Thursday – June 20, 2019
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” Acts 2:1-4
A Word of Hope
We have no idea what we are doing when we blithely ask for the Power of the Holy Spirit to fill our church—or our lives. On Pentecost Sunday, we summon our best creative minds to bring a kind of dramatic representation of the experience depicted in Acts, but even in the days of the fiery descent on cables or flames bursting from behind the floral arrangements, it pales in comparison to the Spirit’s force.
This year Pentecost descended with organic power. Swirling. Unpredictable. Roaring winds. Uprooted trees. Torn limbs. Downed fences. Shattered windows. Rushing water.
Out of the chaos came new beginnings. In one hard-hit neighborhood near me, streets were impassable, blocked by a stockade of branches wrenched from trees. Shredded leaves like confetti were strewn everywhere. Roadways were flooded. And into this carnage came neighbors—men, women, youth—shouldering the burden together. Clearing debris, clearing the obstacles which prevented passage—each speaking the language of their own gifts, offered freely. A unity of common spirit and compassion.
Pentecostal energy descended upon the Interfaith Peace Chapel in the Service of Ordination for Rev. Winner Laws. Family, friends, supporters from diverse communities took a challenging trek with the earth still scarred by the thunderstorm to bring their presence, their prayers, their gifts to this good woman following the call to ministry. During the formal procession of clergy wearing stoles with Pentecostal red and flame, those gathered joined in singing: “Here am I Lord…. I have heard you calling in the night….I will go if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.” Diverse worship styles and the liturgy of word and dance and song coalesced into one dynamic form. Rev. Dr. Irie Session’s sermon flamed with womanist passion and Bishop Alex Byrd moved our collective heart with his musical offering: “Say Yes.” Then, with the laying on of hands and our blessings, new power flowed into Winner. “And [we] spent much time together in the temple, breaking bread and eating food with glad and generous hearts, praising God….”Acts 2: 43 (edited).
Spirit of Pentecost, kindle within us the fire of your love. May we be the church alive—beyond division, unified in rich diversity! Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon
Wednesday – June 19, 2019
“Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.” Daniel 1.12-17 NRSV
A Word of Hope
There are many times we all look to books to find wisdom and knowledge. The most referenced book in the world is the Bible. Today is Juneteenth and I recently learned that there was a “Slave Bible” that was shared with the slaves which was redacted to endorse slavery including retaining the portions of the Bible that said “…for the slaves to obey their masters.” About ninety percent of the Old Testament and fifty percent of the New Testament was removed. The story of Moses was removed, and the Book of Galatians did not exist in the “Slave Bible.” Like Daniel and his cohorts, the slaves knew in their spirits and their souls that they were meant to be free from oppression and abuse despite what was being shared in the “Slave Bible.” It took years for the slaves in Texas to finally get the word that they were free. It also took years for the full Bible to be shared with them.
Withholding the complete Bible did not stop the slaves from knowing that God loved them without conditions. They believed that someday they would be set free. Additionally, in this biblical story, Daniel requested for himself, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah that they only “….be given vegetables and water…” They went on an intentional “fast.” Many of us are not willing to voluntarily remove meat or soda from our diet. If anyone uses the word “fast” or says that they want to become a “Vegan”, the first question most people ask is “Why?” or “What purpose will it serve?” Fasting can clear our minds to focus on the Word of God in ways that let us read with better clarity or even gain insight into dreams that no one else can interpret with great accuracy.
For Juneteenth 2019, let us all celebrate the freedom that comes with knowing that we are closer to God because of the knowledge and wisdom we gained through eating healthy and continuously connecting with God through reading, study, prayer, and meditation.
Dear Creator of the Universe: We celebrate life, liberty, and freedom today and every day because we are thankful for your unconditional love and extravagant grace. Amen!
Reverend Winner Laws
Cathedral of Hope Minister
Brite Divinity School Graduate
Tuesday – June 18, 2019
“I am Lady Wisdom, and I live
next to Sanity;
Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street.
The Fear-of-God means hating Evil,
whose ways I hate with a passion—
pride and arrogance and crooked talk.
Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics;
I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out.
With my help, leaders rule,
and lawmakers legislate fairly;
With my help, governors govern,
along with all in legitimate authority.
I love those who love me;
those who look for me find me. (Proverbs 8:12-17 The Message)
A Word of Hope
“Wisdom, Sanity, Knowledge and Discretion”
The Message translation/interpretation of the Hebrew Bible has some fun with The Book of Proverbs. Lady Wisdom, Sanity, Knowledge and Discretion all live on the same street! And so it should be.
The Bible, a collection of writings by various hands and minds spanning millennia, was intended to be read with discerning Wisdom and the best of human Sanity. These are vital in order to distinguish poetry, metaphor, story, history, prophecy, genealogy, contextual meaning, pithy sayings, the experiences of Paul, and the words of the Word—Jesus.
When we seek God, the Divine can be found. The Holy may be shrouded in mystery, but it need not stay shrouded always. It is not God’s intent to be hidden from those loving seekers who desire to know what is sacred for holy human purposes. Jesus showed us that.
Loathe what is evil; seek what is good. Love others; seek justice; and choose to walk humbly the path of the God whom Jesus revealed.
May both the dignified and the efficient be united in our discipleship as we seek to know Divine love and to live it out for others to receive. In the name of Holy Grace. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Gary Kindley
Monday – June 17,2019
“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12. 6-7
A Word of Hope
How do you feel when you lose something you consider really important? I have different levels of replacement value that I put on different things such as family album pictures and objects regarding the people I love. These are among my highest valued possessions; those irreplaceable objects of my affection. Losing one is almost like losing a memory of who I am; of my origins.
There are other things, like work related items, such as my backup paper calendar that I lost recently. Since I was a young child, I remember looking feverishly for things that I had lost. Some I never found again and by default would either forget about them or choose to let them go. It’s always difficult choosing to let go of a treasure. We all know what our particular feelings of loss are regarding things of material value versus people, friendships, and relationships. I don’t take the exit of people I care about very lightly. There are so many friendships and relationships that, good or bad, I refuse to let go.
As unrealistic that may be, I have come to this point in my life in my late 50s, when I have begun categorizing and bullet-pointing values of my list of those various treasures. Even when relationships come to a close, I can’t help but think, like the eternal optimist I am, about listing the good and happy memories we have shared. Realistically, it’s logical to move on and let go. It’s not that there are also people that I can easily move on from, but it takes a lot for me to give up all hope. A lot.
I think about what that means in the bigger picture… Maybe that’s unconditional love, or maybe that’s just too Pollyanna for others’ taste. I know in my heart the Creator of the Everything does not take any microbe of Creation as “OK to lose” because I believe the reality in God is that nothing is ever truly lost. That also goes for you and me and all the things that exist in the space between spaces. And the only way I can justify believing that is this crazy little thing called love.
How can you channel the list of your losses to the negative, the toxic, and the annoying things that simply don’t serve your time well? In the same regard, what are the things that continue to bear fruit in your life, bring you joy, and inspire you to love? To lose or not to lose…..
Help me to know that we cannot live our lives without losses. May the things we lose be those that block the view of your love.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Friday – June 14, 2019
Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
That is where the tribes go up,
The tribes of the LORD,
to praise the name of the LORD
according to the Statute given to Israel.
A Word of Hope
The psalmist who gives us the passage above, in praising the holy city of Jerusalem, sings first of its design; closely compacted together. That image may sound claustrophobic to us today, but in the ancient world, the safer cities were built with their homes and public structures jammed together in an irregular concentric pattern with narrow streets, surrounded with what the residents hoped to be impenetrable walls. It was the best design to keep everyone in close communication and free from surprises from unfriendly invaders.
By today’s standards, most of the cities were small, both in population and acreage. Jerusalem, the great city of God and center of the Hebrew worship system, was about the size of Six Flags Over Texas. (It covered roughly 219 acres; Six Flags, 212 acres.) By comparison, Walt Disney World’s expanse is well over 30,000 acres. Yet, over three millennia later, we still study and ponder the history and sing the Psalms about this place that was the size of a small amusement park. In addition, it was located in the nation of Israel, a country smaller than the state of New Hampshire.
Years ago, when many of us gathered to celebrate the final beam placement of our new Interfaith Peace Chapel, my thoughts returned to Jerusalem. Though dramatic and imposing in its design, the chapel is not a large structure, especially when seen from either of the busy streets that allow a view. But that evening, it was the epicenter of something yards or meters cannot measure. Looking at the yellow sheetrock of the unfinished chapel in those days, I could envision how a distant glimmer of the gold plates of Solomon’s Temple must have made the hearts of ancient pilgrims race as they drew closer to the legendary city of their revered ancestors.
Even then however, it was not the city’s physical presence as much as its intense spiritual magnetism that beckoned to them. Even in the chapel’s incomplete form, the work of the Spirit was present and growing. On that evening in April, as peace blessings were offered by four of the world’s great faith traditions, I could comprehend better that this small structure could actually become the profoundly relevant center of peace that we have always hoped it would be. Every time we hold one of our meditative Reflect Services in that space, that feeling is rekindled in me.
Two verses later in Psalm 122, we read the famous exhortation, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” which is still a valid practice.I would also add:
Pray for the Peace of the Cathedral of Hope and for the Chapel named for interfaith cooperation.
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)