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2015 Daily Devotions

Monday, December 21, 2015

Larry Colyar
CoH member

Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD
Praise the name of the LORD.

For the LORD raises the poor from the dust,
and lifts the needy from the ash heap.
To make them sit with princes,
with the princes of the people.

The LORD gives the barren woman a home.
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD!
(Psalm 113)

A Word of Hope
Larry Colyar During this season of Advent we remember Mary, a young girl in whom God found favor and blessed her to become the mother of Jesus. Mary responded in the words of the Magnificat.

My soul magnifies the LORD,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for God has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the mighty one has done great things for me
and holy is his name.
(Luke 1:47-49)

Psalm 113 mentions how God raises the poor from the dust and allows them to sit with princes. Perhaps this is how Mary felt. She had been something very special and unique in all of history. She had found favor with God to become the vessel by whom a small baby was born into the world to become Immanuel, God with us.

Strangely, however, Jesus’ birth was hardly noticed except by a few shepherds and a band of astrologers from an eastern country who knew how to read the signs of his birth in the sky. In the words of a famous Advent carol:
                   He comes to us as one unknown,
                   a breath unseen, unheard;
                   as though within a heart of stone
                    or shriveled see in darkness sown,
                    a pulse of being stirred.

Gradually this darkness receded. The secret became known. As it is recorded in the gospel of John, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

May each of you have a wonderful Christmas.

Holy God, who came to us long ago in the birth of Jesus, help us to open our hearts to receive this precious gift. Amen.

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Dennis Bolin
Member, Cathedral of Hope

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” Luke 22: 52 – 53 (NIV)

A Word of Hope
Dennis Bolin At first I found the choice of today’s assigned reading, Luke 22: 39 - 53, odd. Here in the midst of Advent when we are contemplating the birth of Jesus we have the assigned reading that relates the events that launched the end of his life – the night on the Mount of Olives when he was taken captive.

In this scripture there is no night sky lit by an angel choir; instead, it is a dark night, a dark hour obscuring the unfolding treachery. No adoring shepherds or wise men; instead, there are soldiers with weapons and religious leaders plotting his death. No loving mother and father watching over his manger bed; instead, he is abandoned by disciples too self-absorbed to stay awake.

Yes, while we celebrate Christ’s birth we know only too well how his life will end. But it is those intervening years that make the difference for us today. So, perhaps the scripture reading isn’t so odd a choice. We celebrate Christ’s birth because of the life he led. During his short life he demonstrated through word and action his new gospel of extravagant grace, radical inclusion, and relentless compassion,. It was a new way of living so threatening to the religious leaders of his day that they would do anything, even disobey their own laws and conspire with politicians, to silence him.

And so, in this season as we celebrate Christ’s birth we should also call to mind the message of his life. If his birth is to have meaning today, then our lives should reflect Christ’s living gospel.

I do not think that the war on Christmas is the lack of snowflakes on Starbuck’s cups or the use of “Happy Holiday” in Target’s advertising. I think the war on Christmas is when politicians try to deny some Americans healthcare or when they demagogue immigrants and threaten to tear apart their families or when they want to require certain Americans carry ID cards. Or when religious leaders preach that God’s love is only for the few and even exhort their listeners to further a culture of violence by carrying guns. These are the real acts of war on Christmas because they deny the message of Christ’s life and the reasons we celebrate his birth.

So, this Advent season, I am celebrating Christ’s birth by following the example of his life.

Dear God of all my days, from my birth to my death. May I remember that Christ’s birth has so much meaning for me today because of the life he lived. May I celebrate his birth by following his life’s example.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dr. Gary G. Kindley
Pastoral Counselor

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”—
3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”

4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
The Gospel of Mark 1:1-8

A Word of Hope
A New Era

Gary Kindley In American history this is Wright Brothers Day and commemorates the first mechanically propelled flight of a heavier-than-air craft. It was amazing and beyond the comprehension of many! The Wright brothers had ushered in a new era never before conceived.

Today’s passage from Mark’s Gospel describes how Jesus’ second cousin, John, introduces Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecies about messiah. John was the “miracle baby” born to the barren couple, Elizabeth and Zechariah (see Luke 1). Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary, became pregnant and was told by an angel that she was to give birth to Jesus. It was a new era that would change the course of human history.

At this season of Advent—a time of preparing, waiting and expecting—it is a good time to ask the question, “What is next for me?” What might you do to grow your life, give depth to your spirit, and get reignited (excited) about?

New eras (think new personal horizons) often bring with them feelings of uncertainty, expectancy and possibility along with experiences of risk and even loss. Have courage, breathe deeply and consider what is next for you. What must you do or become that you might truly live into the holy gift that lies within?

As I breathe in deeply the breath of life may I also take in courage and the Divine Spirit for guidance and wisdom as I consider what is next for my life. Amen.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Weber Baker

When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’ Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Luke 22:14-27

A Word of Hope
Weber Baker Today is “Lost and Found Day”. And though the Internet says this day is a day meant to be a fun reminder of material things lost and found; it can also be a day of lost and found things of God.

This passage of Luke speaks of things lost and of things found. Clearly Jesus is indicating that he will be ‘lost’ for a time. But he can be found in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup. So the lost will be found.

In a way, the one who betrays Jesus will be lost. “Woe to that one” Jesus says. The apostles then try to “find” the one who would do that. It is not revealed if they make a determination, but the continuation of the story implies they do not. (Side note: next time you hear someone saying their church only allows certain people to come to the Eucharist table, remind them that the meal at which Jesus is said to have instituted the sacrament included the one who betrayed him. No one is excluded by God. They only exclude themselves.)

Failing to find the betrayer, the apostles set out to find which of them is the greatest. They do not find this out either; at least not in the way they expect. The greatest is the one who is the least, the servant of all. Jesus turns the world its head yet again. In the world the greatest is the one at the table. The one who serves is not. But in the kingdom of God, it is the servant whose life is given for others is the greatest.

Great Creator, help me find within ourselves the servant who leads. Give me a heart to remember all are welcome in your realm as we remember Jesus service. Just as Jesus sat with his betrayer give me the courage and strength to sit with and serve those who might betray me.

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