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)
Isaiah 40.28-31 (NRSV)
28Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. [God] does not faint or grow weary…29[God] gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 30Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 31but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
The Wisdom of Shakti Gawain (Creative Visualization)
The most powerful thing you can do to change the world, is to change your own beliefs about the nature of life, people, reality, to something more positive… and begin to act accordingly.
Mark 1.29-39 (NRSV)
29As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 32That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 35In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
36And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 39And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
Serenity (feat. Marc Evans) 7:05 Studio Apartment Defected In the House Eivissa 2008 Dance
Healing Power 6:02 Tina Turner, Dechen Shak-Dagsay & Regula Curti Beyond (Buddhist and Christian Prayers) New Age 6
Healing 5:17 Dion I Put Away My Idols Christian & Gospel 4
Serenity 4:02 Olivia Newton-John Stronger Than Before Pop
Compassion 4:44 Todd Rundgren Healing Rock 1
*Text of today's reflection
Courage to Change
As we begin our look at the readings for today I want to first go to the gospel story relating Jesus and the others coming into Simon’s home after what probably was a long morning service at synagogue where Jesus taught and debated those there. You will remember from last week’s episode that Jesus had healed a man with an unclean spirit during that service and his fame began to spread from that act. In our reading from Mark’s gospel this week Jesus enters the home and finds Simon’s mother-in-law sick in bed with a fever. And Jesus does what Jesus does! He goes to her, takes her by the hand, and immediately the fever left her. And then the text says “she began to serve.”
I’ve heard this text preached many, many times sometimes insinuating and sometimes saying outright that Simon’s mother’s duty was to serve Jesus after the healing. So I want to address this first so that we can begin to look more closely at the entirety of what we see in today’s readings. I want to say unequivocally that tying this woman’s healing to some kind of “quid pro quo” for her serving them cheapens the healing miracle and sends a message to oppressed people that we do not want to mindlessly reinforce. Anytime we mindlessly or mindfully tie God’s healing and liberating action in the world to the recipient’s duty to serve those in authority we are dangerously close to reinscribing the kinds of control mechanisms that have been used to press religion into the service of empire in the form of oppressing and controlling people.
A feminist liberation view of this passage might attempt to see her service from her point of view. Perhaps her gratitude motivated her to want to be of service to Jesus and his friends. Perhaps her commitment to her family motivated her to make this offering. But regardless it’s important that we see her action as the result of her own agency, her own choice, and not as some divinely ordained pattern for how we are supposed to respond to help, support, healing, or encouragement from our authority figures. I choose to believe that Jesus healed this woman because she was sick, not because he needed someone to make his dinner and wait on him and his friends.
Now let’s look a little deeper into these readings in general. Jesus is acting both as the Great Physician capable of healing those around him and as someone who is taking responsibility for his own well-being. The gospel relates that he goes our early in the morning for his own time of quiet reflection, alone, apart, and without regard for how others might “view” him. He’s unmoved by the disciples annoyance with him and simply tells them what he plans to do next on his path. Jesus is modeling for us the saying, “physician heal thyself” that we have heard. In the midst of healing others Jesus is seen here taking care of himself making sure that his spirit gets what it needs as well.
Our reading from Isaiah also reminds us that our strength comes from God and that God is the source of our power. This reading reminds us that even those of us who are young will become tired and falter. We must remember to pace ourselves and look to God for our strength. The reading begins with the past tense echo of the Shema… Hear O Israel. Listen! It says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? This sounds like God imploring us to listen to our own truth, to listen to our own interior knowing about when we need rest or refreshment.
Our second reading today is from Shakti Gawain, one of my all time favorites. I’ve known about her for decades. Her message has never waivered… She urges us to live with mindfulness so that we can live balanced lives that keep us living in or moving toward wholeness.
Our reading today speaks to our call to do something to change the world. I speak with some degree of confidence in assuming that this is the animating principle behind every one of our ministries… the desire to do something to leave the world a better place.
It’s shocking to have this very short reading today that teaches us that the ONE thing we can do to put us on and keep us on the path to changing the world is to change our beliefs about the nature of life, people, and reality to something more positive…. More hopeful, expecting the best and then acting accordingly.
It reminds me of the reality that the only thing I really have the power to change is my own attitudes. Many times changing these attitudes changes my behavior. But to be sure changing my attitude must precede any attempt to change my behavior if I expect it to have lasting results. And most of us are well aware that trying to change others is something that simply cannot be done. But changing our own attitudes can model for others the kinds of changes that we hope for and seek in them.
With all of this in mind I would like to end today with the Serenity prayer. This little prayer by Reinhold Neibuhr is the recipe for a successful and happy life in my opinion. It is well used in 12 step groups and certainly is a formula for happiness, success, and ministry. So as I say the prayer today I invite you to join me using your own voice, wherever you are, whatever you are doing. Speak it out loud so that you can hear it’s wisdom in your own voice. Speak it aloud with me so that we can together affirm it’s simple beauty together as an act of corporate prayer. In so doing let us be reminded that the one thing we can change is our own attitude and that knowledge is the key to freedom, happiness, and service. Let us say the Serenity Prayer together.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.