The Reign of God as a culture of hope has something to do with there being a place and time in which people may find refuge - a non-violent, creative refuge. We need to remember that God is always about a people - a community. Hope comes in the middle of the lives of those who are not afraid to lean into that which is not yet - that peaceable Reign on which the character traits of God's promises are hung out for all to see. To know that it is a whole culture - even if it is scattered - can be just the encouragement we need to go for it. The Reign of God as a culture is how the story of hope gets out and makes an impression on the world as it is. We see a people of all hopefulness - wonder how they live in such a way - begin to wander onto its edges to take a better look - and then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are grasped and brought into the whole new experience of hopefulness.
O God of love and new life, be with us as we wander along the edges of all hopefulness and wonder about the life it will bring into our lives. Amen.
The Reign of God as a culture of hope is the door that opens and offers an invitation to the possibility of life that is too often ignored. It is far to easy to stay put in the places we know so well and the routines we follow without thinking. The possibilities before us are those of a Reign in which communities live in peace and forgiveness and justice - in real time and in real life. The Reign of God as a culture of hope allows words to create that which is not yet. It is all usually just out there far enough so that we must at one point or another take the risk to be there. The Reign of God as a culture of hope always welcomes the risk-taking for it all helps to paint a new piece of God's promise for life that is on its ways - or are we on our way into it?
O God of love and new life, there are many doors that open to us. Often, they are ones that simple offer us that which is already at hand or that over which will draw us into conflict with other. Lead us through the door to the fullness ofyou promises Amen.
The Reign of God as a culture of hope that faces the day without evidence that our hopefulness is supported by fact. Rather we are told promises and we take those promises to be the power of life that can make something of the future without our need to control each step. In fact, the Reign of God as a culture of hope moves forward quite out of control. For too often as we try to control how our lives need to go, promises fall to the side. A line in the bible study struck me today. Even though God promised a child to Abraham and Sarah and the story kept moving and yet there was no child yet, they stopped living in hope. They stopped going into the tent and doing what people must do to have a child - even a child of hope. They gave up and settled for the son Ishmael - at least it looks like that. The Reign of God as a culture off hope lets go of what is at hand and it brings about life that keeps living into the promise no matter what it means.
O God of love and new life, bring your future upon us and lift up our lives even now. . Amen.
The Reign of God as a culture of hope is all about a people who are able to remind one another of promises by our God. It is a people who gather in many and various ways and speak a language that is not all that familiar to the rest of the world. It is often a culture of foreign words and ideas. That is not a bad thing. Within our words comes vision and hopefulness. These words are not just whipped up because they sound good. They put a name on the bits and pieces of God's Reign that is now and forever with us despite what we see around us. When strangers enter a culture of hope, it may sound odd. It may not even make sense. Therefore, we must be open to sharing the vision of this culture without losing its meaning and being replaced by meaningless words that simply try to fit the culture of hope into the culture of now - mine. The Reign of God as a culture of hope is how we are shaped. It is a culture of great dialogue and many questions. It is a culture that does not focus on all the trouble at hand - it looks to restoration and renewal
O God of love and new life, with words of hope move us into places of all hopefulness. Amen.
The Reign of God as a culture of hope. Death will be no more. Death will not have the power over us as is usually the case in the world. It sounds like a bunch of bull, and yet we need to remind ourselves that within all the things of the day that threaten us and make us run away in fear and filled with anxiety, we are still invited to dance within a vision of hopefulness in which death has no power. The Reign of God as a culture of hope moves in to surround us with promises for new life that are meant to lift us up over death marks on the world. We are given eyes to see beyond the wounds that are inflicted on the world and then walk into life that comes even when wounds seem to be defeating us. Therefore, we keep moving into the day at hand ready to become hope in action.
O God of love and new life, lift up our eyes and our lives to see you eternal presence. Amen.
The Reign of God as life that gives life doesn't arrive with much notice or fanfare. It simply breaks in and we are left to deal with the possibility for new life that is at hand. Last Sunday I was caught up in going about the pattern of worship that almost comes naturally - almost. But then there was water and promises and a whole gathering of people - all sorts of people - taking part in something as simple as a ritual. Even though I have walked through the ritual of baptism many times I became lost in the possibility of life that comes out of water and washes us all into something more than we ever expect. And then I noticed this person - and then that person - and then a bit of confusion - and then someone simply repeating words to me "the blood of Christ"- and then I wept. I could not stop it. I was handing people the bread as they came forward for communion and I had to simply pat them on their hands be the words as I place bread there. The Reign of God as life that gives life helps us to see within ordinary patterns the stuff with which God makes new life. It is already here - always here - always present - always able to make us re-view the glory of life handed to us.
O God of love and new life, pull up alongside us again this day and invited us to drive along with you in sight as we encounter the day. Amen.
The Reign of God as life that gives life has a way of entering our hearts so that deep down within our own lives, we know that there is the possibility to live a new life. By grace it comes our way everyday. Therefore, we need not be overwhelmed by what we have not done. Rather, today is another day in which the life of the Reign of God shows itself as real and possible and available for us. This is how it is always an invitation - never coercive. It is like having today's lunch already in the refrigerator - it is there to be eaten - I can eat it or do something else (I usually eat it by the way). The Reign of God as life that gives life will - all on its own - continue to show the way to the life that is promised. That is just how it is and has been and will be. We do not have the power to dismantle that promise. We can walk away from it. We can - as mentioned yesterday - simply admire the look of it from afar. We can also be like some of the biblical characters who at times walked away or stumbled along the way. We can also be like those same characters who - at times - followed and took part in life they could not see on their own. I think we also sometimes simply stumble into that life. Once there, we are caught up in the awe of the presence of God's Reign in such a common and ordinary day.
O God of love and new life, show us that life again today and help us move into its glory. Amen.
The Reign of God as life that gives life is the stuff Jesus invites the new disciples and all of us to 'come and see.' To witness the life of the Reign of God in action - not merely in stories of another time and place - generates new life. It at least gives people the opportunity to see how life - the everyday life of everyone - can become filled with a new life. It is like bringing to a group a people or an individual the notion and confidence that says: we can be like this or I can be a part of this. The Reign of God as life that gives life is still readily popping into our day. Too often, we do not see it or cannot hear it. We can be so easily overwhelmed by the things at hand we do not lift up our eyes to see how God's Reign is breaking in and inviting us to enter into all the life that it lays down in front of us. Sometimes, it is too easy to think that the life we talk about as followers of Jesus is not really a life handed to us - it is a life once lived that we can look at and admire. This notion used to drive Soren Kierkegaard up the wall within the church of Denmark of his day.
O God of love and new life, bring it on - let it rain down! Amen.
The Reign of God as life that gives life is what Jurgen Moltmann says is Jesus' vital power - an extraordinary infectious life. When the life of this Reign of God is alive and among us, it makes its way into the lives of those around it. I watched the movie Selma this week. The courage - the boldness - the solidarity - the compassion - was a part of the infectious life that brings a new vision to the ordinary stuff that goes on all around us. The ordinary stuff that goes on all around us is so often violent and it is exclusive and demeaning of others. It is the life into which Jesus walks - Jesus as the Reign of God seeping into and onto everyone in the room. The Reign of God as life that gives life rebukes the power of violence and hatred. It does that by taking part in a life that does not fall for the lies of violence and hatred. So what does such a life do? It is a living presence of healing and forgiveness and mercy and the courage to acknowledge fear and yet live a new life in the face of anything we fear.
O God of love and new life, infect us with you Reigning power that transforms the world from violence to peace. Amen.
The Reign of God as a dove will fly into your life - your space. So, how will you greet its presence. How will the sight of this symbol of the peaceful power of God's Reign have an impact on your life? We can be assured that this dove will not come only once and then leave. No, it keeps flying into our days. As followers of Jesus who have been to the water of baptism, that is part of the promise - the dove keeps breaking into the day and the words 'beloved' will ceaselessly be handed to us. We can turn away. We can choose to move along another way. We can see in the dove something we cannot and will not make a part of our lives. The Reign of God as a dove does not care about what we will do or will not do. This Reign keeps cracking open the world as we know it so that we will see a glimpse of how God keeps promises even within the days we claim to control.
O God of love and new life, break in and set us free - teach us to fly within your Reign. Amen.
The Reign of God as a dove is an easy target for the violent forces of the world. And yet, this Reign does not change its presentation. Just like the Jesus of the gospels, there will be an ongoing presence of peace that will enter into any and all situations without taking on the violence in any of those places. Peace will Reign. Nonviolence will Reign. Healing will Reign. In a world where doves are brushed aside the Holy Spirit sends them again and again. We have seen them among us - always peacemakers - always ones who are present without exception. The Reign of God as a dove sets the mood for a life in which we can be the power of peace even when our lives are overrun with all types of violence. Like a dove this Reign flies into the spaces and times of our live and there - a new life emerges.
O God of love and new life, even as we are moved to follow along the way of your Reign and may face the powers of violence, keep us forever resting on your peace. Amen.
First - sorry about no post yesterday - I let the Buckeye game keep me from getting to the task of writing yesterday.
The Reign of God as a dove drops down upon us. Right in the middle of any of the things that come into our day, God seems to have a way of touching us - resting upon us - grabbing our attention. I often wonder if we have to be vigilant to see this peaceable Reign interrupting the day. Or, does it happen many times and yet we may or may not see it at all. I also wonder if there are people for whom this dove is simply flitting about in and through every day and they are connected the whole time. The Reign of God as a dove swoops in - moves by - floats above us - maybe even rests on our lives as a bird on our shoulder. Maybe it is as we are open to calling on God's Spirit to come and lead us or move us or touch us - we may find that this dove is indeed present already and it is offering us a fullness of life that may change the time at hand - even the rest of our lives.
O God of love and new life, come and open our eyes and our hearts to your love and peace. Amen.
The Reign of God as a dove is able to break through the ripping of the heavens as we heard in the gospel from yesterday. It arrives and hovers and settles down lightly so as to disturb everything with a vision of newness and wholeness. A dove does not come down to threaten or devour or frighten. It comes as a light touch within a world that so often only knows the touch of violence. The Reign of God as a dove brings peace. No other message is delivered. It is the peace that many cannot understand because it is not the peace of a violent world that claims to bring peace but only by way of warfare and fear and coercion. I just wondered if any country has the dove as its symbol. I'm not a bird person so wondered if a dove even has claws that can do anything but hang on a limb. Rather than a bird of prey, the dove comes like prayer that floats over a people and has the power to shape them in the way of gentleness. The Reign of God as a dove is like a promise unfolding and coming to rest on any and all who God claims as characters in a grand drama of peace and wholeness. That is all of us.
O God of love and new life, we long to see your Reign fly by to remind us of another way to move along the road today. Teach us, O God, to soar within your peaceable Reign. Amen.