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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Who Jesus Was

So I am always wondering what is going through the minds of people when they ask "what would Jesus do?" I wonder this, because it often leads to the conclusion that you could be polite or compassionate or just down right "nice."  But our Prince of Peace didn't always come with peace.

In our attempt to make Jesus personable or at the very least better understood, we have fallen into the trap of reducing Jesus to one perspective; just as we have reduced God to this white-haired, old white man sitting above ruling from a throne.  We have pigeon hold our faith into these neat packages because they are easier to remember, easier to teach and most of all much easier to follow.  It is harder to be a follower of Christ if we admit all the levels to Jesus - it is easy to remember the miracles of healing and leave out the confrontations with the religious rulers of the time.  It is easy to ask "what would Jesus do?" if we are  only thinking of the Jesus who scolded those who wanted to stone the sinful women or who healed the sick or who preached to those who were "blessed" but it is difficult to come up with "what would Jesus do?" if you think of the whole scope of Jesus - if you remember the Jesus who trashed the temple angry with the merchants who were using the temple rules and laws to their advantage and taking advantage of those traveling great distance.  What if we remember the Jesus who called out those who were acting on their own will instead of listening God's will.

So instead of asking what would Jesus do?  We should take a greater look at who Jesus was and the scope of his ministry.  We should realize that in many cases following the crowd or keeping status qou in order to keep the peace is not at all what Jesus' message is.  Jesus calls out the church leaders, Jesus calls out those who are sinful and not looking for change.  Jesus is the Son of God and with that comes the infinite vastness that should never be pigeon holed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

the Spirit

In ancient worship spaces, especially popular during the medieval times, there were openings or "holes" in the roofs.  I had for some reason always assumed that this had to do with the fact that fires which were burnt for heat / cooking needed someplace to escape since they didn't have shoots or vents.  I was surprised when I learned that they were purposely put there for two theologically reasons as well:
1. As a reminder that we are selves always need to be open to the God
2. On Pentecost they would release birds (doves) which would fly out of the holes

Now I would believe you if  you argued that the holes were there for the smoke and then the theologically significance was later picked up.  But which ever, it is an amazing symbol.  Not only do we always need to be open to the Spirit of God working in and around us but we also need to be able to trust God enough to let our Spirits free to accomplish God's work - to fly free from the spaces of worship to work within the world.

WOW - that is kind of a lot to take in and in many ways this is a much more Spiritual line of thinking - but there it is right from our own theology and from God.

 We are reminded in Romans 8 that:
26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Even when we don't have words for our prays - the Spirit does the work.  Even when we aren't sure what to do next, if we trust the Spirit, God will show us the way.  And more importantly if we let our Spirits free to soar to the heights that God wishes we just might do much more good in this world that we can do on our own or following our own wills.

So this Pentecost let us embrace the Spirits that want to be like a fire burning deep within us; stirring us to release God's will and let it soar! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Psalm 1: 1-6


Good and Evil, Wicked and the Righteous these are the paradigms of life.  From the first fall of Adam and Eve to the Harry Potter series and now the Hunger Games, we live in a world obsessed with the good and the bad – the light and the dark.  Even in our Presidential elections, we see this paradigm played out as each candidate tries to prove that they are the good option and their opponent is the bad option.  As our cultural and society continues to push the one frame mindset that there is always one right and one wrong answer to everything, it is no wonder that it slowly has become either you are religious OR you are not – either you go to church and believe in one set of beliefs OR you don’t. 
But that doesn’t paint a clear picture of life does it?  Life isn’t black and white.  We can be celebrating a joyful occasion and have a flash memory of the person we long to be there.  We can be at a funeral and in joy remember that person’s life with a smile on our face.  We can be having the best day of our lives, only to have crushing news come our way.  We can have two choices to make and neither of them make us happy but we know we must choose one.  Life is not always as cut and dry as we like to hope.
It is also possible for you to go to Church every Sunday and yet still question if God exists.  It is also possible for you to sit home drinking coffee every Sunday or labor for money and still know that God exists.  It is possible for you to be a Christian and yet continue to sin and make choices that hurt people just like it is possible for non-Christians to live intentional lives. 
The problem with the crisis in our churches – and I do believe that our decline is a crisis – is that it stems from this cut and dry thinking – there must only be ONE right answer to getting more number in our pews.  The thought that the decline is in direct correlation with the amount of sin in the world always baffles me because the world is not the only sinful place – the church and we Christians have allowed the wicked in our doors and our hearts.  The crisis in our churches right now is a crisis between love and hate – judgment and spitefulness vs. grace and forgiveness.    

I would image, especially reading Paul's letters, that these struggles have been long-term in our churches.  We are sinners and human - we are not perfect.  But in today's world, society has changed.  Religion is no longer a "norm" and we as Church people, must begin to change the way we "do" faith.  Faith is not personal nor it can not remain personal if we want to spread the message. 

Jesus commanded his followers to go out and make disciples.  Not just to go out and live the Christian life, but to go out and spread the faith.  In 1 John 5 we hear about the importance of testimony.  Personal testimony is an important part of our faith.  Personal testimony is sharing our own faith, our own story with the world - beginning with those closest to you.  The more you share, the more comfortable you feel sharing.  

What so many "unchurched" people don't realize is the amazing and true Spiritual faith that can be felt within the walls of church.  What so many who have left church don't realize is that there are churches were faith can be challenged and differences can be met with grace.  What so many fail to see is just how diverse the christian faith is and how many different churches and church experiences are out there.  So let us begin to share our experience!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Keeping the Spirit Refreshed

As I contemplated a lot during my week "off" from my blog writing, I couldn't help but think once again about those of you who claim to be Spiritual without Religious. 

Right now, with all the happenings in the Church Universal and many more of the happenings within my church, I would love to walk away from "religion" and be free to worship God, to believe in Jesus while at the same time as practicing my yoga and feel free to discuss "those Christians" without having to identify myself as "one of them."  Because it pains me to categorize myself as a Christian when the world of Christians isn't acting in any way how I would like to define my own faith - and the easy thing to do with be to just walk away.

But during my sabbath week, I had one goal to spend some time instead of blogging or doing other internet things to use that time to connect with God.  To allow my relationship with the Holy help transform my situation and begin to give me insight and peace.  I did this in many ways, including meditation and light yoga (as I am pregnant).  I did this over cups of tea and good books.  I did this over conversation with other "religious" leaders.  I did this through prayer in a warm bath and through a long and loud scream.  I did this through reading the psalms and a bit of Marcus Borg (a current-day Christian writer who is great!).  I did this through working and planning worship services.  I did this while planning a funeral and having Holy conversations with church members.

Now some of this I already do on a daily basis and much of this I do on a weekly basis.  But life is so busy!  Life is so FULL! Life is just "so" and I find myself at the end of the weeks wondering where my weeks went and looking at a list of things still yet to do.  And last week, I couldn't help but think - how do people without religion do it???

How do people without religion keep their Spirits refreshed?  Now, I am sure there are a good number of people who can do this just fine.  But I can't help but challenge you who read this, to ask yourself truly and deeply - if you are with or without religion - do you truly keep your Spirits refreshed? 

At least for me, and many Christians, after my crazy week and my long to-do list still lingering, I head to church on Sunday morning.  Even if I dislike the music that morning, even if I find the preacher to be way off, even if I am the one leading the service, even if I  walk in preoccupied, I walk away refreshed.  My one hour Sunday morning worship services refreshes my Spirit just as much as all those things I did last week to reconnect my soul with my creator.

So you see, walking away from religion just because the Christian image is tainted would be more loss to me then it would be good.  And I think that is true for a lot of people.  I believe that many are feeling "loss" "disconnected" from the Divine and no matter how much time we have each week there never seems to be enough to truly spend enough time on our Spiritual needs, enough time in true Sabbath but by professing to be "religious" by finding a faith center and a community you are given the opportunity at least once a week to truly be refreshed and restored.  And leaving that behind, because of some politics, because a few people who ruin the name for the majority, seems a shame.  

Those moments on Sundays of true refreshment lift my soul and bring a peace to my Spirit like no other practice.  So wherever you are on your faith journey, I encourage you to find your Spiritual Refreshment - I encourage you to find a community of faith to practice something for one or two weeks for the worship of the Holy in communion with others is a powerful reminder of just how BIG our God is.

Monday, May 7, 2012

finding Sabbath

Sorry cyber readers, but I am taking vacation from the blog this week.  Between meetings and appointments the week is getting out of control.  Instead of trying to "do it all" I am taking a lesson from Jesus who would find respite even when the crowds were still demanding.  Sometimes it is better to take a pause from something.  So this week my pause is from trying to write the blog.  So I give you all a challenge...find your own Sabbath this week. 

Find some moments to be alone with God - perhaps choosing God over other things on your "to do" list.  Finding God in the everyday is so important in our continued relationship with God and for our own Spiritual health.  So take some time this week to practice, to pray and to live with God.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Justice

So I am really troubled once again about the way in which we see Justice here in the US and in the mindset of the average person.  What is justice?  How did Jesus change the ideals of justice and how is that translated today? 

In Habakkuk 1:4, Habakkuk laments to God that "The law has become paralyzed and useless, and there is no justice given in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, and justice is perverted with bribes and trickery."

And I can't help but lament with Habakkuk today! We are living in a society in which we punish each other in the name of justice.  Now I could go on about our government system and our prisons which surely need a change too, but what I am really talking about here is the "daily justice" we dish out. 


How do we act when someone "wrongs us."  Once we have judged a person's situation how do our actions change towards them?  Do we throw the first stone before offering compassion? 


Jesus taught mercy and compassion over justice.  So are our churches acting justly if they condemn a whole group of people for a human judgement on their morals?  Is the church acting justly if more hurt is coming out of being a part of them?  Of course NOT! Is a church acting justly when they bully a Pastor who is doing the right thing?  Of course NOT!  Is a church acting justly when they give out food at a food pantry but consider those who receive the food to be an "other" - of course NOT!

So how do we change that?  I can't help but think of the John Meyer song when I write my blog "waiting on the world to change" as if I am putting out there my thoughts but that there is nothing we can do to change it...to reshape our world now.  That it is just too big.


And to some of you my answer is going to sound crazy, impossible and probably improbable, but it is reality.  The only way we are going to change the world is if we become PART of the world...but doing.  More people in the generation Y need to join churches and start changing them!  Ask for more spiritual filled classes, ask for honesty and more important ask for mission!  WE can only change if there are more of us.  And it isn't just the young who need to get on board...there are plenty of "grey hairs" who see the need and are willing to help.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

LOVE

Love is a complicated emotion and can cause us to do many things.  But with all its high energy the one thing love can't always claim is our will; often love can drive our will but love can't overcome our will.  And yet, that is what God is asking of us!  God is asking that accept the love that the Holy offers and in return love the Divine - following God's will over our own.  Accepting God's will instead of living for ourselves.

We as humans are a very selfish creature - maybe this comes from evolution and our desire to keep ourselves and our offspring alive.  Maybe it comes from our overwhelming need be significant and have our lives mean more then the few years we walk this Earth.  Wherever our drive for the selfish comes from it is strong and commanding.

But God is asking us to give that up.  To humble ourselves before the Holy and the greater will and to accept a different kind of love.  Not the love that we humans have for each other which is often fleeting and with gain in mind; but the love that parents have for children.  The kind of love that surpasses our very beings and transcends our souls.  The kind of love that led to the death of Jesus on a cross so that the sins of the world could be forgiven.

This kind of love isn't conditional.  And it doesn't come small print.  God loves each of us for who we are - every aspect of who we are!  God doesn't make mistakes nor does the Holy choose to give us hardships.  Yet God still loves.  And calls us to love.

So why do we have such a hard time loving?  Why do we spread hate in the name of love?  Why in our self-righteous paths do we pick our own pride over love?  Why are Christians no better?

We could claim that those who fall into this trap of non-loving just don't truly get the whole Christian thing.  You could go so far as to judge their relationship with God as inferior to others or try to exclaim that they never truly knew the love God is offering.  But I don't think that is the case.

In fact to me that is more language of hurt then love.  For I believe that many of us have experienced the true love of God, even many who don't label themselves as Christians.  And yet, still spread hate, still judge and still pick pride.  For even though we have felt the amazing grace of God's love - it is hard to practice!

Loving people is hard - it is hard to love those in our own families some times let alone loving strangers who we don't understand.  But isn't that the challenge of being a Christian?  Jesus never claimed that following him would be easy.  So, let us all work on being more loving :) Spreading love instead of hate.  Loving instead of judging.  Exclaiming "love" over all else.

1 John 3
16We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us — and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.