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CCNCN Lenten Reflections by Dick Ober
By CCNCN
About this podcast
This is the reflection blog/podcast of the Christian Church of Northern California-Nevada.
Episodes (Total: 10)
April 15, 2011
'Twas the night after Easter,       and locked in a room,The disciples sat wondering      there in the gloom.The women had told them      that Christ had arisen;But that went against      all sense and all reason.If Christ were alive      and was seen by the womenWhy had he not first      shown himself to the men?They sat and awaited      a knock at the door.If he came, would they know him?      Would he look like before?And suppose it were soldiers      who knocked at the door?Not knowing the answers,      they stared at the floor.But they needn't have wondered      how they would tell,If at the door      came a knock and a yell.For no knock ever came,      and no footsteps were heard;Jesus came to the room      without speaking a word.Then what to their wondering eyes      did appear?It made them all speechless,      and filled them with fear!"Peace be with you,"      he said with a smile,Then said it once more      for it took them awhileTo regain their senses      and let it sink inThat Christ was alive      and here with them again!The reason he came      was not just to please them;But to give them his power,      from fear to release them.So he wasted no time      as he stood there aglow,But gave them a mission,      and told them to go.Then he breathed out his breath      and his Spirit upon them,And quick as he came,      he suddenly left them.Their souls, which were weary,      were now filled with mirth,And they had a new message      to tell all the earth.
April 15, 2011
Eternal Spirit,far beyond knowing,yet known to us in our deepest innermost being:You who are beyond the outermost reaches      of the universe,we reach out to you with words      of one of the languages of this small planet      and presume that you understand,only to discover that you understand      far more than we can speak       of the inner longings and desires of our hearts,      far more than we intended      of the evil that lurks in the dark corners of our souls.We ask you to reveal yourself, and you turnand reveal ourselves to us      far more than we ever wanted anyone to see      including you . . . including ourselves.We seek to master the complexity      of who you are,and you come to us in the simplicity      of one who broke bread, drank wine, and said      “Love one another like this,” and then      washed our feet.We ask to see the full light of your presence;you wisely shine it on us in small quantitieslest we be so blindedwe lose sight of you altogether.Eternal Spirit,far beyond knowing,continue to make yourself known to usas much as we can stand.  Amen.
April 15, 2011
They’re going to go to the wrong place:the women tomorrow morningand the men.He said he wouldn’t be there:      “…and on the third day be raised.”                   (Matthew 16:21)But they go there anyway, innocently enoughon the part of the women.Then the men:What’s the matter didn’t you believe the women?      Or Jesus?He said he wouldn’t be there.They said he wasn’t there.Yet that’s where you go to look for him.Don’t let me be too critical.We do the same thing.All the time.Always looking for God in the wrong places:      empty tombs.      empty forms.      empty words.      empty rituals.Not that they have to be empty, of course.But if they have become so for youwhy keep looking there?I didn’t find God there last time I looked,but I’m going to look there again, becauseonce upon a time I      --or my grandmother or somebody--found God thereso that must be the place to look. “He is not here, he has risen.”    (Luke 24:5)Then where will I find him?In unexpected places.Look for God where you wouldn’t expectto find God.Be ready to be surprised by God.Consider the women (as told by Matthew)Surprised by the empty tomb.Surprised by the messenger.Surprised by the Risen Christ himself.Holy surprises!Popping up at every turn!Where next?Yes, that’s it.  Where next?In my life?  In your life?In that stranger walking toward you?It’s going to be very tempting tomorrowto go look in the empty tomb.Don’t be surprised if he’s not there.But stay alert, becauseif he’s not there,who knows where he might pop up next?
April 15, 2011
Reading a bookone line jumped out:"God will not let us go to hell in peace."                     (Distant Fire, p. 9)I knew it!That fits!That sounds like God!Two other pictures.One:  God as judge--God sends us to hell.that doesn't fit...a house divided..Two:  God as indifferent--God allows us to go to hell.We choose our own fate.That doesn't sound like God.Another view:There is no hell.But we know better,don't we.We keep trying to go there.And God keeps trying to stop us.God doesn't ignore us.God will not leave us alone.God will not let us enjoy our sin.God keeps stirring our conscience,disturbing our peace.If you're going to go to hell,you'll have to fight Godall the wayto get there."God will not let us go to hell in peace."
April 15, 2011
Peter,have we been wrong about you?We have blamed you fordenying,when all the time you wereconfessing,“I do not know the man.”I wanted to know.Later I would.But thenI wanted him to bewhat I wanted him to be.And I did not know the man.I tried to know.“So I should forgive up to seven times?”“Show me how to walk on the water.”"Explain this parable to us."He replied"Are you also still without understanding?”I tried to understand.First, "You will never wash my feet."Then, "also my hands and my head!"“Later you will understand,” he said.I did not know the man.I thought I knew.“Who do you think I am,” he asked.“You are the Christ,the Son of the Living God.”He blessed me for that, thoughI did not know what I was saying. “I am going to Jerusalem whereI will be put to death.”“Never,” I said,“That will not happen.”“Get behind me,” he said.I did not know the man.Up on the mountain:magnificent manifestation.“Let me build three shrines,” I said.I did not know the man.They came to arrest him.I pulled a sword.“Put it away,” he said.I did not know the man.I stood by the fire.They asked if I knew him.I moved away.“Surely you knew him.”The cock crowed, and I weptbecauseI did not know the man.
April 15, 2011
Oops, the communion juice got on my fingers.I have “blood” on my hands—the blood of Jesus.Oh, don’t we all!Pilate didn’t want the blood of Jesus on his hands:Pilate … took some water and washed his hands, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves."(Matthew 27:24)Someone incited the crowds:"His blood be on us and on our children!"               (Matthew 27:25)Well it is.  Believe me, it is.  It’s on all our hands.No single group.Want it or not, his blood is on us."I am innocent of this man's blood.”No you’re not.  You are one of us.We all are children of the crucifiers.“There is no one who is righteous, not even one.”“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”(Romans 3:10, 23)It is for us that he died.It is because of us that he had to die.We thought it was him.We thought there was something wrong with him.He was the one being struck down by God.What did he do that was so terrible?Nothing.  We are the ones.
April 15, 2011
“What is truth?”That’s a good question,Pilate.Weare still trying to answer.Jesus said,“I am the truth”I?the truth?A living, breathing, moving,spontaneous,divine/human being?“I am the truth?”No wonder peoplestill preferMoses.Mosesgave us truth:immutable, unchangeable, absolutecarved in stoneforever!That’snot slippery truth.That’s truthyou can pin down.We like that.Of course,we were ablefinallyto pin Jesus down.Nailed him downactually.We don’t like truththat moves.
April 15, 2011
This is it.  The final week.Is this where we get all our questions answered?Or all our answers questioned?There is a story about a psychologistwho had seven theories on child-raisingand no children.Some years later he had seven childrenand no theories.That’s what having children does to you.When I was youngI thought I had all the answers to life.Now, some years laterI’m not even sure I know what all the questions are.That’s what life does to you.Is this the endor the beginning?Or neither?Maybe there is no beginning or ending.Palm Sunday looked like a great new beginning.Good Friday looked like the final end.In fact, neither was either.All their answers were thrown into question.That’s what Jesus does to you.We want endings and beginnings, but maybereal life is lived always in the middle.That’s what it feels like.No matter what begins.  No matter what ends.I’m always right in the middle of everything.That doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t like to have some answers.
April 7, 2011
This could be the moment.There may be another chance in the garden.But this just might be the opportune time.When the temptations in the wilderness werefinished (or so it appeared)  Luke tells us the devil “departed from himuntil an opportune time.”                                                (Luke 4:13) One of the more menacing lines in Scripture.What kind of time is opportune?When is one vulnerable to temptation?When you are down:       in need, in trouble, in desperation.       You’ll do anything to get a way up.       Or try any escape to find a way out. Jesus already passed that one.       How down and desperate was he after      starving for 40 days.When you are in the middle.       Life is good.  Life is smooth.      You’re guard is down.      You can wander off track before you know itJesus passed that one everyday.      He was always alert to whatever tricks      anyone might throw his way. When you are up.      Riding the crest of the wave.      Everybody loves you. You can do no wrong.        Or can you?This is the opportune moment to catch Jesus.      Ride that wave.  Listen to the crowds.      Give them what they want.  They’ll make you a king.      Wear that crown and lead the march to victory.      Come on, Jesus.  Hosanna!  “Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple,and when he had looked around at everything…he went out to Bethany with the twelve.”                      (Mark 11:11) What?No rally?  No stirring speech?  No demonstration?What a missed opportunity.  No.There was no giving in to the opportune moment  that would have tempted him away from his true mission.I wish I had that kind of restraint.I wish I had that kind of trust in God.To be able to understand thatwhat looks like a moment of opportunityis in fact a distractionfrom the true path.
April 7, 2011
Onewould not want to compare the will ofGodto a broad path.Althoughat times it seems there is roomto meander a littlewithoutgoing outside the boundaries.At other timesthe path narrows.Wallsrise on the sides.There is onlyone way to go.Onemight choose notto go at all,exceptfor that invisible handplaced firmlyin the small of the backpressing forward.Goddoesn’t talk much,butat timesthere is no doubtwhat God is saying.(Bonus question:  Is this about us, or aboutJesus facing Palm Sunday?  Or both?)
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