Monday, June 13, 2011

Give Me Freedom

As summer is upon us, I can’t help thinking of July 4th, Independence Day. We remember Patrick Henry saying, ‘Give me freedom or give me death!’ I’m reminded as I recall my family history of my ancestors from Germany, England, and Ireland, of the great struggles they were willing to go through, for a purpose. Yes, economics and opportunity would be on this side of the ocean. But the great cost paid in so many ways had to be for more than just that. Freedom is a great motivator. And for many, the oppression they sought to get away from was most grievous in the area of freedom to have a relationship with God in their own way, not the way dictated by the elite authorities of the dominate national religious institution. Freedom to love, worship, and relate to God was worth all the sacrifice, even to the point of the risk of life. Life without freedom with God was unthinkable. May it still be!

Blown Away

Acts 2:1-21
The spark that keeps us from a life of business as usual is the fire from above. It is God’s initiative that we have life, life full and free, and more life. It was his initiative to speak our life into being in Genesis, his decision to send his son to give us direct access to himself, and his decision to send his spirit. Spirituality is defined in many ways, especially today. I’m glad that more people are becoming aware of the spiritual nature of life. But the true source of holy fire is in God alone, who sent his holy fire, not just one altar fire this time, but a fire to all who sought him together, and that holy wind & fire blew away the barriers to everyone knowing how glorious our Lord is. Keep blowing us away, Lord!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who's Laughing Now?

A few years ago as we in the North Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church) were considering our coming together with the South Conference to be one conference, we had a laugh moment. A delegate likened our two well established conferences coming together to a widow and widower in a nursing home getting married and moving into the same room. He said that it might be nice, but ‘don’t expect any children!’ We laughed. But, I seem to recall that Sarah laughed at the thought of she and Abraham, both well blessed in years, having a child. God got the last laugh, when a year later they were parents! And this year at Annual Conference, we celebrate that as our conferences have come together, this year, for the first time in my memory, we have Grown! Who’s laughing now? It’s a good thing our nursery is painted, because our (over age 100) churches have newborns! God is so good!

Monday, June 6, 2011

God Gets the Last Word

Lectionary passage 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
Following Christ puts us in a process of refining. If we want to have our lives refined, we stay in the refining process. We do this when we are willing to be alert and admit to where we tend to get tripped up. We all have hang ups and places where we get tripped up. It’s in our Christian community where we recover life and are refined. It’s a life recovery group. Our ‘higher power’ is Jesus. We do not have to keep getting tripped up over the same things. We get honest about our hang-ups, have each other to hold us accountable, and recover the life Jesus meant for us to have. Jesus has the last word, and words well worth remembering often: “It is finished!” Jesus said these words on the cross as he took away our bent toward missing the mark in life. When we get ready to be finished with our hang-ups in life, God’s gift of power to us to overcome is ready for the taking and unpacking in our life recovery group- Christian community.