At a dinner in Ottawa last week, the fellow next to me and I were discussing an issue of social justice. He was interested in a reference I made to an African author. Out popped my phone and in seconds I accessed the article from my “cloud” of files and he was reading it. The magic of whatever cloud storage method you may use is still amazing to me – invisible, accessible, portable, and enormous capacity.
Our faith in the invisible capacity of the cloud pales by comparison to Jesus’ vision of our spiritual capacity. For thousands of years the invisible presence of Spirit has brought comfort, wisdom, knowledge and courage to untold millions of people – and there is no accelerating fee for increased capacity.
Jesus committed to giving us the gift of the Spirit’s presence, memory and accessibility and it’s not passive storage but moves in and through us. The Spirit comes to us offering friendship, wisdom and memory of Jesus’ life and teaching. The noise of one “cloud” can choke our sensitivity and awareness of a more profound and quiet one.
A Prayer for Today
God, your three-fold expression of yourself is quite a mystery to me. Thank you for the internal conversations you have that care for us as your beloved children. You come to us not just for our comfort and ease but for courage to live as you lived. May your life of reconciliation, forgiveness and love be expressed in us this day and in the days ahead … For Jesus’ sake
“I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth…. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you. …. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. (John14:15-17,26 MSG)
The rhythmic crunch of my feet on the gravel road was my musical companion as I walked. One step followed another – a lot like life. We often walk alone, sometimes ahead as leaders and frequently alongside as friends and companions.
I thought of Jesus’ feet crunching Palestine’s roads- like us he walked alone, ahead and alongside. He walked for us into crowds, away from crowds, into conflict and hatred, to applause and adoration and ultimately death on a lonely hill.
On the Emmaus road, he walked along side two of us and even though they couldn’t recognize him he guided their thinking. Alive after his resurrection he walks with us today.
He walked in rhythm with his Father, with purpose and passion. He invites us to walk today where he leads into the brokenness and darkness of our human condition- with his courage, hope and faith in the father’s love.
A Prayer for Today
God, it gets lonely some days as we try to see your presence in tough relationships, hurting friends, ecological disaster and all the pain we share with others. Help us see you as you walk with us as well. We ask for your sustaining power and perspective to receive help when we need it and give help when we can … For Jesus’ sake
That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was. (Luke 24:13-16 MSG)
The sounds of Stevie Wonder’s album from 40 years ago brightened up our life again this week. It was the first album I pulled from our dusty LP collection to play on my new birthday turntable. The sounds had lain dormant in the vinyl tracks for years and came back to life with the drop of a needle.
The sounds of the recording brought back joyful memories from when I was 30 – memories of people and stories that have enriched my life. I’ve no desire to go back to that time but am grateful for the many who are still my companions on this journey of life.
There is so much of life that we can lose touch with, that is just below the surface and we need a bit of help in reconnecting there. The crust that accumulates throughout life can dull our capacity for wonder and gratitude. Last week Stevie Wonder helped me recapture my own sense of wonder and gratitude for a wee while at least.
A Prayer for Today
Loving God, you surprise us with your presence in many simple way – a song, a kind word, a flower or sunset. Thank you for the blessings of memories that encourage us. As the next dark day or difficult challenge comes let us face them with courage from the foundational memory of your grace in our lives..…. For Jesus’ sake
“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!” (Matthew 6:22-23 MSG)
There has been lots of noise about the first 100 days of a new administration- the name and location escape me but the noise is persistent. It has got me thinking about this post-Easter season and the new administration that the events of 2000 years ago introduced.
We are two weeks into commemorating a 50-day period of quiet confirmation and consolidation that went on with our often slow-working God. For 40 days after his resurrection Jesus appeared to individuals, pairs and groups of varying sizes – but during it all was a lot of quiet.
Rather than trumpeting his accomplishments Jesus gave hints of himself to many while they developed a deep understanding of what his resurrection meant. The message they would shape, carry and proclaim is the same one we experience today. They needed time and space to deeply engage the life change they experienced.
Day 50 with the outpouring of the Spirit ushered in a new administration of reconciliation, forgiveness and justice that has shaped us for these many centuries. We still need time and space with the one who loves us deeply to see the world through his eyes. The 100 days is real and needs to be engaged. Even more is the 50 whose power continues to this day..
A Prayer for Today
Loving God, you often seem to move quietly and silently, and it can be unnerving. I would prefer something dramatic and conclusive but you call me to faith in your presence in all of life – your desire to communicate with me. The noise of life is all part of our creation, but help me see and hear the quiet moves of your Spirit in the events and actions of this week. ..…. For Jesus’ sake
“During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3 NLT)
This last week as we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, I’ve been thinking about how confusing and mind-blowing this event was for Jesus’ first learning group. It took them weeks to get their heads around this death defeating action.
Some of them went back to work; they got together for meals to try to understand each successive appearance Jesus made to some of their group. They may have thought, “Does this mean that we are soon going to be in power around here?”
The light gradually dawned on them that they were called to a subversive movement that worked under the radar and beneath the system. Power was expressed in service, love and relationship. We struggle today to see and know this resurrected Jesus in the darkness of life. The prayer today is one of Mother Teresa’s. She saw the true light in the darkest of places – including her own soul.
A Prayer for Today
Dearest Lord, may I see you today and every day in the person of your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto you. Though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you, and say: ‘Jesus my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.’ Lord give me this seeing faith, then my work will never be monotonous. I will ever find joy in humoring the fancies and gratifying the wishes of all poor sufferers. (Mother Teresa: 1910-1998)
When the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, are you going to free Israel now and restore our kingdom?” “The Father sets those dates,” he replied, “and they are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere” (Acts1:6-8 NLT)