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, January 30, 2013

Walking a Mile in Someone else's shoes

I've been thinking about that phrase a lot lately, walking a mile in my shoes.  And I couldn't help but think of this story:

It was 3:22AM and my eyelids had been closed for just long enough for my mind to settle itself into sleep when I was jolted awake by the buzzing of my pager..."19y/o male eta 5min" Checking the mirror to get ride of my bedhead I turned the light off to the on-call room and made the very lonely trek down the hallway towards the ED.  I was mid-way through my Chaplaincy residency by then and I knew this walk well and as I made the familiar turns in silence I prayed that I would be God's hands, feet and mouth in whatever the situation was.
I arrived, along with all the others "on-call" before the ambulance.  All the staff were busy preparing and setting things up or were standing around chatting with the others about previous cases.  I was too tired, I had already had a busy night of pages and the comfortable bed I just abandoned was calling me back and I questioned if my presence was really needed.  But it was my duty to stand in that sterile back room of the emergency department waiting for this young kid to arrive, it was my job to provide the spiritual and sometimes social services needs that might arise.  So there I was leaning in the corner as the intensity of the moment of arrival drew near. 
As the stretcher came crashing through the double doors and the Emergency responders started to bark out the answers the doctors questions the gravity of this young man danger became clear to me.  He was dying.  He had suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance and they had only manged to get a faint heartbeat back.  The blood that he had lost from his wounds was everywhere and the stench of stale blood was beginning to over power the sterile hospital smell.  Then within seconds the machines were going off and his heart stopped.  The doctors and nurses descended into action on him like a well practiced ballet - beautifully and with such rhythm they worked on bringing life back to this young man.  And as I watched in the stillness praying for God's will to be done, I heard a familiar sound that gave me goosebumps, the crack of bones and not just knuckles but this young mans ribs were being opened and within a blink the head doctor was pumping a heart in his hands.  As his hand opened and closed the machines started to beep and measure a heart beat.  They rushed the young man down for surgery, leaving the evidence of blood in the space for the bed.  I was left bewildered and in awe.

He did die in surgery and as the rest of the night began to unfold the picture of his life became more uncertain.  Who was this 19 year old and how did he get to the point of being in our emergency department? 

There were a lot of assumptions being made and a lot of judgements being passed out. And the reality for me is that some things still remain very uncertain about thus kid and will never be solved.  If only I could have know what happen that night and where things went so wrong - but I will not.

You see we can't walk in someone else's shoes.  No one experiences life the same way as another - except maybe identical twins.  But the realities of our own life very much depend on the our own interpretations and on how we see things.  Had I only heard about that extent to which the doctors tried to save this young man, holding and pumping his heart with their hands I would perhaps not have believed it, or perhaps not been as impacted.

We make a lot of assumptions when we don't consider the shoes that the other is wearing.  And in the end we usually hurt them more then we help.  But you see what has always been the lesson out of my story, is that before the judgement started - everything possible happened to help save this young kid.  It didn't matter what had brought him into the hospital he was going to get the VERY best treatment and given the best chance for survival.

Too often we just assume to know what it is like for another person, even if they have shared their story.  Too often we just assume and dish out judgement before first offering our best. 

Let us offer first our best - the LOVE that God commands.  Let us first offer our Christian selves showing and demonstrating the very best of our own Christian morals before we begin to assume that we know what it is like to walk in their shoes and before we dish out judgement on people lives who we often only see a short glimpse of. 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Finding HOPE in the COLD

It is currently what I would call hibernation weather - a time when we should all curl up, turn off our calendars and stay warm in the house until the weather breaks.  But since we are adults and we live in the real world that isn't going to happen.  But where do we find warmth when the outside is so cold - where do we find hope in churches that have closed their hearts?

There is no "easy button" or a "pill" that you can take that will change your church or make it more viable - more a live.  There is no one better then your pastor who can shepherd you on a path of success...but you have to listen to them and not only that allow their skill sets to shine.  If you close your hearts to the ideas of the people around you then your hope will die along with your church.

There is still hope for our Church out there (the Church universal) but there are plenty of churches that are going to have to die or come close to dying before people are going to see the chance for change.  The church is most likely going to have to hit rock bottom before it will see the light of epiphany - and decided that it can change and take new direction.  Until then...

The hope I find in the cold hearts and minds of the members is knowing that no matter what they do to me, they aren't going to diminish my relationship with God and my determination to reach out to those who haven't yet been touched by the amazing Love of Christ and offer to them the grace that God is so willing to give.  Maybe one day the churches will learn a lesson from this and find warmth in their hearts to truly allow God's will to take hold.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

habits

I have been thinking a lot about habits which has also lead me to read a lot about habits lately.  Like why is it so easy for some to exercise and others to always push it off, ect... and then last weeks thoughts over the magi got me thinking about the BIG question:

Can going through the motions - prayer, reading the bible, Bible study, worship, ect - make a non-believer a believer? 

Well I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that all those things do bring us closer to God and for those of us who do believe we know that.  I also know that when  you stumble away from your daily Spiritual exercises, you can truly feel the effects.  I know that when I'm done with one devotional and I don't have another one lined up, I feel out of sorts for the few days in between.  Sometimes during that time I play Bible roulette, but those random passages never seem to give me quite the direction that a good devotional does.

And so, that has got me thinking...it can take up to 6 weeks for a new habit to form and EVEN longer if the habit is actually trying to replace an old one.  That is a lot of time commitment to something in which we have to be intentional. Since much of our day is spent doing things in an more automatic mode and old habits fall into this category. 

No wonder then it is hard for people to pick up a Spiritual practice - or even harder for people who want / or need an answer now.  No wonder church goers have good intentions on being more prayerful but when life gets in the way, it is easy to see why we fail - because intentional change doesn't happen over night for most and most certainly doesn't happen quickly.

In 2013, striving to be more intentional, I'm going to put a passage on the side of the blog with a question or two to ponder, to journal about - to use in whatever way you need to to do more for your relationship with the divine.

Monday, January 7, 2013

thoughts on the wise magi

I've been thinking a lot about the magi for that last few weeks, partly because I preached on it last Sunday and partly because this is one thing I think about every time I get a nativity set out.  I'm pretty sure there is an old post about what the Bible really says about the magi - so this isn't gonna be about that.

This year with all the uncertainties and my hopes for an answer from God quicker then I feel it is coming...I focused instead on the journey the magi took.

I have always been really impressed by the magi for one reason they without giving second thought had faith in the star and themselves to follow it...they trusted that God was going to take them on an important journey and left - leaving for a several year journey that would be dangerous and at the end take them home on a different path, perhaps a longer path.

Trusting in the journey and giving up to God our lives is really hard - especially for people who want to know what is going on.  It takes a lot for us to put our trust in the divine and to ultimately follow without confirmation - and for the magi this journey was several years!

God doesn't just appear to us and give us all the answers - and for those who are seeking for the first time a Creator, there isn't instant gratification.  But instead, by trusting our own intuition which tells us that indeed there is something greater in this world, a power that we would like to know or something beyond ourselves, we can be lead on a journey.  Like the journey the magi's took.  A journey which could lead you to Christ.

For me, an already believer, I need to remind myself that when I trust God and go along the path that my creator is lighting for me - I'm on God's time, not my time.  It might take a longer then I'd like for God's plan to be revealed to me and there are plenty of times along this path that I would like to leave it for my own.  But if I persist by putting my trust in the Divine power, I know that the God's plan will be revealed and as the magi came to stand at the foot of the savior - I too will have my epiphany moment.  I just must trust and believe.

Some theologians believe that you don't actually have to have faith to begin going to church or becoming a Christian - for if you begin by doing all the things that a "good" Christian does: praying, reading the Bible, studying, worshiping that eventually these will lead you into belief, into an epiphany or ay-ha moment when you realize that indeed God's presence is all around us.

Let us all challenge ourselves this year - to live into our faith putting trust not in the moment now but in the path that will lead us to the moment when God's self is revealed - perhaps for the first time or perhaps once again! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

the difficultly that lies in lies...

I'm starting this one out with a confession of sorts.  You see, my family (extended family that is) has been lying to one member for the last 2 1/2 years.  We had a death and at the same time this person was in a difficult place and emotionally pretty depressed.  As we were trying to help this person, we felt that the news of the death wouldn't be good - these two hadn't seen each other in a while and it isn't like they talked on the phone.  So it seemed pretty harmless to just neglect to tell them.  Well 2 1/2 years later, we as a family have still failed to bring this up - partly because there are still some difficult times and partly because we have dug ourselves into this hole and we don't want to be alienated when we admit the truth.  For most of us (myself included) haven't been truly involved in the lie, we know about it and continue to keep up the facade.  But we are being asked a lot - for I feel incredibly guilty and in trying not to have to lie about the lie I avoid topics that could lead to conversations that would result in the question "so how is ----- doing?" Luckily I only see this person a few times a year!

The reality is that no one should have lied - but you see technically no one did...we have just fail to tell the whole story - we have failed to reveal knowledge that we have and have covered up an event. And I think that is one of the worst types of lies...

Lies break down relationships and get in the way of us being able to have full and meaningful relationships with people.  And it isn't just the lies that come out of our mouths - like lying about the car you drive or where you work, cause those types of lies usually are revealed.  It is the smaller white lies or the things we omit from our stories that are the worse types of lies.  It is the silence that our relationships are broken down or worse it is in the rumors that the silence creates.

In my current work at two churches, we discovered a misappropriation of funds.  One church was misusing the relationship and the funds that were generated by this relationship. As realities of this situation began to unfold the fall-out has become quite personal.  As always the messenger is usually the one who takes all the bad emotions or the grunt of the pain.  As we are still working this out, we have had mediators and advice from those "higher up."  But in the end, the congregations have mostly been left in the dark.  I have been left to believe that I'm not to say anything, as if I do it looks like personal attacks on the individuals at hand - even if it is factual truths.  When I preach, I am accused of scolding people from the pulpit (hmmm is my sermon hitting home?)! And so I was asked to not preach for several months...

Now, because of the silence and not speaking - giving is down, attendance is down and those who continue to bully are feeling justified because to them this suggest people are siding with them.

But the sad truth is, the relationships are broken because of the silence, because within that silence rumors have prevailed.  Because within that silence the "death" has not yet been proclaimed and yet everyone knows that things are different and not the same. 

Because we have two churches and this is only happening in one, things are made worst because I am being accused of giving favor to one church - which all-be-it I probably am.  But not because I like them better, but because I wasn't asked to stop preaching there. 

At the end of the day, even if the "lie" or the silence is kept in order to spare feelings, or to help subside a situation - relationships still pay for it.  And it can still eat away at a good thing.  At then end of all of this, it is better to be honest and to tell the truth then to continue allowing the silence to rule and the "death" to go unattended or addressed.