Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Musings on Love and Loneliness

Scripture:  For with the Lord, there is steadfast Love – Psalms 130:7

Before, my loneliness was like a deep gash that was constantly bleeding. Now, it is more like a sweater that I’m wearing on a warm day in early spring. I want to take the sweater off because it’s warm and the heat makes me uncomfortable but I don’t dare remove it because I don’t want to catch a cold. My loneliness keeps me safe from love sickness and heartache. And yet, I want to know and be known. I want to love and be loved.

I miss Love.

I speak to Love from time to time. I tell Her that I miss Her, I invite Her back into my life.

 I believe it is sort of a prayer.
And when love shines forth in my life like the sun on a hot August day, I will shed my sweater of loneliness and dance naked in her light. Until then, I will wait.
Uncomfortable, but safe.
And for that I thank the Lord. Amen.

The Reverend Tiffany Thomas

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Know the Lord Will...

Scripture:  The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; You’re steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. – Psalm 138:8

I know the Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.

Living Miracle

She had two bouncing,
Boisterous boys,
Which was more than just a few.
But despair became her lot,
When she endured miscarriage one,
And miscarriage two.

Two months into her fifth pregnancy,
The doctor took her hand,
His eyes full of sympathy,
“I’m sorry to inform you, you’ve just experienced
Miscarriage number three.”

For months sadness and sorrow filled her days,
But confusion and complexity as well.
She went to the doctor and said,
“I’ve gotten quite large. Don’t you see, can’t you tell?”

The doctor checked her, just as a formality.
And he heard the small sound of a heartbeat,
Which struck him most surprisingly.
Months later, a miracle was born,
That miracle was me.

I know that the Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.

Prayer:  Creator, you continue to call me forth into life.  Redeemer, when I fail and the work of my hands seem fruitless, you say different.  You have granted me a life-giving purpose.  Thank you for your loving patience and grace as I live into your will.  Amen.

The Reverend Tiffany Thomas

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Little Prayer

Scripture:  Psalm 130
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.

Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?

But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.

It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

Reflect, pray and explore Psalm 130 through this progressive painting accompanied by Seven Magnificent Antiphons (Parts 6 and 7) by Arvo Part.

Prayer:  Holy One, we cry out to you.  You are the one who made us, you know our voices...Hear our prayers, listen closely to our requests.  We wait for you O God, our souls wait for you.  We place all of our hope in you now and forever.  And thank you for your redeeming love.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Scripture: II Corinthians 4:13a, 16a   
We Believe and therefore speak...therefore we do not lose heart

The first time I preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I was 15 years old, about 11 years ago. I can’t exactly remember the content or the verse but I remember clearly how I felt in that sacred moment. It was the bravest I have ever been in my life. I was still in the honeymoon stage of a young believer, where everything about the Bible and the Christian faith was completely and undeniably true. It was before I moved out of my parent’s house to find a world that was as broken as the news depicts it. It was before learning about “Redaction Criticism.” It was before having a full understanding of the ways in which Christianity was (and in many ways still is) inexplicably bound to harming, degrading, and exploiting the lives and bodies of many peoples. Before wrapping my lips around the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, I preached with an unshakable faith that gave me a profound courage.

A courage that would have made me vigorously nod my head in agreement with Paul and shout “Yes! We believe and therefore we speak!”

A courage that I have never known before or since.

Eleven years later, I have grown accustomed to the fear, anxiety and trepidation that comes along with preaching. I am afraid that I am interpreting the scriptures improperly. I am afraid that I am not fully understood. I am afraid that I am seeking after the approval of the congregation and fellow colleagues rather than God. And the greatest fear and cause of anxiety of all: that I may not actually believe what it is that I am saying. 

We believe and therefore speak...and therefore we do not lose heart.

Where I would nod my head vigorously, now I would tilt my head at Paul and respond reflectively, “well...yes. And No.”

While I can still remember the confidence of preaching with an unshakable faith, some of the best preaching I have ever done was when I was in the pit of doubt and despair; the trenches of life altering depression; the grips of an acute spiritual crisis. 

And in these dark moments, it was not that I believed and therefore spoke.

Rather, I spoke in order to believe.
 I spoke what I needed to believe
I spoke what I desperately wanted to believe.

And it was in these dark moments that speaking, it was in these dark moments that preaching the Gospel, saved my life!

PrayerBlessed Redeemer, may your words ring.  May your truth resound, so that even when we feel far a way from we can hear you speak to us.  Also, nurture the "seed" of faith within us so that we will not loose heart.  Amen. 

The Reverend Tiffany Thomas

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Scripture: Mark 3:22-25--And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
  So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
The religious leaders, upon seeing Jesus cast out demons, declare that Jesus was himself “possessed by Beelzubul! By the prince of demons, he is driving out demons!” Jesus responds to this slanderous accusation by asserting , “...if the house is divided against itself, the house cannot stand.” The Bible calls his response a parable, I call it simple logic, it simply is not logical for:

Evil to do good
On behalf of evil
For the sake of evil.

Whether parable, or formal logic, Jesus is defending his miraculous work to a group of people who could not see that he was, in fact, doing good. They saw him doing good and immediately thought it was something sinister, something profane, something evil. I like to think that if I saw Jesus performing miracles, I would see the God in him. I would be one of the disciples that he names only a couple of verses prior. But how many countless times have I played the part of the religious leader than the disciple, how many times have I audaciously called the work of God the work of the devil? How many times do I slant my eyes to someone who is seemingly doing good, for me or for humankind, and wonder what manipulative and malicious intent lies behind the kind gesture?

Why is it that our first instinct and inclination is to mistrust goodness and call it the work of Beelzebul? Perhaps it is because we experience so much evil in the world:

-Pastors/priests molesting young impressionable boys and girls.

-non-profits pocketing the money given to feed and clothe millions of poverty-stricken children.

-Politicians proclaiming to be standing for the people and yet making “special-interest” policy that is detrimental to the personal and communal good of the public.

In a world full of corruption, who could really blame the religious leaders for not being able to see good works and recognize them as simply that- good works. Who could blame them for not being able to see God and recognizing Him as simply that- God. Who could blame them for not being able to practice simple logic?

This verse should convict us to fall on our knees to ask God to remove the scales from our eyes so that we may finally be able to see how God is actually at work in this broken world, to ask God to help us perform simple logic:

God does Good
On behalf of Good
For the sake of Good.

Prayer:  Holy one, may our hearts, may our minds, may our souls rest completely on you.  For truly you are good and you are the creator of every good and perfect gift.  Amen.

The Reverend Tiffany Thomas

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday, June 4, 2012

Scripture:  Psalm 130:3-6
If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
   Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
   so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
   and in his word I put my hope.
 I wait for the Lord
   more than watchmen wait for the morning,
   more than watchmen wait for the morning.
I do not think I am crazy- although I would not completely rule out the possibility- but one night recently, I believe I heard the voice of God. It was a whisper that forcefully pulled me from fitful sleep; a whisper that said, “I am waiting.” I sat up in my bed and I tried to rationalize away what I’d heard, or rather, what I thought I’d heard. It was a strange imageless dream induced by too much Mexican food, perhaps. It was my bladder sending a curt message to my brain that it was time to visit the bathroom, maybe. After successfully reassuring myself that I had not actually heard anything, I went back to sleep. But those words have stayed with me. Haunting me. Whenever I sit in contemplative silence, whenever I bow my head to pray, the words come flooding back to me, “I am waiting.” Finally, one day I responded. My journal entry weeks later read:

Holy God,

what exactly are you waiting for?

I wrote this prayer with much self-righteousness and indignation for what more could God possibly want from me? I had already committed myself to service to God, I had given God the only thing that I had- my life. What is left? What could He possibly be waiting for?!

But as I reflected on my life, on my attitude, on my actions, on my inactions I had been found wanting. There is much that God is waiting on from me. The blessed God of Israel for whom the prophets spoke of mercy, of freedom and release is waiting for me to show the same mercy for His people, waiting for me to see the suffering of this world and to really care. The blessed God of Israel, who with “unfailing love and full of redemption,”  is waiting for me to follow that path up and down mountains and valleys of forgiveness and reconciliation. He is waiting for me.

This psalm tells us to wait on the Lord with hope but there in verse three, the Psalmist illustrates that God is waiting for us. Waiting to forgive us. Waiting to guide us. Waiting, even more than a watchmen waiting for the morning. Because if he did not wait for us, we could not stand. And so, as I see myself as I truly am, I can only cry out of the depths to my Lord, “Please, God, wait for me.”

Prayer:  Again.  Please, God, wait for me.  Amen.

The Reverend Tiffany Thomas

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