Friday, October 23, 2009

November 1, 2009 - All Saints Day

Scriptures for the week of November 1: Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-6a, John 11:32-44

Hospitality is the twin sister of reconciliation. In order for there to be reconciliation there has to be acceptance of the other person. God’s people have had a rough time, and they are asking questions of where God is. When are things going to get better? The words of scripture say that God is offering a place of hospitality for us. A place to come and be healed. A place to come and to know that God loves us and cares for us. Jerusalem is actually that place to come to know the presence of God.

How many times in our lives do we come face to face with death? There are times when we are depressed, or involved in a very bad habit, or not on the right track about life, when we are spiritually dead. And we like Mary complain that if Jesus had been present our spirit would not have died. The story of Lazarus has a distinct purpose for John. This is the last of the miracle stories, and the ultimate demonstration of healing. John wants us to understand that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. That we can depend on Jesus for anything – even new life in the face of death.

Questions Where are the places that you go to find hospitality and love? Is Cornerstone church a place where others can come to find the love of God? How or How not? Is there a time in your life when you felt that you were dying? What was it that brought you back to life? How do we know Jesus is bringing healing to our lives?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 25, 2009

Scriptures for October 25th: Job 42:1-6,10-17; Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22); Hebrews 7:23-28;
Mark 10:46-52

Job: We reach the end of our story of Job and the answerable question of evil in the world. In this story everything that Job had was restored and Job was able to go on with the rest of his life with his faith intact. Job invites the community to celebrate his faith with him. How good are we as faithful people as celebrating the restoration of faith of others? Do w wish them well, or are we jealous and upset? God has not given Job any concrete answers of why he needed to go through all of this. But Job realizes that it is not his place to understand God’s plan. It is his place to accept the mysteries of God as a part of life and just move on.

The healing of Bartimaeus is the last healing story in the book of Mark. Jesus will soon complete his journey to Jerusalem. The blind man was considered an outsider, because it was thought that in order to really understand a person’s soul you had to be able to look them in the eye. If Bartimaeus was not able to see- how did he know he was talking to the Son of David? How did he know this was the man who could help him. When Jesus passes by, he stops to ask Bartimaeus what it is that he wants. He asks to be able to see, and his request is granted. Many times we come to God and we want God to just “fix” it. But we have no idea of what we need to get better. Perhaps we should think of our own blindness, before we ostracize others for their blindness.

Questions: Is there a time in your life when you have discovered riches amongst the things you thought you lost? Wisdom and faith come from meeting God in struggle – is that a helpful statement for you? After hearing the story of Job, what questions of faith remain for you? When Jesus ask you what you need – do you have any idea of what to say? What are your blind spots – places you cant see- in your faith life?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October 11, 2009

Scriptures for October 18th: Job 38:1-7(34-41), Psalm 104:1-9, 24,35; Hebrews 5:1-10, Mark 10:35-45

Job: How many times have you been struggling with a problem, or asking God a question and you sit down to marvel at a sunset or you stare at creation. When you come face to face with the awesomeness of God, your realize that your issues pale in comparison. Job has reached that point in his struggles. First he talks with his friends, then he talks with himself. He hopes, wishes that perhaps something will happen to assure him that God cares about him in the midst of his struggles. And at least God speaks. God reminds Job of all that he has done for the world, all that is involved in nature and running the world. And finally Job gets it. He gets that God loves him and is capable of answering his prayers. Now Job can pull himself out of self pity and move on with the rest of his life.

Hebrews: A priest’s job is to stand between heaven and earth on our behalf. They plead to God for us, they bring our prayers and needs to heaven. And yet priest are mere human beings. They are capable of making mistakes. They are capable of sinning. Sometimes they even forget about us. Jesus is also a high priest, Jesus is human. But he never forgets, he never sins, he never makes a mistake. It was thousands of years ago, that the world had a priest that perfect. And yet today and throughout eternity – Jesus us our high priest.

Questions: What is your response when God speaks of a wisdom which far surpasses your own? Where do you go to experience the brilliance of God? How has you weakness fostered the compassion to work on behalf of others?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

October 11, 2009

Scriptures for October 11th: Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-5, Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

Job has been listening to the helpful advice of his friends, but he is not finding what they have to say so helpful. So now he feels that he must clarify his own concerns. If he could talk to God, this is what he would have to say. His friends have told him that surely he must have deserved everything that happened to him. But Job searches his soul and says that he has done nothing. Why do bad things happen to good people? How much pain can we possibly bear? Next week, we hear God’s response to Job’s pain. Can we wait in our own lives for God’s response to our pain?

What must we do to inherit eternal life? Jesus spends a lifetime answering that question for us. And just life the rich young ruler, we don’t always want to hear the answer that we receive. We have to learn to live in a way that does not hurt others. We have to rethink that things that we treasure, and sometimes be prepared to lose them. What do we do to ignore what Jesus us calling us to do? How do we explain those things away. In Jesus times, many thought there was actually a gate in Jerusalem called the eye of the needle, that animals could only pass through if they put down whatever they were carrying. That was not the case. The gate is inside of the heart of the faithful. In order to inherit eternal life, we must listen fully to what Jesus us asking of us.

In your dark times, how do you experience God? What finally brings light on your situation and God’s love for you? How does your perception of God’s absence affect your life? When Jesus asks you to let go of anything that stands in between you and him, what will you release? Or will you walk away shocked and grieving?