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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Finding God

At one point I likened finding God in the midst of chaos like when we used to find Waldo in books as a kid.  God is always there, always in our life and always in our midst but we need to look.  I also pointed out that if you don't know what God is then you certainly can't find God - like if you didn't know what Waldo looked like you wouldn't know to look for the iconic strip shirt. 

That is why it is so important to open ourselves to a relationship with God.  So that we can find God's strength, love, light, hope, joy and even comfort wherever we find ourselves on life's journey.  

I would encourage you to find a way to open yourself to this Divine relationship.  Be it through meditation, prayer, reading the Bible or perhaps going to church.  Find a way to feel the power and grace of God changing your life.  

Knowing God is the key to finding God even in the midst of chaos. Take up the challenge this day, to find God in your life.  Begin easy - a devotional every morning, reading the Bible at night, offering a prayer while doing dishes.  Invite the Divine presence to your life now, when you have time to get to know God so that in the midst of life's fuller moments you not only know how to find God's presence but you know what you are looking for.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

In response to Sunday

When the unthinkable happens we are left with many questions. Most will never get answers, some answers will open themselves to more and much will be left to speculation.   This never sets well with us, as humans we have a drive for everything to make sense – for our world to make sense.  Probably this goes back to our days of survival – we needed to know what to expect so that we could always be prepared.  One thing about the world we live in, we can never know for sure what is going to happen.  We can however, be sustained by the assurance of God.  For all the earthly things that leave us broken, God’s grace and our faith can make us whole.

I am reminded of the psalms 42 and 43 in which the psalmist is longing for God.  We hear that the psalmist once had a strong relationship and in these moments in which they feel God has abandoned them they hold strong to the memories of their faith.  These psalms have the beautiful language of the soul longing for God and the reminder that: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”  It might feel that God has abandoned us during times of chaos, fear or anger.  It might feel the terror is rising above or hate is breaking through the love of God but our soul knows the truths.  Our souls knows that the Divine Presence does not abandoned us at our moments of need but instead walks this path with us: lifting us up, giving us courage and most importantly allowing for moments of grace to befall upon the moments of darkness.  As the psalmist points out, the Holy is our rock and where we take our refuge.  God was not in the evil act that was committed; the Divine however was in present in this disaster and in the works of people following this crime.

No one deserved to die on Sunday mornings mass shooting.  No one human has ever or will ever have the write to judge another human for their actions; or worse to reign down punishment.  No matter what your stance on the Bible and the GLBT community, this was not an action God would tolerate. 

In Matthew 5 beginning at verse 38 Jesus speaks about his commandment to “love.”  Jesus pushes the boundaries of his teachings but proclaiming to his disciples that they need to even love their enemies.  He reminds them that pagans love their neighbors, tax collects even love their own for loving your own is easy; what the Sustainer is asking is that you love everyone, even your enemy.  Powerful words.  In a sea of religious misconceptions and a nation that politics are trying to divide us, trying to create an “other” (an enemy or an escape goat), it is pretty easy to love and to be nice to those who are in our “in” group but we are called to love in those “outside” ourselves.  We are called to love all.  We are called to prove ourselves better than the world and worthy of the other worldly Kingdom. 

And here is our test.  In moments like this, moments when our world becomes uncertain and terror strikes our heart; in moments when we fear the loss of those we love and we mourn for the grief of lives taken, we are called to response not out of hate but love.  We are called to not respond with words that create enemies but actions that show evil can’t break the love of God.  We are called not to rationalize what happen but to grieve, rebuild and emerge out of the ashes.  We are called not to create a new enemy but to show love to those in pain.  We are called to change our lives so that perhaps we can be the change that ensures this never happens again. 

If only we lived in a world were truly everyone was accepted.  Where religion, sexual orientation or life choices didn’t define us but instead all saw the light of God in each other.  All saw the possibility of the other instead of being fearful of the other.  Yes this sounds like a place we can’t imagine.  Yes this sounds not possible or worse a pipe dream, but if we start with ourselves and our corners of the world perhaps one day love can shine through the darkness.  Until then, at the moments of tragedy, we look towards God, who is our rock, who is where we find refuge and we long for the moments in which we feel the love warm us.  We watch for the moments in which strangers helped strangers and God was there.  We seek the face of Christ in the lines of people offering blood to help the injured.  We hear God’s voice in the companies who offer support for families to reunite with loved ones or to say their good-byes.  We feel the Holy moving as miracles happen and people survived.  We know the courage it took for some to leave messages to love ones and the Arms of God that help hold them up. 

Let us come together not to lift up the man who took the lives nor the reasons of hate and terror that seeded the event; instead let us lift up the people who lost their life to this act.  Let us remember what true evil causes.  Let us take a step back from our own life and see where we spread seeds of hate, anger, fear and oppression and let us stand together to stop this.  To love all knowing that our commandment from Jesus is to do just that.  Following Jesus is not an easy task, it never was; it shouldn’t be mainstream!  Following Jesus means taking up all this teachings and truly changing not only ourselves but the world in which we live.  Let us as our soul longs for a relationship with God, long for a world in which love instead of evil prevails.  Today – let us take the charge to change ourselves and be better; show one more person we love them; take that extra mile for one more co-worker; honk less at that slow person in front of us; give that person a smile in the grocery store; say hello to that child on your way; and most importantly continue to live into the faith your Rock has called you too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

lens of God

So my three and a half year old and I recently had this discussion:

3yo: Hi mommy! I found this.  (showing me a piece of scrap wood from a staircase his father is building)
me: oh how nice.  What shape is it?
3yo: a pyramid!  (I was a little surprised he knew this)
me: well yes it is a pyramid.  But what shape is this  (drawing my finger around one side)?
3yo: a pyramid!
me: how about a triangle?
3yo: it is a pyramid mom! NOT A TRIANGLE...see it is 3D

This conversation with him got me thinking.  Earlier that day I had sat in a room with a woman ready to die and wondering why God hadn't taken her yet.  She was frustrated and upset with God, even though she still has much of her independence.  Yet I also sat with a person who saw God's grace everywhere, that day in the clouds in the sky.  Despite her age and her lack of abilities, she is happy. How can each of these people and so many others find such different outlooks on life.  How can some mange to find joy and hope where others only see fear and sadness?  These two ladies are seemingly both faithful people, both pray to God and look for the day that they enter the kingdom of heaven and yet both have such drastic outlooks on life.  And this is what we find all around us.  Yet this conversation with my son gave me an idea.  I was trying to get him to say triangle, the flat three sided shape that is used to make a pyramid and yet he saw it only as a pyramid.  As he pointed out, the very fact that it was a 3D piece of wood made it a pyramid.  Had it been a circle it would have really been a sphere.  Had it been a square it would have been a block. 

With this in mind, I suggest we put on the "lens" of God.  Ordinary moments look pretty flat and the boundaries of those moments defined but when we invite God into them they come alive. The fluidity of not only those moments but our days draws us into the relationship with God that change us.  This relationship gives us hope and love.  This relationship is where we meet grace and accept salvation.  This is a relationship in which we know that the Divine is clearly here to work in our lives.  Some of us are able to do this without much thought, we always have our lenses on and our eyes towards Christ; others of us need more reminding.  Either way, living a life with the lenses of God on changes us.  No longer do we live in the moments of gloom or the fear of the unknown.  No longer do we sit and wait for life to happen around us but for those with the lens of God on, life is good. 

Today, turn on your lens of God.  Allow yourself to be transformed.  Allow the world around you to be transformed.  Get out of the present moments and let hope be found, joy abound; let yourself be engulfed by love and grace lead you forward.  Let yourself live with and through the Divine knowing and trusting that there is more to life then meets the eye!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

How Far Should We Go For Our Faith?

I can't help but be reminded of the passage in Luke 7 when Jesus raised an only son of a widow from the dead.  Unlike the passage of Lazarus we don't know this man's name.  We do know however that Jesus touched the bier, what is used to carry the coffin / dead, and said "rise!" and the dead man sat up.  Interesting, here he didn't even touch the actual man.  Yet, in doing this Jesus became unclean - and for the Hebrews at the time that was a big sin.  He had become unclean, simply out of compassion.  He rose this man simply out of compassion for his mother.  Jesus out of compassion went against the laws of his faith. 

Unfortunately today, for many, this lesson is lost.  It is no longer out of compassion that we push the limits of our faith but instead out of fear, judgment, anger (the list could go on) we instead embrace perceived limits and instill them on others.   Instead of allowing the true nature of our bold and boundary breaking Christ we put into nice boxes the teaching of the good news and proclaim superior knowledge some 2000 years later.  And in the name of our beliefs and faith we allow evil to spread.  We allow for "othering" and most damning to Christ message we fail to spread love and compassion.  I doubt anyone would include compassion on a list of adjectives describing Christians.

Why?  Why do we feel that we need to draw a line in the sand about Christian truths and spread not only a negative imagine of Christians to the world but more importantly judgment and hate?  Since when was standing on a moral high ground about damning others?

How far should we go for what we believe in?  We should go so far as to love and serve even the least of these.  We should go so far as to show EVERYONE that ALL are worthy of accepting Christ.   But most importantly we should go so far as to bring Christianity BACK to the world.

Fear, anger, judgment, rash decisions and most importantly yelling should not be things we respond to.  They should not be controlling us, influencing us or even encouraging us.  These are not markers of Christians.  This is not what Jesus was about.  This is a marker of someone with little faith.  With little hope.  With little compassion and passion.  With little God in their life. 

For those who truly have a relationship with the Divine.  Life is about joy!  Life is full of hope! Compassion and passion abound!  But most importantly love flows.  Love beams and the Holy Spirit moves.  As part of the secular world, our faith should never be hidden or forgotten but we should also remember to show compassion and love to those around us.  We should remember the least, the last and most importantly never be the first to throw stones.  Should we all not strive to live a life that when our final day of judgment come have to stand before God and at worst case apologize for loving too much than to realize we didn't love enough? 

Jesus could have raised every dead person he met, but he didn't.  He did however out of compassion raise this man in the passage of Luke 7.  He did so by becoming unclean.  By going against the rules that defined his faith.  Out of compassion he went against the rules that defined his faith.  This is what we need today.  We need out of compassion to stop picking and choosing Biblical passages that allow us to through stones and judgment towards people but instead to find ways to love.  We need to for our faith not draw lines in the sand and proclaim there is a war on Christianity, but instead draw circles around our communities and let people in.  The only war on Christianity is one of its own making.   

People are living the church.  People are proclaiming they still believe in "something" but as I see it "something" isn't enough.  We need accountability for our actions, we need a place to fill us with God's love and most importantly we need to see the compassion of others bounding.  I would love to see more post/ tweets that revolve around compassion then judgment.  I would love to see people stop taking sides as if life is black and white.  I would love to see us talk with each other instead of at each other but NONE of that is going to happen unless we all realize that the answer to "how far should we go for our faith" is not drawing a line and standing our ground but is instead about breaking the boundaries.  Jesus broke boundaries.  Let us see and feel the Spirit that moves in all of us.  Let us remember that we are all apart of God's creation and as such we should all be see as brothers and sisters. Let us find compassion and bring God's hope, joy, love and most of all passion back to not only our lives but the lives of those around us.  Let us be engulfed by God's love not stifled by judgment.  

Let us with compassion break the boundaries of our faith and truly allow the Holy to abound in our lives and all those we touch.  Perhaps together, going the distance for our faith, we can bring back to this world joy, hope, love, compassion, grace and the salvation of Christ.