April 15, 2013 | Posted by Doug
"If you had only recognized the things that make for peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes." -Luke 19:42
Reading: Luke 19:41-42
We have no inner peace, running after the approval of others. We have no time to breathe, trying to keep everyone happy. Peace is based on well-being - caring for ourselves, our relationships and our community. Over the next several weeks, we will explore the way of deep and meaningful peace.
March 26, 2013 | Posted by Doug
"While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them and said, "Take, this is my body." " -Mark 14:22
Reading: Mark 14:17-31
Jesus and his disciples were eating what was to be their last meal together. The dinner conversation was about which one of the disciples would betray Jesus and deny him in his hour of need. It’s a snapshot of a community torn by fear. The gospel is not some fairy tale, but a story about the kinds of jealousies, misunderstandings and fears that are tearing apart our relationships, families, and society. We may try to cover up our brokenness, but the cracks appear just beneath the surface. As soon as we begin to trust someone, we tell them the truth that we can no longer bear to hide about our latest break-up, our unreasonable boss, our chronic illness or the fear that is holding us back. Each of us is broken in unique ways. No one really knows what your suffering is like. When someone shares their pain, they are telling you about their most intimate selves. The cracks that run through you are as unique as your finger print and the way you live out of those cracks defines to a large extent, who you are. Jesus invites his disciples in all their pain to the communion table. They are all welcome at this table of truth-telling and invited into the transformation it offers. Some continued to betray and deny, but others were transformed. That is our choice.
February 13, 2013 | Posted by Doug
"Can God spread a table in the wilderness?" -Psalm 78:19
Reading: Psalm 78:14-20
When God inspired Moses to lead his people out of slavery, they celebrated, at first. But liberation was hard, and soon they were grumbling. Some said they would prefer slavery to the hard work and uncertainty of liberation. Even though they were experiencing God’s amazing care for them in the wilderness, they continued to complain saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?” How often do we question God? Forgetting all the ways God has touched our lives and opened up new possibilities and given us strength and courage in times of uncertainty, do we also focus on the negativity and fear? God’s abundance is breaking out regularly in our faith community. An inspiring dance, gifted and spirit-filled musicians, deeply committed volunteers serving others during worship and leading community groups to shape the development of the Bronx or challenge unscrupulous landlords. As we take our Lenten Journey this year, we reflect on the God is setting a table in the wilderness.
March 26, 2012 | Posted by Doug
"As Jesus approached the capital city, he wept for the city saying, "If only you knew the things that make for peace, but now they are hidden from your eyes."" -Luke 19:42
Why is it so hard to find peace in our lives and in the world?
January 5, 2012 | Posted by Doug
"Jesus.... was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil." -Luke 4:1-2
Reading: Luke 4:1-13
Why is temptation so…. tempting? The things the devil invites Jesus to consider are good. Turn stones into bread, gain and use political power, prove to people the power of God. We are most tempted around our strength, not our weakness. How are you being tempted? How do we resist temptation? Jesus responded to the devil out of a combination of Spirit and Word. He is able to see through the superficial to the deeper truth.
December 12, 2011 | Posted by Doug
"Do not be afraid.... you have found favor with God." -Luke 1:30
Reading: Luke 1:26-38
What if you could transform you self-image? That’s what happened to Mary. She couldn’t believe an angel of God was speaking to her saying things like: “Greetings favored one.” She looked around and then back at the angel and said, “Who are you talking to?” She was even suspicious of him. No one had ever said things like that to her. Who is this guy and what does he want from me? What he wanted was to help her to see herself as God sees her. “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.” What if you could see yourself as God sees you?
October 4, 2011 | Posted by Doug
"They heard the sound of God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze...." -Genesis 3:8
Reading: Genesis 2-3
After reading the awesome story of creation on Sunday we move into the story of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had everything they needed. They lived in an abundant paradise. They had the choice to just enjoy that life, or to challenge God’s command to stay away from the fruit at the center of the garden. Of course, like any two year old would do when warned to stay away from the electric socket, they went to check it out. This whole episode dramatically changed their relationship with God. Now when God walked in the garden they hid themselves for they were ashamed. They began blaming each other. Life became a struggle. What does this story tell us about our relationship with God? About the source of joy in life? About the significance of the freedom to make mistakes? About the freedom to live in harmony with others, or to compete with them, even to injure them? Join us Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for a creation conversation about Genesis 2-3 at 398 Oliver Place, Apt. 2E. You can call 917-669-5803 for details.
August 10, 2011 | Posted by Doug
"Sing to God a new song!" -Psalm 3:3
Reading: Psalm 33
Old songs are fine, but here Psalm 33:3 invites us to sing a new one. God is doing a new thing. It’s new day! Things aren’t like they were. New possibilities are afoot, new opportunities abound! Let’s don’t get stuck in the past. What new thing is God doing in your life? What new possibilites are there that you weren’t aware of yesterday? Sing a new song to God!!
August 6, 2011 | Posted by Doug
"It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness...(God is) a shield for all who take refuge... " -Psalm 18:28, 30
Reading: Psalm 18
Once again this Psalm has some real rough spots. David extols God for making “me head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me,As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me… This is the danger of mixing religion and nationalism and pride…. and “You made my enemies turn their backs to me… I beat them fine, like dust,cast them out like the mire of the streets… The challenge of reading through the Hebrew scriptures is to find the gems of wisdom in the midst of what can sometimes be violently nationalistic, ancient, traditional writing. There is some real beauty in the Psalms, given the context out of which it comes. This is also important historical background for understanding the ways Jesus has transformed the tradition.
August 3, 2011 | Posted by Doug
"For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever." -Psalm 9:18
Reading: Psalm 8-10
I am deeply disturbed about the recent “compromise” between the Democrats and Republicans to increase the debt ceiling that includes massive cuts to social programs and no new taxes for the rich. At a time when the rich are reaching unprecedented wealth while the gap between rich and poor is growing rapidly, our so called leaders have said that the poor will pay the price of our debt. I will put my faith in God and in the words of the Psalmist: “The needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the poor perish forever. Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail; let the nations be judged before you. Put them in fear, O Lord; let the nations know that they are only human. Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor - let them be caught in the schemes they have devised. ...Rise up O Lord: O God, lift up your hand, do not forget the oppressed