June 2, 2013

The Fruit of the Spirit: JOY.  For many people, there is no joy in life.  The daily demands of work and the subtle pressures of "getting by" often rob us of any deep sense of gratification.  We all want happiness.  We all want a sense of well-being.  Too often, at the end of the day, our mind is preoccupied with discord, rehearsing life's little injustices, and we wonder, what's it all about.  Paul lists as one of the "Fruits of the Spirit," joy.  What does this mean?  How does it help?  And how do we claim it?

May 26, 2013

We will continue our thoughts on "Fruits of the Spirit."  The New Testament lesson (John 16:12-15) talks about the "Spirit of Truth that dwells in believers.  There is a sense in which "Truth" is not something we learn from experience or are taught by teachers; Jesus says, the world does not know it.  We must be open to it.  The disciples and early Christian converts had to wait for it.
The passages for Sunday associate the fundamental principle of "Wisdom," which is at the heart of the Wisdom Literature in the Hebrew Bible (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon), with the "Holy Spirit" of the New Testament.  The Holy Spirit is God’s indwelling "Spirit of Truth," ever present and ready to both inspire and guide us.
Inner Truth has much to do with a Divinely inspired inner sense of love, the reaching out of the heart in a spiritual embrace of others.  Love is the "Fruit of the Spirit" we will celebrate this Sunday.  

May 19, 2013

The story of the Tower of Babel tells about how people's languages are confused.  Metaphorically, this includes people who speak the same language, and do not understand each other.  Juxtaposing this passage with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we find that the meaning of Pentecost is a reversal of the Babel curse.  This Sunday, we will consider the effects of our words, which flow from whatever "spirit" lives within us.

May 12, 2013

After Jesus' farewell speech, he offered a prayer (John 17:20-26).  Next to the Lord's Prayer, this is one of the most powerful prayers in the Bible.  The prayer asks of unity.  The prayer asks for ONEness in Spirit.  The prayer embraces every disciple in this ultimate "togetherness," (Jesus in God, God in Jesus, Jesus in us, we in Jesus)—all in the knowledge of our Holy Parent.  Next Sunday, we will explore further what this prayer offers.

May 5, 2013

Please read and ponder John 5:1-9, and John 14:23-29. The first text asks us to feel what the crippled man at the pool of Beth-Zatha felt, as he sat beside this pool, waiting for the waters to stir, waiting for an opportunity to beat the crowds, waiting to be healed.  Jesus approached him with a most unusual question: "Do you really want to be healed?"  (This pattern occurs in other healing stories.) 
As strange as it sounds, sometimes people become comfortable with their struggles.  In this passage, Jesus challenges our habitual propensity to stay stuck, our tendency to repeat unhealthy behaviors, the tenacity with which we cling to unhealthy attitudes.  To heal, we must envision something new, and then desire it, long for it, hope for it (Hebrews 11:1).  Jewish Mysticism is keen on the principle that all creativity, divine and human, springs from desire.  We must genuinely want it.  Sunday, we’ll examine how a holy desire invites into our heart the "Holy Spirit" that Jesus promised.