What does it mean to bless animals, what are we doing? Is it a magic spell? We throw around the word blessed all the time. But sometimes it’s good to remember that blessings are more about giving God thanks for gifts and praying that we enjoy the gifts properly. It’s to pray for a good life, happiness, safety. When we learn to bless animals, we learn to bless all creation and one another.
Art as a form of prayer makes so much sense to me. It’s when you just let what is in you flow out, it may be the most honest form of prayer that we have, just to let it bubble up, instead of trying so darn hard to say the right thing or to let language become an obstacle—it’s really so limited. Art is prayer in its purest form, that’s why you can just lose yourself in it and time itself becomes different. You lose track. What? Three hours have past? I didn’t even notice. Many artists talk about moments where things start coming together, when inspiration hits and surprises them like a gift, and they feel connected to their spiritual selves and maybe even that creative energy that is God that courses through all creation.
What we learn from this is that there isn’t a script but a flow that God works with no matter what happens and the orientation of this God is ultimately toward grace and mercy instead of vengeance and punishment. That is, when we mess up, the Almighty isn’t going to press the button that zaps us, God is going to say, “Okay, that was bad, but if you want to get back on the right track, here is a way forward. God’s not into your destruction, but your redemption.
Sometimes the Ten Commandments become something of a political football. Politicians insist on public displays of the commandments but often when pressed, they can’t correctly name more than three or four of them. It screams of hypocrisy and it’s no wonder that so many don’t give these commandments a second thought. I don’t know about public displays; what I do know is that people of faith ought to have these down and pass them on by living them.
Pastor Dave Clark’s Sermon: The God Who Covenants Exodus 19:1-8 September 28, 2014 The candle flickered in the dark basement as my buddy Frank sterilized the razor knife in the flame. We mustered up an eerie solemnity, sixth graders terrified at the prospect of slicing into our own flesh to become blood brothers. Soon Frank,…
In any change things are going to get tense, but if your focus is through rose-colored glasses staring at the past, at what is familiar, that is where you are going end up.
The God Who Liberates. Exodus 14:19-31. The Hebrew slaves’ dramatic escape through the parted sea reveals God’s heart for the liberation and freedom for all people. Who is crying out for liberation today and what can we do about it? Perhaps you are seeking some liberation from some personal issue or circumstance.
God’s call on our lives comes in many ways. How do you recognize what God is calling you to do? Often what God calls us to do is quite different than what we want to do or feel capable of completing. Even Moses offered lame excuses to dodge God’s call but eventually he did the right thing–will you?
Puah and Shiphara translated into English mean: Beauty and Splendor. In scripture, names are significant. Beauty and Splendor saved a whole generation. Why do you think this story about Beauty and Splendor defying authority and saving a generation is told in the Bible? Do you think it is just a history lesson? By no means. It is about us. People who will stand up to what is wrong, and put themselves on the line for others have souls filled with beauty and splendor.
Jesus gave us a wonderful example. No matter what we’ve been taught, no matter who we’ve been taught to hate and demonize, we can let compassion rule the day and our hearts. Even if we have to let go of our interpretations of scripture, and culture, we need to keep drawing that circle wider. I like to think the point of the story isn’t so much about if Jesus’ mind changed, it’s more about if your mind can change, can you let go of stereotypes, insensitivities, dehumanizing language?