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Everyday Spirituality

Everyday Spirituality

Online Bible Class

posted by Cheryl Petersen

Boston College School of Theology and Ministry offers online classes and I decided to join in. The Gospel of Mark is the session I’m currently enrolled in and have to say, it is interesting and simple. I’ve never taken an online class before (must sound like I’m from the dark ages to many of you) but for personal spiritual growth, I gave it a shot.

All participants introduce themselves and answer questions, typing out their text. A facilitator keeps the conversation going and I feel welcome to join in. Participants are from around the world and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments. People are very thoughtful and they shed light on new thoughts for me to contemplate.

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The Gospel of Mark is regarded by scholars as the first Gospel written. It is concise. Maybe the writers of Matthew, Luke, and John thought the story of Christ Jesus needed elaboration, because their books are longer.

Already I’ve discovered, I’m guilty of a “homogenized” view of the Gospels. I tend to blend ideas from all four Gospels into one. The online class is forcing me to take a look at the Gospel of Mark alone. I don’t feel compelled to convert to a new radical view, but just be more aware.

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The Prodigal Son’s Older Brother

posted by Cheryl Petersen

The parable of the prodigal son, found in Luke 15, provides nutrient for those of us who feel lost in the world. The story is about a man who has 2 sons. The younger son, full of ambition and ardor, wanted his inheritance early. The father gave it to him, but the son promptly wasted it all, and found himself destitute.

The younger son eventually went back to his father. The father kissed him and brought him home and threw a party for him. The level of forgiveness and joy seem indescribably welcoming as we read the parable of the prodigal son, however, years ago, I also took in another view of the story that helped me in a time of need.

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I was pregnant and woke one night in discomfort. While lying in bed, I thought about the parable of the prodigal son. I didn’t relate at first, because I wasn’t feeling like a lost, destitute soul, but I thought further and considered the older brother’s experience.

The older brother had stayed with the father, and continued working, while his younger brother was out goofing off. But, when he saw his dad had thrown a party for the naughty, lazy brother, the older son got upset. Basically asking his dad, “Why do you give him a party, and ignore me, even after I’ve been good this whole time?”

The father replied, “Everything I have is yours.”

If God is my Father and everything of God’s is ours, what does that mean?

A God of Love is full of compassion, sweetness, and mercy, and it is ours.

A God of Truth is complete with honesty, integrity, and self-worth, and it is ours.

A God of Life is expressive of strength, comfort, and purpose, and it is ours.

I became comfortable that night and went back to sleep.

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Foresight and the Future

posted by Cheryl Petersen

“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”

The quote was attributed to Henry David Thoreau, who died 40 years before Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the sky.

Was it a prayer?

Was it a sarcastic comment?

Or, was it a declaration of lost hope?

Today, millions of people are flying the skies every single day. Granted, we do want to support the airlines that are attempting to reduce their carbon footprints. Moreover we can become more familiar with a foresight that isn’t tainted with sarcasm or negativity.

The point of foresight is not to know the future, but to witness to a future designed by wisdom, courage, impartiality, and love.

 

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The Bible and its many meanings

posted by Cheryl Petersen

courtesy jrsbible.info

I have a few issues with the Bible, however, it is apparent that the Bible has a surplus of meaning. Therefore, I can always find something to read and think about. For example, the other night, I came across this statement in the Gospel John, “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” John 5:19

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The statement was attributed to Christ Jesus and it gives pause for thought. First off, I can’t claim to grasp the full meaning, however, I’m confident that whatever meaning I get out of it, I’m that much further ahead.

Last night, I didn’t get too technical when considering this verse. The day was long. I’m dealing with an important assignment at work. But because it always helps to spend some time aligning my thought with God, so I thought about this verse.

I asked myself, “What do I see God doing?” I don’t know. The world seems crazy. Things don’t go as planned. Doubts about a purpose in life creep into the mind.

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Obviously, this was taking me nowhere, so I asked another question. “What is God?”

God is Love, Life, Truth.

Then, “What is Love doing?”

Ah, I could see a hint. I had met someone who was patiently assisting me with my important assignment. This was Love’s doing!

I still felt okay, even though I hadn’t got much sleep. Is this Life, living? Yes, I think so.

What is Truth doing? Being truthful.

I continued mulling over seeing what Love, Life, and Truth are doing. I may not feel as though, as a daughter of God, that I do likewise, but it was a good start to affirm what God is doing.

What do you see God doing?

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