Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunset Moonrise

Sunset & Moonrise

May 28, 2012

Dr. James R. Brooks

How many ways could God have given us light?  The sunlight that helps our food grow, gives us a tan, and helps us to see.  How many ways might God have created light?
In my office, the light makes a sound.  The hum of the florescent lights is always there.  The artificial light is rather noisy.  A noise that is distracting and unsatisfying.
What if God had created the sun with an on and off switch?  Regardless the revolving and rotation of the planets, the sun would turn on and off periodically.  What a savings of energy!  The sun is an opulent source!  The sun is always giving its light regardless of who is looking.  Be we on the sunny side of the planet during its revolution or on the dark side, the sun is bright.  What a waste, we might say.
Might opulence be the key?  Or beauty and artistry could be the point.  God’s creative acts could be more than an efficient production.  God’s creation could be a revelation.  A revelation of God’s love for us.  
What if God’s creation was solely about meeting our need and simultaneously inspiring us to greater heights?
What then of a sunset?  A moment most days when we might reflect upon more than the revolving and rotation of our planet.  A moment most days that invites us to witness the amazing beauty of God’s creative acts.  The providing of light in such a delicate way that it produces a sunset and moonrise.
Thanks be to God for these precious experiences.  May we not take them for less than they are.  May we receive them in ways that inspire us to be more than we might.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Vine is more than Internet

John 15:1-8
The True Vine ≠ Internet 
In the book of Genesis we read that we are created in the image of God.  There is a plural in there that is often forgotten.  Regardless, we are in the image of God.
The plural denotes to me the connectivity of the experience.  
We, humans, create the internet.  The internet is an experience of interconnectivity.  That experience is much like that imaged by God.  The triune God is 3 in 1.  A monotheistic expression of community.  One God in three expressions.  One God presented to us in three different accessible manners.  Or ... One God in three forms to us and to God’s self.  To be one is to be in community ... to be in community is to be one.  As detailed as we might get with our trinitarian theory, community appears to be at the basis of God’s being.  
Let us consider God (Abba) and Jesus.  In the Gospels, those two characters seem to be at the closest communion yet individualized.  Jesus sends us the Spirit, so the dyad becomes the triad and we have a more profound community.
Leap a few thousand years, we created the internet.  From its onset in the late 1960s to today, the map of the internet is if anything connectivity.  From its onset, the internet has modeled connection via diverse and growing path ways.  
My question is if the internet images the connectivity that God models in us as an image of God?  Does the internet model the connectivity we crave in God?  As much as humans crave independence, we create a “network” of connection because we are modeled / made in the image of one who is all about relationship?
A difference is that we are also about control, so we create the internet to control connection.  Like the grape vine, God creates without the desire to control.  Rather, God creates with the desire to produce fruit ... clusters of grape from a tangled mess of branches.  
We desire the internet because of our need for control.  God desires the grape vine because of God’s lack of desire for control (thus the messy and tangled branches) rather a desire for fruit (the clusters of grapes from the green).  
May we produce much fruit (love relationships) and enjoy our life in the vine.
BONUS:    A bonus thought after listening to one of the Elders of my church read the scripture ... What a blessing that Jesus’ images us as branches of the vince that produce fruit.  What if Jesus had imaged us as the roots from which God drew nutrients to produce fruit?  What if we were imaged as the roots, hidden under ground with the dirt to give food to the vine?  Instead, God sees us as the ones who produce fruit for God’s glory!

Friday, May 04, 2012

from the minister’s bookshelf . . .
I recently finished The Shack by Wm. Paul Young.  I was given the book as a gift.  Books are fabulous gifts because they are so much more than the pages caught between covers.  Such is the case with this book.
The Shack is not a book for the faint of heart.  The book contains subject matter that is difficult to read.  However, for those who are curious about or compelled to wrestle with issues of theodicy, such as why bad things happen to good people, this is a particularly helpful piece of reflection.
I was especially taken with Young’s portrayal or God.  Without giving away the book, Young has a fascinating way of explaining the relationship of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  As much, I was up lifted by Young’s construct of God / human relationship.  While not a classic in the artful use of language, it is a keeper for its approach to the content.  I recommend this book quite highly, and am thankful to the giver of the book to me.