Open Invitation

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“Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “All Are Welcome” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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Acts 3:19-21

“Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.”

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The apostle Peter was addressing many of the people who had rejected Jesus resulting in his crucifixion.

Of course, Peter was also one who rejected Jesus, very famously denying he knew him three times.

But in today’s passage, Peter is riding high on the forgiveness he received from the risen Christ.

He seems to be a changed person.

That’s what forgiveness will do: transform you.

Peter tells the people to repent, meaning change your direction.

Turn back to the God of unconditional love.

Allow God’s forgiveness to bring you refreshment.

Note the amazing statement Peter then makes about “the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.”

Universal restoration.

This is the key point.

Life in this realm is not a private quest to make it to heaven one day.

It’s not “our personal salvation project” as Thomas Merton put it.

Salvation is of God’s doing.

You might say that the Love that made us is hell-bent on making us whole!

This includes everyone and everything.

That’s because God is in everything.

As St. Paul said, in God we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)

Jesus said that we would one day realize that he is in God and “you are in me and I in you” (John 14:20).

This should help us understand how Jesus can command us to love our enemies!

Take a deep breath.

Receive the gift of Life and Love that is totally free and given without condition.

Heaven is available right now for those willing to receive it and share it.

All are welcome!

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Listen to the song of the day “All Are Welcome” on the Give Praise and Thanks album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

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Remember: God loves you!

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Really, REALLY Good News

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“Eternal life is less about a kind of time that starts when we die, and more about a quality and vitality of life now in connection to God.” – Rob Bell, Love Wins

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Salvation” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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Luke 24:35

Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

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Today’s scripture quote is from the account of two followers of Jesus who had fled Jerusalem after the crucifixion.

They were numb as they walked on the road to the town of Emmaus.

They couldn’t believe that the man whom they had such high hopes of being the one to redeem Israel was brutally killed.

This is when a mysterious stranger joins them on their journey.

They tell this man how several women from their group had reported an empty tomb and that they had seen a “vision of angels who had announced that he was alive.”

Of course, another Gospel reports that Mary Magdalene actually met the risen Jesus.

Note the importance of the women in this story and the subsequent erasure of their importance in the years that followed.

But I digress.

The mysterious man explains to these two bewildered men how scriptures had prepared them for Jesus.

Then at table, the man blesses and breaks the bread, and gives it to them.

That’s when the scripture says they recognized him.

This is far from a resuscitated corpse.

They recognize Jesus when their hearts were burning while he spoke.

And then this mysterious manifestation of Jesus vanishes.

But now the two men are invigorated and return to Jerusalem to tell the story.

They are no longer afraid.

They realized that death is just a transformative step into new life.

There is no death!

Love is victorious.

And just like the bread, we are blessed, broken, and given to be this life-giving message to the world.

All people and all of creation belongsjust-as-it-is.

It is all loved and destined for life eternal right now.

Now.

Amen.

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Listen to the song of the day “Salvation” on the Live to Love album by clicking HERE.

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Remember: God loves you!

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Epic Love Story

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“Grace is everywhere as an active orientation of all created reality toward God.” – Karl Rahner

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “May I Be Light” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

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Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

The two letters are used in Christianity to designate the comprehensiveness of God, implying that God includes all that can be.

This parallels St. Paul’s saying that in God we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

The Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin invented the term Omega Point to designate a time in the future when everything in the universe will supposedly spiral toward a final point of unification.

He posited that this is when Christ will draw all things to himself.

Jesus said that everything God gives him will come to him and that he will not reject anyone who comes to him (John 6:37).

There appears to be a grand unification in the works and a divine connection between everything that is.

The illusion is that we are not one.

We see evidence of this everywhere in the insane actions of humanity.

The great challenge is to see the hidden unity and to work to end the delusions and insane actions that denigrate this sacred Oneness.

Jesus believed in this Oneness and poured himself out to show that love cannot be defeated by unjust persecution and even crucifixion.

Resurrection is promised.

Life goes on transformed.

Love will bring all things to this grand finale.

As Richard Rohr says in his book The Universal Christ: “What if Christ is a name for the immense spaciousness of all true Love? What if Christ refers to an infinite horizon that pulls us from within and pulls us forward too?”

To which I say: What if we gave ourselves over to this Pull in the way each of us lives our lives?

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Listen to the song of the day “May I Be Light” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Heart-Centered

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“What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.” – Meister Eckhart

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Listen to Your Heart” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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Isaiah 50:4

God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to answer the weary a word that will awaken them. Morning after morning God wakens my ear to hear as disciples do.

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We see a very well-balanced life reflected by the prophet Isaiah’s words here.

He seems to know that he has a gift for speaking, a well-trained tongue as he puts it.

Of course, it’s not completely innate as he admits to be well-trained.

We see that he realizes that he has been given this gift and has honed it not for selfish gain, but for a divine purpose: to answer the weary a word that will awaken them or also translated as that will rouse them.

Are you weary?

We all feel this weariness of life from time to time.

God wants to awaken and rouse us.

Do not let the situations and challenges of life dampen your spirit.

Many times these situations turn into narratives created by our minds.

They are like smoke screens.

Remember that this, too, will pass like everything in this realm.

The truth is that you and I are loved unconditionally by the Love that created us.

We are here to receive this love and to share this love.

So how do we hear God’s voice?

Some form of meditation such as Centering Prayer is helpful.

To hear God speak to our hearts, we need to be still.

We need to be.

We need to allow our addictive thoughts to dissipate.

This takes awareness of our constant thought process.

We need to shift from mind to heart.

We need to be attentive to the inner movement of the spirit there.

After hearing, we need to take action to carry out the inspiration we’ve received.

One way to discern if this is truly what God wants is to be sensitive to how you feel.

Do you feel consolation or desolation over the thought of taking a certain action?

May we all tend to our relationship with the Divine in order that we might be a channel of God’s love to the world, and in so doing, be our true selves.

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Listen to the song of the day “Listen to Your Heart” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Shine

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“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Make Me a Channel” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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Isaiah 49:1

Hear me, coastlands, listen, distant peoples. Before birth God called me, from my mother’s womb God gave me my name.

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These words from the prophet Isaiah are, in my opinion, meant for each of us.

God has called each of us before birth and has named us before we were born.

Each of us is a unique reflection of God.

In a sense, we are a part of God and yet not God.

We are in God in whom we live and move and have our being, as St. Paul put it (Acts 17:28).

Jesus said that we would realize that he is in God and that “you are in me and I in you” (John 14:20).

Each of us is divine.

Each of us is an eternal soul housed in a human body for this earthly experience to do our part in manifesting what Jesus called “the kingdom of God.”

This kingdom is the realm of spacious peace and love.

It is readily available inside each of us to rest in and to live from.

Some form of meditation such as Centering Prayer is a helpful practice to experience this.

When we live from this place of unconditional love and peace, we become channels of love and peace.

Then we, too, will be able to echo the words of Jesus to God when he said, “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

This Holy Week, may we die to our egos’ pursuits so that God’s pursuits may rise from our very core.

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Listen to the song of the day “Make Me a Channel” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Serve

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“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.” – Buddha

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Mercy Reigns” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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Isaiah 42:5-7

Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its produce, Who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it: I, the LORD, have called you for justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

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Many understand these words of the prophet Isaiah as his description of the coming Messiah.

Jesus famously read these words from Isaiah in the synagogue and stated that the “scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21), thereby claiming that this was his mission.

And he did go about healing people, freeing people from all types of bondage whether it was physical, spiritual, or emotional.

He became a beacon of light.

Jesus called all those who listened to his teachings and witnessed his actions to follow him.

He didn’t ask for worshippers but followers.

And then Jesus made the curious and astounding statement that “whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these” (John 14:12).

Really?

Greater works than Jesus?

Let us listen to the words of Isaiah again, this time with the ears of our hearts, and as though the prophet is speaking directly to you:

“Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its produce, Who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it: I, the LORD, have called you for justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”

You, my friend, you are being called.

Answer the call and see a great adventure begin!

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Listen to the song of the day “Mercy Reigns” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Peace Now

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“There is no illusion greater than fear.” – Lao Tzu

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “The Way You Are” YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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Psalm 18:5-7

The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction terrified me. The cords of Sheol encircled me; the snares of death lay in wait for me. In my distress I called out: LORD! I cried out to my God.

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Fear causes such distress and suffering.

It seems to me that at the basis of all fear is the fear of death.

We have fear for our safety.

We think that death is our arch enemy and the worst possible outcome.

Have you heard that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real?

The truth is: No one dies.

Yes, your physical body will die one day.

But your soul, or your spirit, essence, consciousness, will go on.

Our faith has always told us this.

For Christians, Jesus demonstrated this in his resurrection and appearances to many following his body’s death.

His message is that love wins.

Life goes on transformed!

We are now getting this message loud and clear from thousands of people known as Near Death Experiencers.

They are telling their stories of passing to the heavenly realm, experiencing love beyond measure, and then returning.

They’re lives are then transformed.

Most turn to helping others for the rest of their earthly lives.

I’ve met many of these people.

I have no doubt that they are telling the truth.

I, myself, had a Spiritually Transformative Experience in a hospital bed in the aftermath of a ruptured appendix.

I suddenly experienced an immense and seemingly Infinite Love.

In that mystical experience, I realized God’s love was totally unconditional and for all.

Love dissolves all fear.

Know this today, right now, right here: The Love that created you loves you just the way you are.

You are loved.

Period.

Bask in that awareness.

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Listen to the song of the day “The Way You Are” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Dying and Rising

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“Throw yourself into the spiritual fire of divine love…until there is nothing left but the pure truth of yourself.” – Ilia Delio

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Pour Me Out” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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Psalm 105:4

Look to God for strength; seek to serve God constantly.

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At one time, my life was somewhat miserable.

You wouldn’t have known it to look at me since I had a high profile job as a radio news anchor at a very successful station.

But despite serving a useful purpose and being well-respected and known, I felt empty inside.

There was a huge void.

Thomas Merton might say that my ego had constructed a false self.

The false self isn’t bad.

It’s just not your true self.

Living as your false self would never satisfy your soul.

But for the ego to relinquish control, it might take a major disorienting dilemma.

When it seemed I could do nothing to alter my course, I cried out to God for help.

That’s when I heard a voice in my heart telling me to get my guitar, a guitar I hadn’t touched in a decade or played much since I was a kid.

What a crazy idea!

And yet, it felt so real and hopeful that that’s exactly what I did.

I slowly started writing songs and began to consciously seek God in all things.

I was drawn ever so slowly to a new path that eventually led me to a life in ministry: youth ministry, social justice, jail ministry, music ministry, and chaplaincy.

Music was the frequency in which I was able to open a channel to the Divine.

Words and melodies came and I channeled them through the imperfect vessel of my mind and body.

The songs have been used to serve others.

And in serving others, of course, I am also serving God.

Do I still struggle with ego and self-centered desires?

Yes, of course, every day.

But the God of love continuously forgives me and redirects me.

Jesus said you must lose your life to find your life (Matthew 16:25).

Letting go of the ego-generated life allows for your true life to rise out of your inner depths.

It’s the life your soul came here to live.

As Jesus also said, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:36)

Dying and rising is the process that leads to lifeevery time.

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Listen to the song of the day “Pour Me Out” on the Give Praise and Thanks album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Be Here Now

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“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” – Wayne Dyer

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “Slow Me Down” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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John 8:31-32

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

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Wouldn’t we all love to be set free?

What would that mean to feel complete freedom?

I truly believe that freedom is available each and every moment when you are able to simply be present to what is.

That sounds so hard to believe.

Our minds immediately object to this idea and say that to be free, you need something more.

You need more money.

You need more fun.

You need more free time.

If only I had this or that, then I’d be free!

But you know that whenever you get what you’ve been yearning for, while for a time you may feel free and happy, that feeling will wear off.

Then you will need something else.

Jesus often spoke of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven being present and not in some far-away place.

In the Gospel of Luke (17:20-21), Jesus says, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”

This is also translated as, “the kingdom of God is within you.”

It’s that close.

It’s readily available.

And it’s totally free!

The spacious realm of peace is experienced when you let go and simply be.

As Jesus said, you need to lose your life to find your life (Matthew 16:25).

What he meant was to let go of your ego-generated-construct-of-who-you-think-you-are in order that your true life can manifest.

Breathe deeply.

Rest in this moment.

Breathe.

You are alive and resting in God in whom we live and move and have our being as St. Paul put it (Acts 17:28).

Remain in this awareness and be free.

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Listen to the song of the day “Slow Me Down” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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All Are One

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“If our desire for justice is not rooted primarily in the pursuit of restoration, then reconciliation will be nearly impossible to achieve. It is precisely because grace is undeserved that makes it grace.” – Jamie Arpin-Ricci

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Listen to the PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation by clicking HERE.

Listen to my song “All Are One” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Thank you!

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Numbers 21:5-8

The people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” So the LORD sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of the Israelites died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray to the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses: Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover.

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In my opinion, this story is more allegory than literal fact.

It pretty much is a mirror for us to see how we still act in many circumstances.

When things get difficult, we look to place blame.

In today’s scripture, life had taken a turn for the people of God.

It all looked good at first as Moses was leading the people out of bondage.

But then suddenly they faced a shortage of food and water.

So they blamed Moses.

I doubt very much that God sent serpents to bite people.

God is love. Love doesn’t inflict violence and pain.

But this is how people of the time interpreted what was going on, as though God is responsible for causing everything.

Some people still do this.

But we all have free will, and nature seems to be free as well.

Sometimes life hands us challenges.

That’s what happens in this earthly realm.

The best response isn’t “why?” but “how?” — as in: How will I respond to this challenge?

But instead, the people again made the serpents the scapegoat for their problems.

The serpents were likely just being serpents and trying to protect themselves.

So what did God tell Moses? Mount the scapegoat – the serpent – on a pole, and the very thing the people are blaming will be their cure.

Years later, Jesus became the scapegoat mounted on a cross, to show people the folly and tragedy of making someone a scapegoat for their own problems.

When we look upon Jesus on the cross, we ought to see this tragedy and learn that we should not make scapegoats of others.

We ought to ask ourselves what the loving response would be to the troubling situation?

Jesus confronted both the religious and government leaders over their injustices to the marginalized, but he did that with non-violence.

The response of Jesus to the violent injustice done to him was to forgive.

Forgiveness heals all injustice.

The response of Jesus is not to win but to restore all to oneness.

How can we respond in love to challenges and injustices in our lives?

Our responses may require action to change the course of an injustice, but the action should always reflect our oneness in God and willingness to do the hard work of restoring all to wholeness.

This is impossible without grace!

As Jesus stated in John 17:22-23, “I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.”

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Listen to the song of the day “All Are One” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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