We provide the readings, reflection, and a listing of music from our service each week at Sunshine Cathedral in Second Life. If you were unable to attend or simply do not use Second Life we are delighted to share this portion of our service with you.
Join us each week at Sunshine Cathedral in Second Life. Download the software and make your avatar at http://www.secondlife.com. Search Sunshine Cathedral in Classifieds to find your way to us. We meet each Sunday at 5pm EST/ 2pm SLT My name in Second Life is CristoferAslan Muircastle.
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(*Text for the reflection at the bottom of this page)
Deuteronomy 30.11-14 (NIV)
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
1 Corinthians 10.1-4 (CEV)
1Friends, I want to remind you that all of our ancestors walked under the cloud and went through the sea. 2This was like being baptized and becoming followers of Moses. 3All of them also ate the same spiritual food 4and drank the same spiritual drink, which flowed from the spiritual rock that followed them. That rock was Christ.
Gospel of Thomas
2Jesus said, ‘Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find…
43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Where Can I Go? 4:12 John Michael Talbot Living Water 50th Christian & Gospel
God Is Near 5:28 Rend Collective Experiment Organic Family Hymnal Christian & Gospel
Come and See 2:53 Bob Bennett Matters of the Heart Christian & Gospel
God Be With You Till We Meet Again (Randolph) 2:29 American Boychoir & The American Boychoir 100 Best Hymns Classical
*Text of Reflection by Rev. BK Hipsher
Rock of Ages
Can anything good come out of a Mosque? Can anything good come out of a gay bar? Can anything good come out of the ghetto? The housing project? Iran?
How many times have we fallen victim to allowing our bias about a place or a group of people color our opinion of a person we know? Do we look at women wearing hajib and think they’re selling out? Do we form opinions about people when we know what they do for a living?
I think this gospel lesson is inviting us to look at two sides of a coin. On the one hand we should ask questions. We ought to be suspicious. We should use our brain to make our own decisions. That’s one side of the coin. The other side is that we must guard against our own prejudices. And we have these prejudices and biases. But we need to give every human being the dignity they deserve. We need to honor them as another image of God without jumping to conclusions based on where someone is from, the color of their skin, their educational level, their language or culture, their religion… you name it!
We attain this kind of wisdom by doing what the little Gospel of Thomas says…. Keep seeking. We must continually seek the kind of wisdom that reminds us that we are all one human family and this earth is part of God’s creation. We need to seek the kind of wisdom that reminds us that all of creation is good and that if we are made in God’s image we are holy and worthy of paying honor to each other.
Seeking is not a comfortable endeavor. I too often become impatient. I wonder why I have to work so hard and seek so long. I start to tell myself that I’m wasting my time and that it shouldn’t be this hard. But there is a little saying in twelve step programs, “Don’t quite 5 minutes before the miracle happens.” It’s our task, our call to continually seek the wisdom that will allow us to let go of our prejudices.
Just this week I had an interesting experience. I was taking my last class in my doctoral program. It was a World Religions class. We had a Hindu monk, an authority on Buddhism, an imam, and a Jewish cantor come to speak to us over this past 2 weeks. I found myself able to be very open minded about all the speakers except the imam. My view is so deeply scared by the events of 9/11/01. After all these years…. I still have prejudices…. I’m ashamed of it. But it’s still there.
So what am I to do about this? I’m supposed to keep trying, keep learning, keep my mind open to hear, do my best to keep the judgments at bay, and come and see for myself! I was changed by this encounter with the imam. No I don’t have rose colored glasses. I still see all the issues and challenges. But this was a healing thing for me… to be in a room with a faithful muslim imam listening to him talk to me about what his faith means to him. It was a powerful lesson.
Our reading from that portion of sacred scripture that the Jews refer to as Torah says that nothing we are commanded to do by God is too difficult. Anything we are expected to do is within our reach. What we need to know is not in heaven or beyond the sea. It’s literally in our heart. And if it is in our heart it can eventually get to our head and come out our mouths so that others can be transformed by our experience.
Our reading from 1 Corinthians needs a little bit of “wisdom” attached to it. Because it would appear that Paul is saying that the rock the Moses struck at Horeb and from which water flowed for the Israelites was the Christ. I don’t think that is what is intended here. I think what Paul is referring to is the fact that God stood on the rock at Horeb as Moses struck it. The water was a reminder that God is ever with us, never abandoning us. The Christ in the person of Jesus does the same kind of thing. Jesus was here with us living in this world. He reminded us that God never leaves us. God is not in some far away heaven. God is not under or beyond the sea. God is WITH us. Giving us the cool clear water of wisdom if we only seek it.
It is so difficult to keep from making judgments based on external things. I look at the Republican field of candidates and I marvel that people, good people with discerning hearts and good intellect would vote for any of them. But they will. And I am called to respect that. I’m not called to sit idly by while injustice is perpetuated. But I am called to refrain from making judgments about people’s INTERIOR lives. I have no right to do that. In the end… most people are just doing the best that can do at the time.
As we go out this week let us be reminded that something good did come out of Nazareth. Jesus may have been a poor peasant, the son of a carpenter. But he taught what was in his heart, he stood up to powerful empires, he listened to the voice of God. And because he did not capitulate to the powers of this world he changed the world forever. Let us continue to seek, continue to work, continue to thirst for wisdom. Let us be reminded that we’re not expected to be perfect. But we are expected to keep an open mind.