Mission Statement

Cyber Sabbath's goal is to begin to mend the division between Christ and the world (society) that Church has created through reflections, sermons and devotionals

Cyber Sabbath is a place for the stifled Christian voice to be heard. Media gives way to much time to the extremist - over looking the theologically educated and/or the moderates in favor of what sells their view point. Here, politics aside, a pastor reflects on God's voice in every day life.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jesus and Demons

Jesus and Demons

So like many of you (well maybe), I have always been a little memorized by the passage in which the Devil or some type of Demon (possessed person perhaps) encounters Jesus.  Part of this is because theologically I am not sure what to do with this.  There are tons of movies and story lines in which "evil" spirits are a part of our real world and we as Christians use the language of evil as if it is a true being; and yet you don't hear this being preached on Sunday.  In fact in most mainline churches the devil, evil spirits and ghosts are left up to the belief of the individual and aren't discussed much.   Yet they are discussed in our Bible - there for all to see.  The biggest problem facing Christianity is our ability as Christians (no matter where you fall on the spectrum) to overlook and pick and choose which parts of the Bible one wants to believe.  Why can't we be honest?

So in Mark 1 we have the following:
21They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching — with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

First, before I get to the spirits, I want to point out one piece - line 22.  You see when a Scribe taught they didn't just read verbatim the scrolls.  They also interpreted them - but not like the preachers in today's society.  The ONLY interpreting they did was the oral and written interpretation that already existed.  They would say that the forefathers hand said - or this great Rabbi interpreted it this way...    SO for Jesus to be staying there NOT only reading the scroll but TEACHING not what other Rabbi's in the past believed but what he himself interpreted was a pretty big thing.  This was for sure a sign to people that he was more then just any Rabbi.

The second part of this story is the "unclean spirit" part...it is the story of a possession and an exorcism.  Now I'm not sure if the Catholic church still has been they used to have special Priest trained in exorcism and many people would get their house blessed.  Today, the belief in evil spirits is considered for the nonsensical or something you don't want to admit.  I personally will admit right now that I believe in them.  I have seen examples of evil working.  I think that we are being naive if we want to say that evil has no power.  As for possession, I think it is real - although I also believe that mental illness is REAL and that we shouldn't fail to give someone mental help.  I think possession is far less common then mental illness.  Possession to me is when evil has a hold over someone and because of this they aren't able to see the evil they are spreading.

So, back to the passage!  Jesus here rebukes the unclean spirit out of the man and all come to see the true authority that Jesus holds.  Could they have come to believe in Jesus another way?  Probably not - you see we as humans, before just as much as today, are skeptics.  And the only way to prove a skeptic wrong is to show them something they can't refute.  Jesus teaching with authority, although pretty great, didn't make him any greater then the Rabbis past.  It didn't give him the "Son of God" authority. 

We all come to God and find Jesus in our own time and our own way but no matter what our lives are changed! They are different and better because of our faith.  This passage is a dramatic example, since I'm sure that not all of us are possessed by evil spirits...but the truth is the same.  When we realize the true power and authority of Christ's message and the power of the LOVE of God and the forgiveness of sin our lives are transformed and evil no longer holds over us!

So blessings on your journey to find the HOLY

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cyber Sabbath is on Tumblr

So Cyber Sabbath is on Tumblr now.  Although I will continue to post here...I will also be posting on Tumblr were I can add links to cool youtube videos I have found and other neat links.

So - the link is below if you want to check it out :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Responsibility

Responsibility!

This is the one thing that I think we have as a society fundamentally failed at.  We, as humans, are constantly trying to pass the buck.  Now maybe this is an instinctual survival thing but we need to start owing up to it.  As followers of Christ, we have done A LOT in the name of God that hasn't been God's will - and yet we haven't apologized.  We make amends, we change laws but we hardly just say we are sorry.  And so there are a lot of people out there who have been hurt by church and who feel that they don't have a church home - and this is sad.  And for me this is NOT OK.  In 1 Peter today we are reminded that "If anyone speaks, he/she should do it as one speaking the very words of God."  When you proclaim Christ as your Lord and Savior you are doing much more then just jumping on the bang wagon of faith - you are acting as a representative of God on earth. This should come first and before all else.

We have a society full of people going through the moments and motions of life.  Living up to the dreams of who? society?  Trying to have the next best gadget, the best car, the nicest house,  the prettiest kids (or the best dress at the very least).  We are relaying on material items to fulfill the spiritual void that is lost when we don't take responsibility.  Our government (doesn't matter which side), banks, wall street and big business fail everyday to take responsibility; but how can they when they are full of US - and we ourselves are failing?

It isn't just Christians who need to begin to take on responsibility but I think that Jesus would be here with me calling us to start.  Yes Jesus replaced the laws of Moses...but he did so to take responsibility for our own actions to reflect on ourselves.  We aren't judge based on what our parents did or what our neighbors do - we are judge based on our own merits and our own lives.  So I call each of us to start living our own lives.  NOT the lives others want or think we should.  NOT the lives in which we fit into a box but the lives that are true and real.

Life is messy! AND it should be! That's what makes it fun and worth living.  Sometimes our lives are as messy as a broken egg on a tiled kitchen floor; or as bad as a 4-year-old cutting their own bangs; or as scary as a near car accident or as overwhelming as a cancer diagnose with only months to live; or as lively as a house full of family and not enough room to sit; or as wonderful as a rain on a hot dry day; or as hectic as family of four's social schedule - but would we want it any other way?

So let's strive this week to take responsibility - for our relationships!  Our relationship with God and others.  Let us make time this week to find the Holy in our lives and thank her for the mess that comes along with living.  Let us follow through on that promise we have made to ourselves over and over again.  Let us take responsibility for our lives and begin fully and truly living into all life can be! AMEN


1 Peter: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various  forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

End of January blues...

At the end of January every year, I go through a short "blues."  For me it is because living in upstate NY the darkness is truly OLD at this point and I wish for the brighter summer days or at least the brighter evenings.  I can only take so many nights when it feels like mid-night at 6pm!  Although by January the days are getting a little longer, I just don't feel it.
The end of January also marks the coming down from Christmas - decorations are gone.  And I heard on a radio show one night that in a study on happiness Jan 20-something was the lowest ranking day of the year...and I am not surprised.
This time of year my house is always the messiest and my closet the fullest - since I cycle through just a few comfy cozy outfits to avoid having to do more laundry. 
This past week was so busy, I thought that I wouldn't get the opportunity this January to feel blue and yet despite the craziness, this desire to hibernate and find someplace warm to just be until the first sign of sprouts has found me.

And it is now that I realize - I need Spiritual Refreshment!  All my energy goes to Advent, Christmas, Jesus Baptism and then we hit the dull "ordinary" time of a cold, dreary January...so what would Jesus' advice be? What would Jesus do?

I always find the few passages in which Jesus retreats for Spiritual Refreshment / contemplation to be empowering.  I know I suggest that we turn to the Psalms during times of struggle, pain and fear but the psalms only help us normalize and express our feelings; most don't give us options or plans to get through our emotions.  And for this, we look at Jesus and a good dose of Spiritual wisdom that he shares with his disciples.  Some times you need to take a break...take a moment of silence.  Some times you need to get away and reflect so that your soul can recharge.

I'm not going on vacation until March.  But I can, choose to find that same type of Spiritual refreshment in the everyday - in my own life and my own way.  I can take a morning to sit in PJ's and read a good book, knowing I am helping the soul.  I can sing my soul a church song, I can chant a psalm while practicing yoga, I can pray to God knowing that God is listening and I can wear the same three sweaters for a week knowing that by February I will the end in sight and be rejoicing in the beauty of the winter and especially the sparkling snow.

We all have these - some of you might be more chronic or suffer far worse then me.  But finding solace in knowing that even Christ found time to get away and regroup and refresh.  Find what it is that re-energizes your spirit and soul and make it happen!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Science and Faith? Can they Co-exist?

Science and Faith? Can they co-exist?

First I would like to say that I love science - so much so that as a philosophy major I took science for science major classes.  And second, I am gonna offend people with this post and that is OK - for that is one of the reasons why I write this.  So that others like me out there know that there IS room in Christianity for YOUR beliefs. 

I'm of the impression that Christians who do not except or are unwilling to believe in the truths of biology, physics and astronomy are just being ignorant.  The argument that science is just out there to prove faith wrong does not hold up.  The argument that this is another of God's test is foolish.  Evolution happens - heck it is through the concepts learned from evolution that we create half of our food supply (corn, soy, ect...)

But that doesn't mean that there isn't a God or that we can't have an even more meaningful relationship or be even more awed by God. For the more I learn in science the more I am amazed at life as we know it. But first, we have to begin to unpack the "Beginning"

In the Beginning God Created - I do not argue that.  For there are even some who would say that at the very least God was the catalyst for the Big Bang (but we aren't going there in today's blog).  God created!  But God didn't create in 7 days as we know it.  First several places in the Bible remind us that God's time and our time are different, but further research into time through physics has lead to that same understanding - the time that we perceive is not how time actually works.  So, in my belief system, God living beyond our understanding of time and space began to create and is still creating today.  How presumptuous of us to think that once humans were created God stopped creating? Life continues - and thus God continues creating.

So, am I saying we came from monkeys? Which seems to be the big thing that freaks people out about the whole Darwin Evolution theory.  Well, to that I do not know.  I hope that no, we didn't come from monkeys cause just like the rest of you there is something disturbing about it.  But I am preparing myself for the day that people or God proves me wrong.  God in infinite vastness could have planned our creation ANY WAY...and in any length of time.  AND we need to be open to what the world of science is telling us, showing us and revealing to us not just about our world but about God's.

With all the probabilities of what could be and all the realities of what the world is and the truths about how we perceive it, I don't believe it possible to deny God's hand.  Science does not have to be evil - it can be just as beautiful as a hymn when looked at as a way to praise God and not insult the Holy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Jesus Baptism

So this Sunday we celebrated Jesus' Baptism. 

I love this festival day and find it to be one of my favorite days.  I love this day because of the sheer volume of theological discussion that surrounds this day.  For much of the early church the "problem" of when Jesus became divine was a huge point of contention.  Partly because the early believers had a hard time expressing and understanding how some one could be both divine and human.  Further confusing the point was Jesus' childhood and the question; why did Jesus actually get Baptized?  The virgin birth and the rising of the belief that Jesus was sinless his whole life just added to this messy debate.
And the theology we have today is the one that came out on top - and yet, I would say for many individuals all of these questions are still thought about!

In the early Church there wasn't room for those who saw Jesus' divinity any differently then believing he was divine from birth.  But even today, there are sects of the Christian faith - or at least individuals that see Christ's divinity moment at either his baptism or his death.  And is there any harm in that?

I prescribe to the fact that Jesus was divine from birth.  I believe however, that although Jesus knew he was called for something great - and knew he was called to to the Lord's work.  I am not so sure that he understood his divinity until the moment of his baptism.  Perhaps he thought himself a prophet.  In order for him to fully, truly and humbly experienced and lived into his Humanity, I don't believe he could have done so knowing the full scale of his divinity.  Upon baptism, Jesus came to the full revelation of his divinity and his role in this world.

My view shouldn't shock you or uproot your own personal beliefs whatever they may be - you can believe him to be sinless, you can believe Jesus to be divine at the moment of the baptism or his death.

The Good News of Jesus Christ - would be the same message no matter what the historical or otherwise deemed "factual" information it holds. God's infinite vastness is beyond our full knowledge or conception.   The Gospels are our human way of getting to understand the awesome wonder...it is human witness, divinely inspired, but non-the-less human words shaped by human understanding trying to express what is almost impossible to express!

We have all felt the Holy in our lives.  We all understand that Holy in different ways.  Let us open ourselves up to the Holy that is around us.  So that within our own lives, The Good News of Jesus Christ can take its shape and transform our lives!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Epiphany

Epiphany!
This week we are celebrating Epiphany - what is Epiphany you ask? Well Epiphany is the moment - any moment - when the HOLY is revealed!

In the Church we celebrate Epiphany as the time when the infant baby Jesus was "revealed" as God's son.  You see, when you read the actual Gospel's rendition of the Christmas story you will realize that a lot of we know to be the Christmas story isn't even in the Bible and there are some pretty big Myths concerning Jesus' whole birth.  I am personally not surprised by this...think about it people were following Jesus believing him to be the messiah - which none of them realized was going to lead to the death on the cross. But after Jesus' death and as this new Jewish sect began to spread some clear questions began to take form: how is Jesus both human and divine? How is Jesus more then a prophet but the messiah?  And thus, Matthew and Luke embellished upon the details they did know. 
In Matthew the Epiphany story is the story of the magi arriving at Jesus' house a few years after his birth and finding him with his mother.  In Luke we hear of Jesus being brought to the Temple and encountering both Simeon and Anna who were awaiting for the Messiah.  In both cases this humble poor infant baby was revealed to be the Messiah.  This was not the Messiah that people expected at all - in fact this was a very different package!  I could go on as to why the stories in Matthew and Luke are different and to which type of audience they were appealing but the big point here is that they are trying to give Jesus street credit if you will - proving the divinity within the humanity or visa verse.

So how does this relate to our own relationship with God today? Well first - The Holy Divine works within us and through us and can even work when we don't know it cause we are too busy worrying about nonsense!  But more importantly Epiphany is about a change in relationship with the Divine.  It is about finding God even when it appears God is missing.  It is about finding God in the strangest of places, in different packages and being open to the vastness that is the Holy. 

Epiphany can happen to us all the time and any where!  We can all have a moment or two when our eyes are open to the true awe that is the Divine working in the world.  But first we must be willing to see!  It is easy for us today, to see Jesus and know the he is the Christ child for we know the end of the story - the Epiphany here is the trust that the Magi, Anna and Simeon had in God in being able to recognize the Divine - even disguised as a baby.  And that is where the lesson is for us!

God works every where, anytime and in everyone!  God is not limited by religion, sex, ethnicity or status - God is not limited by narrow mindedness or anything! For our Creator is infinite and vast.  So let this year be a year full of Epiphany!  Full God's revelation in our lives and world. Let us open ourselves, trusting in the Spirit and believing in the Holy we know to be around us!