The Reign of God as an invitation for NOW comes to life among us as thanksgiving. For NOW is a gift and it is a bountiful time in which we are given the opportunity to be more human than we may ever have been. When I say we can be more human, I mean that in the sense that we can be more fully the image of God and live within the fullness of that image. Remember that being made in the image of God brings with it a life of joy and creativity and compassion and endless moments to see God's Reign unfold among us. The Reign of God as an invitation for NOW keeps us present. Yes, there is a future out there that keeps knocking on our door, but for now we are the image of God for the world around us. Wow. This does not bring a list of things we need to do. That is a deadly way to look at the day. Rather, we are invited into a unfolding painting to which the world turns to see what is possible even when the day is overwhelmed with a cloud of impossibilities. The Reign of God as an invitations for NOW leans into life and is not oppressed by the powers around us that try to say we cannot be such people dressed up in the image of God.
O God of love and new life, guide us into the ever-expanding glory of your Reign and the life offered to us. Amen.
The Reign of God as an invitation for NOW means that in every NOW comes the fullness of God's Reign. Do not fear. Do not be disappointed. Do not become so self-consuming that you do not hear the invitation. Better yet, remember that as people who call ourselves the followers of Jesus, we also see the invitation. Daily we see and hear how the world longs for relationships in which all of life is honored. If you are at all like me. I find it easy to unplug so that I do not hear or see. In our society it is not difficult to do that. Even though the news keeps us in touch with the condition of the world around us, it is very easy to keep it all at a distance - like a novel or a movie. The Reign of God as an invitation for NOW helps us re-view the world and see and hear it all with the senses of the Christ, Jesus. We are invited to prayerfully consider the needs at hand - the joyfulness of today - the wonder of new relationships - the celebration of life that comes when people are made free from the many ways we can be oppressed by the world around us.
O God of love and new life, help us sing and see the joy to the world that comes as you are with us and inviting us into your way. Amen.
The Reign of God as an invitation for NOW takes us out of the old ball game in which we acted in a certain way in order to avoid punishment - sometimes called eternal punishment - sometimes called Hell. This Reign is all about the shaping of a character for life that make life right now come alive in a way that we may not have previously anticipated. The Reign of God as an invitation for NOW is not about waiting for another time. It is all about - here we go. Remember how the Glory of the Lord shone around the shepherd in the hills of Bethlehem. Well, that glory is available in this day and for this time. It is a life that never lets go of NOW. When we let go of NOW, it is so easy to think about another time and place and how we might get there. The Reign of God as an invitation for NOW. In the stories of Jesus, we hear how he brought the eternal presence of God into the time at hand. There was always the invitation to live within that Reign that, though not here completely, changed the complexion of a community. The invitation is eternal and always fresh at hand. It is an opportunity to explore the Glory of the Lord up close and as real as the people around us this day.
O God of love and new life, we long for your coming - now and always. Come alive among us as you have always promised. Amen.
The Reign of God as masterfully creative will leave no one out. This is the supreme notion of creativity. This power will always be capable of changing all things - even the things that will not change. That is how hope comes alive. The Reign of God as masterfully creative will even make room for anyone who has been deemed inappropriate or simply rejected or condemned. How does that happen? That is the beauty of this creative power. It will happen in the way it will happen. This God who Reigns will find a way - a creative way - to save - to rescue - to embrace - to heal all. I find that to be so amazing I can hardly write it. In addition, I long to be a part of that power alive today. The Reign of God as masterfully creative will make use of me and you. That is the truth and the promise. I then simply want to say, Come, Holy Spirit, come.
O God of love and new life, whip up a new world around us and with us. Amen.
The Reign of God as masterfully creative will not be predictable. Oh it will be predictable in regard to nonviolence - peace - justice - forgiveness - mercy - loving kindness, but not in regard to how all of that will become a part of our lives. The creativity of God's Reign is often more than we are willing to enter. As we entertain the possibility to act with forgiveness, God expands the notion of forgiveness so that it will be a part of the sheer grace of God's Reign. That is not always what we want to happen. I'm always amazed at how my understanding of something like forgiveness (for example) can be shattered or realigned or reinvigorated so that forgiveness really does change the world that I thought I ruled. Ha.
O God of love and new life, in the middle of the life into which you invite us, O God, you continually become new and your Reign challenges us to venture into your promise of shalom.. It is then than we ask for patience to see where you will take us next. Amen.
The Reign of God as masterfully creative will always cause us to slip up as we go along our merry way. I find it to be like a good comedy. Everything is in place - all the right words - all the right friends - all the right moves in life - all the 'acceptable' standards, and then there is a turn in the road. It is usually a sharp turn - one that is often able to tip the cart and make us re-view where we are going and how we were planning to get there. The Reign of God as masterfully creative helps us see another side of life. Yes, we often have to slip into it in order to see it because we can be so hell-bent on what we want and how we want it, we would never end up with a view of the Reign of God so very near to us and yet so far off. Personally, I may slip and slide all over the place and just keep going on my way and then later it will hit me that I do not have to keep going along my way. Even when the Reign of God is being masterfully creative right in front of me, I often don't see it. It is once again a time when you may be the eyes I need to see it or the ears to hear it.
O God of love and new life, help us slip into the shoes of your Reign and begin to dance to a new beat. Amen.
The Reign of God as masterfully creative makes us move beyond what we want in life - how we think the world should go - what we (and our group) have defined that which is good and right and holy. God's Spirit is always pulling us out beyond our fixed-in-stone lives so that we will adventure into the land of grace and hope and mercy and justice and peace that is not under the world domain. The Reign of God as masterfully creative is not the supportive system that allows us to be who we want to be and how we want to live. It is always turning the world of our making and our wanting - upside down. Many folks do not want such creativity - they are set in their own version of creativity - which means they want to be their own 'god' of their life. It is amazing ho quickly we are tempted to walk away from the Reign of God as masterfully creative so that we can be our own masters.
O God of love and new life, be our ground and our future. Amen.
The Reign of God as masterfully creative is a nod to a beloved teacher who used the words vulnerability, availability, and mastery to talk about God - the triune God. Mastery comes in fleeting moments when within the bounds of our humanity we are a vulnerable and available people. It doesn't happen often - at least not with me. I pray that it will always come again. The Reign of God as masterfully creative is life within the ordinary stuff of this day. It is life that is inspired to walk in the way of Jesus. It bends down to serve in situations that often produce warfare or separation. It reaches out to embrace - not merely touch - the ones who seem to be left out from the groups in which we spend our time. It finds that our lives do not need to be ruled by all the ways of division that make us look dumb and dumber. The Reign of God as masterfully creative is a life that will stand up and act contrary to the systems of life that attempt to control us. That takes a life that is willing to exercise some creativity so as to make room for a vision for life in which God's peace is exhibited in our lives. As we enter such a life - as we are moved into such a life, we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and so will the world around us.
O God of love and new life, take our lives let them be a gift to the world - an act of ongoing creativity. Amen.
The Reign of God as a light being turned on takes away the fear and anxiety that so often rules the day and even our hearts. I find that it is too easy for people to be ruled by the perception of a God who is out to get us - who will one day call us on the carpet and destroy us - who keeps score and expect a certain life or else. The Reign of God as a light being turned on exposes the God who is not like that at all. This God isn't waiting for the opportunity to pounce on us. This God is not shutting doors in our face. When the light of the Reign of God shines, we see this waiting and eternal loving One who will walk with us without condition so that we can experience life not ruled by the powers of this world. The Reign of God as a light being turned on leads us into life in which weeping and gnashing of teeth does not have the say of the day. Instead, we stand as ones who are able to see the grand possibilities for life free of fear and open to everyday renewal.
O God of love and new life, renew us and bring us into the light of your Reign. Amen.
The Reign of God as a light being turned on is that "oh yeah" that comes when we see new life that we could not see previously. We all know that there are so many thing in our lives that do not let us see the fullness of life that is just beyond our own little worlds. The Reign of God as a light being turned on does not take away what is presently at hand. Rather, we can see more clearly the stuff onto which we are clutching - the stuff that also moves to grab hold of us and control us. In addition, we begin to realize the abundant life that is always present for us to enter. The Reign of God as a light being turned on offers us a time to take a deep breath and review the life that is available to us. It is from that place - that place in the light - that we can take a step into a new direction and expand the meaning of eternal life we so often never want to see. So look around, there is so much life that comes in the shape of God's Reign and it is ready for us to take up our part.
O God of love and new life, keep expanding our vision and opening our hearts so that we will step into that vision of life you hand us each day. Amen.
The Reign of God as a light being turned on is able to cut right to the heart. It is able to expose the brokenness - the lies - the excuses - the meanness - the manipulation. All of that is not easy to see in oneself. And yet, the light is turned on so that we will be reminded of how beloved we are and that love is the power we need to create life today. The Reign of God as a light being turned on does not let all the garbage block out the truth about us that God has proclaimed and will proclaim forever. In doing that, it also shows us all the ways we have turned from that love and attempted to put the world together as we would have it. That is, a life run by our fears and anxieties and longing for a way to make something of ourselves or make something less of our neighbors. This light exposes the core of our lives with the announcement of how God is always the foundation upon which we can stand without fear for we are eternally standing in the loving light of this God who never lets go.
O God of love and new life, open up our hearts to your love that becomes for us life itself. Amen.
The Reign of God as a light being turned on opens our lives to more life. Beyond what we are able to see, this Reigning light shines out to expose that which may be our future - if we choose to go there. No longer are we limited by the fears that prevent us from living. No longer are we limited by the grand vision for life that we hold for ourselves. The Reign of God as a light being turned on helps us see that our imagination is not merely fantasy - it is becoming real - present - at hand. At times it is frightening to have a pathway open up to us - to see a way into a new existence. And yet, God keeps turning on the lights and drawing us into life that seems to always be the life of others. Here and now, lights are being turned on and we are being invited to play in a future we could not see previously. The Reign of God as a light being turned on is also the presence of truthfulness. That is not always easy to take - it can wound - it can change everything - it can make us have to wrestle with ourselves without resolution but always with new ways to see life.
O God of love and new life, though we are often afraid of the dark it is also true that we are anxious about how light will change all things. And yet, you come as one bearing light for life eternal. Amen.
The Reign of God as a light being turned on so that we are able to see everything. We see the God whose love eternally abides with us. We see any other power that attempts to be the power that will rule us. We see the possibility to dance without fear of judgment and condemnation. We see opportunities to realize the life Go sees in us and nurtures by calling us Beloved. The Reign of God as a light being turned on is the power to change the next moment and those that follow. I find it interesting that when a light goes on, everything is exposed - or maybe we scramble to hide that which fear will be seen by others. But in this Reign, that which is exposed by the light is part of the movement within God's Reign. Yes, now we see who we are a bit more clearly, but we also see the life that God places in front of us. This is a life not dependent or run down or pulled down but what was of our own creating. For now and for always, we can see God's image shining around us and in us.
O God of love and new life, as we are often caught up in what has already taken place, we are slow to move into your loving Reign. So pull us again by your Spirit - into the brilliance of your presence. Amen.