It is not always easy to see a way into a life that is more robustly alive. At times all the powers at hand seems to be able to control us and move us and play with us until we do not let ourselves live as fully as God intends us to live. God as imagining life is the power that is able to liberate us from the violence of the world that we so often let control us. God as imagining life is the person who resists the threats of death and finds - in the face of violence - the way of peace. This way of peace must be a part of the wonder-filled imagination God grants us so that we can live anew. God is in the middle of that imagination. God as imagining life is the whirlwind that stirs up our hearts and enables us to walk into and through the valley of death and all of the threats it casts on our lives. We walk imagining our the Reign of God that is a promise - not yet fulfilled but eternally available. When we are being grasped by fear - when violence seems to be the only way to survive the day - when striking out against others is becoming the way we think we will make it, we are invited by our God to imagine another reality.
O God of love and new life, open our hearts and mind to life that is not yet apparent but is always at hand - by your power, O God. Amen.
Within the darkest of days - the days that seem to be lacking hope - the days when my self-image and self-worth are at a low - the days that cannot see joy, I long for God to go beyond my images and my limits. God as partial - the God I often trust - is not enough to get me through the dark days when I have reached the limit of the God I claim to know so well. God as partial keeps reminding me that in the dark days the God of all hopefulness will jump in and show off a bit more of how God is never merely the God I picture. I can never be sure how that revelation will arrive or how it with shake the foundation upon which I am trying to stand. But there - in a surprising way - something more of our God shines and leads the way. Whew!
O God of love and new life, grab hold of us again as we walk in the midst of the darkest of day so that we will come to trust in you alone - no other gods. Amen.
God as partial means there will be surprises. The surprise is mostly due to the fact that we see only this God of ours partially. Therefore, just when we think we have an understanding of God - wham - we are nudged or tripped up and we begin to see something else. I don't think we can be fully prepared for that 'something else.' We might be open for things that are a bit different from that which we have grown accustomed but then there are those images that go beyond just a bit of a difference. God as partial is always expanding into that which is not yet the way we would go or how we would see things or the things we would like to hear. Therefore, the surprise is never ending. I realize that some folk are not too excited about being surprised - especially if we like to have some control on what is happening. In my case, it takes time for me to get back on my feet after I have been pulled off my high horse and awakened to something about God that is just beyond my imagination.
O God of love and new life, surprise us with new images of the fullness of your loving presence and your eternal Reign. Amen.
We have to read all the stories of Scripture to come up with a picture of our God. And yet, as we each read those stories and put together the tapestry of the image of the God we call our own, there will be many pictures and they will not look the same. God as partial is the God with whom we must sit down and look at from different directions so that we may be introduced to another aspect of God's rich character. At the same time, it is within that dialogue that we must also be aware of the many aspects of our God that we need to shed. Once again, I was alarmed by how there are so many images of God who has the willingness and the desire to exclude or restrict or simply condemn people - sometimes forever and ever. God as partial will be the God who will deny the very character of the unbounded love and forgiveness of God. This character is always expand beyond our own forecasts of when it will all stop or reach the limits of its bounty. God as partial is that cold water in the face that does not let us settle with a cheap version of the God of all grace and love. The cheap version - the partial version that all of us hold onto to some degree - will always leave out others and somehow always include us. Odd - but then it is God as partial.
O God of love and new life, awaken us again to the wonder and beauty of your never-ending Reign of love. Amen.
Can God be different today? Of course. If not, we will be stuck with the God of our making and the God with whom we feel comfortable and the God we claim to know better than others. God as partial is reminder that we are about to be surprised and see or hear something that may shake us and rattle us and cause us to wonder or cry. God as partial keeps us fresh when we remember that God cannot be contained by our partiality. I find that it is far too easy to discount the God others claim to experience when I have this other God that I find to be the best expression of God I am able to handle. God as partial is an invitation for us to look back over time to see the many faces of God and the many faces we have left behind or the many time we have been blessed to see another side of the face we thought we know so well. I'm not sure where this God will take me. I do not doubt that it is always grand embrace. I'm just not sure where that embrace will place me when my feet hit the ground again. God as partial touches us with a hopefulness that may become a saving light in the middle of the world we seem to know too well.
O God of love and new life, open our hearts to the vast reality that comes with life in your presence. Amen.
Let be clear right up front. God as partial is the way we see God. We only see the wideness of God's love - to a point. Most often, we cannot or will not go any farther than what we can handle. When we are honest with ourselves, we do this love and grace and mercy and justice and peace stuff only partially. God as partial is the God we let ourselves have. That becomes the fun and the humor of the stories of God's faithfulness. God keep revealing more and more of the fullness of God's love. Yes, at times it sounds like the same old thing being said again and again. And yet, I must admit that I find those same old voices and words and stories the power that pushes me into new life. God as partial is the God I can tolerate. It is a great God - but it is not the God whose faithfulness is enough - always enough - to carry God's people through any storm at hand. If God as partial is enough for us, imagine the God who is beyond anything we can imagine. There is in that place - that time - that today - that reality - a fullness that is always bidding us come and rest.
O God of love and new life, shake us up - stir us up - open our lives wider than we may have ever allowed. Amen.
God as the first day of the week is the God who abides with us on and through all the other days because all the other days are shaped by the resurrection to new life that is now ours to live. No matter what day we are entering or what the conditions of the day may be, there is our God utterly available and relentlessly creating possibilities for us to see new ways of approaching the life that is unfolding before us. God as the first day of the week may not come at us with a big bang. It simply may be an encounter - an insight - a relationship - a question. In all of that, doors open for us. God as the first day of the week shouts out 'let's go and face all things knowing that God is always revealing the life that is promised and the life that is meant for all God's children. It is Friday - it is the first day of the week within God's Reign.
I'm always looking for new ways to enter into life in a way that is filled with hopefulness no matter how the day may look. It is not always easy. I then thought about the 'first day of the week' at early dawn - after the crucifixion - after the stone-cold days in the tomb - when, for most folks, hope would have been mere wishful thinking. And yet, God as the first day of the week makes today a creation of hope - a time for grand imagination that announces another way to take hold of the day and live. God as the first day of the week is hope that abides with us. The day is not filled with magic. It is filled with the same life we always have - but now it is life that need not fear the tales of death that usually are able to shut us up and shut us down. God as the first day of the week dictates the new creation even when evidence around us shows that the old ways are still trying to take hold of the day. As we wake up in the midst of this day, we are already placed into a new domain in which we can grab hold of the resurrection life that is handed to us.
O God of love and new life, help us imagine this new life that you hand to us and then guide us as we step into the abundance of life that awaits us. Amen.
God as the first day of the week is the opportunity to open doors - all of them. It is in the presence of this God that we can step into the day, look around, and take hold of the unfolding of God's Reign. It becomes the first day of life that is not able to be contained by any other power. It is the day of liberation and freedom. It is the day of reconciliation and hopefulness. God as the first day of the week shapes the character of what is possible. Therefore, we are never left with only a few choices for what we are able to do in life. Rather, the day is open to the wideness of God's creative power that comes even when we have experience death and any of its forms. God as the first day of the week is the power to be a part of the creative process of justice and peace and mercy and kindness re-making all things.
O God of love and new life, we are so often aware of the door through which we are not able to go - doors we have been told are closed to us. And yet, you open those doors and bid us to enter and experience life beyond the many ways we have been restricted and held back. Lead us through those doors, O God. Amen.
God as the first day of the week means it is safe to begin again. The baggage from yesterday can be left behind and the new life of God's unbounded welcome is now at hand - and that is all that there is. God as the first day of the week does not settle for the many ways we attempt to rule the day and act as though we are the ones who hold the knowledge of good and evil. God as the first day of the week is the sound of the Alpha and the Omega. In other words, there is no other sound. Graciousness is the day. Forgiveness is present even when we attempt to bring in the 'stuff' that so often is killing us. God as the first day of the week sets the stage for the healing of all things. We are healed and we become a part of God's healing presence. The new creation really is at hand through this God who is present when the tomb went empty and has never been able to be the end of the story.
O God of love and new life, we are able to enter into life more robustly as we come to see that you already are the creator of the first day of the week and you graciously welcome us into the life of the day. Amen.
Think of the first day of the week as the garden outside of the empty tomb. I just read something that contained that image. There on the first day of the week was life within a new creation. God as the first day of the week is creation without the threat and power of death - without coercion - without us against them. In that garden there is freedom. It is a freedom to live as though there is no power to fear - only life to enter freely and life that can be freely shared in and through all things. God as the first day of the week presents us with only one option - a new creation. Now is the resurrection. Now is the life. Now is the celebration of God's graciousness. Now is the first day of the week - the essence of God's domain. God as the first day of the week puts a new spin on the day we often hate so much. If all we do with the first day of the week is the same-old, same-old, it is a day we will avoid or a day we will try to rule. But, when the first day of the week is the resurrection power that no longer tolerates death - it really is a new day for us.
O God of love and new life, give us the new day as you have promised. Make each day - the new day - the day of resurrection - the day that brings life to all your children. Amen.
I want to know that fullness. Too often, I allow too many powers within this day to pull me into the ways of death - the ways of limited life - the ways of paybacks - the ways of retribution - the ways of finger-pointing madness. I need this God as resurrection full to overwhelm me and give me the power to face any other power and then rest in the confidence of new life wrapped up in God's gracious resurrection power - and that alone. This week - once again - I found that it takes others to nudge me into the hands of that power of new life. God as resurrection full is the God who approaches me and holds me and pushes me through the lives of those around me. I believe that God as resurrection full means that God abides in the life that is possible in and through all things. God's peaceable Reign is fully at hand and fully possible - even when I am being convinced that it is impossible. God as resurrection full is God calling my name - just as the risen Jesus called out to Mary in the garden outside the tomb. Death is then dismantled and life is attached to me - to me. I want to know that fullness.
O God of love and new life, pour your Spirit of new life into us that we will be filled with the power of the resurrection. Amen.
The day is resurrection full. That is a promise. Death may have its ways here and there. Death may even be able to persuade us not to live to the fullest. And yet, the day is resurrection full - the day is creation coming to life in new ways. God as resurrection full gives no room for other voices. Those other voices let death and its powers shape how we move through the day. Therefore, God is resurrection full - no room for anything else. So we are invited into the fullness of that life. It is really a life that blows over us and into us so that the fullness of God's resurrection life will become our very breath. God as resurrection full is not threaten by all the things we often let take hold of us and move us and control us. We are made full of whatever is possible next. One person noted that God does impossible things with impossible people. People taken up by the power of resurrection are empowered to enter the impossible and live even there - full alive - fully resurrected.
O God of love and new life, take us and use, O God. Amen.