March ~ 2014
Transfiguration (Mar 2)
Exodus 24.15-18 (Amp Bible)
Then Moses went up into the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. [Divine glory] rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day God called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the [divine glory] appeared to the Israelites like devouring fire on the top of the mountain. Moses entered into the midst of the cloud and went up the mountain, and Moses was on the mountain forty days and nights.
Matthew 17.1-9 (JB Phillips NT)
1-3 Six days later Jesus chose Peter, James and his brother John, to accompany him high up on the hill-side where they were quite alone. There his whole appearance changed before their eyes, his face shining like the sun and his clothes as white as light. Then Moses and Elijah were seen talking to Jesus. 4 “[Teacher],” exclaimed Peter, “it is wonderful for us to be here! If you like I could put up three shelters, one each for you and Moses and Elijah——” 5 But while he was still talking a bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice came out of the cloud: “This is my dearly loved [chosen one] in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” 6-7 When they heard this voice the disciples fell on their faces, overcome with fear. Then Jesus came up to them and touched them. 8 “Get up and don’t be frightened,” he said. And as they raised their eyes there was no one to be seen but Jesus himself.
2 Corinthians 6.2-10 (NIV)
2For [God] says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. 3We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Lent 1 (Mar 9)
The Wisdom of John Shelby Spong
“My biggest problem with [personifying evil as a ‘devil’] is that it removes responsibility from the person [who as behaved in ways we might call evil]. It makes it sound like whatever they were doing was beyond their control. How convenient for them.
The way I reframe this is to understand that when we do things that are wrong, immoral, or hurtful, we are truly acting out of our lower ego selves. We are acting out of the side of ourselves that has been hurt before, that is broken, that is fearful. Sometimes we call this our shadow side. All of those things are ‘the devil in us,’ if you will…They are the things that obstruct us in our thinking, are our obstacles to acting as Love would have us act.”
Matthew 4.1-4, 11 (NKJV, adapted)
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted…2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward he was hungry. 3 Now when [temptation] came to him, [it] said, “If You are the son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But [Jesus] answered and said, “It is written, ‘[We] shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” 11 [Finally, temptation] left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.
Lent 2 (Mar 16)
The Wisdom of the Dhammapada
“No scent of flower is borne against the wind, though it were sandal, or incense or jasmine. But the fragrance of the holy is borne against the wind: the righteous pervade all space (with their fragrance). More excellent than the scent of sandal and incense, of lily and jasmine, is the fragrance of good deeds. A slight thing is this scent of incense and of sandalwood, but the scent of the holy pervades the highest heaven.”
The Wisdom of Abraham Joshua Heschel
“God is unwilling to be alone, and humanity cannot forever remain impervious to what God longs to show. Those of us who cannot keep their striving back find themselves at times within the sight of the unseen and become aglow with its rays. Some of us blush, others wear a mask. Faith is a blush in the presence of God.”
John 3.1-8 (NIV)
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the [realm] of God unless he [or she] is born again.” 4″How can [one] be born when [one] is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely [one] cannot enter a second time into [the] womb to be born!” 5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the [realm] of God [without being] born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Lent 3 (Mar 23)
Exodus 17.3-7 (NIV)
3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” 4 Then Moses cried out to the [ETERNAL], “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 The [ETERNAL] answered Moses, “Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested [God] saying, “Is the [the Divine] among us or not?”
The Wisdom of Black Elk
“We should be as water which is lower than all things, yet stronger even than the rocks.”
John 4.5-14 (The Message)
4-6To get [where he was going, Jesus] had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon. 7-8A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.) 9The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.” 11-12The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?” 13-14Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”
Lent 4 (Mar 30)
1God is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2God makes me to lie down in green pastures and leads me beside the still waters. 3God restores my soul and leads me in the paths of righteousness… 4Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for God is with me; God’s rod and staff comfort me. 5God prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies and anoints my head with oil; my cup is overflowing. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of divine Love forever.
From the Wisdom of Roy Eugene Davis
“During the day, frequently remind yourself that you are a spiritual being in a spiritual universe. Observe all events without allowing them to unsettle your emotions.”
John 9.1-7, 13-17, 25, 35-39 (The Message)
1-2 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” 3-5Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light…” 6-7He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw. 13-15They marched the man to the Pharisees. This day when Jesus made the paste and healed his blindness was the Sabbath. The Pharisees grilled him again on how he had come to see. He said, “He put a clay paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.” 16Some of the Pharisees said, “Obviously, this man can’t be from God. He doesn’t keep the Sabbath.” Others countered, “How can a bad man do miraculous, God-revealing things like this?” There was a split in their ranks. 17They came back at the blind man, “You’re the expert. He opened your eyes. What do you say about him?” 25He replied, “…I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see.” 35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the son of [humanity]?” 36The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.” 37Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?” 38″…I believe!” the man said, and worshiped him. 39Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”