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2016 Daily Devotions

Thursday, December 8, 2016

by
Bobby Kates
Volunteer Associate Pastor for People with Disabilities

Scripture
Again they cried openly. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye; but Ruth embraced her and held on. Naomi said, "Look, your sister-in-law is going back home to live with her own people and gods; go with her."

But Ruth said, "Don't force me to leave you; don't make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I'll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I'll die, and that's where I'll be buried, so help me God - not even death itself is going to come between us!"

When Naomi saw that Ruth had her heart set on going with her, she gave in.
Ruth 1:14-18 -- The Message

A Word of Hope to be found in our families of Choice.
Rev. Bobby Kates Some of us are blessed to have close family ties. However many LGBTQ people are not so blessed. Many LGBTQ people have either been thrown out or are totally ignored by their biological families. This glaring fact becomes so obvious this time of year, a time of year when family seems to be so important.

Times were tough in the Kingdom of Judah for Elimelech and his wife Naomi, so they ventured with their two sons into the Land of Moab to the east. After several years, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi alone with her sons. Eventually the sons married two Moabite women, sisters Orpah and Ruth, both raised in the faith of Chemosh. Yet ten years later, both sons, Mahlon and Chilion would also die, leaving all three women alone, cut off from society. For in those days women were property, to be handed down from Father to Husband. Men had all the rights and without a husband, women had nothing. The best that widows could attain was a life of poverty, living on the edge of local society, and barely being able to sustain themselves by gleaning the fields for leftover grain.

This was the world in which Ruth found herself, yet she chose to stay with Naomi, her mother-in-law, and not go back to her homeland of Moab. She chose to stay with Naomi in a different country, with a different culture, and more importantly, she chose to worship a different God, the God of Abraham.

It seems choice is everything in life. Though at times our lives seem impossible, God gives us choices. It is up to us to decide if we are to make a choice or not, even if it changes our lives. In the case of Ruth, she chose an entirely new life with Naomi that led to a new husband, Boaz, and a new family, a Family of Choice.

Many LGBTQ and Straight people find themselves in the situation of becoming part of a new family. And by deliberately choosing to play a significant role in another person’s / family’s life, many times we are given the opportunity to find our true emotional and spiritual self. ’Family’ does not have to be defined just by blood, but can also be defined by love and respect. Here at Cathedral of Hope, we have seen many families of choice rise up and flourish from the ashes of bitter biological family relationships, just like the legendary Phoenix. God blesses us with the power to choose where we find our love and respect. The choice is ours to embrace.

“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough” ― Walt Whitman

Prayer
Oh God, we thank You, for You bless us with infinite choices to find our Family of Choice. Amen.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

by
Minister Winner Laws
Cathedral of Hope Member
TCU Brite Divinity Graduate

Scripture
And he believed the Lord; and the Lord[a] reckoned it to him as righteousness. Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” Genesis 15: 6-8 (New Revised Standard Version)

A Word of Hope
Winner Laws On Sunday, December 7, 1941 at7:55 AM the Japanese attacked the U.S. Navy without cause or provocation. It is the 75th anniversary of this historic event in U.S. history. Even though the attack was a complete surprise, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke definitively that this day would “live in infamy”. I am sure there was doubt in the American people’s minds as they heard FDR’s speech over the radio. He made promises and millions of people signed up to go to war to defend the U.S. freedom and values.

In the biblical story above, God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many descendants. Abraham had questions because he did not have any children at that time. In verses 7 and 8 God affirmed The Creator’s promise and assured Abraham it would come to pass. Abraham, ultimately, believed God and God provided reassurance to Abraham. President FDR reassured the Americans over time with weekly radio broadcasts and, of course, newspaper stories about the progress of the war. In less than four years, the US with the Allies won World War II.

For lessons learned about Pearl Harbor, refer to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,…” Are we strong enough to adhere to Jesus’s teaching? Do more people need to die in any war because we cannot “love our enemy”? Jesus preached and taught that we should love everyone daily. As Jesus Christ followers and children of God, let each of us take steps toward acceptance of our brother and sisters despite our differences.

Prayer
Loving God, may I be content with what I have and work to help others have enough to live equitable and just lives, too. Amen.

If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope Devotion we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

by
Rev. Dr. Gary Kindley
Pastoral Counselor

cciadallas.org/

Scripture
In your strength the king rejoices, O LORD,
         and in your help how greatly he exults!
2 You have given him his heart’s desire,
         and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah
3 For you meet him with rich blessings;
         you set a crown of fine gold on his head.
4 He asked you for life; you gave it to him—
         length of days forever and ever.
Psalm 21:1-4 (New Revised Standard Version)

A Word of Hope
Expectations

Rev. Dr. Gary Kindley

A couple of years ago, my husband and I attended a performance that was promoted on the radio as being similar to “Cirque du Soleil.” Excited to see such amazing acrobatics, we purchased tickets and went with high expectations.

The venue was small but new and the first act was rather simple and unimpressive. We thought to ourselves, “Perhaps that was just a warm-up act.” Unfortunately, it didn’t get any better.

The performers, both adults and children, were talented and diligent but their best efforts didn’t live up to the marketing hype. It was more like watching a recital of your young offspring’s gymnastics class. People seated near us chuckled under their breath, looked at each other, and then left. We were seated on the front row, and more and more people seated around us also left. It was embarrassing for the performers and uncomfortable for those attending.

This holiday season can bring with it certain expectations. Perhaps we want to serve the perfect meal to visiting guests or to be the perfect host. Maybe we are hoping to get the perfect gift---one that we have dreamed of receiving but have never told someone else that we wanted. These and other scenarios of high expectations or perfectionistic demands make it likely that we will experience disappointment.

Psalm 21 is a celebration of a king’s victory and an act of thanksgiving. In its hyperbole, it is as if everything someone could wish for was granted by God. In truth, life is not perfect and we do not always win or get everything our way.

Consider your expectations—of both self and others. Consider being satisfied with yourself and others rather than placing unrealistic expectations on both. We are not God. We are not perfect, and neither is life. Welcoming life on life’s own terms is one way to discover deeper happiness and contentment that does not disappoint.

Prayer
Loving God, may I be content with what I have and work to help others have enough to live equitable and just lives, too. Amen.

If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope devotion, we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

by
Dan Peeler
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Minister for Children and Families

Scripture
“Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and named it Enoch after his son.” Genesis 4.17

A Word of Hope

“So, where did Cain get his wife?” the rationalist lawyer Clarence Darrow asked the fundamentalist politician William Jennings Bryan who had taken the stand in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Bryan mumbled something about “leaving the agnostics to hunt for her” and the bitter cross examination went on.

Incredible as it may seem so many of us, the bitter discussion of Creationism vs. Evolution is still going on. The defendant in the 1925 trial was simply a seeker of answers to such questions. He was a teacher, John Scopes, who was accused of violating a Tennessee statute against teaching the theory of evolution in public schools. After a week in court he was found guilty of breaking the Tennessee law, but the media of the day had already awarded an overwhelming victory to the eloquence of Darrow over the religious rhetoric of Bryan.

Karen Armstrong in her 2007 book, The Bible-A Biography, comments on the impact of the Scopes trial:
“The press gleefully denounced the fundamentalists as hopeless anachronisms, who could take no part in the modern world. This had an effect that is instructive to us today. When any fundamentalist movements are attacked, they usually become more extreme.”

Before the trial, southern fundamentalists were suspicious of evolution, but few went so far as to champion the literal 6-days-of-creation belief later to be known as creation science. But the bad press about the trial put them on the defensive as never before.

Armstrong concludes: “Before Scopes, fundamentalists had been willing to work for social reform with people on the left; after Scopes, they swung to the far right of the political spectrum, where they have remained.”

Karen Armstrong’s wisdom should give us pause, especially in the midst of the professional and social media vitriol that seems to permeate our nation today. It is distressing to see formerly responsible news outlets becoming biased courtrooms, applauding one view at the expense and humiliation of another. I thank God we have the option in our trials of real life to use our time more productively: pursuing justice centered on what we believe is right, rather than logging frustrating hours on Facebook building our case against what we believe is wrong.

Prayer
Help us to remember that when we choose to sow seeds of hate, the only result will be a hateful harvest.

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Childcare is provided at all Sunday and Wednesday services.

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