Readings and reflection from Sunshine Cathedral in Second Life on Sunday, January 24, 2016
Visit us in Second Life, (https://www.secondlife.com) and search for Sunshine Cathedral.
Welcome to Sunshine Cathedral, a congregational mission of Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We come together each week to sing and pray, to read the sacred texts of ancient times and those of our day. We celebrate community and strive to live our lives ethically and lovingly in all that we do. Let us gather in community to rest in the love of the one who made us in Her image.
The Call to Worship based on Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows the Creator’s handiwork.
ALL: One day tells its tale to another, and one night imparts knowledge to another.
Although they have no words or language, and their voices are not heard,
ALL: The statutes of the Lord are just and rejoice the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is clear and gives light to the eyes.
ALL: Their sound has gone out into all lands, and their message to the ends of the world.
Who can tell how often we offend? Save us from our secrets.
ALL: Above all, keep your servant from presumptuousness; then shall we be whole and sound, and innocent of great offense.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my
heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
Eternal Spirit, reawaken within our hearts our true nature, made in your image and from your love. Keep us in your shadow so that we, striving to live as you would have us live, realize that we are worthy of your love and grace simply by being alive. Amen
The wisdom of Vida Reed Stone
“The entire concept of cosmic living lies in the eternal fact that God is all. There is but One Pow¬er, moving for good, throughout the entire uni¬verse. When our divine nature is fully awakened, we will know this and live in harmonious relation¬ship with all people.
Only as we realize the depth and wonder of this concept shall we have a strong incentive for cosmic living. Dwelling in consciousness upon the oneness of all life and our inter-relatedness with all that is, we naturally and spontaneously express a spirit of understanding and good will.
As we recognize that God’s power and strength are present at every point of space, as we desire sincerely to live a cosmic life, the life of wholeness, balance, and in peace, we shall receive all the inspiration and support we need from the great storehouse of universal Life.”
Jesus came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,
God’s Spirit is on me;
God has chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”
Click on the audio bar below to hear the audio.
Our readings today give us two views of the same idea. That idea is that we are each one created, chosen, and called. We want to explore today what that idea means for us and how we live in the world. Created, chosen, called. This is our destiny from the moment we attain consciousness. We are created in the image of the Eternal Spirit of the Universe. The spark of the Divine inhabits our earthly incarnation. We are, quite literally, part of God. Created in the image means that we resemble …. well…. God herself!
Our first reading reminds us …” When our divine nature is fully awakened, we will know this and live in harmonious relation¬ship with all people.” Every time I act in unloving ways, lashing out at others, acting from fear, I have momentarily forgotten in whose image I am made. That is what allows insecurity, fear, anger, and ultimately hatred to manifest through my life. So we are created in the image and likeness of God. Period. No qualifiers.
And we are not only created in that image we are chosen to show forth God’s love in the world. We sometimes think of being chosen as some great honor that is bestowed upon only a few or some great responsibility expected of only a few. The fact is that we are all chosen to do our part to bring to light the realm of God’s love, here on earth, now not later, in our generation. This is what choseness means for us as Christians. It is a great honor to be sure, but it is not limited to only a few of us. It logically follows that if we are all made in the image of the Creator then we are all equal in God’s love for us, even if some of us are more challenging than others from time to time. I know that I am one of those offenders!
So we are created in the image and likeness of God and then chosen to spread the love of that Creator. We are all called to do this work. And like any company or organization of people some of us are called to do one kind of job and some of us are called to do other kinds of jobs. No matter what our calling our first reading says, “As we recognize that God’s power and strength are present at every point of space, as we desire sincerely to live a cosmic life, the life of wholeness, balance, and in peace, we shall receive all the inspiration and support we need from the great storehouse of universal Life.”
Now if we are all created, chosen, and called what did Jesus mean when he read the haftorah portion for the service that Sabbath morning in his hometown and then added, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.” For most of my life this scripture has been used to support a supercessionist position. That means that some Christians believe that their religion supercedes ALL other religions, it’s the best, the right one, and that it “completes” Judaism. They read this text as if Jesus was saying that only HE was called to, “preach the Message of good news to the poor,
… announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, ‘This is God’s year to act!’”
What I believe is that Jesus did not mean that only he was called to do this ministry, to live this life of service to God’s love in the world. Rather I believe what he said was meant to convey that ALL of us are called to this ministry. I believe that what he meant was that anytime and anywhere that scripture is read, it comes true in reality because we are all created, chosen, and called to bring the good news of God’s love to the world.
Jesus showed us what a life of service to God’s love in the world looks like. He is our pattern for living. He did not condemn or show hatred toward people of other cultures or religions. He told story, parables, that included rich and poor, Jew and Samarian, male and female. He treated people respectfully and equally. This is what it means to live out God’s love, to live in a way that brings to light the already existing realm of God on earth.
So let us all say together…. “God has chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!’” May we come to know our true nature, created, chosen and called. Amen