Wednesday – July 17, 2019
“A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?” He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’ What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?” Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”” Luke 10.25-37 CEB
A Word of Hope
Caring about others
In today’s society just like in the biblical text, the pastors, the lawyers, and people with power are passing by the people that are victimized like immigrants and homeless. There are more than 550K people sleeping in the streets of the United States on any given night. The government gives private companies money to assist and aid the people in the homeless shelters including housing, medical treatment, food provisions; however, the total sum of monies provided never make it to the homeless shelters. There are many times that privileged people, businesses look for loopholes in systems and processes to increase their profits without regard to the poor, the immigrants, or the homeless; however, in John 12:8 Jesus said “You will always have the poor among you…”
The immigrants are another set of people whom are voiceless because they cannot speak English and some of the border patrol of which (in some cases are bi-lingual) are acting as though these people are not human. The immigrants are hurting because they have come great distances to reach the border of the United States to be treated like animals that need to be caged and separated from their children or parents. In a lot of cases the immigrants are fleeing to the US to avoid political execution. In fact, flash back in history to the 1600’s that this is not the first time children have been separated from the mothers while breastfeeding their babies. Although they were taken from their home country Africa – they, too, were treated less than 100% human. It is infuriating that we are witnessing history repeat itself. The government, politicians, and big business are not willing to hear their voices through interpreters whom would advocate for their humanity. In the text without the Samaritan the wounded man more than likely would have died.
There are things we could do to help including contacting our Congress and Senators and let them know we disagree with their actions. Additionally, we could give to organizations like Contact organizations like Families Belong Together, Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, The Samaritan Inn, or Family Promise that are helping in this crisis and give toiletries, soap, toothpaste, as well as money. These steps let them know that we see them. We care about them. By taking these steps we would be doing as Jesus requested us to “Go and do likewise.” as stated in Luke 10:37.
Dear Creator of the Universe: Please help us to give a voice to the voiceless when it is obvious that children and non-English speaking immigrants as well as homeless people need compassion. Enlighten us as listeners and hearers of Your words to hear Your direction, Your wisdom, Your truth so that we might correct the systems of injustice and soften our hearts to be more empathetic to each person’s plight. In Your darling son Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Reverend Winner Laws
Cathedral of Hope Minister
TCU Brite Divinity School graduate
Tuesday – July 16, 2019
“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our savior, Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of Christ’s majesty.”
2 Peter 1:16
A Word of Hope
Eyewitnesses of Majesty
In the early days of the Christian community, those who were first-hand witnesses to Jesus’ life, teachings, crucifixion and resurrection, shared their experience with whomever they encountered. Jesus had told them to go and tell the story (The Great Commission of Matthew 28). When you have life-changing news you want others to know, so that they might experience the abundant life found in receiving and sharing God’s grace.
This text is from the second letter that is found in the New Testament which bears the name of Peter—the disciple whom Jesus referred to as “the rock.” It reflects what was occurring as the distance of time from Jesus’ life grew greater, and people began to question the truth of what seemed an incredulous tale. When this letter was written, Peter had likely already died and those who had heard his moving and transforming eyewitness account recorded it for other generations. Above all, they wanted people who heard the story to know the difference between clever story-telling and conveying a legacy of divine Truth.
The pre-school-age granddaughter of a friend of mine was visiting her grandparents last Easter. She lived in another state and didn’t get to visit very often, so when Sunday came, she excitedly went with them to the church where they worshipped. Her parents did not attend any church, and this was her first time to experience the glorious celebration of this Christian holy day. It was a large church with colorful banners, a wonderful orchestra, and an inspiring message about the Easter story presented by the pastor. She was captivated!
When she returned to her grandparents’ home after a delicious Easter lunch, she asked if she could write a note to the pastor to thank him for the wonderful time that she had at their church. Crayon-to-paper, she carefully crafted a self-portrait of a beautifully dressed little girl with an Easter basket in hand. In her depiction, she was sitting in front of a pulpit that stood beneath a cross with flowers on it. You could see the pastor in a colorful robe waving his hands and speaking. At the bottom of the page, with the help of her grandmother, she wrote these words: “Thank you ‘pasture’ [sic] for telling me the Easter story! I had never heard it before.”
I want to be a witness who is reminded by children such as this little girl that there are many people who have not heard the story of Jesus’ love. I hope that wherever we find those who are wandering and wondering: “Is this all there is to life?” we might be able to tell our experience of a powerful story that has changed us, and we can be witnesses, too.
God of amazing love, we seek the touch of your grace upon our life today. May we open our hearts to the transforming power of your Spirit, and in doing so, discover that our life is the best testimony we can offer of your mercy, love, and presence. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Gary G. Kindley
Monday – July 15, 2019
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15.1
A Word of Hope
Although it may not seem very spiritual at first, I sometimes wonder how certain things smelled back in the days of the Bible. I imagine there were lots of familiar smells such as fires burning while people cooked, anointing oils, wine, or other smells in nature, but for the ancient Bible days, I can pretty much stop there.
Recently, somebody asked on Facebook about what they remembered of things and places past while living in Arlington, Texas, the city where I grew up in my teen years. I remembered a little country store called Granny and Granddad’s. Suddenly, I was taken back in time and remembering very specifically how that little store smelled when I first walked in. It was a former house, made of old wood that contained distinct smells of candy, popcorn, and whatever hot foods they may have served. Potato wedges anyone?
My mind then wandered off to other places in my time travels. Another location I remembered was Wyatt’s Cafeteria where I could distinctly pick out the olfactory pleasures of fresh coffee, roast beef, and brown gravy.
If three is a charm, the third place was a toy store in North Dallas called Booth’s Toys. I really don’t know how to describe those smells that were in the store; there was nothing more than brand new boxes of games and plastic model kits. The smells contributed so much to those treasured few minutes of just walking into a magical place with no intent of doing anything but looking at all those wonderful toys. Those smells created some kind of inspiration deep within me. Maybe it was anticipating my birthday or Christmas or just the idea of living in some kind of mystical fantasy paradise.
I don’t really know how to label those feelings. What matters is all of these things combined created indelible memories. I was inspired. It’s how we tell our stories, share memories, and reminisce about the days that we have delegated as ideal. Yet, all of this gives context to relate my memories to yours.
When I think of those remote people of history who wrote the texts of what we’ve come to call the Bible, I wonder how their familiar smells and dwelling places may have inspired them to write about the things they did. How would we have been affected by writing in the fresh smelling outdoor sunshine? Would we write a Psalm of praise? How about breathing damp mold smells in a tiny dark cell or a cave? Would we write about social justice?
If they could afford it, did the writers smell burning bee’s wax or favorite foods cooking nearby? Would those fragrances inspire us to write about loving the people we call our families? We’ll never really know, but I’m convinced the smells of their world were as influential to them as ours are to us.
Loving Creator I’m thankful for the people you inspired to give us a tiny glimpse of their world. It fascinates us and influences us so much that we are still reading and interpreting their messages thousands of years later. Help me to be aware of the sights and smells of the world around me and to be conscious of my own words. Will what I say or do today be worth remembering in a hundred years, let alone next week? May your world live in my words.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Friday – July 12, 2019
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is
to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are
just as important as our answers.”
― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember
A Word of Hope
I just watched, for the second time, Won’t You be my Neighbor? It’s the biography of Fred Rogers and is a movie worthy of multiple viewings in our turbulent world. Check it out!
I was in my late ‘20’s when I met Fred Rogers at a Puppeteer Convention. He got into a conversation with me about my animation work on Sesame Street and asked me why an animator was at a puppeteer convention. I told him I loved both puppets and animation. He told me, “You know, actually I’m more of a storyteller than a puppeteer. I precociously replied, “I know. I’ve seen your work.” I then saw Mr. Rogers explode into a belly laugh the likes of which we would never see on his gentle PBS show.
I was honored to talk with him several times throughout that week, especially after he learned about our mutual interest in theology; it turned out very progressive theology. He opened the door for me on a world of interpretations I never knew existed. I was enthralled with the wisdom of the man as well as his generosity in spending time talking to an anonymous kid like me!
We see a lot of quotes from Fred Rogers these days as memes in the social media and I am so glad of that. Wisdom the likes of his never dies and every time I read one, I think, “My friend said that.” Millions of others of us who grew up with him think the same thing. He was everybody’s friend. Often, after any disaster, natural or otherwise, we will see this quote from our friend:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Every time I am horrified by a news report about what we are capable of doing to each other, that’s what I’ve been doing; looking for the helpers, and it fills my heart with joy to see that there are millions more of them than the same list of haters attempting to spread their usual venom. They can’t begin to realize that Jesus already has given us the antidote to their toxic actions and Fred Rogers is still our helper, interpreting Christ for yet another generation.
One more thought from Mr. Rogers, in the form of a prayer:
Help us to remember: “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Thursday – July 11, 2019
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17
Word of Hope
I love my church. I have been attending the Cathedral of Hope since early in 2008. In my time at COH, I have witnessed the multitude of people who perform various ministries within (and outside of) the church. This is one of the things I find so appealing about COH. I was raised in the Catholic Church. In my personal experience, members of my Catholic Church were not encouraged to become ministers of the church. There was not much talk about church members actually being the church. We occasionally gave money for people in far-away places that were hungry and needy. The experience at COH is so very different than that.
From the first contact with COH, people are encouraged to seek out a ministry that appeals to them, and even to suggest a new ministry if they do not find the right fit. I love singing in the Sanctuary Choir, and I love writing a new devotion each month. My very favorite ministry is The Walk, a three day spiritual retreat which helps participants to experience God’s grace as they grow in their relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
I tried the prison ministry, but that was not a good fit for me. I admire the people who continue to write cards and letters each month to people who are in prison. I served at the Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope once or twice, and found that this was also not a good fit for me, but I do support this ministry and Pack the Pantry with my gifts. These ministries are life changing for some of the participants, and I am proud to be a member of the church that performs these ministries. It takes all of us to make the Cathedral of Hope what it is- a place of extravagant welcome. It’s an exciting environment each time I enter the doors; there are always people actively attending to their various ministries
July 11th is “Cheer up the lonely” day. This is a great reminder to reach out to someone who might be feeling cut off from everyone else. Do you know someone who is sick, disabled, or depressed? Make it a priority to reach out to them. They will be thrilled to hear from you!
Loving God, thank You for leading me to the Cathedral of Hope. I have learned so much from the other church members here about how to serve You. I want my actions to be pleasing to You, and I want to show others the way to become part of the church alive.
Cathedral of Hope Member
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)