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.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

We don't pray for horses

When my daughter was just under 4 she was obsessed with owning a horse.  We had moved to property with a barn and the people kind-of across the street owned horses.  Her friend had two miniature horses and she was convinced that this was something she needed.  So in her little child mind, she began to pray for horses.  During this time we were trying to get her to learn the passage from Joshua "be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, God is always with you" and so one night I had a long talk with her about how we pray to God not for our own will to be but for God's that we pray to God not for ourselves but for others.  Two days later in the car she was singing - she does this a lot - and she sang "we pray to God, yes we do, we pray to God, yes we do!  we pray to God for courage, yes we do! We pray to God for strength, yes we do! We pray to God for courage, yes we do! For we are not afraid.  We pray, God answers, We pray, God answers.  But we don't pray for horses, people buy horses, yes we don't! We pray to Go, yes we do..."

I almost burst out laughing!  But in her own way she was getting it.  This is a tough thing for adults to understand and get let alone children.  If God truly answered our prayers as we saw fit we would live in a world with a lot more problems then we do now.  You see we don't have the foresight that God does, to know the consequences of our human desires - just take Adam and Eve for example.  In our infamous Luke passage (Luke 11) in which we hear the words that give us the concept "seek and you shall find" "knock and the door shall be open" "ask and you shall receive" Jesus is not proclaiming that all our Earthly desires will be given to those who pray or believe.  Yes we are to persist in our prayers but the parable in this passage is not one of a man seeking gain from his neighbor but is interceding on behalf of another friend.  His desire is to help an other.  When we pray for courage, strength, joy, peace we are seeking to not only better ourselves for our own sake but for those around us.  When we pray for horses, lottery or other wants we are praying out of selfish desires. 

We are called to live into community and to love one another - all of humanity.  We are called serve others.  We are called to care and we are called to change ourselves and those around.  We are called to bring the Kingdom of God.  We are called to be the light in the darkness and the path to better.  But we can't do this if we are praying for horses.  We can't do this if we allow the evil of the day to spread in our vines. We can't do this if we can't open ourselves up to the prays that God wants for us. 

I am sadden by the world around me.  I am sadden that alcohol and drugs are running people's lives.  I am sadden that negative Television gets ratings while positive good in the world is forgotten about.  I am sadden that more people do not have a true and meaningful relationship with the Divine.  I am sadden that so many people are living a Christian life without living a life full of the Holy Spirit. 

BUT all this can change.  It can change through the power of prayer.  It can change through the Divine inspiration of praying for courage, hope, strength, love, joy, salvation, grace, ect... instead of praying for earthly wants and desires.  It can change through our own desire to be the change in the world, showing God's love.  It can be changed through each person taking a few moments each day to have relationship with God. 

We can take a lesson from my daughter.  We can take a lesson from the church and from God.  Let us let God's will into our lives.  Let us long for the compassion of a world that knows peace and love.  Let us begin to be the change not only our country needs but this world and the next generation need.  Let us be the lights that shine.  Let us allow love to come from our mouths and most of all let us pray for grace and love to abound in all lives.



Joshua 1:9New International Version (NIV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Gospel Luke 11:1-13
1He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." 2He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread. 4And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial."
5And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' 7And he answers from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"




Sunday, July 24, 2016

God never gives up on us!!!

My oldest son has been crazy about super heroes since he was 2.  When he was 2 1/2 he was dressed as batman and he thought he WAS batman!  He wandered the house in this costume which revealed only his mouth and a couple of slits for eyes.  He walked carefully as he could barely see and yet that didn't stop him.  He laughed and thought that he was indeed batman.  When you called him by name, he exclaimed "NO BATMAN".

 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.  One 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.

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...  Or in today's world it could feel like we are battling our own super villains as we continue to experience terror, racism and bloodshed.  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

My son is now almost 4 and the super hero love hasn't gone away.  He has found out the hard way that humans can't fly.  He has found out the difficult way that he isn't truly batman, but he still likes to pretend.  And having a super hero in my life has opened my world up.  As I watch the political battle in front of our nation, as I see and witness the struggle of real Americas and as I hear the language of media about the country I live in, I am even more thankful for God in my life. God provides light when everyone else proclaims darkness and my super hero - Jesus - provides salvation to all who believe. 

We have a choice, to live into the darkness that other's make of the world allowing for fear and anger to take hold and rage to run it course - we can allow the villain's to win the day.  Or we can live into the life God has for us.  Live into the truth that God never gives up on us.  Live into the light of Christ and shine this light so all may feel the warmth of God's amazing grace!  I choose the later - for me and my household we will serve the Lord!!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with Good

Romans 12:9-21
9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
 
 
With the violence that we have experienced and felt recently we need to uphold this passage.  It is not time to fall into the trap of proclaiming fear is bigger than God.  It is not time to leave behind all we know in fear.  It is not time to be proclaiming that this is "the worst" it has ever been.  Throughout history we as humanity have stood in the doorway of bad times and seen some pretty evil things.  Throughout history we have at moments or two believed we were living in the "most" violent or "worst" of times and yet we have learned that there is more for the human story than we can imagine. 
 
Let us also remember that throughout our Bible there are people/ places that must overcome in order to be.  I am reminded of Jacob who wrestled with God at the river banks.  There the two wrestled until Jacob's hip was hurt.  This was on the eve of Jacob returning home to a land that he stole from his brother and to a brother he betrayed.  He didn't know what he was going to face the next day, he didn't know what he was walking into and yet he did not let fear stop him.  The injury he sustained from his wrestling with God he lived with forever.  A clear reminder, but God blessed him on that river bank and offered him new life, new hope.   Whatever or wherever our journey has lead us or leads us, the scars we pick up along the way stay with us; we can let them define us or we can move forward to new life and new happiness.  We as humanity can and do reflect on the moments in our history where evil seemed to out weight good; and yet goodness has prevailed.  We have come out with a scar or two, but we through strength and courage prevailed.
 
These moments when it feels that evil is taking over and we are wrestling with God over the big question "why?" Let us not fail to remember that for those who give into God's will; turn over the power to God and listen, great hope comes.  That for those who listen to the wise words in Romans and do not let evil overcome their hearts but instead find ways to love faith prevails.  Jacob after being wounded was blessed and when he encountered his brother later that day was embraced by love.  A powerful example of good overcoming wrong doings and yet the physical limitation that plagued Jacob was a reminder to him of his flight.  We might always remember 2016 as a time of loss and racial divide in this country; and France will certainty remember these horrible moments, as we remember 9/11; but that doesn't mean that all hope is lost.  It doesn't mean that evil has taken over this world, nor should we let it.
 
Take the time today to do good.  To allow God to move in your heart and soul.  To overcome the hatred in your heart with love and most importantly to remove yourself from this moment in time to trust in the grandeur of creation, knowing and believing in good, in God.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Reflection for the day...


For a while my daughter only saw colored children when we came into the city to go to a museum or a park.  I purposely pick books that address openness but the first time she was verbal and really met a black child she came running up to me and told me she had a new friend.  When I asked her what her name was she responded “Oh I don’t know, but she is the dark one.”  I at first was horrified and embarrassed, I didn’t want them to think that I had taught her something racist.  So I simply said to her “You know, it is better to learn a person’s name then to call them out on something particular about them, how would you feel if someone said “you know that girl with the short hair?”  She said she wouldn’t like and went to ask her name.  Later she told me she told her new friend that she thought her skin was pretty.  I hope that family saw that all her responses came out of love and curiosity.  But when we don’t talk to our children about this we raise issues.  Another time, she saw a Native American family and all the boys had really long hair in pony tails.  She asked me loud enough for the family to hear, why do those boys have long hair?  I explained that hair is a sign of our culture and hairstyles as well, I told her that each culture is proud of how they wear their hair or what they put on their hands.  Later, on a different day, we saw a Muslim and she ran up to the person and asked them “what culture are you from?” I explained to them that she was learning about differences in humans and with joy they told her about their head piece.  Out of love, differences were explained and fear was avoided. 

I am not trying to proclaim myself to be parent of the year here.  These examples are but a few of the conversations on diversity that we have with our children.  Usually these conversations are sparked in the heat of a moment when presented with someone or something new.  I think it is right to embrace the moment and not react out of embarrassment.  I remember as a child asking my mother something about a person I saw and her response and we will discuss it later attitude worried me, I never felt comfortable bringing it up later. 

I know these conversations are difficult.  But if we don't have them, if we don't make differences something that is not only OK to talk about but more importantly safe to embrace then we aren't teaching the next generation anything better!  We aren't going to help the next generation overcome the problems of this generation - especially if we ignore them!

But as an older generation we also need to be more open to the younger generation.  When a child asks you questions, don't assume that it is out of hate but perhaps open yourself to hearing the love behind the questions.   One time my daughter tried to engage a person in conversation about their differences and looking at me with a horrible glance the man walk off offended.  It was a teaching moment for her on how we do need to be careful about some things we say; but nonetheless, her statement wasn't truly that inappropriate. 

My reflection is this: parents don't be afraid to address your children's questions, no matter how seemingly embarrassing with truthful and LOVE-filled statements.  Let us embrace the diversity as a positive thing.  Let us remember that God created us, each person to be unique.  Let us remember that Jesus called us to love all and more importantly let us see the Holy Spirit that dwells in all beings.  Surely goodness and mercy can be shown even in the awkward moments of life.  Surely God's love can shine through curiosity!  Surely God's grace can be felt when out of "the other" friendship is forged.

Let us out of love accept and embrace our difference and avoid fear.  Let us not "other" people to the point that the next generation of children comes to fear the unknowns and believe any one type of person is a enemy to all of humanity.  Let us instead see the individuals before us in all the glory and diversity that God has created! 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Neighbor




“And who is my neighbor” (Luke 10:29b from Luke 10:25-37)

This is a loaded question.  This lawyer is not only ready to spar with Jesus; he is surly trying to catch Jesus.  He is trying to prove something.  The question at hand is “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Now the lawyer is Hebrew and he knows his Hebrew scripture.  He is part of the chosen people of God in the Old Testament and he knows who his neighbor is.  He knows his neighbor is anyone like him, any Hebrew.  He knows that the Old Testament proclaims that neighbor means any Hebrew for even the Old Testament points to out the “others” are not neighbors but enemies.  This lawyer comes from the point of view the neighbor means “kin” or “like me”  and he is waiting for Jesus to agree – or maybe not maybe he is waiting for Jesus to make a fool of himself.  But instead of agreeing, Jesus uses a parable to tell us something so important.  We know that the man in the story is left half dead and therefore the Rabbi and Levite walk pass him on the other side of the road.  We are left in horror here, in our modern minds, that just seems wrong.  And yet for these two it was natural.  If the man was dead, it would have prevented them from doing their job by stopping and helping him.  Their job was in the Temple and it would have left them unclean to have touched him.  They had reasons for passing him by.  The Samaritan had reasons too.  We assume this man was Hebrew, not Samaritan.  We assume this Samaritan didn’t know this man.  Samaritans kept kosher and many Hebrew laws so it would have been unclean for him to touch this man as well and yet he did.  It is important to note however, the Hebrews saw Samaritans as others but Samaritans, who worshiped the Hebrew God, did not see Hebrews as others.  He not only helped the man in the moment but he made a promise to the innkeeper that he would repay the innkeeper when he returned.  What a generous moment for someone who didn’t know this man.  For someone who wouldn’t call this man kin.  For someone who was “outside” this man’s culture.  Someone who was treating them man as he hope and wished others would do for him.  Jesus then proclaims “Go and do likewise!” I am sure the lawyer saw nothing wrong with the beginning of the story, in fact it probably seemed natural and OK for the Rabbi and Levite to do what they did.  In fact, if it was a fellow Hebrew who found this man, the lawyer may not have had any issue with this story.  What is transforming is that Jesus said to be like the Samaritans and proclaimed to GO and DO.
In the last several years we have heard story upon story and see face upon face of where we have been less then neighbors to the others around us.  The sad part is all the stories and faces that fell silent during this time.  It is completely unacceptable that we have live into a society that continues to separate and define each other by the color of our skin or the culture we come from.  In a nation in which we proclaim, or most of us proclaim, to be Christian, we seriously need to take a look at what we are learning from Christ.  Christ in this passage today turned the tables on neighbors.  He was a game-changer, a rebel and most importantly a non-conformist.  Christ does not live into the old ways but challenges them to pave the way for new ways.  The “chosen people of Israel” is a thing of the Old Testament and now in order to inherit eternal life it doesn’t matter if you are born a Hebrew or not what matters is that you “Love your neighbor as yourself.”    Show your neighbor the same love and respect that you show yourself.   In Psalm 24 there is a question about inheriting the Kingdom and it proclaims that those with clean hands and pure hearts – Jesus is challenging this way of thinking and turning it upside down.  No longer is it “clean” hands from the standards of the Old Testament but baptism in Christ is a clean from sin.
I spent several years living in the city, surrounded by the multicultural city dwellers and lived as one of the minority whites.  I learned a lot.  I saw racism first hand.  I witnessed cops treat those around me differently then they treated me.  Once my husband and I were pulled over, we had a black passenger in the front seat and he was asked for identification – not me a white woman in the back seat but a black passenger.  And that is not the only time I saw injustice. 
As a chaplain for the hospital I saw the results of gun violence.  And not just on young black man – guns hurt all ages, all races and all classes.  The horrors I could tell. 
But I shouldn’t have had to witness those things.  I shouldn’t have to pray that my children never witness this.  I shouldn’t have felt that I couldn’t raise my children in the wonderful multicultural neighborhood I lived in because I feared that they would witness too much and too young an age. 
I now live where everyone is white.  Of course we have the token black people or a few multicultural families but they are accepted as one of us.  When I attempt race conversation I am the one who is either “sounding racist” or “accusing people of racism”  Maybe I am doing both.  It is hard to not sound racist.  It is hard to talk about race without first having people argue over if it is right to say black or African American.  I am simply trying to talk about race out of love.  Out of a white person who has witnessed and knows racism is real and wants to stop it.   We can’t let language stop us from conversation and when we talk about race out of love all should listen.  We can’t let fear get in the way of love. I want my children to love all and to not allow color, culture or anything else get in their way of seeing someone for the person they are.
This week we lost too many lives.  Not just black or “blue” but people – persons!  We lost too many of our neighbors.  We lost too many people who should have been loved.  And we lost them all due to senseless violence.  We lost them all due to many more wrongs then we can begin to count.  But we shouldn’t let their lives be lost in vain.  We shouldn’t let these three events be what brings us into more violence but instead they should be a wakeup call to the real issues we have here; issues that need more than just a simple brushing over but a true, meaningful and loving addressing. 
We are to love our Lord God with all our heart and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We are to treat our neighbors with respect.  We are to teach our children that this is not the way and that hate in our hearts doesn’t leave room for love.  When we fail to love our neighbor as ourselves we fail to be able to love our Lord God.  Let us call ourselves out on love today and work towards opening our eyes to the injustice.  Jesus here is turning inside out the understanding of neighbor for these Hebrews.  He is giving them a parable that changes the game.  And yet, we can’t open ourselves up enough today to love all people – all humans – no matter their color. 
We are a nation that has gone to war with other countries proclaiming we are saving them from oppression and bring them democracy – freedom.  And yet we can’t see the oppression in our own country created by racism and “othering” people.  We need not only to wake up but to snap out of the way we have been treating each other and live into our call to love and to show God’s love and mercy to all – seriously all humans, all people, all who we meet and all who are unknown to us.  We need to change our language to one of love so that hope can be had not only for ourselves and our nation but for our children and our grandchildren, for our future.   We must GO and DO!
 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Freedom this fourth

Standing tall with my right hand on my heart I proudly repeated the pledge of allegiance every morning during grade school and middle school.  In fact, I remember this so vividly!  Yet somewhere after middle school I don't remember doing this, perhaps in high school I just didn't pay attention.  Perhaps it was said before I got to school (I lived only 7 houses away and often waited for last bell before I started my way to school) or perhaps it just wasn't done, I don't know. 

As I reflect on this weekend, I realize that more people will be celebrating a day off or at a BBQ then remembering the reason for the holiday.  Sure we will all wear red, white and blue but somehow "freedom" does not quite mean the same thing to us anymore.  Freedom has become a word we use to get what we want; when we feel that something is against us.  We fail to see the grandeur needs of freedom and the true meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The founding fathers didn't say we all have the right to happiness, anything we want any way we want it - but the pursuit of happiness.  We have turned the right to freedom into the right of greed.  It is now each person, each companies right to have as much as they want at the expense of others.  This is not at all a good way of thinking, or a good way to live.  This is not, as Christians, OK.

Then there is the real freedom that is being fought for.  The freedom from war, the freedom from terrorism, the freedom from oppression.  This is, for many, the after thought freedom.  And yet for the people who give and risk their lives for this freedom, it is the one that matters.  It is this freedom that brought America into being, that freed slaves, that gave the right for all to vote and for anyone to marry.  It is this freedom that brings hope to the world and that continues to ring through in those who pursue the American Dream. 

But it is this freedom that is not only most important but most at risk.  It is the freedom that brings hope that we must not let die.  In the wake of terror and fear, we must not let yelling about hate trump over the feelings of liberty.  We must not allow the media and the global awareness hurt our ability to see the freedom we have.  We must not become a prisoner of fear so that freedom means nothing more then greed.  Nothing more then each of our personal choices being preferred at the expense of others.  We cannot let freedom slip into the abyss of fear or worse lose the hope that it stands for. 

Yes, as Americans we hope that freedom rings through our lives, our cities, our states and our nation.  Yes we hope that freedom means rights set by our amendments but we must not allow personal greed to take over freedom.  We must not allow fear to reduce freedom for all and most importantly this holiday we must not forget why we adorn ourselves with the colors of our flag.  We must not forget that throughout human history people have risked and lost their lives for this one reason: Freedom.  Freedom is not a simple pleasure, it does not give us individual rights to do stupid things or create chaos, it does however allow us as a nation to offer something to all who live here: HOPE.  When we give into fear, we lose freedom.  When we give into corporate greed, we lose freedom.  When we fail to remember those who died, we lose freedom.  When we fail to be proud of our nation, we lose the freedom we offer. 

This weekend, let politics go out the window.  Turn off the TV and just stop.  Stop the fear, stop the hate, stop all that is in your way of feeling the hope that comes with freedom.  Take the time to reflect on what freedom means for you, for your family but most of all for us as a nation.  Look at what allowing freedom to ring has done for us.  Don't live into the nasty judgments that suggest our country has gone down hill, but instead live into the hope that freedom has allowed.  Live not into the fear of the other, but the hope that the other may be our friend. 

Freedom is an amazing thing.  Freedom if lived into can bring pride, hope, joy and most importantly respect to those we encounter.  Today you are free to choose not to oppress, not to live into fear or anger.  Today you have the right and the freedom to choose to live into what it means to be free - not for yourself or your own selfish gain but for the nation.  For us as Americans.  Let us reflect on the hope of our freedom.