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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Some see Jesus in toast...

Others see Jesus in apples :-).

Last week my three year old was eating an apple.  As he was munching through his apple, he took it away from his mouth and was examining it.  All of a sudden his stare got really intense, next thing I know he slowly brings the apple up to his mouth and in that same manner he took a careful and deliberate bite.  He lower the apple away from his face, took a look at it again and with all the conviction he had proclaimed "Look Mom, it is Jesus!"

Did I see Jesus?  Nope.  Was I going to admit that to him? Nope.  I simply said "Wow how amazing it is to see Jesus in your apple."  There shall be another blog post one day about our next conversation - was it ok to eat Jesus.  Going back to his apple, he was so happy to see Jesus in.  I was a little disappointed that I didn't or couldn't see Jesus in his apple, I really wanted to.  But it made me think about the realities of seeing and allowing for Jesus to be in our lives and seen at anytime.  We are so busy that we often fail to see the Jesus right in front of us.  Had he not been taking his time eating that apple and looking at it, he would have never see Jesus.  Today we do everything fast - eat fast, drink fast, move quicker and multitask just to get "it all done."  In doing so, we often fail to live in the moments and miss much around us.

How often as a passenger do you arrive at a destination and have no idea how the car got there?  How often do you spend time on FB and yet miss the true hardships of your friends lives?  How often do we sit at a meal with friends and family and enjoy simple conversation? 

Let's see if we cannot be challenged to open ourselves up to the world around us so that we see Jesus in all we do.  Jesus told us to come to him as little children - not because children know nothing but because children are open to the amazing Spirit around them.  For even in the busy of life, children can stop and enjoy simple pleasures.  If you have ever hiked with a kid, you will see this first hand.  They recognize and stop for small things and big.  Let the kid in us all come out and explore our relationship with God.  Stopping to see, living without the burden of responsibility controlling all our moments so that we may live into the moments God has for us and experience the divine who works in them all.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

New Life

 
 
Recently this was the picture I saw on my way home from work.  Although rainbows are not always good in photo graphs I say 2 double rainbows both sets coming from one point.  It was amazing to see 4 rainbows in the sky! 

Today we celebrate Easter, the resurrection of our Lord, and quite literally the High Holiest of our days and the hardest for most to accept.  Perhaps Christmas has become what it has because it is much easier to believe and find hope in the promise of a child then it is in a death and resurrection.   And yet that is the miracle we celebrate today! 

Through the empty tomb and the risen Lord, our sins our forgiven.  Our relationship with God is forever changed and we are offered new life.  The hope of Easter is in the risen Lord.  I hope today, you can find a way to celebrate outside of bunnies and eggs the true offering from God - one of new life through a Christ who suffered, died and rose again so our sins would be forgiven. 

Traditionally new members would often join church on Easter morning.  Today, re-commit or commit for the first time, yourself to the God who created all things and through all things brought Jesus into this world to fulfill the convent and to offer us new life. 

It isn't very often that one sees 4 rainbows in the sky, perhaps once - if never - in a lifetime.  And yet there they were.  God doesn't walk this earth all the time, God humbly walked amongst us as Christ so that we could come to a new relationship with God and each other.  Let us welcome the Holy in our lives and see the Christ that IS around us and AMONG us through others. 

Holy Week Devotional - Saturday


Romans 6:3-11

3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Thought:

When Jesus’ disciples buried him on the eve of Sabbath they didn’t know he would rise in 3 days time.  Instead they sat on that Sabbath morning in grief.  Great grief for they had all lost a friend.  We have all experienced lost from time to time, some great friends and some people who we knew.  The grief his disciples felt that morning must have been worst for they didn’t get what Christ had been saying all along.  In this passage today we are minded that we will be united with Christ in a resurrection like his.  Very comforting words for those suffering grief, words I am sure his disciples would have loved to hear. 

 

 

 

Exercise:

Today, be mindful when you wash your hands or run water of your own baptism.   We are reminded that through our faith and our baptism we will be united with Christ upon our death.   For Christ death on the cross brings great light to our own death.  As the waters flows over you be reminded that through faith and grace the Kingdom awaits.

 

Prayer:
Prince of Peace and Almighty King, I am grateful that God so loved the world that God’s only son walked amongst us.  The grace and truth that Jesus showed us and continues to show us inspires me to live a life worthy of my baptism.  Today I wash my hands and remember that through my own dedication to Christ I will one day walk in a resurrection like his.  Amen.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Holy Week Devotional - Friday


Gospel John 18:1-19:42

So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'" 22Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written." 23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.' This was to fulfill what the scripture says, "They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots." 25And that is what the soldiers did.

Thoughts:

King of the Jews, what did that mean?  Clearly to some Jesus truly let them down.  Here they cheered his entrance into the city.  Here they supported and encouraged him to be their King and yet they turned on him in a blink of an eye.  Soon the same crowd that welcomed him screamed crucify him and sent him along the path to Golgotha carrying the weight of his own cross.  What a change.  There is that wonderful hymn “where were you?”  I always like to think where would I have been?  Who would I have been?  Could I have truly been as horrible as to be one of those in the crowd?  Probably, even his faithful servant Peter denied him!  It is pretty easy for us to say we wouldn’t have or couldn’t have, but we know the end of the story.  We know that Christ was not an earthly king but instead reigns in the Kingdom of God.  We know that through his resurrection death was conquered.  Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for this and yet when the time came, they struggled.  What are we struggling with today?  Perhaps God has prepared you for this in ways you don’t see, be open to when struggles come your way to how God did prepare you for it.  Trust that although you may not know your future or the ending of your story – God does!

Exercise:

Spend the day eating meagerly.  This is not fasting, this is eating mindfully until you are full and not indulgencing in extras – sweats and fats.  At some point eat some bread but be mindful in doing so of Jesus’ last supper and communion at church.  Think about how the “bread of life” continues to nourish us and sustain us.  God doesn’t promise a banquet of the most expensive foods (think about the exodus and all the manna) but Jesus does state that with his bread we will never go hungry.  Praise God that our faith can sustain us, even when we don’t know the end of our story!

Prayer:
Gracious Redeemer, be with us this day as we continue to remember your death.  Although we know the ending of your story, remind us of the weight of that cross you bore and the hunger we have for our Spiritual growth.  Provide for us the strength to trust that you are all we need.  Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Week Devotional - Thursday


Gospel John 13:1-17, 31b-35

1Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" 7Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." 8Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." 9Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" 10Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean." 12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord — and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 31When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Thought:

Simply love one another!  What a powerful commandment from Christ.  Not “do onto your neighbor what you would want done to you” but instead love one another.  He wants them to be done by the fact that they love – simply love!  Jesus did not know how great this commandment would be nor how hard it is for humans to follow.  Showing God’s love to all isn’t an easy task and yet we are called to do so.  Serving others isn’t an easy task and yet we are reminded that even great leaders serve.  If we live like his and know these things, Jesus tells us that we will be blessed.  Let’s try to simply love!

Exercise:

Amazing gift that Jesus gave his disciples by showing them his love, even washing their feet.  Today let us spread the love, reach out – give a hug, call someone to tell them you love them.  Do something to show God’s love to the world. Remember you are loved.

Prayer:

Loving Father, my heart leaps for love and remembers the joy that serving brings to me.  Help me find ways to love and serve even when I have limitations.  Help me to show your love despite my fears and grant me courage to engulf all those around me in your love. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Holy Week Devotional - Wednesday


Gospel John 13:21-32

21After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, "Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me." 22The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23One of his disciples — the one whom Jesus loved — was reclining next to him; 24Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" 26Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do." 28Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the festival"; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

31When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once."

 

Thought:

Betraying Jesus, it had to be done but I am sure none wanted to be the one.  Today, we surely don’t want to be the one who betrays Jesus.  And yet we do, don’t we?  We often fail Christ in our life – fail to see or fail to share.  We are reminded in the gospel  of Matthew that whatever we do to the least we do to Christ.  How often have we let judgment nail someone to a cross?  How often have we allow differences to do the same?  Or have you been nailing yourself up to the cross?  Unable to accept Christ’s offer for forgiveness? 

Exercise:

In the kitchen get some salt and a small bread plate.  Dump some salt on to the plate and use this time to write a letter or draw a shape that represents your sin.  After that pray to God offering your sin and then simply throw the salt in the garbage.  It is as simple as that, your sins are not only forgiven but God is offering you new life.  Someone had to betray Jesus but today, everyone is worthy of the wonder of grace!  Rejoice

Prayer:

Glorious Redeemer, take away my sins this day.  Help me to see my worth and to accept my forgiveness.  Grant me courage to continue to your will in this world.   Give me strength each day to live for you as I glorify your Holy Name.  Descend upon me and engulf me in your loving spirit so I may go out into the world glorifying your name. Amen

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Holy week devotional - day 2 Tuesday



Gospel John 12:20-36

20Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

27"Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say — 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again." 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." 30Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 34The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" 35Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light." After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

 

Thought:

There are two very powerful thoughts here – one about a gain and one about light.  First the grain: which must fall to the earth to bear fruit.  Seed packets hold lots of potential but it isn’t until the seeds are actually planted that the wonder is revealed.  Jesus can walk this earth and gather his disciples in but it is not until his death and thus his resurrection that the true meaning of Jesus’ life is understood.  It is not until then that we truly understand the wonder of Christ.   Second the light: which we are reminded to live and to walk in.  Fumbling in the dark can lead us to trip fall and hurt ourselves.  Standing in the light we always have safe footing.  Following Jesus brings light into our world – brings hope and love, even in the darkest places.  Together we are reminded that death was not the end of Jesus story – the darkness of his death or his tomb could not hold the light of Jesus – Easter morning continues the story!  Let us rejoice in the light of love and hope.

Exercise:

Add a light to your life – lite a non-flame candle or turn on an extra light or even better stand in the rays of the sunlight for a few minutes.  Be reminded by how the light feels in your life.  Notice today when the darkness comes in, be it literal or not.  Awaken yourself to the light of Christ that brings with it the knowledge and wonder of the fruit that Jesus’ bears and of which brings us hope in the Kingdom.

 

Prayer:

Creator God, descend into our lives today helping to lighten our world and brining saving grace.  We thank you for brightening up our darkest moments.  Help us to bear your fruit in the world proclaiming your Word and showing your love. Amen.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Holy week devotional - Monday




Gospel John 12:1-11
1Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5"Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?" 6(He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."
9When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
Thought:
We put a monetary value on our things but we also put a monetary value on our gifts don’t we?  We put an hourly salary on what we think we are worth or we have expectations on what we will “get” in return for something we do.  Or worse, we fail to use the very gifts we have.  Here Jesus has wise words – you don’t always have me with you.  Jesus is warning his disciples that he will no longer be in fresh form. None of us alive today met Jesus when he walk this earth, but we have met Jesus.  We are told in this passage to not put a price on our meetings of Jesus but instead use them praise and glorify God.  What an important lessons.  How often do we actually talk about our meetings of Jesus?  How often do we see a “least of these” and fail to see the Christ in our presence?  How often in our busy lives do we fail not only to use our gifts for God but also to fail to see the workings of God around us?
Exercise:
Find some quiet time today to let God in.  Be open to Jesus in your presence, don’t rush the experience but instead savor it.  If you need turn to a psalm (psalm 36 in the psalm of the day) and read it over and over again as you mediate on the words; be open to the God that surrounds us.  As Jesus walked through the crowds on palm Sunday, everyone worshiping and praising him, I challenge you to allow Jesus to walk into your life today.
Prayer:
Gracious and Loving Creator, descend into my heart this day.  Encouraging me to see my gifts and use them for your will.  Open my heart to the Holy presence around me reminding me to live into each moment.  Help me to recognize the abundance of God in my life and remind me when I stumble.  I am never too busy to appreciate You and open myself up to a divine relationship.  Amen.  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Enouragement

This morning I realized I was in the bizarre back and forth with my eldest child.  She was screaming that she could not do something and I was giving her encouragement.  But after close to 10 back and forths I wondered why was I pulled into this?  So I simply said, "I know you can do this.  I am walking away."  She screamed a few more times but in the end she accomplished it. 

Encouragement is wonderful.  Encouraging others is important.  Asking for God's strength is a form of encouragement.  But we need to realize that not only do this get done faster but they get done better when we don't complain.  Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, although he didn't have much to say about it when he returned, we didn't hear anything about him complaining. 

Whatever we are doing for Lent, be it giving something up, adding something to our lives or simply trying to live into your faith - complaining shouldn't be involved.  And in fact with just 2 weeks to go I encourage each of you to think about your journey thus far...is it what you hoped?  If not there is still room to improve - not complain but to actually change. 

Easter will be here before we know.  The resurrection of the Lord is coming!  Let us live into this by giving our best each and every day. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

My little Super Hero!

I posted something similar to this (this is updated) last February.  One year later and although a little older, my super hero is still only wearing super clothes and even if he was "out" of this phase, this reflection still remains true.  We all should connect to the little hero in us all!

I wake up every morning the patter of small fit coming into my room and the loud voice of a two year old exclaiming "wake up!"  It is the bright and shining face of our son, soon to be the middle child.  He is so cheerful in the morning, I still need coffee in order to measure up to his cheer factor (and perhaps another hour of sleep?!).  Lately though he comes in ready to start his day, not as my son who I gave a wonderful name to but instead as ....wait for it...Batman! (cue theme song) or perhaps today it will be Superman or Spiderman or Flash or Captain America.  Which way we are in that wonderful stage of pretend and play.  When my daughter was this age she wore the SAME outfit with DORA on it for 14 weeks, of course it went into the wash each night and in the morning she would wait at the dryer until she could put it on. 

Back to Batman...or whichever hero he chooses for the day (he even has been known to be Wonder Woman).  When he is batman, he wanders the house in this costume which reveals only his mouth and a couple of slits for eyes.  He has to walk carefully as he can barely see and yet that doesn't stop him.  He laughs and thinks that he is indeed batman.  When you call him for food, he exclaims "NO BATMAN" if you failed by calling him by his birth name. He doesn't know much about these Super Heroes that he loves except that they must be cool.  He knows that spider man has webs and superman flies; he knows that batman has a tool belt and that hulk is super strong.  He doesn't know that people can't fly and we are awaiting the day he flies down the stairwell.

As he is living the life of a full fledge super hero, our daughter who is older and of course much more knowledgeable then her brother in this matter is helping him learn.  The other day he was frustrated - mostly because the limitations that come with wearing his Batman costume - it is not meant to be wore 24/7 and is not as comfortable as his PJ's.  In his frustration he was giving up, so his older sister (who is 4) comes up to him and explains that "Super Heroes never give up."  And reminds him that Batman should be teaching him this.

Super Heroes never give up.  This is so true.  When they are fighting it out with the bad guys, who never die and always return they don't give up.  How long can the Joker and Batman truly wage war against each other before it gets old?  I am surprised that the story lines of Superman and Lex Luther just don't get so "been there, done that" that the comic book fans just stop reading. And yet, they don't and their heroes don't give up either. 

 But life is also full of good and it is dealing with the bad that keeps us moving forward - life is about coping.   Some days if we were told what we might have to go through we might never get out of bed. Being a Christian is about knowing you are not dealing with all the bad alone - that you have God and a community of Church to lean on. 

Being a Christian is knowing that God never gives up on us.  And that we shouldn't give up either.  Life might feel like one big battle between you and your own joker - or lex luther - if you are dealing with addiction, depression, abuse, ect... life might be one big battle between you and your joker but if we can take anything away it is that we should never give up.  Life is about living it to the fullest.  Fighting our battles and celebrating in life's triumphs.  Life is about the days when things are going smoothly and the world around us is balanced and peaceful.  But life is also about the days when we struggle to keep the positive or when bad things just seem to be pilling up in front of us. 

We can either choose to be the Super Hero of our own story.  Perhaps leaving the costume at home and just living the anonymous life but never giving up.  Letting God in our life and bringing Christ's love to the world.  Or we can choose to block out the light, to let the bad stuff pile up so high that the sun cannot shine through and dwell in the darkness.

I think we can all say (cue theme song) .... we would rather live into God's grace and love.  Never giving up but instead embracing the trails knowing that we aren't alone but instead God is with us.  Giving us each the strength and courage to defeat the evil around us.  Making us all super human through the love and forgiveness given through grace.