a quiet space to listen and experience hope, healing and wholeness with God

August 2017

Just Who Are You, Jesus?

August 23, 2017

The question and answer session carries on between Jesus, the Pharisees and the crowd in John 8. Can you imagine being a first time participant in a rabbi study with Jesus, where the Scriptures, the questions and the answers are the learning process?
In the search to know Jesus, they and we may find his answers to the questions not easily understood or comprehended. Can we be compassionate with ourselves in the process of seeking understanding? Or give ourselves permission to wrestle with the questions, the answers, and the lack of immediate or understandable answers? Or with the very person of Jesus himself? It is in the wrestling that we come to discover the presence and trustworthiness of God - Father, Son and Spirit.

John 8:21-30 (NLT)
Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.”
22 The people asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going’?”
23 Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. 24 That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
25 “Who are you?” they demanded.
Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be. 26 I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” 27 But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father.
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What did you hear as you listened or read the text? Did something particular catch your attention? Bring it into conversation with Jesus.

Give yourself room for the word to affect you. What are you feeling or sensing? Gently bring this awareness into your prayer with Jesus.

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

When Compassion Clothes Shame

August 9, 2017

In the midst of the religious exposition and exploitation of a highly vulnerable woman, we witness Jesus' embodied compassion in action. He is literally and figuratively teaching us how he goes about clothing the naked vulnerability of shame. We hear and see how Jesus responds in word and action to accusers.

This passage may trigger a traumatic response in those who have been exploited in similar ways. If this is you, be most compassionate with yourself. Ground and care for yourself in this present moment by placing your feet on the ground, tapping your arms and taking some deep, calming breaths. If you can, seek to find a safe place in your prayer where you most connect with the loving compassion of Jesus. Always you have freedom to step away from the prayer if that is what you need.

John 8:1-11 (NLT)
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which caught your attention you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.

What feelings – either comfortable or uncomfortable - are rising up in you as you listen to this story? Gently bring this awareness into your prayer with Jesus. Listen for how he meets you in these feelings. Ask for what you need. Ground yourself in the present moment.

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God’s compassion for you.

Light Which Leads To Life

August 16, 2017

Spiritual darkness can feel overpowering and all together frightening. The daily news serves up a verbal and visual charred feast of such darkness. We might wonder, "how long O Lord"? How are we to pray? Will our individual voices and choices make any difference?  Yet we hope in the One who is in the process of restoring all things. Through trusting and walking intentionally in the spiritual light which is given each day, we participate with God in that process. Where are you discovering the light which leads to life? May we keep asking for eyes to see the light.

John 8:12-20 (NLT)
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
13 The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.”
14 Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. 15 You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. 16 And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me. 17 Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact. 18 I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”
19 “Where is your father?” they asked.
Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” 20 Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come.

For your reflection and prayer:
As you listened, was there a word, a phrase, an image, or something else that stood out to you? Notice what it stirs in you. Have a conversation with Jesus about this.

Place yourself in the story and enter into it as it unfolds. Who are you? Who is interacting with you and around you? What are you seeing, smelling, sensing, hearing, touching? Write about your experience in the story and allow it to be your prayer.

In this passage on discernment, where are you noticing light which leads to life? Reflect on what you notice.

Slowly savor any consoling words or images which God gives you in this time of prayer. Simply rest in God’s presence with them.

When We Want To Truly Hear

August 2, 2017

When we want to truly hear we can ask any question and give ourselves permission to wait for the answer. Mysteriously, God's Spirit in us helps us know when we hear that answer. We can wonder what those temple guards heard Jesus say, which compelled them to refuse a direct order from the chief priests. Who were those guards guarding?
This recorded dialogue offers us a front row seat to observing a religious system. It is teeming with a mixture of sublime, subversive and controlling questions. Notice the questions and the freedom surrounding them. Stay curious and allow the conversation to intersect with your own life and story.

John 7:45-53 NLT
When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. 48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”
50 Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. 51 “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.
52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”
53 Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home.

For Reflection and Prayer:

What caught your attention as you listened to the text? A word, a phrase, an image? Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.

Was there a particular feeling you experienced as you listened to the story? Bring that feeling into your prayer. How do you need Jesus to meet you in that feeling?

This text is full of questions. What do you notice about them? How do they affect you?

Be still and savor any consoling words or pictures in your prayer with God.

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