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, August 28, 2016

This is the Day the Lord Has Made!

Many of our psalms reflect the message in the title of this post - this is the day the Lord has made / let us rejoice in our Lord / sing to the Lord -

And yet, then we have days where everything goes wrong.  Recently I had a day where I was awoken early by a screaming child that they have nothing to wear when the day before I had just gone through all their clothing and organized their drawers; then I went downstairs to find we were out of coffee!  I sent my husband to the store for coffee and he came home with eggs. I feel over a baby gate trying to get shampoo that wasn't needed.  I went out to the store with the kids a bit later to do actual grocery shopping and in order to "keep them quiet" I opened a pretzel bag while we shopped.  That was fine until we hit the parking lot and I dropped the bag and spilled pretzels all over.  I then cut open my leg on something sharp somewhere between putting the cart back and our car.  I forgot the cauliflower but didn't dare go back in after all that.  When we got home I put down the groceries and a bottle of seltzer water burst open and spun itself across the kitchen floor bathing everything in its path in seltzer.  I got soaked by a super soaker cause another kid "didn't see me there." And to make the day best I sat down on a wet toilet seat.

At each one of these I proclaimed to myself "This is the day the Lord has made!"  In attempt to hang on and make it through.  In an attempt to brush it off and laugh about the day I was having.  My husband who bought the eggs wasn't doing much better, he went off to work to get something done early but forgot most of what he needed in the car I was driving.  Plus we had to work without power for most of his time there.  But that was the day the Lord had made!

Just because we are faithful people doesn't mean our days are any better then others.  It doesn't mean that our lives are truly any better then others.  Faith and trusting in God doesn't shield us from the bad of the world or for things to go wrong.  To believe that is to be "selfish" when it comes to God.  However faith does and will bring you through the struggles.  When you understand and connect to the greater universe.  When you believe that the picture is larger then you imagine.  When you trust in God knowing that God's promise is real, then you can find humor in the ugly.  It is then that you can find strength.

Our psalms also remind us of all the times that God stood with us, even when things look bleak.  Our God is the God of Jacob, the God that brought Moses out of Egypt and the God that walked with the Hebrews for what seemed like far too long with only manna to eat and yet delivered on the promise to them.  Our God is the God who loved the world that came to humbly walk among us as Christ.  Our God is the God that does give us hope even during trail.  Our God is the God that does provide and bless those who trust and believe.  And even though that doesn't mean that everyday is prefect or that every moment doesn't go without its challenges it does mean that when we reflect on the life we have we realize that because of our faith, life and love was that much better!  That because of God bad days were turned around with humor and didn't become bad months.  That because horrible diagnoses don't become definitions of who we are but instead remind us of why we live and of the promise God has for us.  That because bad things happen to good people doesn't mean that God isn't a part of our life and our story.

Don't turn your back on God.  No matter what has happened, no matter how many bad days you have or how dark the darkness becomes.  God does not turn a back on us.  God's light is somewhere and I encourage you to find it, seek it out and follow it into the hope of God's promise!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

repost on compassion

This time of year is always hectic, with birthdays and smashing everything into the end of the summer.  I didn't have time to write the last few days.  So while asking for compassion I am reposting something I put up in July 2013.  It is now 2016 and these words still hold true.  The difference between having true Christian compassion for someone and pity is great.  We truly need to dig deep and find when we ourselves are offering compassionate help or pity help.  We also must realize the true problems that our nation faces.  ... so here you go...

Stepping over the threshold of the tattered screen door and into the entry way of the soup kitchen my nose recoiled; this didn't smell like a nice clean food panty that I had helped out with before.  Instead it was a rodent, roach and who knows what else infested hole in the wall.  A place I couldn't imagine the health department keeping open let alone eating from.
As I began to give my help, I couldn't help but worry about my own health as I touched and moved the expired food.  I soon met and learned that most of the people volunteering where people who received food from their hot meal program and often bags of food from the food pantry.  As the day continued and I got to meet those that ran the program, fill the bags of food for those coming and stand in the 95+ heat of the day in the kitchen sweating like a pig, I realized that although this was sub-par by my standards it was for these people an amazing gift.

Finding compassion for this people and this food pantry might seem like an easy task for anyone who read above...but for me I felt pity.  I felt sad.  I felt terribly lost because I couldn't imagine eating or needing to eat this.  I find compassion for those who go to a food pantry in the white - middle class churches that give out food like mac and cheese and cereal.  I can put myself in their place and I can sympathize, understand to their level, where they are coming from and have always longed to change their situation.  But when it comes to the poorer then poor - that is where I find myself allowing pity and sadness to over shadow the love and compassion that Jesus and my faith is asking of me.

I think that it is this pity and sadness that continues to allow the truly poor to exist.  Because even those of us who struggle to pay our bills can't imagine eating day old food that may have had the maggots on top scraped off -- because no one should.

And if you don't think that there is true poor in your own country, neighborhood or town then you need to open yourself up and find compassion for those living around you who are struggling.

The country is not in a good place.  When I was in high school I was making $9.10 an hour at a retail store and paying less then $1.00 for gas.  Only 13 years later, the minimum wage is only $7.25 and gas is over $3.00 a gallon.  That math just doesn't add up.  Even with a decent job, people are struggling.

The government, big business, everyone in fact needs to stop pitying each other, pitying the poor and giving over a few pieces of stake every once and awhile but instead needs to find room for compassion and love.  Only then, would we see changes like fair wages and CEO who took realistic incomes.  Only then would we see the Kingdom on Earth.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Spirit Works Within and Through...

...sometimes without us knowing.

That is for sure.  When you are working and living in the world connected to God, it is truly amazing to see and feel how the Spirit may be working within the world and yes, even within you, before anyone realizes.  Recently I met a women whose husband had passed away only a few hours before.  My encounter with this stranger was brief and she stated at least twice how she was a strong woman and that was one thing her husband admired; yet at the end I knew I had to give her a hug.  The push to hug this woman was so powerful, I was overcome by it and further I knew that I would regret it if I did not.  After I hugged this woman she told me that her husband, who had pre-written his obituary, had told people in lieu of flowers give someone a hug.  Yup, that hug was the Spirit moving through me!

Every time we walk into our YMCA there is a greeter, usually these are people with some form of handicap.  One of these greeters is a younger man who has difficultly with speech and so they have a computer generated voice for him and he pressed buttons to talk.  I have noticed many people walking past him without giving him time to greet them, for there is a slight delay.  My children stop wait for him to press his button and say hello.  One day my oldest told him that his "computer voice was cool."  The smile on this young man's face lit up the room, but the best one was when my middle child ask his name.  He told us his name and now when they go in and see him, they remember his name.  This is surely the Spirit working in them to show God's love! 

Once my mom and step-dad were heading to a dog park, completely frustrated with their puppy and beginning to believe that they just "couldn't do it."  It was a difficult conversation on the way to the park.  When they arrived there was a woman there with several of the same bread dogs as theirs - a bread known to be wonderful but needs a dominate owners.  This woman showed them some tricks, gave them advice and encouraged them.  They walked away from that park feeling confident and several years later wouldn't imagine life without that dog.  They are frequent dog-park goers and although that woman helped them that day they have never seen her again.   That was the Spirit moving through that woman.
I was praying for a woman who was going to be transferred to her home for at-home hospice that her journey home be without care or worries.  I meant to her physical house that the transfer ambulance was going to take her too; she interpreted that as "home" to God.  That last was the pray she needed and God made sure that she got it.

 These might all seem like crazy examples or examples of just "decent people" or "small things" but I want to point out that our life isn't always full of extreme moments in which we need God.  Our life isn't all about the very low - but mostly life is about the every day.  Life is about the ordinary days that we live striving each day to accomplish what needs to get done.  Life is about the same-day to day unless we open ourselves to the Creator and the beauty around us.  Unless we open ourselves up to see how even in the small details, the Spirit can move and work! 

My middle child, who is my oldest son, told me while painting that my painting "wasn't beautiful" while comparing mine to his sister's whose was "sooo beautiful."  My painting was a realist example while hers was a modern abstract piece.  Mine looked like a bird, hers had all the right "colors" for that bird not all the right lines.  Beauty, especially God's beauty, is found all around us in life.  If we only look for it in the box we have created called "God" then we may miss out on the true beauty of the Spirit that is whirling around us

Sunday, August 7, 2016

In Plain Sight

Nestled behind and between a bunch of sub-division; tucked away between two busy roads; one parking lot big enough for a handful of cars and another off-street patch of dirt parking spot you will find an amazing trail of beauty.  There a river runs under the railroad, a waterfall cascades down some rocks and a trail brings you together with the beauty of the world around.  Behind the noise of the waterfall and the birds chirping, behind the noise of dazzling blue dragon flies you can hear the noise of the city: the car horns, the train and the rush of the highway.  Inside this oasis, you can't help but realize what beauty can be hidden in plain sight.  Many people don't realize that this spot exists but for those that do this is one treasure they are sure to go looking for. 

Every time I take the trail that begins at the small parking lot and follows the boarder of people's private fencing, I am amazed at the beauty that is hidden in the middle of a busy city.  The last time I was there I couldn't help but connect this to the "hiddenness" of God in people's lives.  God is always there for us.  God is always available.  Our Spirit is always longing for moments, even if fleeting, to be in unity with God.  And yet, we often live out our days so busy that we don't allow ourselves moments to just be.   We don't allow ourselves moments to be full or present.  We don't seek out the tranquility that can be found be searching for God.

Hundreds of cars pass by this every day and yet there have been moments I have been there with my children in which we were all alone.  Hundreds of cars pass by the opportunity to experience something city dwellers don't get every day - true nature.  And yet hundreds of people accept this.  They are just fine with their life and don't stop - don't make the effort to hike - don't care to know that there is more. 

But there is SO much more.  There is so much more to a relationship with God.  There is so much more when we seek out the Divine in our lives.  I just can't express the feeling when your Spirit is filled to the brim in communion with God.  These are the moments that give believers the strength and courage to do more and be more.  These are the moments that lead people to praise God for all that God can do in our lives.  For God can do!

Recently a person who has a LOT of busy in her plus on top of that a lot of burdens was fretting about an up and coming trip.  In a moment of Divine Blessing during prayer, she began lifting up her bowling balls to God and soon they became feathers.  Yes she is still carrying her worries with her on her trip, but now their weight will not stop her from enjoying every moment and every experience.   

Too often we live our lives thinking about God every once and awhile.  Too often we spend many more hours carrying the burdens ourselves instead of allowing our relationship with God to work.  Too often we just forget about God.  But God is here! God is there! God is everywhere!  God is sitting in plain sight and working all around us.  All we need to do is open ourselves up and allow our Spirit to be filled with the power of God.  I challenge you this week to find the God that is in plain sight and pray just a little longer, pray just a little more frequently and work  on engaging a relationship with God that allows your Spirit to flow in and around all you do in your life.  Remember that life is never so busy that you can't find time to communion with God.  Remember that it is only you holding yourself back from your relationship with the Divine.