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2016 Daily Devotions

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bill Eck

When the city came into view, he wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it’s too late. In the days ahead your enemies are going to bring up their heavy artillery and surround you, pressing in from every side. They’ll smash you and your babies on the pavement. Not one stone will be left intact. All this because you didn’t recognize and welcome God’s personal visit” Luke 19:41-44

A Word of Hope
Whoa! It’s hard to get to hope from this scripture. Words like this are the staple of the fire and brimstone preacher who doesn’t even seem to worship the same God that I do. It’s difficult to hear this from the mouth of Jesus, reflecting a loving God who wants good for us. Despite my personal tendency to turn away from such scripture, there is great wisdom here. Even if the way it is expressed may be scary and off putting.

I can’t believe that Jesus was saying this as an absolute, it’s too late, sorry, good-by, the end. If so, why was he going to all that trouble? The graphic images of smashing babies and a city in rubble are surely not meant as an absolute, “But now it’s too late.” I hope that Jesus was speaking like this in order to let us see our poor judgment and turn back towards God. In order to tell us that it’s really not too late if we choose to change.

Or perhaps he was overcome by his great love for the people of this city who did not recognize him while he was here with us, his great grief and disappointment that the people of the day seemed to have other matters on their minds and could not get past the troubles of the day to see the miracle in front of them. I’d rather look at it this way, that we are just too short sighted to see the love right in front of us and that we just need this pointed out to us. Love is all around us and I like to think that it’s never too late to choose that love.

Gracious and loving God, please be patient with us when we fail to see the love right in front of us, waiting for us to simply open our eyes and see. Guide us to the love you place in front of us, just for us. Open our eyes that we may see the love that others may have missed, in the name of the living Christ. Amen

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rusty Gage
COH member

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25.40

A Word of Hope
Here we are the midst of the holiday season, alive with parties, friend and family gatherings, shopping, lights, those baked goodies guaranteed to expand your waistline. It’s generally a fun kind of harried time, a time to which we all look forward each year.

This year, at least for me, it’s been a bit different. I’ve been purposeful about exploring a Christmas experience different from my own. I’ve been able to come to Cathedral of Hope well before sunrise on a Saturday morning and watch forty selfless volunteers create and serve three hundred to four hundred piping hot, full breakfasts for folks who, were it not for these volunteers’ dedication might have gone hungry that day. Some of those folks were able to experience the dignity of a haircut while others took advantage of the vital sign exams provided by a caring physician’s assistant.

I’ve witnessed thirty dedicated volunteers create and serve two hundred beautiful, well-balanced, fresh hot lunches on a Monday for people who managed to find their way to Cathedral of Hope on a miserably windy eighteen degree day. In preparation for that Monday, several volunteers had created blessing bags full of toiletries, prepackaged snacks, and at least what was for me one incredibly important item: a hand-written Christmas card. Nobody asks these Cathedral volunteers to do these things. Nobody asked these Cathedral volunteers to think of the impact of receiving a card that a complete stranger took the time to create. They just do them, and not just at Christmas time, but year ‘round.

Perhaps when our senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas recently invited the congregation to expect a miracle in the midst of our logical, science-driven world, he was referring to everyday miracles like those described above. Caring in an oft-uncaring world can indeed be a miracle. Taking the time out of a busy, bumper-to-bumper, mobile device-driven day to acknowledge the humanity of those who might otherwise be anonymous or forgotten can indeed be a miracle. I, for one, choose to believe - what a happier place for all, when we make that choice.

As we move into 2017, I’m very much looking forward to seeing what miracles come from the people who make up this place called Hope, and I am so grateful to be a part.

Creator, thank you for the everyday miracles - the ones where your empowering us to make our own decisions can gently prod us to do the little things that can create a better life for ourselves and for others; that something as simple as a smile or a warm bowl of oatmeal can restore hope. May this message be a continued inspiration to all who read it, empowering them to freely show the entire world that they, too - no matter where in the world they are right now - are an important part of this Vibrant, Inclusive and Progressive community of faith right here in Dallas, Texas, and that their very presence shows that they, too, are capable of changing the world by choosing to create everyday miracles.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Molly Sutton

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in God’s Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12

A Word of Hope
I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not believe in life after death. Growing up in a large Catholic family, my older siblings shared with me what they were learning in religion classes at the Catholic school. At a young age, I understood that Jesus was the Son of God, that Jesus died on the cross (there was a crucifix in nearly every room in the house), and that, when a person dies, they go to heaven to be with God and Jesus and the angels.

When I was 4 years old, my father died in his sleep from a heart attack. I remember the night he died. I must have heard something out of the ordinary, because I went downstairs to find most of my siblings sitting quietly in the living room. My mother was crying at the kitchen table with some of her sisters. This was so out of the ordinary that I knew something big had happened. Someone told me that our dad had died. I do not remember feeling sadness at first. I excitedly asked whether the angels had come to get him yet. I was absolutely certain that he was going to heaven.

Even though I consider myself a “Catholic in recovery,” I am so grateful for the Christian upbringing I experienced from such an early age. It seems to me that I often rely on a very simple relationship with God. I know that Jesus was God’s gift to us, to be shared with everyone who wants to accept him. Through Jesus, we have eternal life.

Generous and loving God, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus. Help us to share our knowledge of eternal life with all we encounter.

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Jan Nunn
Cathedral of Hope volunteer

Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me.' Matthew 25.40 The Message

A Word of Hope
Jan Nunn The 26th of December is Boxing Day in British countries. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.

I have friends who celebrate Boxing Day with a White Elephant gift exchange party. A fun time to "regift" a gift you received. It provides lots of laughter and joy. Maybe we can also get joy by giving gifts to those in need.

Maybe for those of us who have been very blessed, it should be a day of giving to those who are in hard times. Make a donation to your church. Or carry a "blessing bag" of essentials for a homeless person in your car to give away to those you meet in need.

I think it would make a nice day of gratitude for all our Christmas blessings. We get caught up in the busyness of the holiday and sometimes don't take the necessary time to reflect on all God’s blessings. Be sure you spread the gratitude. Remember to smile and say a heartfelt thanks to all the workers who take care of you on this day that the British use to honor their employees. Or give a special tip to your server.

God of good gifts, help us remember to share our blessings and our smiles with those we meet each day.

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