand. Amen.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 22, 2013

God as non-violence. If you have any comments - []I was just taken back a bit. I picked up a book on Gandhi to look at his take on

non-violence. This image is odd and yet it turns the world upside down. "The sword

of the one who adheres to non-violence is love, and the unshakable firmness that

comes with it." The use of the word sword within the context of talking about non-violence

is - for me - shocking. And yet, Yes! Non-violence shatters the images of violence

that so easily become a part of our lives. Sword is often the seen as the power

over others. Non-violence is the power that brings the other in close and abides

with the other in a world of truthfulness and peace. So, when the so-called sword

of the non-violent one is brought out, it is the power of reconciliation and devotion

to the other so that we can both be a part of a new day not ruled by swords - rather

nurtured by plowshares. God as non-violence is always stripping us down to our essentials

- being beloved of God - and inviting us to stand on nothing else and to see the

other as nothing less than that also. It is there that we have the opportunity

to acknowledge all of our vulnerabilities and begin to walk together without feeling

the need to conquer the other.

I'm hesitant to even say that we have this sword - it immediately brings images

of violence. But Gandhi is so known for his devotion to non-violence, it makes the

statement powerfully humorous.

O God of love and new life, arm us with the life of peace and the vision to see

the hopefulness of your Reign being unveiled before us. Amen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 21, 2013

God as non-violence. If you have any comments - []It is essential that we turn toward one another - walk alongside - look into each

other's eyes - touch - and, by that, risk living within a non-violent world. It

is essential that we do not turn away - look away. God as non-violence is a presence

that keeps the 'other' close by and ready to be someone we are willing to engage.

Otherwise, we will simply push them away and that pushing so quickly takes the shape

of one form of violence or another - from striking out - to name calling. It is

all violence and it is all contrary to our God who is endlessly inspiring life in

which love rules and hatred and separation become weak. Personally, I do not do

this 'turning toward' the other very well. I do not like that part of me. And yet,

God as non-violence does not let me reside in my world of fear where I come to think

that I cannot live without violence of some kind or another. Like so many aspects

of God's Reign, non-violence is a character of life that is at hand in every 'now.'

It is the way we can be available to others. It is not impossible. In fact, it

is so necessary, our God never ceases to open our eyes to see the other as God see

him/her. It is in all these moments that we must breathe in the freedom to see people

with new eyes - eyes that inspire us to turn toward the other no matter what might

be the situation at hand. Non-violence is not easy.

O God of love and new life, the road often seems to hard to travel. Again this

day, inspire us to take another step into the depths of your Reign. Amen.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 20, 2013

God as non-violence. If you have any comments - []God as non-violence is eternally creating relationships. When God's people are involved

in the journey of being in relationship with all others -without partiality - there

cannot be violence. If there would be violence, it would be when we pull out of

the many aspects of being in a relationship. When we stop listening - stop talking

- stop holding onto the other - stop giving of ourselves - stop asking for clarity

and shared involvement, we can be sure that violence in some form will be the power

that shapes our day. Non-violence keeps turning us back into the creative power

of our God and therefore into those relationships that are all around us. It can

be so easy to turn from this creativity and settle for the division that is always

willing to settle for violence. And yet, when we are able to keep moving into the

realm of a community of sharing and caring and justice - we will be moving into

the way of non-violence.

O God of love and new life, let peace be our way and our life and when we are being

persuaded to walk in the ways of division - speak to us. Amen.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 19, 2013

God as non-violence. If you have any comments - []I the beginning when creation was unfolding - as it still is - God is actively bringing

into being all things. Though that is and was and will be a messy endeavor at times

and filled with pain and makes folks have to adjust to life as it is changing, it

is still creative. That creativity is non-violent. That is, it does not destroy

simply to destroy. It does not brutalize another for the sake of putting an end

to life that is not wanted. In the beginning of every now and all that will come

God is calling forth life that will seek what is best for all. There is no warfare

- in the beginning. There is no hoarding - in the beginning. There is no revenge

- in the beginning. There is no beating another down in order to see oneself as

higher than the next person - in the beginning. The creativity of our God makes

room. That is an non-violence that allows for each creature to breathe and move

into each person's own worth. God as non-violence is the creative power that not

only brings each person into new life - it is also the power to bring life into

the midst every gather of people - every community. God as non-violence is the

creative power that seeks to bring out the greatest potential of each person - for

the welfare of the whole. It is the power of the whole to honor and protect each

individual. That will - at times - mean that one person may need to put his/her

life on the line to make sure that the powers of division do not change the wind

of creativity and new life. I think that would be called non-violent action - life

within the Reign of God.

O God of love and new life, from the beginning of all things and right on through

the fullness of time, you continue to create life that is able to see the peace

of your Reign alive and well. Keep us walking within the creative power that will

heal and make whole even in a world that only knows the way of war. Amen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 18, 2013

God as non-violence. If you have any comments - []Though we hear so many stories that appear to make God a violent being, I don't

buy it. The way of God's Reign - the life that is handed to us is one in which there

is to be no violence toward the other. God as forgiveness and reconciliation and

peace and mercy and loving kindness moves us into lives of non-violence. That is

not to say that we still do not persist to beat - slam - kick - and even kill others.

THAT kind of life cannot be said to be the life into which God calls us. God as

non-violence is one who give us life freely - you - me - all of them. The only way

that all of these gifted parts of creation can live together is to live non-violently.

Once the cycle of violence begins, it never ends. It is always pay-back time - get

even time - retribution time. I would submit that all of those times are times we

claim as 'our' time and therefore we let ourselves go to war forgetting that life

is a gift handed to both me and the one I'm trying to destroy. But that 'our' and

that 'my' really seems to change the face of the peace of God's Reign that is to

be our home.

O God of love and new life, lead us more deeply into your peace. Amen.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 15, 2013

God as without cost. If you have any comments - []Well, without cost we are handed the day - go for it - be so bold to take God at

God's word and live as though we start this day as the beloved of God simply because

that is what God hands to us so that we might have life abundantly.

This all made me think - is there no cost - even to God. But then I thought that

forgiveness and mercy and loving-kindness - when they are a part of us - are always

transforming us. Maybe even our God. It is within the story of God's beloved son,

Jesus, we hear that God experiences humanity - not from afar but right in the middle

of the mix. Whenever we are in the middle of the human mix and we live as though

we are residents of God's Reign of love, there will be a cost. So then, this life

of love - handed to us as a gift - offered to us within the power of the Holy Spirit

- will be at a cost to all - all. The cost is the blessed movement from brokenness

to a wholeness that is to be eternal.

O God of love and new life, blessed are you who comes to share with us the fullness

of your Reign within all that is as ordinary as our humanity. Amen.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 14, 2013

God as without cost. If you have any comments - []Today I took a break - one year since my open-heart surgery. I had an echocardiogram

(things look real good) - took dark chocolate to the staff who took care of me at

the hospital - and think it is just wonderful to have the ability to do what I do

- be with the people I love - and wonder about what kind of joy will come into my

life next. God heals - without cost.

O God of love and new life, thanks. Amen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 13, 2013

God as without cost. If you have any comments - []Whenever there are strings attached, there is a cost - there is a price to pay in

order to get whatever is connected to those strings. So we begin so many conversations

with 'if'. It could be that we say "if you do this or act like this or go here or

believe this - then, you will have this or that or get to be a part of this or that."

In many ways, people seem to be attracted to relationships that have strings attached.

It is as though there must be a cost - there must be something I must pay - there

must be I can or must do to complete a circuit of some kind. And yet, we are constantly

being reminded of a God who simply gives without anything on our side having to

add up to something first. Unfortunately, many religious voices try to have folks

add up to something before God will count them. Maybe that is how those religious

voices operate - but our God moves and acts without cost. In fact, I would say the

only strings attached to the Good News of God's Reigning love is the string that

God keeps using to tickle our necks so that we will turn to see what is available

for our life - without cost. It is there - when we are caught up in that which is

handed to us - that which trips up our thinking - that which turns on a light for

us, that we are inspired to see and hear the sheer gift God offers us - without

cost. That tickle - that awakening - is part of the power of God's Spirit that

is eternally setting up a new reality for us - without cost. Life as a whole new

reality has a pull to it that will go ahead and begin to shape our response. Therefore,

even if we think we do something to get something, not.

O God of love and new life, thrill us with your life you give endlessly. Amen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 12, 2013

God as without cost. If you have any comments - []God as without cost is not just a notion about the beginning of all things. This

God is also the trigger of new life when it cracks into the day and twirls us around

within a great whirlwind of possibilities that is able to make each 'now' into a

cosmic beginning - fresh and pure. God without cost knocks Saul from his journey

of self-righteous warfare so that Saul might begin a new life - without cost. God

as without cost claims us. This is God as 'gotcha' and God as 'you're mine no matter

what you think or do.' From that point - that announcement - that act that interrupts

life as we would have it be, we have only one point of reference - God as without

cost. Without cost we are placed at the welcome table - we are encouraged to eat

and drink - we are bathed in promises we have not earned. Without cost there is

a firm foundation that gives us a place to start. It is like food set out on the

table and we are simply told to eat - eat - enjoy - be filled - without cost. It

is an invitation into a reality that is unlike the day-to-day world that seems

to always cost us 'an arm and a leg.'

O God of love and new life, remind us to dig in and enjoy the feast of life you

set before us. Interrupt us with the joy of your unbounded, gracious love. Amen.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 11, 2013

God as without cost. If you have any comments - []It would be easy to confuse this with the familiar idea of the 'cost of discipleship'

from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Don't go there yet. Before we even enter into the life

of following Jesus - discipleship, there is this God who claims us and gives us

life without cost. This is a God who is flat out for us - before we even know that

God is our God. Without cost - we are claimed - we are recipients of life eternal

- we are told we are a part of a story in which our God will forever pull us into

life that heals and makes all things new. This way of our God is consistent through

out the storytelling of Scripture - it has been and it will be. It is easy to want

to jump into how we live as people who are loved and embraced and forgiven and reconciled

without cost - freely - as a gift. And yet, we must not make that jump. In some

ways, we cannot make that jump. More and more I trust that our God pulls us into

a life that is handed to us without cost. It is the word before any other word

can be spoken. It is a truth so vital to new life that there can be no way to get

into the mix of that new life without having it handed to us without cost. In the

beginning was God - and without cost - God brings all things into being. It is

an amazing action that we cannot grasp - we can only take it in like a fresh breath

of air.

O God of love and new life, breath on us and lift us up into your gracious love

again this day. Amen.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 8, 2013

God as uncertainty. If you have any comments (besides the uncertainty of whether

or not I will send this out) - []Am I really saying that the place in which we meet God is within moments of uncertainty?

Not sure. In fact, I'm quite certain that God is with us in all times. Is God within

that certainty? Certainly! I think I'm always wrestling with how I remember this

God who is always present - always loving - always forgiving. How does that character

of God take hold of me within those times of uncertainty that seem to be able to

mess with my mind and my life? I would usually say 'prayerfully' - that's how.

But prayer, pulls me beyond myself and brings me face to face with the God who promises

to be God even when I am running away a high speed. When my life is rumbling within

uncertainty it is easy to forget about prayer. That is, forget about the vision

of God with us - in and through all things - shaping that which has not yet come

to be. God as uncertainty is God who enables us to remember - to fight off amnesia

- to keep in mind that vision of God's Reign that is able to kick start faithful

living even when uncertainty tries to spoil everything.

O God of love and new life, wrestle with us - pull us into the ring and tie us up

within your presence so that we will have to make a point of touching you and making

sense of what is to be the next move within our lives. As we wrestle with your eternal

Reign, we will begin to dare to approach and enter the moments of uncertainty that

so often make us turn and run away. Amen.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 6, 2013

God as uncertainty. If you have any comments - []What is next? How will I handle it? Where it take me? I don't know. As much as I

like to have a plan as to how the day will unfold, the day always seems to turn

up something when it does not go the way I intended it to go. God as uncertainty

is the reminder to live right into and through the moment at hand. We are invited

to embody the Reign of God - literally put our lives into it. Therefore, that which

is uncertain already has shape to it - there is a way into uncertain times - there

is a character waiting to be actualized - there is hope awakening us for what is

yet to come. I often talk like this about that which is not yet. Then again, as

I am in the middle of that which is not yet, I am too often a fool - a frighten

person frozen in my tracks - a nay-sayer.

What is next? I need to hang on to the certainty of God's power for life will be

endlessly with me even as uncertainty is pushing me around and causing confusion

to rule me. God as uncertainty may simply be the way we lay claim to the uncertain

times around us and remind one another of the life God is about to hand us no matter

what the signs around us seem to be saying.

O God of love and new life, abide with us again and inspire our living within your

Reign this day. Amen.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 5, 2013

God as uncertainty. If you have any comments - []So where is God as uncertainty about to take us? Maybe the bigger question for all

of us is whether we will be going along as God pulls us into the next adventure

of our lives. Remember, an adventure out into the unknown does not have to be big.

It may be a subtle change or turn. It may be a time when we hear old words in a

new way and as we go through this new hearing, we take them to heart - we put some

life to them. God is with us in that hearing. God is with us giving some shape to

our uncertainty - putting some local color to grand notions and expectations - expanding

our vision to include that extra step or word that may redirect us for life.

Whenever I think of moments of uncertainty and confusion and fear, one of the stories

I hear in my head is the one that places Philip alongside the Ethiopian Eunuch.

Do you think he was out there running for his life - swirling in circles after the

events of his life with Jesus - wondering what would be next - hoping for a word

that would help make life make sense? I have no idea. What we know is that within

a time that could have been full of uncertainty, he is brought back into the storytelling

of his life. He climbs up into the Eunuch's carriage and continues the day with

the power of the Holy Spirit taking him off the path he was following. God as uncertainty

brings a breath of fresh air - possibly turning a retreat into a purposeful new


O God of love and new life, who will stop us in our tracks and move us into new

life so that the wide open spaces of your gracious Reign will available to all?

Guide our listening and our speaking - guide our steps and encourage us as we wander.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 4, 2013

God as uncertainty. If you have any comments - []My first words were almost, "I'm not certain I want to go here." We are handed so

much life. There are so many ways to go. There are so many judgments we will make

about what we can or cannot do. There are lists of other things we can do - other

things we can get away with - other things that might be safe and easy and keep

things as they are. And yet, I have consistently said that the Spirit of our God

pulls us into life we have yet to enter. That means we are always on the edge of

uncertainty. God as uncertainty is the God that promises to bring life that comes

in the shape of the Christ, Jesus - life that forgives even when the other side

has made a bloody mess of us and had a good laugh about it. I am not sure how I

will enter that life or if I will enter it. I'm not sure.

But there in those moments of uncertainty our God has a history of faithfulness

that has taken God's people over the edge into what is not yet and that which cannot

be controlled. Our God as uncertainty does not promise to make everything fine and

good. Rather in the middle of the uncertainty of the day we can expect to have to

wrestle with God's graciousness and wonder. As our God pulls us into the uncertainty

of the moment, it is quite likely we will come up with a long list of why we cannot

and should not move forward. Some of those reasons will make great sense to us and

others - and yet, I think our God as uncertainty smiles quite a bit. That we would

know so much - ha. So God continues to pull us and the ride of our lives is just

around the corner.

O God of love and new life, we do not know what is next and we find it so hard to

move out into new ways of life that continue to reveal your glory and love through

us. Continue to grasp us and pull us beyond ourselves. Amen.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for March 1, 2013

God as eternal judgement - an opportunity to think about these words that cause

some folks to shudder with fear. If you have any comments - []My mom always knew I was a bit odd. Through the years she could only keep thinking

that - I gave her much evidence. I'm sure she was never quite at rest when I went

out at night with friends. As a chaperone she once rescued my best friend when he

showed up so drunk at a school dance he could hardly walk. It was like watching

a living punch line: "He was so drunk, he". And yet, my mom embraced him - was able

to laugh - was able to keep him safe and secure and to get him home safely. No word

to his parents. She knew I could be having a night like that - and later she did

see that. And yet, she moved me into the next day as her beloved. That, was just

one lesson in forgiving and accepting love that provided freedom and not fear.

God as eternal judgment is like a mother who can hold us close when we smell like

fools. In the face of our foolishness and shortcomings, we are judged as beloved

and we will always be sent off with a word of unbounded, eternal love. I often

think of my mother when I attempt to imagine the eternal nature of God's judgment.

I need to do that. The judgment of myself is not as gracious as our God whose judgment

is the power to bring new life - even to me in the midst of my foolishness.

O God of love and new life, shape us and send us. Amen.