Friday, June 28, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 28, 2013

This week: God as opposite. If you have any comments - []We follow. We do not lead. God as opposite reminds us - often gently and at times

quite abruptly - that we can have a life full of the wealth of God's peaceable Reign.

Too often when we try to take the lead in that journey toward peace it is by way

of warfare. We work for peace through waging war. We attempt to set things right

- the way we would have it be - and in doing that we cast stones at the ones we

call wrong - enemies - those people. God as opposite invites us to step alongside

those we would like to change and those we think are our enemies. In that movement,

we will find out something new - we do not know how to make peace. We only know

how to make a world we want to have. That, unfortunately never creates peace. God

as opposite brings us into the domain of peace by offering us a place at the table

with the stranger and the other. Rather than fight it out, we are encouraged to

experience each others company. In that way, we cannot lead because we will soon

find out that everyone wants to be the leader. It is then that we may become surprised

by how the Spirit invites us to rest and consider the way of peace that begins only

as we welcome the other and begin to see and hear all things with new eyes and new


O God of love and new life, let you Reign come down upon us and refresh us with

life that bring refreshment to all. Amen.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 27, 2013

This week: God as opposite. If you have any comments - []In many ways, God as opposite means it may be necessary to undo what we have done

or what we have said or how we have committed ourselves. I think that is all a part

of repentance. Repentance is triggered and empowered by seeing and hearing our God

as opposite. In the many ways the Holy Spirit does this, we are faced with the wide,

open Reign of God that probably doesn't look like our most well-laid plans for the

day. Therefore, we are encouraged - maybe even pulled - to grab hold of the movement

of God Reign and go in that direction and not our own. As we are pulled into seeing

and hearing this opposite way - we will find ourselves facing life around us with

new eyes and seeing the world around us with new ears. God as opposite is a tap

on the shoulder that always says: come and follow me.

O God of love and new life, tap us and turn us and tenderly remind us of the way

of your gentle and loving Reign so that we will settle down and abide there today.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 26, 2013

This week: God as opposite. If you have any comments - []God as opposite invites us to take another look or consider another story line or

pause and breathe. All that means is that we often charge off as we would like to

charge off into the day. That means we have a vision of who we are and who we want

to be and very often, that vision rules the day and the vision of the Reign of God

is a side note. I'm not good at this - but it really does mean that we must give

ourselves the time or opportunity to change our mind and our direction. No matter

how right we feel or how great our idea may be, it is worth taking a breath and

look around and become aware of other ways to move ahead. God as opposite is always

pulling us toward peace and service and love of other. So we need to face our own

lives with a bit of honesty and note how we might be turning and going off in a

direction contrary to our God. Yes, it is a daily exercise - we often need others

to help in that turn around.

O God of love and new life, open up this day so that we know we can pause and be

still and learn to look again at the way we are walking and then in the middle

of all that, trust in you alone. Amen.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 25, 2013

This week: God as opposite. If you have any comments - []Knowing that our God is a gracious God - merciful and forgiving - when God is seen

as opposite, God is always inviting. If God was out to 'get us' for not acting in

a certain way, God would not be the God who is always ready to embrace us without

getting our permission. Therefore as we go off in another direction and follow

other gods of the day, this gracious God is one that bids us to come home. God as

opposite is always showing us the love that awaits us even as we seem to be stuck

and even prefer a word of discord and hate or simple apathy. We may turn and go

another direction - but God as opposite pursues us - never being far off - never

giving up on us. That is not how most of us act. Within the world of our brokenness,

humanity tends to break off ties, hold grudges, seek revenge, and simply wag our

fingers in disgust. God as opposite is not like us. Rather we are invited to take

on more and more of the character of our God. In that, we are becoming new each


O God of love and new life, keep us mindful of your gracious Reign as we go off

and think that there is life in other places. Amen.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 24, 2013

This week: God as opposite. If you have any comments - []It just seems as though as we walk our way through Scripture and the life of God's

people through the generations, we have a tendency to move away from the peaceable

Reign of God. God as opposite is the God that is not ruled by our wants and desires

and expectations. God as opposite is God with us - and yet the God who keeps calling

us to move in a new way - walk along a new path - let go of all the ways we tend

to go each day. Maybe it is that we are opposite of our God. Then again, to see

God as opposite we must come to the realization that the God to whom offer praise

and thanksgiving is the God who goes 'that' way. So we are always being drawn into

question. If God goes that way and bids us to go that way, why is it that we continue

to live in quite a different way. I imagine that God as opposite does quite a bit

of smiling. It is that smile that a parent will make when a toddler is going off

in a direction they have been told (many times) was not a good way to go.

O God of love and new life, keep the light shining for we know all too well that

we are a people who easily get lost in our own stuff and go off in ways that are

contrary to your way of peace. Amen.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 21, 2013

This week: God as lavish. If you have any comments - []I was about to write it is Friday and therefore the last reflection on God as lavish.

But that is so wrong. Even when there is no reflection on God's lavish love and

mercy and compassion and forgiveness - God remain just that God. No matter when

the end seems to be at hand God as lavish brings opportunities for new life. For

some that may be an unending sense of comfort - even in the face of death or great

loss. God as lavish is a presence that will take us home - all the way - without

any doubt - without any need to perform. I find that it is not always easy to see

or hear that constant word of new life. There are so many other voices that grab

me and so many voices I let grab me. And then in the middle of all those voices

is the persistent One. God as lavish may simply be that by-our-side, never-let-us-go,

always-and through all things place of rest that never fades out of the picture.

So, it is the end - really. Just wait.

O God of love and new life, in the valley of the shadow of death you invite us to

eat drink and be merry when we are being convinced by the powers around us that

we need to give up. Blessed are you O God of the lavish picnic of life that is set

up in the face of all that may threaten us. Amen.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 20, 2013

This week: God as lavish. If you have any comments - []So often in gift giving I will go with what I can afford. Sometimes that may mean

I go a step below what would really be wild and extravagant. God as lavish goes

all the way. Even in a statement like "I will be with you till the end of time."

Really?! I find that to be lavish action. This means in and through all the times

when no one will stand with me and the times when I really deserve no one to stand

with me because I am knot-head. And yet, God as lavish remains and keep pulling

me into a life in which I will see how wild and extravagant I can be - with my loving

- my giving - my presence - my vulnerability - my availability. This life is not

lived in order to have this lavish God give me more. Rather it is in response to

God as lavish - God as fully available beyond expectations - God as foolishly present

even when it means facing something like the cross for being unconditionally with

us. That is God as lavish - I can only imagine that kind of God - that is why I

sometimes need foolish stories from Scripture and parables and simple actions like

Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

O God of love and new life, as you remain with us and for us continue to inspire

us to walk within your image of grand hospitality. Amen.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 19, 2013

This week: God as lavish. If you have any comments - []It appears to be that our God - this God as lavish - really does intend to overwhelm

us. It all begins with the garden story - overwhelming. Needs met - plenty of room

to run and play - no worries to weigh the human down - no competition that brings

us into conflict, God simply lavishly gives us space - free space to live. That

continues throughout Scripture. More and more I am caught up in the stories of rescue

and promise and restitution and forgiveness. God as lavish takes what God is and

pours it upon us. Like baptismal water we are drenched with life that startles

little babes in arm and makes us older folk wonder about such a lavish God whose

arms are eternally open to us. God as lavish - never hold back. That is what we

do. Humanity holds back as much as we can. We give 'this' much when we can give

so much more. We love 'this' much when we are a bountiful package of love ready

and available throughout the day. Humanity holds back because we often think there

will not be enough for me. And yet, somehow God lavishly turns 'little' into enough

and more. I find that amazing and yet at times it is really hard to trust.

O God of love and new life, let your love pour over us and encourage us to remember

your gracious history that never ceases to bring life and bring it abundantly. Amen.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 18, 2013

This week: God as lavish. If you have any comments - []I know I should refer to God as lavish love - grace - mercy - etc. But I also know

that I would have to use a bunch of words to put out there the many ways God is

lavishly for us. So why not just refer to God as lavish. No matter what it is, God

lays in on fully and completely - beyond our expectations. Even when the people

of God chose to go many other ways than the way in which God was calling them to

go, God continues to pour out a love that goes beyond sensibleness. God is over-the-top

when it comes to showing God's face to God's people. The high vitality of that demonstration

- of love let's say - is the power to bring home the lost and help turn around those

who have left to go another way - live another life - praise some god of their own

choosing. God as lavish never ceases to make a bit deal of how God will unfold our

future with joy and new life. In many ways, when people think of the word judgment

in the Scriptures, it is the simple showing that we have pick something less than

this God as lavish to be the way we live our lives. The judgment shows us what we

are missing - the God who overwhelms without ever pulling back.

O God of love and new life, your love for us turns our heads. It is in that turning

that we see once again the life you offer to us in this day and all the days to

come. Blessed are you, O God, for grabbing our attention with your lavishness. Amen.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 17, 2013

This week: God as lavish. If you have any comments - []God is out there - way out there when it comes to pulling us into God's embrace.

Think of the father who throws his arms around the son who left home with 'daddy's

money' and now comes home after losing it all and being left with no one around

him. There is the embrace - the ring - the sandals - the feast. Lavish love that

will not let anything disrupt this pouring out of love that exceeds what most folks

would say is 'enough already.' God as lavish shows us the fullness of God's love

for us even when we are feeling unworthy or when we forget that this love is forever

and ever. It is then that our God pours in on. In the story of the woman with the

alabaster jar we see what it is to pour on love lavishly - that is what the woman

does. Nothing will stop her - she will walk into that house - find Jesus - and let

it pour out without consideration of the consequences - she will lavishly love.

This life and action comes from the power of forgiveness that enables us to respond

to a lavishly loving God be becoming lavish in our thanksgiving and our actions

toward others. We become lavish with our lives as God as lavish overwhelms us again

and again - even when we do not need our God to be so lavish.

O God of love and new life, you bring more than enough love into our lives. It is

like getting a favorite cream donut that has been over-filled. We praise you for

such sweet and overflowing love. Amen.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 14, 2013

This week: God as redundancy. If you have any comments - []This is the end of the week and yet there is no end of the week with our God. There

may be time for rest - but the week - the months - the years keep rolling along

the way and we can count on the fact that our God as redundancy will hold out the

invitation to come along once again. There is always the tomorrow of God's invitation

- God's reminder. In the middle of all that word of hope offered again and again

there is time to rest and be still. We can rest and be still because our God of

redundancy - even as God rests - remain this light - this wind - this vision -

this available presence that is pulling and making space for us to thrive and enter

new life at any and all times. We have this Alpha and Omega God. We have this "I

thought I was a goner - and then God reminded me that I am beloved forever" God.

I need that reminder whenever something seems to be coming to an end - even if it

is just the end of a 'work week' - which is no longer the truth for too many people.

God as redundancy is present and then present again.

O God of love and new life, remind us again - here we go again. Amen.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 13, 2013

This week: God as redundancy. If you have any comments - []When I say consider God as redundancy, it is like saying God is our rock and our

foundation. Within the span of humankind, those grand 'rocks' we see around us

don't change very much and that is usually because we destroy them or move them

or dislodge them. Otherwise, there is that rock and it will continue to be that

rock beyond any of our lives. God as redundancy is the wonderful expectation that

God will be - as is noted - the same - always the same - always the character God

promises to be as God is in relationship with us. Though I enjoy - at times - the

need to keep my balance not knowing if I will fall or tumble, I must have the assurance

that my life has a foundation that will never be lacking - never absent - never

in question. God as redundancy is eternally that rock and foundation - even that

wind behind us that keeps us moving even when we seem to be stuck and unable to

go on for another day. God as redundancy presses the point - again. That is, beloved

- again. Even when I already know that truth God promises to lay it all out in front

of us - again.

O God of love and new life, continue to the road an pathway that will move us into

the fullness of your love and life - again. Even when we turn or stumble, be the

God you always promise to be. Amen.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 12, 2013

This week: God as redundancy. If you have any comments - []More and more I find that worship is the way God as redundancy works. We worship

in the midst of a community because we all need to go over the 'game plan' once

again. We need to hear - in hymns and word and silence and each other's presence

- that our life is shaped by a love - a grace - a mercy - a eye toward justice and

peace from the God who longs to make us God's own. In worship, we have to wrestle

with the people sitting next to us. God as redundancy puts the same people around

us. That is often wonderful and inspiring. At other times it reminds us of the great

diversity of God's beloved children - a diversity we may not want to embrace. God

as redundancy in the midst of worship sets us up to come face-to-face with the living

presence of all the stories of faith that tell us that there is something more than

my corner of the world. The community of worship is the redundancy of God in a form

we can touch and see. We may not like that availability - but it is there. God once

again saying welcome to the ever-expanding Reign of God.

O God of love and new life, fill us with the hopefulness of your Reign that is visible

in our community that worship and praises you for the life you place before us.

Let your Word of Life - in many forms and shapes - open us again to the vision of

your love. Amen.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 11, 2013

This week: God as redundancy. If you have any comments - []I suppose it is good to look at our God as redundancy in a week-long devotional

- talk about being redundant. To be quite honest, I count on this kind of redundancy.

I want to hear that story again. I want to be tickled by God's spirit again - even

when God just tickled me moments ago. Once again I was remembering that I have been

writing these devotions for over 13 years - and as I always say - it is to keep

reminding me of this God who is consistently for us. God as redundancy understands

what knuckleheads we can be even in the midst of what we may consider great faithfulness.

As followers of Jesus within God's Reign, we are not always able to remember that

following is a following in and through all times and all the aspects of our lives.

Therefore, everyday saints are saint in all things - work - play - good health and

bad health - even when we willfully turn our backs and walk away from all that God

is offering us. God as redundancy is the God whose story unfolds in Scripture and

then unfolds within the unfolding of our days.

O God of love and new life, please say it again - please act again - please hold

us again - please shake us up again - please pour your water of new life over us

so that we may never get dry up but always be refreshed by your eternal life. Amen.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 10, 2013

This week: God as redundancy. If you have any comments - []I wondered about this notion of God. Redundancy is defined as 'an act of needless

repetition. Therefore, when someone is 'laid off' in England, it is referred to

as being redundant - we have someone who also does that job - we do not need another

person - you are finished. God as redundancy may appear to be needless repetition.

The people of God know who God is and the life into which God calls us but we more

than not - go in another way - turn our backs - blow off the one whose love is ceaseless

and free. One would think that God goes far enough to pull us into God's embrace.

But then, God does it again - don't we know that? And yet, as is a common notion

about the people of God - we have amnesia. Read the book of Judges - it is a back

and forth movement of faithfulness (that doesn't last long) and faithlessness (forgetfulness)

and God having to act again. God as redundancy is God who never ceases to be only

the one God - eternally loving - unconditionally gracious - merciful without exception.

I know that I count on our God to announce the good news of the Reign of God to

me again each day - otherwise I will act in other ways that show that I have forgotten

whose I am.

O God of love and new life, tap us on the shoulder - pull at our hearts - again.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 7, 2013

This week: God as creative hospitality. If you have any comments - []This is how our day is meant to begin - wide open and willing to engage all and

be with any and all. That is not easy. God as creative hospitality is therefore

always present with us. Often I use the word 'tickle' for how God's Spirit awakens

us and turns our heads. There is for me also a nudge. It is that push or that pull

that takes me over the edge into that which I had not planned to go. God as creative

hospitality is that nudge. This is the never-ending moment in which we are allowed

and called to be gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast

love. Our God nudges us into that realm. I find that to be amazing. I also find

that to be a bit frightening. If I become open - if I bend and bow and consider

the other as one I will welcome - if I want to run away or point fingers of disapproval

but instead are reeled into a gracious relationship, how must I change - what must

I give up. That's how I think too often. God as creative hospitality urges me to

see what life I might gain and how I may find a new side to the fullness of God's


O God of love and new life, reel us in and send us out and present us as a gift

to the world in which we move. Amen.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 6, 2013

This week: God as creative hospitality. If you have any comments - []Just as the love of God is endless - so is the creative hospitality of God. Therefore,

the possibility for us to be hospitable in new and adventurous ways is always present.

Today we can welcome and greet and offer our lives to those to whom we would never

consider doing that previously. God as creative hospitality is not just around for

the times we are at 'church' and think we must be hospitable. This endlessly loving

God is one who is endlessly available to the world through us. When the Spirit blows

into any and all rooms, we become conspirators who will not crease to find ways

to include others - make room for others - and love others. This is one part of

our life as followers of Jesus that does not sync with the powers and principalities

of the day. These powers will not be hospitable unless it comes with a benefit -

if we do this, we will get that. But no. God as creative hospitality holds the

door open no matter what might be the consequences of such openness and sharing.

O God of love and new life, come and blow your life through ours and open our hearts

to the wideness of your love. Amen.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 5, 2013

This week: God as creative hospitality. If you have any comments - []God as creative hospitality is a must for me. For one thing, I need quite a bit

of help in order to trust that I am fully and without condition - the Beloved of

God and welcome into that life handed to me when I am called such a character.

Then again, I also need this creative hospitality to show me what is possible. God

as creative hospitality points the way into a life that shares in that kind of creativity.

The hospitality of our God shows us the way to invite others into my life and to

encourage me to engage others with this creative hospitality that is endlessly


O God of love and new life, thank you for arms that never cease to embrace us even

when we seem to want no part of your Reigning glory. Amen.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 4, 2013

This week: God as creative hospitality. If you have any comments - []God as creative hospitality does not give up on us. We will always be a people who

don't really trust this God. So we go off and trust other things. God as hospitality

keeps the door open - keeps offering us another view. Sometimes, when we run through

life we begin to see things differently. As we change and move and run from here

to there, God remains the same - always welcoming us home. And yet, the welcome

comes back at us in creative ways. Some times, the good news of God's Reign looks

so strange to us that God creatively sets it out in ways that help us catch a glimpse

and see more clearly. I think that is what a parable is. God as creative hospitality

helps us see and hear what awaits us within the company of our God. At times, the

story is told with different characters in different situation - and yet it is always

the same Reign that is awaiting us with open arms.

O God of love and new life, thank you for arms that never cease to embrace us even

when we seem to want no part of your Reigning glory. Amen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Redeemer Devotions for June 3, 2013

This week: God as creative hospitality. If you have any comments - []Some might say that creative hospitality is to give folks what they want - the customer

is always right. When that is the case, is that really being creative? Is it really

being hospitable? God as creative hospitality whips up a reality and makes sure

that we are all invited to be a part of the way it blossoms into a fullness of life.

God as creative hospitality does not ask what we want - but God does listen. There

is a difference here. We usually want things to go our way - we want to be on the

right side and make sure that those on the wrong side do not ruin our world. God

as creative hospitality listens to the demands we make and how we want things to

go and then, we are invited to share in something quite unlike our wants. It is

in that invitation that we are exposed to life that is outside our control. God

as creative hospitality finds ways to show us the fullness of God's Reign and what

can come into existence when the ways of the world - our ways and wants - do not

determine the life around us. We are not a people with a product to sell to the

world - we are a people with a character that is beloved and within the realm of

that character, we treat others as beloved. There is a 'yes' and a 'no' within

that creativity.

O God of love and new life, by your grace you welcome us into the fullness of your

Reign. You never pull back you offer of new life even when we insist on changing

that gift into something that would look more like us. We are a blessed people

because of your persistent love. Amen.