The Reign of God as uncovering lies is like a light that makes sure everything is exposed. That means we will be able to see all the ways are self-concerned, turned-in-on-ourselves, and idolatrous. Ouch. This is not a light that is turned on to hound us. Rather The Reign of God as uncovering lies is the vision of God's Reign being present in our hearts and minds and the witness of God's people so that we can more easily see how each of us has turned so far off the way of this Reign. There are so many lies to which we cling and work to maintain. Most often it is because we have been convinced that the lies will secure our lives. Therefore, rather than walk in the way of peace and stay put within that reality no matter what the cost may be, we go to war even when it creates a madness on all sides of the conflict. The Reign of God as uncovering lies does not involve a light that we shine on others - to reveal what they are doing wrong. It is a light that exposes the truth within our own lying ways. It is then that we are able to see the Reign of God more clearly and our part within it.
O God of love and new life, shine you light on us all and bring us into a reality we too often resist. Amen.
The Reign of God as uncovering lies is meant to show that this is an engaging life. God's Reign is not something sitting out there waiting on us to come along and get right into it. Rather, it takes in the work of turning over or uncovering or exposing all the lies that attempt to keep the life of the Reign of God just far off place - a story for another day. This week I want to look at lies being uncovered around us.
O God of love and new life, may the truthfulness of your Reign be the breath we take in each day. Amen.
The Reign of God as capricious extravagance is enough to take our breath away. And then, we are filled with new breath - the creative breath that brings new life that really does not reflect the life of our culture - society - domination system. So when we breathe this day - remember what it is the wind God is whipping around us for the life of us. It is a life in which the life of God's peaceable Reign is ready to make us a part of its sweetness - its beauty - its never ending embrace. The Reign of God as capricious extravagance is the character of the day into which we have been invited - and yes, today is that day. Even though we know there is a tomorrow, this Reign is always about today - now - those with us and around us. Because we know about the creative goodness of our God and the promise of life to come, we walk into this day with a support system that holds us from the beginning of time to the end. The whole story is inviting us to take part - let go of that onto which we clutch so desperately and grab hold and take part in the ride of our lives. Whew - capricious extravagance.
O God of love and new life, keep us breathing the joy of your Reign, O God. Amen.
The Reign of God as capricious extravagance has a way of opening ours to see life as more than we have been living. This is not a seeing that makes us want more stuff. It is a seeing that invites us into more substance - more vision - more imagination - more of the image of God. The capricious extravagance is not what we get - as a way to convince us to come along the way. Rather, it is the life we live in relationship to others - all others. It is a freedom that is handed to us from the creation of humanity. The Reign of God as capricious extravagance is the Genesis story of creation - it is good baby. It is good. No one asked for it. It was created out of the void - out of the mess - out of the mix of things. And there (here) God acts to shape that which is good - even very good. It is done freely - because that is how the Creator acts. It is how we are invited to help with the ongoing movement of that creation even as it unfolds today. The Reign of God as capricious extravagance is creation on its way through today - making the day good - very good - without coercion or threats and for all without any limits put on anyone because of fear and anxiety. God is handing it all to us and inviting us to step into the image it casts in each day.
O God of love and new life, continue to create in us the will to cast goodness throughout the day - the goodness of your capricious extravagance. Amen.
The Reign of God as capricious extravagance changes the ethics of a people. Because our God has this way of freely embracing and freely giving and freely honoring all - so too are we invited into that capricious extravagance. Most of the time it will not be easy. We claim to have too much at stake - too much to lose. And yet, God invites us to take the risk to unleash a love and respect for others that will be something amazing to the world when it sees us acting in the image of our God. The Reign of God as capricious extravagance means that there is no moment when that Reign cannot be seen in us and encountered through us. This can mean the most simple of movements within our day. Yes, acts of kindness but also acts of solidarity with those folks we have yet to welcome. The Reign of God as capricious extravagance helps us to see the time at hand as an opportunity to give of ourselves even when it is outside the box of what is considered prudent and wise giving. It was not prudent and wise for Jesus to keep walking into the words he spoke and with the people he embraced. If he wanted life for himself - guarded, as is so precious to us - he would have backed down at many points along the road he lived with his followers in tow.
O God of love and new life, we so often hold back and then hold on to everything an everyone we think we need in order to make it through the day. Open our eyes to see how your Reign really does change the way the day can unfold. Amen.
The Reign of God as capricious extravagance is an invitation to any and all. It says come and join in a life that comes wherever you may be in your life - and it is a generous and life changing reality. In the parable of the landowner and the various workers he hires during the day (for the same wage) we are witnessing how God's Reign is meant to satisfy the hungry heart and sustain God's beloved through whatever is at hand. I some way, I thought of the story in the wilderness of the book of Exodus in which the manna came down for the people every day. It was always enough for the day at hand. Each person could eat all they needed - for we know that not everyone is satisfied for life by the same amount. So there it was - eat! And yet, it was not to be held and saved for another day - it spoiled. Enough for the day at hand - with the promise of more to come. The Reign of God as capricious extravagance takes care of all and there will be no bit of envy because some have more than others - there will be no puffed up presence within the community - all will have enough without condition. Why? Well usually that is where we like to write up reasons for how it is - they did that - they were able to do this - they knew them. But here it is simply because the Reign of God participated in this capricious extravagance that does not fit into the common sense of the day. If this Reign of God was made up of common sense, it would look just like the world of brokenness and despair all around us. We are invited into something strange and alive.
O God of love and new life, when you satisfy us and then satisfy those who are no like us, you show us how broad an wide is the love of your Reign. Pull us away from our ways of wanting to rule and step into the depths of grace. Amen.
The Reign of God as capricious extravagance caught my attention when used by a writer who characterized the Kingdom of Heaven like this. It was in a comment about the landowner who gave out the usual day's wage to workers throughout the day no matter what time they started. The parable is troubling for many folks. It doesn't seem fair. The Reign of God as capricious extravagance is a Reign according to God's will - not ours. I would expect that each of us would be a bit miffed if we were the ones who worked all day and then saw that the ones who worked for one hour received the same wage. Well, the parable is not about our work. It is about how God will always demonstrate God's character that sets up the whole the Reign of God as capricious extravagance - completely unpredictable when we attempt to make sense of it through our eyes. It is a Reign that comes whether we like it or not and it comes just as God would have it. the extravagance is always for the welfare of God's beloved - each and every one - no conditions.
O God of love and new life, catch us up into your wonder-filled ways. Amen.
The Reign of God as spilling may not be anything new. It may simply be that we are given the vision to see all the stuff that is spilled out upon us each day and we now become aware of it all. Each spill - like a gentle touch or a word of encouragement or a request for help or a smile - makes us turn our heads and maybe even turn around and go about he rest of the day in a new way. The Reign of God as spilling may be nothing more than - well, today. Maybe it has already been spilling on you and you did not even notice. Then again, you may already have had it spill onto you several times and your life has had to readjust or realign or be reinvented. The Reign of God as spilling just keeps coming as a surprise that may shake us up and cause us to change everything we have put into place for ourselves. That is not always pleasant. I know I hate it when I have taken the time to iron a shirt or pants and then I spill something on them. I curse the world! And yet, is that the end of me - is my day and how I planned it ruined. No. And for now, I must simply adjust and see what comes - both a frightening and thrilling place to be.
O God of love and new life, refresh us this day with the life of your Reign that will spill over us and may even change the day and our whole lives. Amen.
The Reign of God as spilling will never be able to be handled by us. There will not be a vessel into which it can be contained so that none of it spills out in an inappropriate place and on inappropriate people. The spilling has already taken place - the mess is at hand. We are left to deal with the spilling out of God's grace that will always be making us deal with a new reality for which we have not planned. The Reign of God as spilling will infuriate all of us - as we all want to have life somewhat under our control. The Reign of God as spilling will refresh us - as we so often need to have a bucket of something refreshing and life-giving simply dumped on our lap so that we have to go about the day outside of the ruts we so often find ourselves.
O God of love and new life, dump the fullness of your grace upon us and help us deal with every gracious bit of it. Amen.
The Reign of God as spilling. Just watch how a spill goes out of control quite quickly. Once you think you have it contained it is swirling in a new direction and onto something else. This Reign of God as spilling reminds us that our lives may be changed in ways we do not expect and even in ways we do not want them to change. When the grace of God becomes a power for life that is now dripping onto us, the manner in which we move and live begins to move in a new way. When God's love for us drives us to move in ways we have not wanted to go - new life begins and that can happen very suddenly. The Reign of God as spilling changes everything. Even the simple things of the day must be seen with new eyes because we are no longer in the same shape we were in prior to this gracious spilling out of God's Reign.
O God of love and new life, encourage us to respond your Reign spilling down upon us with the substance that comes within that Reign. Amen.
The Reign of God as spilling. This is a moving description - not stationary. This Reign is already happening and there is no calling it back. The cup is tipped and the contents are washing all over everything. What a mess some might say. And yet, it is in the surprising and often upsetting entrance of the Reign of God into this day that we are covered by its presence. The Reign of God as spilling is not a life that waits for our invitation - it happens and we are caught in the middle of it all. Some may see this as a gift and others may see this as a bother. In both cases, there spills the contents of God's Reign and we must deal with it because it is changing the direction of things. Life is different before and after a spill. When we attempt to stop any spillage - move the glass away from the edge of the table - sit in a place away from the traffic patterns of people around us - or simply try to keep the cat off the table, spills still take place. We must then ask, Now what!? I think that is the position we are in each day as the Reign of God is spilling over our lives. Now that we are soaked - now that a real mess has taken place - now that we are out of control, what will we do and how will we move forward.
O God of love and new life, when your loving Reign is spilled over us help us to see the life that is opening up for us. Amen.
The Reign of God as a look in the mirror is an invitation to each of us to take a look. No need to go someplace else or to work through a bunch of exercise or follow a defined discipline - simply take a look. This is where we are - in God's Reign always available for the life God blew into our lives from the beginning of our journey. The Reign of God as a look in the mirror reminds us of our place. Yes, my being in the world for the rest of this day is a reflection of that Reign that shines forth to bring about the peace that simple is beyond our understanding and yet ready for us to enter. As we look at our flaws and all that we want to change about our appearance or our life situation or our decisions - matters not. What matters is what God sees - and God sees what we see. In that moment, there is an eternal embrace even if we want to reject what is in the mirror. It is that eternal embrace that is the power that takes hold of us and does not let our vision get in the way of God's. It is a strange beauty that is makes our lives part of a Reign for which the world longs.
O God of love and new life, as you view us as your beloved we pray that your Spirit will endlessly attempt to convince us of that which you see in us. Amen.
The Reign of God as a look in the mirror becomes a reminder of those words God offers in Genesis chapter one. It is good. This is the creative power of the creation story. This one - this person - these are good in the eyes of the God who creates life and invites us to take part in the journey that will unfold as we move through our days. The Reign of Go as a look in the mirror not only reflects who we are in God's eyes, it is also the reminder of who we can become. We can become the image of God in the world. That will involve a life in which the peace and love of God's Reign finds its way into how we interact with the world around us. Within that reflection, death no longer has power over us. This means that any and all of the division and pain and horror and lies and fear that usually rule the day will not be given a place among us. The Reign of God as a look in the mirror is always revealing what is true - that which matches up to God's Reign and that which does not. This Reign makes things appear quite obvious. And yet, it is still so difficult to look in the mirror and be transformed by what we see.
O God of love and new life, open up our days and our ways to the life in which your image will be seen by all. Amen.