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, January 29, 2017

Our Christian Identity Requires MORE

Today we are called out to do more than just confess with our hearts and our lips – more than just worship but we are called to imitate Jesus called to live according to the example that Christ set for us. We are called to own our Christian Identity.  
So how do we own our Christian identity?  Do we do this by living a good life – following the rules and having a moral compass to look at?  Do we do this by being nice to people faces or by allowing others take advantage of us?  Do we do this by trying to live under the radar or by not stirring the pot or causing discomfort for people?  
If we look around at the Christians in the world today – that would be how many see it.  If you aren’t a conservative evangelist.  If you are a Protestant, mainliner then this is what imitating Christ has become living in the status quo a life that follows most of the rules and in which you hope you are living morally and ethically sound lives.  Being a Christian is synonymous with being a good citizen and often being a happy one.
But that wasn’t what it meant for the early followers, the first generation of believers.  Taking a look at the disciples themselves we see that only 3 died of natural causes – the others? Crucified, stone to death, beheaded or impaled.  You see, being Christian used to be going against the norm – it used to mean something more than just being part of the majority.  It used to mean giving over your life and being willing to put your life on the line for your beliefs.  
But these days, Christianity hasn’t been about imitating Christ or living according to the Divine example.  Instead it is about living into the delusion that others have created – that perhaps the devil is sitting back smiling at.  Christianity isn’t about giving our life up for Christ but is instead about what prayers God answers for us and used to judge people.  Today we hold ourselves up as judges because as Christians we believe we are holding people to unrealistic standards and yet at the same time as sinners fail to live up to them.   
We are creating an intense environment in which Christianity does not mean much about our actual faith and yet it should.  Paul calls us to live for Christ that our citizenship is in heaven and warns us about being consumed with the earthy and the all that keeps our minds from staying on Christ.  
And yet the earthy concerns seem to consume us in their shame and tears.  This week alone we could easily be consumed by the earthy…by what is going on in our lives. It could be easy for us to turn away from the political actions around us and focus on what is happening only in our lives, with our family.
In our consumption of the earthy we are forgetting the fact that we need to live into Christ’s example – an example that was set for us to not judge or speak harshly to things we do not know.  We are not asked to continue rumors or to spread lies. We are not called to believe alternative facts but instead use our own mind to make our own conclusions.  We are asked to live faithfully confessing with our hearts and lips our faith and sharing our faith story with others…we are called through our life to show others what it truly means to live INTO our faith – to live by Christ.
To fully and truly live our lives for Christ, imitating and living by his example we need to readjust.  Be a time, where in communion with God, we identify and recognize the earthy that holds us back and bravely release our control over to the Divine.  Jesus came to walk among us, today Jesus walks through us into the world …so how do you represent him?  
Psalm 27 and it reads
4One thing I asked of the
Lord, that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in his temple.


5For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.
 Imitating Christ, living our lives fully into Jesus example takes one thing for granted…trust!  Today, we don’t trust very easily and often when we do, the harsh backlash reminds us as to why we don’t trust easily in the first place.  We like control and we live for knowing our future – and yet if we are living into Jesus we should be putting our life on the lines for Jesus, we should be trusting in the Lord with all our hearts and not caring if people judge us for that.  We should be willing to go beyond the ordinary and stand for what we believe in.  When we die, arriving in God’s kingdom, we should do so knowing people will say that we lived extraordinary lives – setting an example of faith for all those around us.
On the first day of the second year of my college life, I arrived to stand in line to pick up my housing key but as I drove up and later stood in line, I realized one thing: I was just living the life I thought I should live: going to college right after high school was the thing.  I wasn’t happy and I certainty wasn’t in a healthy place with God.  So in that moment I realized what I had to do.  Instead of picking up my key, I withdrew from classes and headed home, in time for dinner.  I didn’t know what I was going to do from that point on, but I knew that I was going to trust that God’s plan was bigger and that I could trust in God to show me the way.  I gave up the control of my life to live for Christ.  This act, brought me seminary and eventually to where I stand today.  God is in control.  We may not like it, we may not understand it and we might want to fight it all the way but we are better off when we accept Jesus’ call to live our life for him and follow not the ordinary life that  leads us to live out the status quo but instead the extraordinary life that gives up control, gives up our life and lives not for the earthy but for citizenship we have in heaven.
Our citizenship in Heaven should matter more to us than our status here on Earth. Jesus is calling us to stand up for true Christian principals - which I am sorry to say are not the current status quo of our world. Jesus welcomed those who were different than himself. Jesus cured the sick and sat with the despised. Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan and calls us to treat all as our neighbor. We cannot let our voices, the voice of Christ, get lost!


Phillians 3; 17Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.
1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

Friday, January 20, 2017

the "good" leaders in democracy

At the bottom of this post in the post I wrote on November 7th and although it speaks truth and speaks of unity it was written with the thought that come November 12th we would be in the presence of our first female President.  Sure Hillary wasn't my first choice and sure I thought she had some pretty sorted history but I was sure she would be our next President - much to the dismay of most of my family.

I wrote about how God doesn't ordain us a necessarily great leader - or even a good leader for that matter.  I didn't mention the true realities our country needs to face, I did that later that week in wake of the election outcome.  I write this as Trump is being sworn in; as a man wished me a "happy day!" at the grocery store because Obama was finally gone and on the eve of the women's march that I hope to participate in a sister march to.

We are called within our democracy to each be a good leader and role model.  We are asked within the structure of a democracy to speak out when we see wrongs and to fight for justice.  The leadership of a democracy is not necessarily those in high profile roles but can be us.  We can and we should now take on the leadership roles for ourselves.  We must continue to show love to God's people and to welcome those who are different from us.  We must not throw the first stone of judgement but reacting too quickly to those whom we have deemed as "other."  We must use our rights - amendment rights - to continue to move this country forward for the betterment of ALL.

But we also must remember that unity is important.  We cannot hold grudges or offer hate to those who voted different from us.  We can question our President's choices and we should be diligent in making sure the President is doing the right thing but we should not continue to allow the President to divide us.  We are stronger together.  We are a nation that can and does disagree but we should not be a nation that continues to allow hate to drive us.  Moving forward means finding a away to work together and prove that we are all leaders - and we can prove that we are all "good" leaders - in this democracy.  


Nov 7, 2016: There is this interesting myth among us humans - that somehow our leaders will all be great.  That some how God's will is that our leaders be great.  We saw this during the second Bush administration; pictures of him praying were circulated as if proof that he was great but he had God on his side.  How na├»ve we are!

When humans wanted a King God warned us.  God said it wasn't a good idea.  God said there would be pain and suffering because of this.  Yes God ordain some of the leaders but God most certainty didn't do so believing that they were all great - that is reserved for the Holy.  Just look at our Bible's historical books (Kings, Samuel, Chronicles) and you will find some great and some not-so-great leadership. In fact there are more bad Kings then there are good ones...so many who ruled for short periods, one only 7 days - many under 20 years!

And here we are on the eve of an election.  We are in a country not of Kings but of elected leaders; we are in a country that by the account of the Biblical history we have faired a lot better with only but a few bad Presidents.  We are in a country that does get to do this again in 4 years. 

As we head to the polls we have to realize that God stepped back from Human leadership when we asked for a King.  That in doing so, sure God still works in those that let the Holy in and have a relationship; but without that God is not part of the process.  That if we vote for someone secular who aligns with the same party we do - that doesn't mean that God has ordained this.  If we vote for someone based on party lines but don't open our eyes to what the Spirit is saying; then we too have left God out of this.  That Israel has had some bad kings who turned away from the Lord; and so too can we have a bad leader who does not want or desire a relationship with God.

No matter what happens on Tuesday Night; when we wake up on Wednesday we cannot proclaim "where is God?"  For we have left God out for a long time and God has never promised humans good leadership, especially when we are letting humans make that choice.


Let us lift up in prayers our concerns for our nation as a whole.  Not that we come out with the best leadership but instead that we come out whole.  That we accept the practices that we have put into place.  That we allow ourselves and others grace in decisions tomorrow.  That we as a people who do believe and are Holy allow God to work in us to calm our presence.  That love overcomes anger and evil.  That every person feels safe to make choices for themselves and when a President-elect is declared that all may accept the will of the nation.  That God's presence can overcome anxieties.  Let us pray that Americans can come together and show each other and the world that we are one nation; who doesn't always agree, but who can unite in democracy. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Winter blues

At the bottom of this post are two poems I have written about snow.  As mid-winter hits and the snow and cold continue to keep the sun at bay those of us who live in the North fight off the winter blues.  Some do it better then others.  Some have found a passion in sking or other "snow" activities.  Not me.  I find myself wrapped up in yet another blanket hopeful that the sun will show itself through the clouds and tinkle in a bit of warm light.  The winter is a cruel season; full of illness and the cold chills that shorten the day light.  It is also the season in which people come down from the high of Christmas and the time of year people find themselves in the midst of the most debt. 
 
It is on those days when I snuggle under the covers just a few minutes longer before beginning my day that I think about those who don't have God in their life.  Those who don't know what it is like to not only give over one's burdens too but to hold on to for strength.  God doesn't necessary solve problems for us; nor does belief in God simply take away our real struggles and pain (especially mental illness) but having God in your life makes you a better you.  Having a relationship with the Divine; allows you to be stronger, kinder and more joyful you.   Having God in your life isn't going to make you me, or me you, but it will help you be a better you.  If you follow me. 
 
In the middle of the cold winter.  Look up to the Holy; soak in the rays of light and the warmth of God's love.  Open yourself up to a relationship that is bigger then all of us and can and will make you a stronger person.
 
SNOW
 
Wonderous snow how I loath you
Boisterous winds you chill my bones
Adventurous days in the sun have past
Unglamorous dullness awaits
Treacherous commutes have begun
Rapturous hopes come to mind

 
Wonderous snow how I love you
Boisterous screams as snowballs fly
Adventurous snowpersons come to life
Glamorous crystals sparkle in the sun
Treacherous snow brings snow days
Rapturous hopes come to mind

 
Wonderous snow how beautiful you are
Boisterous winds swirl snow into art
Adventurous skies and snowshoes await
Unglamorous winter wear keeps me warm
Treacherous times brings community
Rapturous thoughts stay at bay
 
 
 
 
SNOWY DRIVES
 
White knuckles looking out
across the white snow glistening
in through the white lights in the white stillness
White storms bring out white outs
while blankets of white snow engulf the still landscape
White collar fools drive in white outs
while blue collar workers traverse through the polar bears
 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Baptism

Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord Sunday.  This day is the day that John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan at the beginning of his ministry.  Jesus baptism is not the same as the baptism we do today as we baptize with the Spirit and Jesus was simply washed with water.  Yet the baptism was important.  This was a marker, a statement, from Jesus that he was moving forward with God's will.  This was a moment in which God was reveal to all present and that Jesus was reveal as God's son.  During our baptisms, either as children or adults God is reveal to those present, as God is present.

As two Pastors we struggled with when, where and how to baptize our children.  We debated over infant vs. believer as our tradition allows for both.  We debated over if we should baptize at one of our churches or simply at a Presbytery meeting (sorry to all those hopeful for that one).  We debated as to how it would be done - by one of us or by someone else; sprinkle or pour, we were not going to dip a baby.  In the end, with our first daughter we decided a joint worship service with a good friend / mentor Pastor doing the baptism was nice.  This would allow us to be the parents and not just the Pastors.  It was nice.  We enjoyed the moments of Baptism and as the water was being poured out of shell over her head, the presence of God could be felt.  We knew in that moment the Spirit of God was ignited in her and God would be a part of her life.

A few years later, a new baby and a new debate.  What would we do this time.  I felt the desire to do the baptism.  Why not be both Pastor and Parent?  Aren't we the ones who teach our children first and foremost about God?  So there I was infant in hand, affirming statements instead of questions and sprinkling water over my son's head.  My husband didn't want to "do" the act.  He was thrilled to have water in front of him.  He splashed and play.  He enjoyed every moment of this Holy act and in the moment of sprinkle, he suddenly got silent as we felt God's presence in this glorious present of the Holy Spirit.

A few years later, a new baby and a new debate.  This time my husband wanted to Baptize.  This time, he wanted to be a part of that moment when the Spirit is ignited within and God's presence is felt.  And so, we affirmed the statements instead of questions and this time he sprinkled water as this son splashed and played in the Holy water.  This time he was not the only person baptized that day; as he sprayed water around the front of the sanctuary sprinkling all with the Holy water.

They have all become children of God, with whom I know God is well pleased.  These moments in which our children were baptized were not just steps of growing up or markers.  They were not decisions made lightly or without thought.  They were Holy moments in which we affirmed that we will teach, lead and encourage our children to know God.  That we believe the Spirit inside them will call them to God's loving grace.  

Being baptized isn't about receiving the key to the Kingdom of Heaven; it is however about acknowledging
God in not only our life but the world around us.  Jesus baptism was at the beginning of his ministry and ours is at the beginning of our relationship with God.  Baptism marks either our own acceptance of this beginning or our parents acceptance on our behalf.  So we remember today our own baptism.  The baptism that was not just of water but was of Spirit.  The baptism that wasn't just for show but that ignited in us the Spirit and the call for us to accept grace.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Three Kings Are...

I will admit today that I am going to use a repost.  I wrote many great things at the beginning of my blogging journey and I am sure not all of them have been read by all the eyes who read my blog now.  The challenge on weeks like this is that so much has already been said on the magi.  I am not giving us something new; I am hopefully however making this more relatable.

I've been thinking a lot about the magi for that last few weeks, partly because I preached on it last Sunday and partly because this is one thing I think about every time I get a nativity set out.  I'm pretty sure there is an old post about what the Bible really says about the magi - so this isn't gonna be about that.

This year with all the uncertainties and my hopes for an answer from God quicker then I feel it is coming...I focused instead on the journey the magi took.

I have always been really impressed by the magi for one reason they without giving second thought had faith in the star and themselves to follow it...they trusted that God was going to take them on an important journey and left - leaving for a several year journey that would be dangerous and at the end take them home on a different path, perhaps a longer path.

Trusting in the journey and giving up to God our lives is really hard - especially for people who want to know what is going on.  It takes a lot for us to put our trust in the divine and to ultimately follow without confirmation - and for the magi this journey was several years!

God doesn't just appear to us and give us all the answers - and for those who are seeking for the first time a Creator, there isn't instant gratification.  But instead, by trusting our own intuition which tells us that indeed there is something greater in this world, a power that we would like to know or something beyond ourselves, we can be lead on a journey.  Like the journey the magi's took.  A journey which could lead you to Christ.

For me, an already believer, I need to remind myself that when I trust God and go along the path that my creator is lighting for me - I'm on God's time, not my time.  It might take a longer then I'd like for God's plan to be revealed to me and there are plenty of times along this path that I would like to leave it for my own.  But if I persist by putting my trust in the Divine power, I know that God's plan will be revealed and as the magi came to stand at the foot of the savior - I too will have my epiphany moment.  I just must trust and believe.

Some theologians believe that you don't actually have to have faith to begin going to church or becoming a Christian - for if you begin by doing all the things that a "good" Christian does: praying, reading the Bible, studying, worshiping that eventually these will lead you into belief, into an epiphany or ay-ha moment when you realize that indeed God's presence is all around us. 

For those who are believers, epiphanies - or moments in which we stand with the Divine don't have to be once in a lifetime experiences they can come at any time.  And they do!  If we look back at our lives, it is the moments that we took leaps, moments we did things we thought we would never do, moments that change us and our lives.  It is the moments big and small that set our course in life and which has brought us here today.  On reflection, we can feel God working in those moments where we trusted or leaped; or on reflection we can feel the desire for something new and the push to trust more. 

Let us all challenge ourselves this year - to live into our faith putting trust not in the moment now but in the path that will lead us to the moment when God's self is revealed - perhaps for the first time or perhaps once again!