Sunday, February 26, 2023

Angels Ministered to Him

 Humanity is best served by our “better angels.” People often personify angels in the artistic imagery of winged creatures wearing dazzling white outfits, and that imagery is somewhat validated by Scripture and Tradition. But angels also take other forms in the Bible, especially and perhaps most often the form of human beings, as alluded to in Hebrews, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2 KJV).


Friday, February 24, 2023

With Jesus

The Transfiguration demonstrates prayer as a shared spiritual experience, even in the solitude of our closet as Jesus speaks of in the Sermon on the Mount. Petitions for our desires for ourselves and each other are one way we share prayer with each other, but the Transfiguration reveals a transformation in our own being and in our relationships as a part of what prayer is. The Transfiguration shows that Heaven is not only a far off place we access after we die, but also a spiritual place we access to varying degrees whenever we pray.  

The idea of spiritual togetherness permeates Christian faith and is even a hallmark of most other religions as well. We are spiritually connected even when we are physically alone. When we gather to worship, even two or three of us, we affirm that Christ is with us. When we go to be with others, we join with Jesus who is already there with them. Consider that when we pray, we join with Jesus spiritually, and through Jesus we join with all with whom Jesus is connected spiritually – people on Earth and people in Heaven, people in our community and people around the world, people who share our beliefs and people whose beliefs are vastly different. We are united spiritually with those who are all different places on every spectrum of life we can imagine. And there in the Spirit with Jesus, we pray.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Choose Life (Not in the Oppressive Sense)

Today’s readings highlight the disparity between how God speaks to humanity through the Scriptures, and how people twist those same Scriptures for their own oppressive political or economic purposes to make it seem like God is saying something completely different. They justify oppression, discrimination, and exploitation of women, racial minorities, LGBTQ, immigrants, and whoever else they can misuse the Bible against in the name of religion. 

Choose life in the broadest, most liberating sense.  

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:     (Deuteronomy 30:19: KJV) 

This verse is often being used to forbid women their right to personal decision-making under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in consultation with family, friends, spiritual counselors, and medical specialists regarding the narrow issue of abortion.

The invitation to choose life actually pertains to the command in verse two “to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways…”

Friday, February 10, 2023

Rethink Religion

 Jesus laid out God’s vision for humanity without taking anything away from anyone’s religion – “not one jot or one tittle” (Matthew 5:18 KJV). Jesus does, however, reinterpret how we look at and understand our religions. He does lead us to reimagine how we implement our beliefs. He does challenge us in how people of faith should engage with each other and the world around us.

The invitation of Jesus for humanity to rethink our religious beliefs and practices is ongoing and renewable for every generation, and for each community, congregation, and person. As we grow, collectively and individually, we are expected to revise our understanding of the faith we profess.

We are not expected to discard our faith or to lead others to discard theirs, as Jesus explicitly stated in verse 19 of today’s Gospel reading:

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach [people] so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19 KJV). 

The Holy Spirit leads us in our dynamic faith, not to break the commandments but to discover new meanings and ways of fulfilling the commandments as God’s purpose in giving them is more clearly revealed to us. St. Paul explains our continuing renewal toward sanctification and perfect love in his letter to the Corinthians:

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became [an adult], I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:11-12 KJV).