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, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day...yes a day late

I knew that it was Memorial Day weekend, not by the red paper flowers being sold outside shops in our of our veterans or by the parades that seem to be popping up everywhere, I knew but the volume of traffic that was racing past our country house. 

As someone who is surrounded by veterans, I can't help but contemplate Memorial Day.  By surrounded, I am not just speaking about the several family members who fought and currently considered disabled vets but I am also speaking of the countless men who cross my path as a Chaplain.  

I am reminded of one such gentlemen who I met while working at the hospital.  He was in the ICU for an unrelated to service injury - basically a injury he sustained while on leave with his family.  He was involved in a terrible accident, or serious of events, that brought him to the hospital bed.  Filled with needles and tubes and anxiety.   He had served 3 tours in our recent war with Iraq.  He was taught to be in control and to keep himself guarded.  God only knows what he experienced and witnessed in war and yet we expected him to sit in the ICU bed and calmly breath through a tube.  Instead he woke up tearing off the tubes and pulling out the needles.  His anxiety got to the point they had to take action for his own safety.  I visited him often and provided peace while there.  He was a believer in God, not religion and although he couldn't talk much my peaceful presence allowed him to breath a bit better. 

I am not sure what happen to this man, as I couldn't follow up with him.  But I know that war and service changes people.  It changes how we respond to life and especially how people respond to stressful situations.  And so Memorial Day weekend which has become a weekend that marks the beginning of summer and about hot dogs and mac salad has in many ways left behind the true meaning.  Showing thanks - being grateful - for people who have fought in wars for America.  Even if we don't agree with the war itself or fighting all together.  Even if we disagree with our government or feel that peace was an option.  On Memorial Day we are asked to take a moment, a day, and honor those whose lives have changed because of war and those who lost their lives because of war. 

People who have served in the military lives will never be the same.  If they made the choice to sign up themselves or were drafted in, if they made it home or died in battle war changed them.  And we must honor their sacrifice.   

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Evoking Power of Pentecost

Out of the slits of the batman cape / hat you can see the gray eyes of my two year old.  He is no longer the loving two year I named but is instead Batman!  Dare you call him by any other name and be prepared to hear "NO! Batman!!" When he is batman he is fearless...jumping off tall buildings with a single bound (ok our jungle gym) and of course using his "tool belt" to find ways to beat the bad guys - aka his sister.  On Sundays he particularly likes to be batman and one Sunday morning informed me that "people like batman church."  In his two-year-old lingo I think that means that church people like to see batman?  And well they have been extremely patient and gracious about batman's appearance on Sunday mornings that for years to come they will have quite the story to tell about this PK (Pastor's Kid). 
But when proclaims himself as a hero - batman, superman, spiderman and TMNT are his favorites - he is evoking a power greater then himself.   What two year old doesn't want to be stronger, faster, smarter and better then everyone else?   When his world revolves around him, why shouldn't he be the hero of his story? 

As adults we know that just by adorning our lives with superhero costumes and tools does not actually make us a superhero kids do not.  In fact, we know the true realities of the world, which can be difficult to find solutions to the big problems we face.  And yet, we are called as Christians to remember the power of God's Holy Name. 

On Pentecost we read the story of Ezekiel (37 for those who want to know) and the dry bones.  Not just the catchy kids song about what part of the bones is connected to what but a powerful story about evoking God's name!  Ezekiel in the name of the Lord God brought bones back from the dry pit to flesh with human life.  Now this isn't like those crazy zombie shows were they are half dead and the flesh on them is still exposed from their death, but is instead a story of God's power bring them back into the fullness of who they were. 

The power of evoking God's name! 

Imagine what the power of evoking God's name can do for our lives if only we let it.  Let us not live to the point that we must be dry bones before God's word can touch our soul.  Let us not lose such sight of the power of Christ's name that we hit bottom before we can finally open our ears to hear God's message.  Let us allow God's word to ring in us and through us - evoking the power of the Divine to transform our lives.

On Pentecost Sunday we read this back to back with our Acts 2 reading of the very first Pentecost Sunday - when the tongues of fire allowed people to understand and listen to each other.  Through the power of God, people were brought together. Through the power of the Holy Spirit people who spoke different languages were able to understand each other and feel God working through them. 

Wouldn't it be a wonderful Pentecost if we too through the power of God's Holy Name found the ability to come together?  Wouldn't it be amazing if God's name could bring forth peace and love instead of strife and hate.  Wouldn't it be amazing if our dried up churches that sit in the pits of failing buildings could hear the Word of Christ and in a blaze of wonder and love understand each other?  Putting away difference in order to bring life to Christ's message? 

I don't think that hope is too lofty - in fact it is right here on this day available to all our Churches.  As we celebrate Pentecost let us ask ourselves how do we as a church emerge from the pit to bring people together in God's name?  The Holy Spirit on that morning, did not come in flaming tongues to bring forth arguments or to challenge each person but instead to bring them together in God's love. 

Let us pray for our churches, let us pray for people and most of all let us pray that the Spirit's power can be felt in the pit of each person bringing ablaze of passion and God's message so that all may know and here the power of God's name.

Let us evoke God's name not to separate but to join us in love, strength, compassion, grace and forgiveness.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Everyday Choas

There used to be a time in my life when I could roll out of bed and be dressed, feed and out the door looking completely presentable in 45 minutes.  Now, I am lucky if after an hour and half of struggling with kids I have clean clothes on.  Life changes and I am constantly shocked at how busy life can get.  There seems to never be enough hours in a day or enough days in a week.  Monday alone I had to get up and dressed, dropped a kid off at school, hit the grocery store, go back to said school for a special parent day, go home and have lunch, go to a meeting, take the dog to the vet, clean up after said special party, cook dinner and not touch any of my laundry or dishes.  My husband, thank God for him, picked up some of the slack, but in doing so didn't get to everything on his to-do list either. 

There are always things to do, places to be and responsibilities to deal with.  Yet as Christians we are called to in everything we do, remember God.  Which on a day like Monday when you can't always remember what time you are suppose to be where and end up calling the vet to make sure you know, it can be very tricky to remember God.  It is easy on days like that to fall out of the routine of keeping God in our life.

But we are called to keep God in our life, we are called to be faithful first and foremost, to love our God with all our heart.  And how much better is our day if we take a moment to stop and remember God's blessing and presence in our life.  How much more special is our children's day when we thank God for their life and light in the world.  How much more exciting is our meeting when we know in all we do we glorify God.  How much more exiting and chaotic is our life when we remember how the Spirit is working in us and through us touching other's with God's love!

Please friends, even in the chaos, which is everyday, remember God's presence and rejoice!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

"Mom can I wear these?"
"No! You will be too hot."  I replied while inside my head I am wondering what happen, all winter she wanted to wear shorts and skirts and now that it is 76+ degrees out she wants to wear stockings with her dresses!
"I don't want to go to church!"
"Why not? All your friends will be there."
"no they won't!" Humped my 4 year old
"Yes they will it is Mother's Day, everyone comes on Mother's day" I explain
"It is Mother's day??  OH shoot!" And she runs off....

"Daddy, daddy, it is mother's day!"
"Yes, did you say Happy Mother's Day to mommy?"
"Yes! But we forgot to get her a gift"
"No we didn't".....

I didn't need a mother's day gift this morning from them, as this conversation was enough.  That she thought of me and wanted to do something special for me was a gift in itself.  Each day I can't believe how my children grow and change. Each day they are truly a gift to my life as they bring love, hope and joy in new ways.  Children are special.  And the love that comes out of family is truly amazing.

But what is very cool about our God is that God's love is unconditional and full of grace.  In the same way that our love for our children - especially when they are small and helpless - is unconditional.  I love my newborn even when he keeps me up at night, or throws up down my back.  I love my two year old even when he is refusing to get dressed because the "right" superhero combo isn't clean.  As our children get older, it can be harder to show that same kind of unconditional love because they too begin to categorize love differently.  As our understanding for love changes and the love we give and receives gets challenged we can find hope in the fact that God's love is unchanging. 

Recently a friend posted a picture of her daughters school assignment, why she loved her mom.  The common factor of all 10 reasons was a big one: quality of time - she spends time with her daughter doing things her daughter enjoys.  She is there for her and I know even on days when she is tired from work and would rather rest, she sits and plays with her daughter.  That is showing her daughter a love that goes beyond, a loved filled with grace. 

Yet, as we age it can be easy to look at one another and begin to quantify love.  To say that mom loves one child more then another (which my mom is guilty of saying that her mom loved "the boys" best).  We begin to look at friends and family and expect things from our love - things, time, ect...

But we can be comforted, find joy and most importantly worth in knowing that for God love is unchanged.  God loves us unconditional - flaws and all.  We might disappoint God a time or two or perhaps a dozen but the Divine won't stop offering love.  We might refuse the love, we might challenge the love, but the Creator won't stop offering love.  We might run from it, hide from it and we might even do evil in its name, but the Holy won't stop offering love.

So today let us celebrate the love.  The unconditional love that parents and children are taught from the beginning and let us rejoice in the Lord who so loved us that neither death nor life, nor things present, nor things to come can separate us from that love.   


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Pruning the Vines

So we live in wine country...in fact as part of the finger lake region we can't go anywhere without seeing a vineyard but for us all it takes is a look out our window and across the street.  Yup our neighbors are wine makers and vine growers. And this illustration is used throughout our New Testament to talk about us, God and of course our relationship with God.  But John 15: 1-8 really has been on my heart lately. 

First, many of you know from pervious blog posts and for being my friend that two years ago I had to leave one of the churches I was serving.   However, my husband and I remained with the other the church; thus separating a long-standing relationship between two churches.  Two years later, the church we stayed with is doing amazing and really thriving on its own.  The relationship between the people of both churches as begun to mend and well the fruit of the vine seems to be growing.  However, there is still hurt there.  Especially with the way in which the church treated my husband and me and of course our children.  As most people know, church is not just where we find saints and for the most part the majority of the population has felt some sort of hurt from "church people" in their lifetime.  Working for church doesn't shield you from this, instead it makes it all too real.  The hurt that people can unleash and still call themselves Christians is remarkable. 

Nonetheless, two years later I was reflecting on all that has happened to us.  Our continued joy and success with the one church, my job in the nursing home and of course our project house.  We have come so far in these last two years and at the same time have been truly blessed along our journey.  We are changed - we have to be - but we are not broken or angry.  We are blessed.  This journey has taught me a lot and yet has not scared me out of church work.  And I can't help but reflect on John 15.  In verse 2 we hear these words "The vinegrower removes every branch in me that bears no fruit.  Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit." 

Jesus never says that life is easy or that by following him your life will be a Disney Fairy Tale; on the contrary, time and time again Jesus makes real the true difficulties in following him.  The vinegrower removes branches that bear no fruit.  Sometimes life is hard, sometimes things seem to be going the wrong away and then the outcome is more beautiful that one could imagine.  I wasn't sure what two years was going to look like two years ago, heck I even had a hard time thinking about what 6 months was going to look like.  But now in reflection I know that God was just pruning us so that we could flourish.  That we are here today, better then we were and with more blessings from God because we didn't turn against God.  We didn't in bitterness believe that God was doing this to us.  We didn't accept the truth that many do that all Christians were like this.  We didn't leave our callings because of one negative church but instead walked away only to do be bearing more fruit.  Only to have our ideas and our strengths uplifted by others and spread God's Word to people who will truly listen.

If you are in the middle of your vines being pruned, have courage!  For it may feel that God is taking away but instead with your faith - with your core as Christ, abiding in him, - you will find the strength you need to flourish and to come back with bigger and better fruit. 

For anyone who has ever tried to grow grapes knows, they actually need a lot of pruning for success.  They need help to grow in the right direction and to produce fruit and not just vines.  Jesus has said that he is our vine, the core of our faith.  That our strength comes through the Divine.  If we trust in God's ways, it might not always be perfect but with trust in our core we can find hope in knowing that we will flourish and that there is always more fruit to come!  Let us rejoice in the pruning and find strength in the God who is our core!