Sunday, October 26, 2008

Honoring Our Teachers and the Christ Teacher Within

This morning's homily recognizes Jesus as a Teacher and that each of us are both student and teacher.

Have you been inspired by a teacher?  Do you recognize how you have been shaped by your teachers?


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Audio of Homily with beautiful pictures

Here is a windows media video from today's homily. Actually, the video portion are beautiful pictures from a slide show, rather than my pug. The audio is not word for word what is shown below. It is as Spirit inspires me to speak what has been given. For example, today inspiration spoke of how to deal with the fear in the financial markets and other places where fear exists.

Hope this works for us.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Be Transformed

The world is changing, a transformation is happening.  This morning let's call upon God for assurance.   It would seem that the world is spinning out of control.  We are faced with surprises everyday that also seem to knock us off balance.  What can we do to survive and thrive?  How can our faith help us?

Several weeks ago, we talked about the "The Will of God".  I hope you spent some time giving it some thought.  Romans 12:2 tells us:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Every year, God's cosmic will is shown in the cycles of the seasons.  We have just gone through the Autumnal Equinox last Monday.  Summer is over and we are now in Autumn. The Earth is beginning a transformation of great beauty.  As in heaven, so on Earth.

With all the changes going on in this world, it can be unsettling.  The Psalmist tells us another way to go through life: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me by quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.  Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love, will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

When we have the Lord as our Shepherd, we are protected and we receive guidance.  The shepherd looks after the flock.  There is an assurance both in this prayer and in the attitude to have.  Follow the guidance given, especially in changing times.

The world seems to be spinning out of balance.  It seems as if every day, there is more to unbalance us in our life:  There have been fears of shortages of food, such as rice.  There appears lines at gas stations as there where 22 years ago.  Fears of lack of adequate fuel to maintain our daily activities.  There are other shocks too, such as the Chinese placing a vehicle in orbit and their first space walks.  While in our country, there appears to be a near meltdown in our financial system.  Who would have thought that our banking industry would be subject to failure?  Washington Mutual, one of the largest banks had a run on it that withdrew over 16 billion dollars causing it to fail, then being purchased.  What has driven the prices of food and fuel up?  Fear.

The world is full of shocks that shake us awake from the sleep of the cocoon we have been living in.  These changes remind me of the humble little butterfly and the transformation they go through in their life.  With the warm temperatures of summer, we have been blessed to see these little creatures of God as they have transformed from the larval caterpillar stage, an inactive pupal stage, and a spectacular metamorphosis into a familiar and colourful winged adult form.  When we accept Christ and God as our shepherd and guide, we too go through a spectacular transformation.  We awaken from our sleep, we are transformed by the Holy Spirit to a beautiful being with like the beautiful butterfly with gossamer wings.

As our transformation by accepting Christ, we turn to our Father in prayer.  We look for his light to guide us.  Prayer becomes a larger part of our life.  We commune with God and follow the still small voice that speaks to us.  Our shepherd is the Christ teaching us to follow in Jesus path, to walk in his footsteps.  Our life is changed forever.  We can't go back once awakened.  When we draw the light of Christ into our daily life, the spinning world is less of concern.  We are more grounded and not upset by the changes that are occurring in the outer world.  Our inner world is more peaceful and content.  I shall not be in want.  I am as the 23rd Psalm speaks with my cup running over.  Jesus also tells us:  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In conclusion:
Watch the Earth be transformed by God's will in Fall's grandeur.  Use the 23rd Psalm to bring you peace and contentment in these turbulent earthly times.  Walk with and be protected by the Shepherd.  Be transformed by renewing your mind.  Find your heart and your treasure.  Remember what the Bible tells us in 

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.     

God Bless you.  

Closing Prayer:

Eternal God, Father of the human family, through voices raised in song and through the stillness of the silence, we extol Thy Divine Love and Wisdom which has made us heirs to Thy Creative will. In that Love, do we find support in our weaknesses and encouragement in our strengths. In that Wisdom, do we find nourishment and growth. Transform our consciousness from limitation to realization, and our realization into perfection. Grant us the certainty that we may be perfect, even as Thou art perfect.

0 Father, show us the road that leads to Thee. Give aspiration to our hearts that our every thought and action may echo our devotion to Thee. Amen

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Homily audio 9-14-08 God's Will

On Sept. 14, 2008, I spoke on a potentially difficult subject: "God's Will".

Here is the audio. I think I missed the opening paragraph getting the recorder to turn on, but that was just a repetitious introduction. The recorder captured the good stuff.

The pictures are of the beautiful Holy Land, where God's Will has been so well documented in writings.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Oriented Homily

In honor of Labor Day the following scripture was selected:

Scripture Reading:    Psalm 127

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. 

Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.  

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to [those he loves.   Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.   Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth.   Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame 

when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

Our Response Reading is: Work

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat anyone's bread without paying;

But with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you.

It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If anyone will not work, let him not eat.

For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.

Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living.

Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.

2 Thess. 3:6-13

Sunday, August 10, 2008

God's Labyrinth

For those who couldn't be with us this morning in person, here is today's homily.

Today's Scripture is taken from:  Matthew 14: 22-32
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."  29"Come," he said.    Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"  31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"  32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 

This is an amazing story of how faith can make such a difference in making miracles happen.  It also reminds us that fear and doubt can cancel a miracle.  It speaks of how and when we ask for help, we are lifted up and saved from drowning in the physical world.  Contemplate this scripture and see how it lifts you up.

What is a labyrinth?  What in the world is God's Labyrinth?  What does it mean to us?  What good is it?  Where will it take us?  These are some of the questions that come to mind.  What are yours?

You may feel like everything is spinning you in circles:  For example,  you think you have planned for retirement adequately, then the price of food and other products we use and buy from the food stores goes up 400% or more.  You have to rethink retirement including income and expenses.
Or maybe you bought a boat or motor home, intending to spend quality time in the outdoors and then the price of fuel goes out of sight.  Or maybe you bought a new home at a low mortgage rate, then it went up and you couldn't make the payments.  Or maybe you built a new home, but because of the mortgage crisis, you can't sell your old one.

These kinds of things can knock you off balance and take away your peace.

It is said, "man plans and God laughs".  He must be laughing a lot lately.

Has God created a maze with a lot of dead ends?  No he hasn't.  These issues are of man's making, not God's.

What are we to do?  Being a Spiritual person, you will pray.

One form of prayer is meditation and what better way than taking a walk, as the song says, "He walks with me and talks with me".  Here is where the labyrinth comes in.

The labyrinth is not a maze.  It has one path that circles to the center and then circles back out.  It is a symbolic pilgrimage, a journey to the Divine.  It becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives.  It touches the sorrows and releases our joys.  Walk it with an open heart and mind.

We are told that there are three (3) stages of the walk: first, as you enter, Purgation - release and let go of the details of your life, the cares and concerns that keep you distracted and stressed.   Second, as you reach the center, Illumination comes.  Stay as long as you like.  This is a place for clarity and insight.  Receive what the Divine has for you.  The third stage is Union - as you begin the path outward.  Bring back to the world a renewed vision and refreshed spirit.

The renewed vision is a big WOW.  Seeing the big picture can help us to regain our perspective.  This can  bring us calm and peace when we know where we are.  Have faith and not fear, call to Christ and he will lift you up.

What can happen while in the center?  It can center and align you with the Divine.  Open to the increase of Divine energy into your being.  Connect to the Source of all energy.  By having let go of your cares and concerns, you can create the gap to be filled with Divine.  The gap creates space for change to happen, the change of Illumination.  Allow God's love fill you and bring you that 'Illumination'.  Open to God's abundance and be renewed.

What can come out of this journey?  The awesome power of 'Wisdom'.  I like Wikipedia's definition of wisdom:  "Wisdom is having gained knowledge, understanding, experience, discretion and intuitive understanding, along with a capacity to apply these qualities well".  Wisdom is a quality of the Divine.
Wikipedia also says that "in Eastern Orthodoxy, wisdom is understood as the Divine Logos who became incarnate as Jesus Christ".  I bet you didn't expect to find Christ as part of this journey, did you?

When we let go of our sorrows and the details, God can work with us and empower us with wisdom.

I have a friend who would work her heart out while debugging computer problems until she hit a wall.  Then she would get up and go for a walk.  She used these principles: letting go of the problem, regaining her center and perspective.  When she returned, she was refreshed and almost always broke through the wall that had blocked her.  She brought the insight and wisdom back with her and applied them to her work.

Why did I call this God's Labyrinth?  Isn't our life a journey back to God?  Yes.  Do we go around in circles?  Yes, we do.  Do we find wisdom and bring Christ into our heart?  Yes.  Isn't God the creator of all?  Yes.  Makes sense to me.

Where do we find these labyrinths?  My first labyrinth walk was on Sparrow Hawk Mountain, then Bon Secours in Marriottsville, then one in a field near Hendersonville.  The last journey was in Chartres.  There is also one nearby at Maryland Hall.  Look around the area and you may find one to try.

You don't have to go to one of these.  You can make a circuit out of a walk in the Forest.  Take a map of the area and make it into a labyrinth walk.

Know that God's labyrinth is part of the Divine plan that you are a part of. Let go as you walk.  Open to the illumination as you get to the center.  Bring back union (oneness), peace, wisdom, renewed vision, insight and refreshed spirit.  Take them from within you and share them with others.

May you find Christ walking and talking with you always.  Give the labyrinth a go.

God bless you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Homily for Upcoming Father's Day 2008

The ads for upcoming Father's Day began running for a week or more.  There are ads for both Grads and Dads.  It's that time of year when we think of honoring our fathers.

When I say fathers, I mean to say all fathers everywhere on Earth and in Heaven.

Let us put some thought towards the upcoming Father's Day and see what Spirit has for us, what Father teaches, expects and wants of us.

When I think of the word 'Father', I think of the prayer I learned as a child that begins with 'Our Father in Heaven'.    Truly, God is our Father, the Father of all mankind and of all faiths or none.  David said in the psalms, "From whence does my strength come" as he prayed to the Father.  David also spoke in the favorite 23rd Psalm, 'my cup runneth over', recognizing that all God's power, strength, courage, creativity and benevolence fills my cup and runs over.  Jesus also spoke of the cup when he was at Gethsemane.  Three times he prayed about the cup that his Heavenly Father had given him.  He also said, "not my will, but Thy Will be done".  Knowing that Father knows best.

You may remember or have heard of an old radio and TV show called "Father knows best" with Robert Young.  This was a rosy portrayal of the family, in the 50s and 60s where Father was the ruler or so he thought.   TV provides fictitious characters and roles of fathers, but it helps us to remember the best of Dad.

How do you see Father?  Maybe you see Dad as the protector, the provider, having courage, strength and integrity.  "As in heaven, so on Earth".  These attributes are of our Divine Father.  There are so many things our fathers give us.  Even when they don't give us what we want, may be the best thing for us.  

Fathers always have expectations for us and wants for us to do the best and have the best.  Sometimes what we think is best is not.  They often challenge us and lift us up.  There are times when we are asked to trust God and give up what we have for something that we even don't know the benefit or outcome.  Jesus at Gethesemene, spoke of the trust that was expected of him when he prayed and said "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away, unless I drink it, may your will be done" (Matthew 26 42).  Transformation and a legacy of thousands of years were the gifts from taking the cup of Spirit and drinking.  Our earthly fathers have given us gifts as well.  Be thankful and gracious as your father has been.

Celebrate and honor your Father, on Earth and in Heaven.  You have taken from the cup given you.  Think of ways this week to celebrate Father's Day with your Father.  If he is in Spirit with our Heavenly Father, give him your prayers for thanks and gratitude.   Pass on the blessings your have received and lift others up as you have been lifted up.

You are loved and blessed.