The Reign of God as movement means it is always opening up a new place and time in which we are invited to move. It is the movement of the Lord's Supper. We go forward and take the bread and the wine and we are sent off into a movement of life that is given shape by the meal. The Reign of God as movement is the whole life of Jesus - that enters into the space and time of the day and cracks open a life full of possibilities that will reflect the image of God right in the midst of things. We eat and drink and become a part of the movement of this Reign. We are sent out from worship - after the meal - in peace. That is, within the way God moves among us. We are fed for the unveiling and unwrapping of God's peaceable Reign which takes us and makes us the vehicle of peace in the middle of the violence of our world. There is always movement within the Reign of God as it becomes known and alive around us. That movement may not be the same as the movements of our lives that we expect to make. And yet, as we are moved by God's Spirit of Life, we begin to see more clearly how God's Reign is at hand and we are always being moved to take part in the holiness of its living presence.
O God of love and new life, take us into the next space within your Reign - take us into the life of your love that is constantly transforming all things. Amen.
The Reign of God as movement may simply be enough of a move to cause us to turn our heads and wonder about what just happened. No grand drama - no bright lights - no shaking of the earth, just a simple movement. Consider even a gentle hand on your shoulder or a simple word of support spoken or the smile of someone walking by. The Reign of God as movement happens all the time. Too often, our lives can be so cluttered by our attempts to be silent or our attempts to stay busy that we deny ourselves the opportunity to be moved by the God who has a long history of moving ordinary folks into lives in which the ordinary expression of life appear extraordinary. The Reign of God as movement is enough of a move to help us turn from bitterness to humor. That is not an easy move and yet it is vital to the revealing nature of God's Reign. It is enough to move us from the violence that comes too easy to all of us and therefore, begin to see a snapshot of God's peaceable Reign.
O God of love and new life, as you move us inspire us to go along with it all and follow the flow of your Reigning presence. Amen.
The Reign of God as movement is always a move into the way of non-violence - shalom - peace - justice - reconciliation - forgiveness - self-sacrificial love - mercy. That is quite a move. When we are caught up into movements that are the opposite of these examples just listed, it is not the movement of the Reign of God. I think that is important for all of us to hear. The Reign of God as movement is not a legalistic list of things to do and things to stop doing. It is a movement in which we always are being involved in a living dialogue that presents us with the life into which we are moving and the vision of God's Reign that is a light for us. In those moments, we must listen and watch and be so daring that we note the ways that we often stay stuck and refuse to walk into the wonder of God's Reign. We also will expose ourselves to the ways of non-violence that hang right in front of us like Jesus on the cross. The Reign of God as movement so rocked the religious foundations of Jesus' day - the Temple curtain was torn in two. Even if that didn't literally happen, the reference is to a dramatic movement happening among God' people in the shape of Jesus. The Reign of God moving in - forever available to all flesh.
O God of love and new life, help us to feel the earth and heavens move at the vision of your Reign. Amen.
The Reign of God as movement is like the train that's a-coming. It is coming - It is on the way - It is ready to take us to a new place. A piece of the word that comes within the Reign of God is 'don't get too comfortable' because just when we intend to make our life as we have it - the way it will always be, we miss out on the movement of God's Reign coming right into our lives. The Reign of God as movement may come in may different ways. For some it is an inward movement - like a heart that changes and therefore the whole way of seeing the world and all things changes also. We are never a people meant to be settled and satisfied. As God's beloved, we are quite naturally pulled into the lives of others - that is called the compassion of God's Reign. That character alone creates movement. When we are gifted with compassion, it means we see beyond ourselves and - I would suggest - we see how we are connected to others. The Reign of God as movement takes hold of us and helps us keep in mind the other. That may mean that we get up and move and it may mean that our hearts are moved to convey the active essence of God's love among us.
O God of love and new life, help us get on board and go for all the life of your Reign. Amen.
The Reign of God as spilling forth has been happening to each of us all week. How has it made an impact on who you are and what you were doing during the week? Remember, the most simple acts are a part of the transforming life that is handed to us each day - so don't overlook the little things. Sometimes, it is by seeing the little ways God's Reign changes us that we are encouraged to continue on along the way of Jesus. The Reign of God as spilling forth may have started a storm in our lives - a good drenching - a whirlwind that brings us into the need for massive rebuilding. We would do well to listen to one another to see how we are being disturbed by the Reign of God spilling forth into and all over our lives. It may be then that we let go of some of the fear and anxiety that keeps us from seeing the joy of that toddler running through the room and shaking up the place. That is why it is so important for you to tell me to 'come and see' and it is vital for me to say to you 'come and see' and it is the vision of the Reign of God that together we say to the stranger and the left out and the confused and the searcher 'come and see.' The Reign of God as spilling forth will never stop raining down upon us - al.
O God of love and new life, bring you love down upon us like a storm that leaves us drenched with your love. Amen.
The Reign of God as spilling forth may have already taken place in your life today - maybe over and over again. Whatever makes us think about the wonder of God's creation and the place of unrelenting forgiveness and mercy and the simple act of giving ourselves up for the well-being of another, are moments when God's Reign is being sprinkled or dumped on us. We are then left with a way to enter that Reign within the shape of our own lives. The Reign of God as spilling forth transforms me and you. When we are transformed, we are not transformed to be just like everyone else. That Spirit of God's Reign changes each of us - making me into the me who has been grasped by the love of God. That will look both similar and yet quite different from how your are grasped. Yes, we may all be drenched by the love of God's Reign but we will take that love and it will drip off of us onto those around us in different ways. That is the beauty of the Reign of God - we remain God's beloved. We do not have to fit into a mold to make it. Our lives - our gifts - our ways of being human, become the building blocks of God's Reign showing itself to the world. The Reign of God as spilling forth is the simple notion that we will each need to deal with how this spill will open us up to the new life - the new character - handed to us by God.
O God of love and new life, when you drench us with your spirit of life, remind us that it is the beginning of how our light will shine out to the world.. Amen.
The Reign of God as spilling forth doesn't mean we have to be drenched by its pouring out among us. It may be like that sprinkle that is barely felt. It doesn't take much to make us take a look at the moment at hand in a completely different way. I know that I can go into a meeting expecting it to be less than a good experience. And yet, later - in the middle of things - reality changes and something is spilled out all over the room. It may only be one item in the meeting - but it was worth the wait because it made me change my perspective on the day or other people or myself. The Reign of God as spilling forth is not under our control. We usually have our day and the time within our day and the actions of our day all planned out. That's probably why there is road rage. The Reign of God as spilling forth takes those moments and attempts to grab our attention - like that breakfast drink falling into my lap. We are given a new lens through which we can see the life around us. It may be in that moment that our lives - both for that moment and maybe eternally - are transformed and made new. I know, that sounds like foolishness. I also know that the followers of Jesus have a history of looking and acting foolish to the world around us. That has been what has made other stop and then 'come and see.'
O God of love and new life, free us up to be a bit foolish about the love you have for us and the love we are free to share with all. Amen.
The Reign of God as spilling forth is an ongoing eye-opener. It is like the little child who walks or runs or tumbles into the room and all of the sudden - there are smiles. There are smiles because we see it happen or we hear it and for a moment we are transported to another time and place that is really nothing more than the time and place at hand. The Reign of God as spilling forth is the power to transform our hearts. Daily we are given opportunities to walk within God's Reign. It may be the simple act of appreciating the wonder of a toddler or and infant's babblings. It may also be something that spills forth and reminds us of the justice of God's Reign and that this moment is our time to enter into its fullness. It may be a time when we can literally taste the need for forgiveness to Reign - do we enter it - do we resist - do we get all messy as it spills over us? The Reign of God as spilling forth is a joyous engagement with life - all of life. In the middle of that spilling forth, life is see anew and we are given the opportunity to become a part of that newness.
O God of love and new life, make us new - make us aware - make us a people wet with your promises that promise to disrupt us and lead us. Amen.
The Reign of God as spilling forth is just like that - a spilling - an uncontrollable spill that disrupts the moment and even the day. I take several precautions when I am at breakfast. I do this because I have been know to spill things. Yes, a gesture take place and the coffee goes over - a move toward one thing on the table topples my breakfast drink. In the next moment, there is a new agenda: clean it up - move - change my clothes - find something else for breakfast. Just that fast, a simple spill changes the content of time. The Reign of God as spilling forth has that power. It may not appear to be quite like that. I would simply suggest that we do not see the impact of its spilling forth. The breakfast drink will ruin my clothes - it will make a mess of the floor - it will mean changing the table cloth. And yet, the Reign of God as spilling forth (and it always is) usually takes place and we simply go about the rest of the day as we would have it for ourselves. So what is this spilling forth and how do we know when it is happening? I like to return to the simple comment, "Come and see." The spilling forth of the Reign of God is happening so come and see. In the middle of yard work - in the middle of quiet time - in the middle of a dispute - in the middle of all and any of the things 'we have to do' - there is the Reign of God dripping onto the life all around us. And yet, it will only disrupt us when we see it dripping. Otherwise the day is run by the other things that spill onto us.
O God of love and new life, drench us again with the visions of your Reign. Amen.
The Reign of God as truthfulness is a part of the essential character of life that becomes the shape of those who follow Jesus. In the gospel for this upcoming Sunday, Jesus will answer Thomas' question (about where Jesus is going and that the disciples do not know the way) like this: I am the way, the truth, and the life. You want to know the truth - take a look. Take a look at the mercy and grace and life-giving love that is abiding with you. The Reign of God as truthfulness is the eternal life God invites us to enter - a life those first disciples experience in their friend - a life available to them - a life available and present to us. Truthfulness longs for questions to be asked and it longs for all of us to listen and ask question once again. Truthfulness is not afraid of questions nor is it something fixed and rigid that shuts down questions and forbids exploration. Religions often love to shut down questions and shut down inquiry and shut down views that differ from a primary teaching. That may be because religions are not often in a quest for truthfulness - just survivability and control. The Reign of God as truthfulness welcomes the ones who question and the ones who have a sense of humor about that which religions want to be fixed and immoveable. Maybe because truthfulness is not something fixed by us - but is rather it is a part of a life that keeps unfolding before us.
O God of love and new life, help us to look again at the life that you place before us in Jesus so that we will once again be introduced to the truthfulness of your Reign. Amen.
The Reign of God as truthfulness calls on folks who understand what it is to be wounded - sore - frustrated - weak - forgotten. For in the realm of truthfulness, we will go through those bits of reality and more. It is not pleasant to experience the truthfulness of God's Reign at all times. Sometimes, this truthfulness is long-awaited and like a breath of fresh air. At other times, it can be experienced as a harsh wind that cuts deeply into our space. The Reign of God as truthfulness it like that two-edged sword - an image used to remind us that no side is free from the way the truth liberates us even when we do not want to be liberated. We are much more appreciative of the truth that will correct and put in place those folks who think or act differently than we do. But let the truth expose us or show us how short we have fallen on our journey of truthfulness and we will resist its words. The Reign of God as truthfulness not only holds up the truth to others - it holds up all truthfulness to all of us. Such truthfulness exposes us and that - that - is what can cause us pain and insist that we step back and look again at the world we are trying to create. Truthfulness always pulls us in front of that mirror that seems to be able to show us all that we are. From there, we are all invited into new life. The Reign of God as truthfulness is not about pointing out our shortcomings, it is all about showing us what is possible within our ordinary lives when we are alive within God's loving domain.
O God of love and new life, as we take this journey into your Reign of Truthfulness, open us up to your vision of life that continues to be transformed ad renewed. Amen.
The Reign of God as truthfulness is not like the sign I saw on a church building. It noted that they still taught the Truth. I wanted to go in and ask them what it was. The same thing happened in New Orleans. There were two people setting up their 'religious stuff' and in a glance we could see that they were ready to pedal the 'Truth' as they saw it. Most often, such 'truthfulness' as this is not - in my opinion - the vision of truthfulness within God's Reign. This 'we got the truth and we will let you in on it' is often oppressive and demanding and will dictate how life is to be because it is the 'truth' - about God - about life - about world affairs - about healing - about sin - about redemption, etc. The Reign of God as truthfulness is an invitation into a discussion about how the Good News of this Reign can be the saving grace for any - and all. This 'all' is not meant to say this is how all must follow. Rather it is the 'all' of life that is open to many voices so that truth is never contained or owned by any. The great lie about religious 'truthfulness' is that groups tend to think they now have the way of life that is the best and the correct way. This is often very true of new devotees of a religion - that is why they can so easily be pulled in and won over to this or that side. The Reign of God as truthfulness is not about winning people over to any particular side or gaining insight into a practice that will be the final word. It is about life that can be lived to the fullest and life that can be shared with others and life that pursues the call to acts of justice, mercy, kindness, love, and the endless dialogue of truth-seeking that just never ends.
O God of love and new life, you lead us on into the domain of your truthfulness and on that journey we ask that you keep our hearts filled with the Spirit of your loving kindness and our minds open to the adventure of you ongoing revelation of new life. Amen.
The Reign of God as truthfulness is the opportunity to put an end to the assumptions that create divisions. When we do not know the truth, we have a notion of other things that are most often un-truthful The Reign of God as truthfulness is where another question - and then another - is asked so that more light shines and more clarity is brought forth. This is not a truthfulness that leaves people stripped naked so they can be abused by those who hear the truth about another person. The Reign of God as truthfulness treasures and protects and honors and upholds everyone who has entered into the vulnerability of being truthful. The Reign of God as truthfulness is an expansiveness of vulnerability in which each person takes care of the life of all who walk in the way of truth. We must remember that when we are gifted by our God with this kind of truthfulness, others may twist the truth or try to ruin us by what is exposed. Therefore, this truthfulness demands a community of trust and courage. We must trust one another and we must be courageous when we stand alongside those who are being mistreated by the lies of the world. The Reign of God as truthfulness is a whole people standing together a one vulnerable people who will never cease facing the truth.
O God of love and new life, stand with us and hold us up and empower us to join together as one body in your Reign. Amen.