Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The Appointed Time.


Sometimes I think that the people that are left in the Church have given up.

When you make a suggestion or present a new idea they seem apathetic and make excuses not to do it.

To them perhaps it seems a long time of decline and failure.

But "there is still a vision for the appointed time."  Habakkuk 2:3 (NRSV)

And that time is now!

The dawning of the New Age - the Age of Aquarius - has begun.

A new way of interpreting scripture which is based on legitimate modern scholarship is developing now.

And with it is coming a new revelation from God.

This revelation revolutionizes our image of God and His relationship with humanity.

It revises our understanding of Jesus.

And it centers us in love.

"I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh."  Ezekiel 11:19 (NRSV)

Spirituality will no longer be a matter of mental propositions and principles.

Spirituality will be about the development of the human heart.

Open your heart!

Open your heart to God and to humanity.

Open your heart to those around you.

Not just to your family and your friends.

But to everyone!

We are all sons and daughters of God.

Brothers and sisters in the Family of Humanity.

And God is our loving Father.


[Scripture quotation (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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(The image has been slightly modified.)

Monday, 15 April 2019

The Light.


So what is the Light that is coming from God?

Honesty, truthfulness, charity, mercy.

Affection, forgiveness, acceptance, love.

Keep on caring.

Don't give up.

Challenge the darkness.

Counteract evil.

Maintain your integrity.

Overcome fear.

But most of all:

Open your heart!


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Sunday, 14 April 2019

Wake Up!


Pope Francis says that he wants his Priests and Religious to: "Wake up the world!"

This is all very well but to wake up the world you have to be awake yourself.

I was reminded of Jesus warning to the Pharisees: "'Why do you see the speck in neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.'"  Matthew 7:3,5 (NRSV)

While I do believe that Pope Francis is an enlightened person that doesn't mean that all of his Priests and Religious are enlightened.

So we have to get the preaching right first.

The quotation above comes within the context of judgement.

Jesus says: "'Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.  For with the judgement you make you will be judged.'"  Matthew 7:1,2 (NRSV)

So all of the Churches that preach judgement are in error.

This is a basic mistake made by authoritarian religious people who have not experienced the real God.

They adhere to the rigid orthodoxy taught in theological colleges.

But God is merciful and forgiving.

He does not judge us.

"'First take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye.'"  Matthew 7:5 (NRSV)


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are use by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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(The image has been slightly modified.)

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Palm Sunday.


I must admit I am ambivalent about Palm Sunday.

There is a lot of hosannaring and declaring of Jesus as King.

But many in the crowd, and even the disciples, were expecting a political and military King in the style of David who would liberate them from the Roman occupation.

This may explain why many of them turned against him by Friday after he had ignored the Romans and attacked the Jewish religious leadership.

But why did Jesus go to Jerusalem?

Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious faith.

It was here that the shepherds of Israel had their Temple. 

I believe that Jesus' attitude to the shepherds was a reflection of the prophets.

"The shepherds also have no understanding; they have all turned to their own gain, one and all."  Isaiah 56:11 (NRSV)

"Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves!  Should not the shepherds feed the sheep?  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the sheep. You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them."  Ezekiel 34:2-4 (NRSV)

This explains Jesus' criticism of the Pharisees and his status as a spiritual leader not a temporal one.

It also explains Jesus' mysterious injunction to Peter: "Feed my sheep."  John 21:17 (NRSV)

So I am ambivalent about Palm Sunday.

I am not sure whether to be jubilant or sad.


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]     

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Friday, 12 April 2019

Jeremiah.


God speaks to the sons of King Josiah:
"Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.
He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him.
Is this not to know me?  says the Lord.
But your eyes and heart are only for your dishonest gain, for the shedding of innocent blood, and for practising oppression and violence."  Jeremiah 22:15-17 (NRSV)

This is to displease God and not to know Him.

There are many Christians in this world who do not know God.

They seek dishonest gain, shed innocent blood, and practise oppression and violence.

They do not support the cause of the poor and the needy.

God instructs Jeremiah to invite the Rechabites to the Temple and offer them wine.

But they reply that their ancestors commanded them not to drink wine, build houses, or sow seeds and they had obeyed them to this day. (Jeremiah 35)

God holds up the Rechabites as an example of obedience which the people of Judah could not match.

The Rechabites obeyed the commandment of their ancestors but the Israelites had not obeyed God Himself.

And what has God commanded us to do?

"'"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."'" Matthew 22:37 (NRSV)

"'"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."'"  Matthew 22:39 (NRSV)

Then He will say "Here I am."  Isaiah 58:9 (NRSV) 


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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Thursday, 11 April 2019

God Children.


"For thus says the Lord, To the eunuchs* who keep my my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters, I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off."  Isaiah 56:4.5 (NRSV)

This refers to the practice of God adopting unmarried men to His service.

Everyone was to them like children.

Because God is Father of all.

And His servants foster everyone.


(*Eunuchs referred to any men who did not marry.)

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Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Immigrants.


"Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.  He said to his people, 'Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we.  Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join with our enemies and fight against us.'"  Exodus 1:8-10 (NRSV)

Thus began the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt.

And yet this sounds strangely familiar.

It could have been said by the leader of any rich Western country today.

Fear of immigrants results in oppression.

Leaders exploit that fear.

But this is not God's attitude.

God says to care for the stranger and the alien.

"You shall not oppress a resident alien, you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt."  Exodus 23:9 (NRSV)


[Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All rights reserved.]

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