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, April 30, 2017

Alongside Jesus

If I were to just pick one passage that would define my ministry or at least my theology it would have to be Luke 24 and the Road to Emmaus.  This is a beautiful encounter with Jesus and two disciples, not some of the twelve, disciples.  In Luke it is these two who first witness the Risen Lord who get to be affirmed of the secret that Jesus is out of the tomb. 
As these two are walking on their journey home, after great disappointment, they encounter a stranger along the way.  They welcome this stranger into their journey and they teach and tell him things about Jesus as well as learn from him.  At the end they welcome him into a meal and as the bread breaks their eyes are opened and they recognize that it is indeed Jesus!

Life is a journey.  We are on a path walking, stumbling and even sometimes confused but when we invite Jesus to walk alongside us our walk is transformed.  When we invite the Divine into our lives, our lives are changed and we can feel the power.  And if we are luckily we will meet God, there in our journey. 

As a Pastor I also see myself in the role of Jesus now that Jesus has ascended, I am called to walk with people along their own journeys - teaching them but also listening to them and letting them teach me.  I am called to shepherd people through the rough times and to rejoice with people during the happy moments.  I am called on this journey to help reveal the Divine Holy Presence to people and often do that by breaking bread and offering communion. 

This is a powerful and wonderful passage. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Darkness

Wrapping my coat around my shivering shoulders, I began the long descent into the darkness and the damp.  I was entering a cavern, taking a step below ground into the earth.  It was cool wet air; there was very little light; the spaces were tight and the ceilings were low; but more importantly there were bats!
Every Easter I recall the memories I have as a child going to caverns, which are many.  Is it the darkness of them, perhaps.  Probably, however, it is the tomb like feeling I give to these caverns.  When I hear the Passion story and the horror of Jesus being put into a tomb and a large rock rolled over it.  I can't help but think of the tombs carved into mountains and the cold damp shiver of caverns.  Stone is not a giving substance - lay on it for too long and the back will confirm that!  Stone is often cold and without light to reflect on the stone service, stone is dark.
Although we celebrate with light dress and Easter egg hunts; although we celebrate the joy of salvation on Easter, Easter is in many ways a holiday surround by darkness.  Unlike Jesus' birth on Christmas, on Easter we are celebrating his death.  All-be-it a death that brought salvation to us, the passages of celebration soon turn to passage of fear darkness.

The Sunday after Easter we are reminded of this as we recall the disciples sitting in a dark and locked upper room, most probably in mourning of the loss of Jesus (although not complete loss).  And yet another miracle happened!  Jesus appeared.  Jesus their friend and teacher, Jesus the miracle maker, stood in front of them.  And into that darkness brought the true joy and light of Easter.

It is easy to come to church once a year, or perhaps twice, and celebrate the joy of Easter - the joy of Jesus.  It is another thing to in the midst of your darkest times to find and see the God who dwells within even the darkness.  Jesus entered the locked room of the disciples and found them.  We too can find Jesus standing in our darkness and our own locked rooms, we just need open our eyes.

Jesus did not come to redeemer those who find themselves righteous but instead came to offer grace, forgiveness and thus salvation to those in the darkness seeking the light.  Peter denied Christ, Thomas questioned and all proved to have doubts either in themselves or in the resurrection of Christ.  Yet God did not give up on them or turn from them.  Jesus did not go out and find another group of 12 to send out and spread his message now that he rose from the dead - finding their behavior to be unacceptable.  Instead Jesus entered the locked room of his disciples and gifted them with the Holy Spirit - gifted them with the Divine!

Let us realize the power and redemption that is found in Christ for all of us who believe!  Let that power sink in, even into the darkest of our thoughts and unbelief.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter

Hello, Christ has Risen! This post today is written more for those who call themselves Christians then those seeking, more for those who are struggling perhaps with their faith or their church.


Mark 16 1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salo'me, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?" 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; --it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you." 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
Christ is Risen!  Today we celebrate the most important holiday in our church calendar year.  Although the secular world makes it seem like Christmas and Jesus’ birth is the most important the truth is that without the resurrection – without Easter morning – there wouldn’t be a Christian faith.  In fact it was in the fulfillment of the resurrection that our faith was born not in the birth of a baby but in his death and resurrection. 
So why do we spend so much more time, energy and money celebrating his birth?  It is simple, Jesus’ birth is much more believable then Jesus’ resurrection. It is easy to celebrate Christmas in a time when secularism has made Christmas just another holiday but Easter?  Easter bunnies are OK but once you start getting into the resurrection, you lose people. I believe that it was the intellectual revolution that birth the idea that “faith is private” and it was embraced by all because at the end of the day, resurrection is not only difficult to explain it is difficult to believe. 
So Easter has become a day when we dress up and head to church before having a family dinner.  Easter has become a time for Easter eggs and bunnies.  Easter has become second class to Christmas and it yet another time of year for people to show up at church to prove their faith. 
But what faith are we proving on Easter?  In today’s passage we hear how some of the women went out early in the morning to anoint Jesus’ body but instead of finding Jesus, they were met with an angel who declared Jesus’ resurrection.  But instead of turning around and sharing this wondrous news they in fear kept it to themselves.  And isn’t this like ourselves today?  Because we can’t explain this mystery or miracle and in fear of the judgment from our friends, family, co-workers, the world, we choose not to.  We hide our faith in fear and don’t share the Good News. 
That is the reality of our faith…not the risen Christ…but the fear of judgment shapes our faith.  And not the judgment that will come with the Kingdom of God but the judgment that comes from those in the here and now.  And that is where our faith has found its flaw.  We spend far too much time wondering how people in the here and are going to perceive our actions instead of asking ourselves What Would Jesus Do.  But this fear of judgment also leads us to becoming some of the worse judges doesn’t it?  Qualifying everyone and forgetting how to love. 
But there is good news!  Christ is risen!  Today, we once again celebrate this amazing mystery that defined our beliefs.  Once again we celebrate this amazing miracle that invites us to experience God in a new way and open ourselves to a relationship with the Holy unlike what was offered before.  For through the resurrection of Christ not only was the divinity of Christ revealed but the Holy Spirit was gifted to us.  And today, because of Christ’s resurrection you too are offered this unique relationship with the Divine.  You, me, all of us are made worthy through Christ’ death on the cross to experience God through the Holy Spirit in amazing ways. 
Through a relationship with God, we are made worthy.  The judgment of others, the need for approval by those who are just as fake as you are doesn’t matter.  Because when you are truly in a relationship with God you will experience not only the amazing relief that comes with forgiveness but the unconditional love that Christ wants us to spread.  You see, unconditional love, the love that comes from God, the love that Christians are asked to spread, is the love that doesn’t judge. 
But it isn’t easy to live out our faith; it took the disciples several encounters with risen Christ before they believed; and today we aren’t so lucky, or are we?  I think it is a myth for us to say that today we don’t encounter the risen Christ.  For in living out our Christian faith, we meet Christ and see Christ everywhere.  Christ is in the eyes of the grateful poor, Christ is in the hands of the doctors and nurses that perform miracles every day, Christ is in the hearts of those who love unconditionally and Christ is in all those who believe and strive to live better because of this relationship.  Christ is risen and doing work all over the world for along with Christ resurrection came the gift of the Spirit and the light of Christ that shines through each and every one of us.  As long as we believe.  As long as we let our beliefs lead our life and not the judgment of others.  Christianity isn’t about judgment (unless God is doing the judging) but is instead about the freedom that comes with a true relationship. The freedom from sin, the freedom from the bondages of the secular world and the freedom to love unconditionally.  Our Christian faith isn’t about a baby who was born but about the man who was resurrected, about the love that God has for humanity and the new way in which we enter into relationship with the Divine.  One not held back through fear, not held back because of societal clashes but one that transcends this life.  One that opens us up to the Kingdom of God and the experience of the risen Christ.  
So this Easter, I challenge you, to not make this an Easter that goes by without a conversation of what the risen Lord has done for you.  I challenge you to make this Easter not just about another family dinner or one more Church service but about the true relationship that the Holy is offering.  I challenge you to not just repeat “Christ has Risen INDEED” unless you are truly willing to share that with those you meet – teaching and sharing about the risen Christ you have encountered.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday


We are all familiar with the typical Madonna and child image in which we see Mary the mother of Jesus in all her glory carrying a young Jesus.  These majestic and happy imagines fill us with warmth and remind us just how human Jesus was.  But as we take a look at Michelangelo’s rendition of Madonna and Child, chills are sent through our body.  Instead of the vibrant Mary; we see a slumped, distressed and shocked women trying to hold up the limp body of her child.  The pain of losing a child is so great that the weight of her loss is bringing her own body down.  The Bible passage echoes in my mind that at the foot of the cross stands: “his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” 
            As I stand at the foot of Jesus’ cross on Good Friday, I stand in solidarity with the Marys.  I am not thinking about Easter Sunday and Jesus’ glorious resurrection; although I know it is to come.  I am not thinking about the fact that scriptures must be fulfilled.  Instead my heart is bleeding, my eyes are stinging and my body is aching.  I feel as if the weight of Jesus’ body is weighing me down and that his death is looming in my hands.  For if we, as humans, had not had so much sin we would not have needed redemption.
            We have all been in the shoes of one of the Maries.  We have been the loved one of a dying family member.  We have sat at the foot of the bed watching, waiting, praying and pleading with God as our loved one slowly left us - leaving us at the foot of the cross full of solace and with the weight of our own sorrow dragging our bodies to the ground.  The grief of the loss so great that our bodies explode in sorrow and we are left holding their limp bodies.  On this holy day we cannot help but be reminded of the holy moments of death.  These are the moments that define our faith and often bring us closer to God.  And this is the moment in which Jesus’ Ministry was defined. 
            For it is not Christmas but Jesus’ death and resurrection that defines us as Christians, it is not the warm and fuzzy picture of the Madonna and Child that gives meaning to our faith and religion but it is Jesus on the cross.  It is the happenings of a few short days that begins on Good Friday.  It is the journey of these three women; not only the pain they feel at the foot of the cross but the relief they receive in coming to know that Jesus is in fact not dead.  Today is for us the beginning of the journey.  We are feeling the sorrow today at the foot of the cross.  We are remembering our sins that placed Jesus there and continue to place people there today.  We are feeling the sorrow and weight of Jesus’ body as we try to hold up his life the best we can.  Yet, each time we place a loved one in the ground we are reminded of the life that is to come thanks to Jesus’ death on the cross. 
            As we sit today, observing Good Friday, let us not leave Christ on the cross but instead wrap Jesus in our arms as Mary does in this sculpture.  Let our love for Christ and our dedication to his life transform this image into something that we long to see.  Let us lift this image of our Christ into our memories so that we may truly know the journey that he took for us and we will one day take.  Let us remember his death, let us hold Jesus’ death in our arms feeling the weight of the burden he suffered on the cross.  Today, in solidarity with the Maries, let us grieve the death of our Teacher knowing that in only a few short days we will be celebrating the resurrection of our Redeemer.       

Saturday, April 8, 2017

8th


    Matthew 12: 32-33 whoever acknowledges me, I will do so
32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come 33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.


Such a good reminder kind of along the lines of we are what we eat!  Except not what we eat, but that God can recognize us by our fruits.   We are called as Christians to be extra-ordinary!  We are called to produce good fruit.  We are called to be recognized in the world.  We are reminded here that we are forgiven by God but we must live into our relationship.  We must accept the Spirit moving in us and through us so that we can and do bear fruit worth eating.  Think about this today – what kind of fruit are you bearing?  Is your fruit worthy of God? 

Friday, April 7, 2017

7th

    Matthew 25: 31-45 whatever you did to the least of these, you did to me
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Whatever you did to the least of these, you did to God!  I often give a sermon to this passage that asks us what we would do if we saw someone walking alongside the road.  Would we pick them up?  Or would we leave them? Would we offer them a ride? Or would we give ourselves all the reasons why right now we can’t pick them up.  I reminded everyone that there are reasons why someone walks along the edge of the road and their story of getting there is probably wrought with twist and turns of judgement.  Yet out of our hands we pass on by.   So did all the on lookers during Jesus trail and walk with the cross.  We are reminded that there were crowds of witness.  Good people doing nothing; good people following leaders they presumed to be good.  For the majority of our life, living a “good” life actually means doing nothing.  A good person still pass by people on the side of the road for good reasons (time, safety, room in their car).   But as Christians we are not called to be good people, we are called to be followers.  We are called to do more and to be more.  We are called to be extra-ordinary!  What will you do this week to be more than just a good person? 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

6th

     Matthew 22:34-40 greatest commandment
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducee, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”


Love your neighbor as yourself.  What a wonderful thought and such a law to live into and up to.  It isn’t easy to love your neighbor when they listen to their TV too loud, or stay up all night or have parties or fill your driveway or block your car, or use your trash can, or have a mess house, or don’t rake their leaves, or won’t ever say hi, or have a dog that uses your yard for their bathroom.  Yet Jesus tells us to love them.  To love them as you would yourself.  You know what this does?  This makes you take a step back and say “how would I like to be treated in this situation?”   Probably the answer is better then whatever it was you were planning.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

5th

   Matthew 19:13-15 the little children
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Let the children come!  Oh the joy of the sound of children laughing but more so the joy of children as they learn about God.  Their questions asked with thoughtfulness and yet depth we usually don’t expect.  Their innocence and their inspiring hope also add to the wonderfulness of having children in church.  Yet as we age we forgot much of the wonder of our youth.  We fail to see the beauty in the world around us and we let the little things get covered by the big things. 
Yet Jesus challenges his disciples in this scene.  They seem to think that Jesus does not have time for the children or childish ways and yet in a powerful example of love Jesus says let them come and he taught them.  The worth of children during this time wasn’t much and yet Jesus took the time to make them feel worthy.  He taught them and the grownups around an important lesson about wonder and greatness in the world.  Today, think of a joke and share one, even if it is silly!  Laughing is a good way to get in touch with our youthful selves.  The ones who believed without question; who saw wonder in the world; who trusted without worry and who loved without hesitation.  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

4th

    Matthew 18:10-14 the lost sheep
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. [11] 12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

Wow, God so loves us that God will find us.  God so loves us that he will leave the 99 in order to find the 1 that is lost.  God so loves us that in order to save us God sent Jesus and Jesus was able to tell us this parable.  God so loves us that God seeks us out!  Wow.  And to think we still turn away from this!  We still wander off and away!   Much of the time we wander off it is the feeling inside us of longing that draws us back to God.  That silent push inside our souls to reconnect with the Divine.  

Time and time again I worry about Jesus’ connect between us and sheep; only because the individuality is taken away with this metaphor.   But we must remember that Jesus was speaking to people and during a time when being a shepherd was the thing; and everyone understood the language he was speaking.  He was not saying that humans are supposed to always act like sheep but instead reminding us that the Lord is our shepherd.  The Lord is our shepherd!  A shepherd that cares about all of the flock!  Let us give thanks that we are a part of God’s flock.

Monday, April 3, 2017

3rd

   Matthew 10:40-42 hospitality
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Hospitality is a common theme for Christ.  Jesus welcomes many that others don’t and at the same time accepts hospitality from some who others wouldn’t.  It seems pretty simple hospitality does and yet it can be very hard.  You see often we judge and that judgement gives road blocks and rationalization to our helping or lack thereof.   What a powerful reminder here that just a sign of welcoming can bring us closer to God. 
A sense of belonging is so important.  Our firsts – first day at school, first day on a job, first day at a new church, first meeting with a neighbor in a new place, first lunch, first date, ect… - are all made better when we feel welcomed.  It is in that moment we feel like we “belong” that we let our guard down and we welcome those around us.   Jesus is expressing this sense to his disciples and in doing so assurance to them that they do belong.  That those who welcome them belong.  He isn’t saying “no one will be mean.”  But he is saying that it doesn’t matter, those who don’t welcome you aren’t important.  What matters is that you belong to me. 

Let us welcome each other today knowing that we all belong to God.  Knowing that it isn’t for us to decide who does and does not belong but is instead our job to welcome all.  

Sunday, April 2, 2017

2nd

   Matthew 6: 19-22 Treasure is your heart is
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light.


Such a profound thought: if you store all your treasures on earth you will have nothing but if your treasure is in heaven, your heart will be there.  What are treasures in heaven then?  Surely it isn’t money or goods.  It isn’t a big house or fancy things.  Heavenly treasures are virtues – faith, hope, grace, forgiveness, patience, justice, charity, love, ect..  All the things Jesus talked about.  By filling yourself, your life, your heart, with these things you will surely be full of light.  Why not pick one virtue this week and attempt to do better at it.  No matter how much treasure we have in heave, we can always do better.  Let’s make it a goal to reach out in love and kindness to those around; or perhaps offer forgiveness; maybe show someone grace or patience.  Perhaps choose to hope instead of envy.  Whatever you do, do it for the grace of God and your light will shine!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April 1st Lenten Devo

Matthew 14: 13-21 Jesus feeds 5000
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. 18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.


Jesus and his disciples feed a crowd of 5000! This is a great passage.  We have all been to a potluck in which the tables fill of people and the front area fills with food and someone says a prayer and inside their minds they pray there is enough food: and there ALWAYS is; and usually more!   No matter what at a potluck it always feels that just a little bit of food feeds the multitudes.  As fellowship takes place and the excitement of being in the presence of Jesus becomes real could you imagine being there in the crowd?  How generous was Jesus to realize the needs of these people and show compassion.  How generous it was for the people that there was not only enough food but extra?  This means no one took more than their share and others may have given instead of taken!   What a profound thought.  In a time and a world in which we often put ourselves and our needs first we are reminded that sometimes enough is good enough.  Sometimes giving is better than taking and in the presence of Christ miracles take place.  Miracles of healing but also miracles of the society; people can do the right thing.  Think about what is the right thing you are asked to do today?