Thursday – May 16, 2019
“Even as I walk through life’s valley shadowed by death,/ I fear no separation, for You are with me…” Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro, Psalm 23
Words of Hope
In the morning dark, when sleep plays hide and seek, and after the prayers for the suffering, scripture comes alive in my head, scripture affirming God’s presence.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” the words of the King James Bible, etched in memory from childhood, is often the first responder. Someone else’s comfort may be: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need (GNB).”
With luck—or Grace– after a time the prayers and words of life will lead me beside still waters and rock me back to sleep.
When morning light seeps through the shutters and I awake to writing, sometimes I search out the Hebrew origins for a line in the Psalm, so that the fullest nuances can be gleaned and offered to a reader. Looking at versions using inclusive language can also important. Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying has been a “Godsend” for many women who have been hammered their whole lives with masculine pronouns for the divine. In the 23rd Psalm, Merrill turns to direct, intimate connection with God: “O my Beloved, you are my shepherd, I shall not want.”
For verse 5, she chooses, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of all my fears,” emphasizing fear’s strong role in the enemy-making process.
A recent discovery is the resonant interpretation by Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro. He imagines the previous lines as “You set a table of feasting between me and my enemies,/Inviting us to meet, and eat, and befriend the other within and without.”
And then this beautiful transference of God in us, God in everything:
“When I walk with You and know it is You who walks with me,/ I leave only goodness and mercy in my wake,/ knowing every place is your place and every face is your face.
Exploring various interpretations of the Psalms is not only for the intellectually curious or for us “word people.” Coming into contact with the visions of faithful, gifted artists often pierces the heart, disperses the shadows, brings wonder, delight, and even hope.
And for those times when you just need to be wrapped in the mantle of Mary’s grace, here is Bobby’s McFerrin’s hauntingly beautiful chant of the Psalm.
May goodness and mercy follow [you] all the days of your life, (as you)
dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon
Wednesday – May 15, 2019
There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the [Passover] Feast. They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: “Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?” John 12:20-21 (The Message)
A Word of Hope
“We Want to See Jesus”
You hear it every day from all sorts of people—from people in need or those who are hurting. Those who are uncertain about their life or who simply feel stuck or even bored. Rich or poor, young or seasoned, brilliant or dull, if you listen carefully you will hear the longing, the seeking, the desire, and the underlying question.
They very rarely ask the question outright, but it is there when you read between the lines of what they—what we all—are searching for. “We want to see Jesus!”
This question is not about religious ideology, it is about purpose and meaning. It is the human longing for a larger context of life, an ultimate focus, purpose and direction. To put it another way, I think the question that we ask of others and that others ask of us is really: “Will you show me Jesus?”
The Order for the Covenant of Christian Marriage calls for the officiating minister to reflect on the meaning of marriage, life and relationship. I shared with a couple recently that I believe life is ultimately about the miracle of love.
God created both life and love, and a miracle is a sign that points to God. Each person is a holy miracle and a gift, and marriage is a sacred opportunity for two people to be a gift for each other, in words and in action. A marriage is a covenant to cherish, forgive, comfort, play, affirm, encourage, let go of control, hold on in trust, and have faith in God and each other.
Each of us can be a sacred gift by treating those around us as sacred. When we choose to live into and live out the sacred Christ-like gifts that we have, we show others the Christ.
Or as Jesus put it: “Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.” (John 12:35b-36)
Remind me, O God, that others are watching and that the loving courage of the Christ is a gift to claim and to live for myself and for others. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Gary Kindley
Tuesday – May 14, 2019
Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!’ And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Acts 9.32-35
Word of Hope
In this short post-Pentecost selection we see Peter facilitating a miracle. I say facilitating rather than performing because Peter is clearly the conduit for Jesus; who he calls on for healing. There is at least one parallel passage where Jesus heals a person who is unable to walk and tells that person to take up his mat and walk. The power of Jesus is still in the world.
I cannot help but wonder if this passage is more parable than history. There are two reasons for my conjecture. First Lydda is a town that, along with others in the area, had refused to pay tribute to Rome at one point. The inhabitants had been sold into slavery. They were oppressed to say the least. They were held down, unable to stand on their own. The message that following Jesus could make you stand up again, make you able to walk again, is a strong political message.
But I think there is also a message for Rome here. The man who is healed is named Aeneas. Aeneas is not a Jewish name; it is an ancient name from Greek myths. The most famous holder of that name was a survivor of the Trojan War who was believed to have been the father of Romulus and Remus. They are the mythical founders of Rome. Aeneas, taken as a metaphor for Rome, makes the message here clear. Oppressors, oppressed, Jews, pagans, the defeated, the enslaved can be healed. None of those attributes matter.
What then is the message for us today? Jesus heals. Jesus “gives us legs” to walk. People around will see the changes in the healing and will turn to the Lord. Our past, our present, our circumstances can be healed. And in being healed we become walking messages of God.
Healing God, heal us. Heal those who oppress us. Let those who see Your healing turn to You and live in Your ways.
Order of Saint Francis and Saint Clare
Monday – May 13, 2019
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before God with joyful songs.
For the LORD is good and God’s love endures forever; God’s faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100
A Word of Hope
What is your call in life? Have you thought about it? We ask our pastors about their call to preach, but do you realize you also have a call?
Your call might be your life’s work. Teachers, nurses and doctors, first responders, care givers for elderly and others are occupations that I feel have a special call. But what about in other fields?
What is your passion outside your job? Maybe that’s your call. Are you involved in animal rescue and safety? Are you passionate about working through the political system to make our world more just? Do you find ways to make life better for the homebound and those in nursing homes? Do you have compassion for the homeless? Maybe you can’t volunteer at BACH or iCare, but you can donate to them or you can hand out blessing bags to the homeless on the corners where you travel.
The verses from Psalm 100 are a call for us to praise God. That is a call for all of us. Cathedral of Hope makes it easy to worship God with joyful songs each week in our services. Those who are called and equipped with talent are led to the choir and orchestra and hand bells or to prepare for worship or to welcome everyone. But each of us can fulfill this call as we worship in song during worship services. Several of us feel called to shout amen for joy during services.
Think about your passions and see if you don’t find God calling you to make our world better in the things you do.
If you don’t know what your calling is, look at the list of ways to serve that are listed each week in our worship guide. Maybe you are called to facilitate a small group. Maybe you could welcome our members and guests into the services. Maybe you could write to people in prison. There are so many ways you can help at CoH or in your community. Or just be called to smile or say an encouraging word to waiters, police officers, others who work in thankless jobs or everyone you meet!
God you call us all to be our best selves: To love your creation and creatures, To be thankful and joyful. Help us see how important our place in this earth is. You make each and every one of us to fulfill a purpose. Help us see and live out your purpose for us!
Cathedral of Hope Volunteer
Friday – May 10, 2019
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his habit was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. Luke 4.16
A Word of Hope
How many habits have you formed in your life? Everyone has them. They can be destructive and inhibit our advancement or incredibly useful and help us to grow both in body and spirit. Liturgical worship is a good habit, for instance. It may be predictable, not full of spontaneity or surprises, but its beautiful rituals have held the church together for many centuries. It cultivates and nurtures a worship habit within us.
Some of the greatest creatures of habit I have ever known are those loyal servers, usually women, who have taken our lunch orders our whole lives at our favorite “greasy spoon’’ diners. Sadly, their breed is all-too- quickly fading from the current scene. Their habitual blend of brassiness, compassion and love/hate relationships with their places of employment have awarded me with some of the warmest feelings and best memories of my life and I’m sorry to see them and their establishments slowly dissolving into the realm of nostalgia.
I remember a particular incident from several years ago that demonstrated lifetime efficiency habits. It was during the last lunch on the final day of business of an iconic Dallas restaurant, the Lucas B &B on Oak Lawn Avenue. The place had stood there so long that its sign has since been declared an historical landmark and it still stands as a memorial to bygone days. The waitresses themselves also were icons. On that day, during the last meal they would ever serve at the old diner, I watched them do what had become their habit for countless decades; making their rounds of the tables, filling to the brim all the salt, pepper and mustard containers; making them ready for another day that would never be. I heard one of the women say, “This one’s about to go empty.” The old building was closing but the tradition was still alive in their minds.
Those are the kinds of habits that keep us going on those days when we would rather just avoid doing something that we know is necessary. Included on this list would be checking out our inbox, trimming our hedges, cleaning the clutter, and praying for the well being of others.
How many Sundays do we come to church out of habit even though we’re exhausted or just feeling indifferent? It’s a habit that inevitably nurtures our souls and fills the fellowship needs of others. It quite simply is a good habit. We can never truly be the salt of the earth if we allow our shakers to go empty.
Thank you for the servers among us who are also our teachers.
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)