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.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

allowing the gifts of the spirit

"now let me see" came out in a timid manner as this little petit elderly women tried to see the credit card reader at the grocery store.   Her voice was a bit nervous and her actions jerky.  She was in front of me in line and after her credit card was declined three times she rushed out if the store, still with her ice cream.

I paid for my groceries but couldn't help but worry about this elderly lady.  She seemed confused, I saw in her pocket book a benefits card, yet it was at the end of the month.  As I was leaving she was coming back in, with her ice cream.  "I cant let them think I was stealing!"  She explained.  I asked if she was "OK" and she said she was having a bad day and just wanted to get home with ice cream to sit with her cat.

I had had a rough day: woke up late, was later then I wanted to work, couldn't open my window, lost my cell phone in my hand, spilled lunch on my shirt and of course left work later then I planned.  And so I understood.  But I pray for her and as I was walking away had this great need to pay for her groceries.  I counted the money in my purse just over $17.00, her bill $17.19! Wow God works!

And so I followed back into the store to pay this women's grocery bill.  But neither her nor the store would let me. Halted in my willingness to be a good Samaritan, I watched as she just bought the ice cream and the bread and left the other items.  Her card worked.

I don't know this women's story or her money situation but what I do know is that we often fail to see the gifts of the spirit around us.  It could have been a quick and easy exchange, since I had 17.19 to the penny - and yet she was unwilling to accept it.  I wasn't pushy, I offered and double checked.  But I felt God called me to offer, I usually don't have cash on me.  I spent more then I had intended to when I had come in and yet the change of my bill left me with just enough to cover this lady's purchases. 

Sometimes, and I can't say for certain it was the case for this women, in our lives we let ourselves get in the way of the gifts of God.  We let our own ailments or our own woes.  We let our own problems and our own idea of solution get in the way of seeing God's will and gifts around us. 

We began a project several years ago now to restore a house.  At the beginning we let our own thoughts of what the house would look like take over from seeing what the house was saying.  After a change in plans and a more organic approach to the house restoration, our house is completely different from what we imagined - even with a few less walls!  Getting out of our own way can be a difficult thing.  Allowing God's will in can be difficult and even more difficult to understand...

And yet that is what we are called to do.  Allow God's will and gifts be present in our lives and not push them away or chose not to accept them.  Let us do this!  Let us get out of our own paths and hop on the path of God. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hope defeats

Standing under the great Mastodon skeleton I just can't imagine living along side these giant mammals let alone the even bigger Mammoths.   The sheer size of their legs is amazing.  And yet it was not that long ago that we (as humans) walked the earth with these mighty animals.  Humans are pretty remarkable.  I often truly feel wonder at the fleets we have taken and the strides we continue to take.  We have done some pretty amazing things.  (I am not going to talk about how we were also responsible for the complete wipe out of the beautiful creatures mentioned above or how God called us to protect the animals, that is for a different time). 

If we let our size or a few set backs get in our way, human would not have advanced to where we are.  Instead through perseverance we continue to move forward.  I am struck by the story of David and Goliath.  Here a giant, Goliath, had immobilized humans and defeated armies and yet David was willing to not only stand up but defeat the giant. 

Too often we as humans fail to see the hope when we are facing giant obstacles.  Although humans have made great advances, it has not taken many to do so.  Often we run and hide instead of stand and fight.  Often we fail to remember that with God on our side - hope defeats.

David knew that God was on his side.  When we invite God to be presence during our struggles, amazing things happen - we can indeed defeat them.  We can indeed with joy in our hearts find hope. 

Even when life feels like you are standing under a Mastodon, overwhelmed with what is coming at you and fearful that you cannot figure it out - take a breath, invite God in and find the hope that can defeat the negative and shine through. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

To Know what it is like...

This is a repost, but one worth reading:

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 rid 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 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; 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 managed 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 goose bumps: 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 judgments 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment on people lives who we often only see a short glimpse of. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Tremble of Grief

Leaning through the van door to unbuckle my two-year old from his seat I jump from an unfamiliar sound.  "What's that, Mommy?" my son asks.  "I don't know."  "Maybe an Elephant" he suggests.  "sure" I say as I am trying to non-verbally hurry him along.  It is sprinkling out, I still have another child to put into the wrap I've already tied around me and I am in the parking lot of the zoo on a day that I had better things to do.
Again I hear the sound, it is low and long.  It isn't a roar, yet it isn't the normal elephant noise.  Whatever it is, it sounds like distress.  And it is times like this that I begin questioning how good is a zoo (but that is a question I am not getting into today.)

After he picks up on my cues that we are suppose to be moving and not just lagging behind in the car, he starts speeding up the process of disembarking from the car and starting our adventure - the zoo in the rain.  Luckily for now the rain isn't bad and for now we can mange.  But as I see the buses of children arrive for a school field trip I am less then excited to be on this adventure. 

Finally we come to the lion den and we learn what this weird noise is.  It is the lion.  She is alone in the den sitting in a lounge position, everyone is getting great photos.  After a few minutes she stands up and from deep inside her body she lets out this low and long and loud noise - it is coming from deep and her body is trembling with the noise.  It is not quite a purr but it isn't a roar.  I had never heard such a noise and I began to worry about this beautiful creature.  Was she OK?  I wasn't sure.  It didn't sound like a happy noise but instead a noise made in pain.  Come to find out, she is mourning.  Recently she lost the other lions (the male and other female) that she had lived with.  They died.  And in her grief and sadness she called out.  It was beautiful.  All of a sudden the others were all sad for this lion and many felt pity for her but I was overwhelmed with wonder and awe.  As I always am when I see animals grieve. 

As humans we like to think we are much more evolved then the creatures around us and yet when it comes to our instincts and our raw emotions we aren't that different.  It is in wonder that I watch other animals grieve and understand the sense of loss.  It only enhances our understanding of human grief and loss.  And the emotion of pity that all those felt for the lion, stems from their own understanding of loss and grief in their own lives.  They could project that feeling on that lion. 

When I worked at the hospital I was called to a unit one evening for a women who had died.  It was not completely unexpected, however it was a little faster then most thought.  Her daughter, a friend and her daughter's friend were in the room and as the custom in their tradition they were waling.  It was this deep noise that comes from within and as it comes out with the force of the whole body, the body trembles and the wale escapes.  When I got to the room, I realized I was called up not because these women need Spiritual care but because the unit wanted them stop.  It was late in the evening and people were trying to sleep not to mention the noise was basically freaking out the staff.  So we moved into the hallway outside of the unit to finish - although there would be more waling at the funeral.  When the daughter expelled her final wale she stood up, wiped her face off with the back of her palms and headed back into her mother's room calmly to say goodbye. 

When we are struck with loss it is within our nature for our bodies to express the overwhelming feeling that fills us up.  Even if we don't make a physical sound, the body often slumps over or our heads hang low.  In a real way we are struck with the emotion of grief and it hits us in the core of our bodies. 

Therefore grief is an emotion that needs to be felt and to be expressed.  Grief is not an emotion to hold in or to hide.  This powerful lion was no less of a threat to us - had there not been glass - now that she was grieving.  She still was a beautiful and powerful beast, yet in her expression of grief, I was not struck by her weakness but instead her strength.  Her body held her up, even through the tremble.  Her voice strong and clear sent out the sounds of distress.  Her expression of grief was one that transcended above species as I could clearly hear her distress before knowing the source of the sound. 

In our own grief we must be comfortable in expression.  We must not let grief build inside us but instead allow it to transcend us.  All our grief to shed light on our relationship with the Creator and bring us closer to knowing the Spirit that dwells within us.  We can learn from letting go of our emotions instead of letting our emotions take hold of us.  Let us, the next time we experience loss, lift up our grief to God and in that moment let our emotions of loss and fear transcend into moments of hope and love.