Ascension – a new perspective on this holy day

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He’s 110 feet tall and has hands 20 feet long. He weighs over 750lbs and is filled with 258,000 cubic feet of air. It took 13 weeks to sew him together.And he’s quite simply the biggest Gadget for God known to man.
Jesus the Hot Air Balloon is based in Tracy, California, and is the latest evangelistic balloon project of The Merritt Ministry. The biggest challenge they faced was theological, it seems: “How do you create a hot air balloon that is both authentic and reverent in its mission of creating Jesus, the Son of God?” Er, quite. The answer? “Jesus, in a majestic purple robe, trimmed in gold, rising above a base of white clouds, in all power and majesty as is presented in the book of Revelation.” Right…
The balloon, which bears the slogan “King of kings, Lord of Lords” across the back of Jesus’s robe, is currently touring the United States. 1000 blessings to Renee Beihl from Colorado for alerting us to this gadget on a grand scale.


Thank you, Michelle Meech

Article: lShip of Fools

Christmas message from the Presiding Bishop

The story of Christmas as told by a prophet! 

Christmas message 2011

See, your salvation comes – Isaiah 62:11

The great prophets before Jesus proclaimed a vision of a nation and a people redeemed.  We continue to share that yearning – as the Christmas hymn puts it, “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”  We’ve seen abundant hopes spring up in the past year across the Arab world and Eastern Europe, and in the global Occupy movement.  Those voices seek a world of greater justice, communities in which decisions and the gifts of creation are more available to all.  Our understanding of salvation is most profoundly about justice in community, and as Christians we believe that help and healing for all are grounded in the incarnate presence of God – among us and within us.

We look for salvation to the one who came among us in the most humble way, a helpless child born in a scandalous way to a poor peasant couple.  The Incarnation, God with us, changed the world in ways that we insist are leading to the ultimate healing of all creation.  “See, your salvation comes,” says the prophet in every age, yet it is not yet fully come upon us.  We live in hope for its fullness.  May hope be nourished within us, in each and every human being and community, for the journey toward God’s healed and holy future.

That proclamation of coming salvation is a part of Isaiah (Isa 62:6-12) that will be read in some congregations at Christmas, but if you don’t hear it, go and read the whole of it.  Its centerpiece speaks of what that salvation looks like:

  The Lord has sworn…
            I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies,
                        and foreigners shall not drink the wine for which you have labored;
            but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the Lord,
                        and those who gather it shall drink it in my holy courts.       Isa 62:8-9

That is not a vision of pristine isolation, but a vision of comfort and healing to a people frequently at war, occupied, or exploited by superior forces.  The fear of powerful others taking and using for themselves the produce of the poor is healed and transformed into a society in which the gifts God provides will be shared by all.  For when salvation comes, that society will

be called, ‘the Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord’;
            and you shall be called, ‘Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.’                Isa 62:12

Jesus comes among us to remind us of a world living together in peace, to reclaim and make real that vision of creation for all humanity and all God’s creatures. That world is put right as relationships between God and humanity are set right. The relationship between God and human being cannot be set right without equal healing of relationships between us mortals.  See, your salvation comes!  Will we welcome that healing?

a sense of belonging

Breathing air of all the saints. Belonging.

Kandinsky - all saints

These words, spoken by a friend, continue to ring in my ears in the days that follow All Saints Day.

Belonging – the feeling this word can stir brings comfort to some and isolation to others. Be it family, school, city, faith community, nation, race… most people have a sense of where they belong or where they do not belong.

The definition of belonging has proved its power time and again throughout  the course of history. It has planted the flags of  countries who have fought for borders and stoked the fire of anger among races and creeds. It has created communities brave enough to swim against the stream of oppression, giving people meaning and purpose to their lives and opened doors to welcome the weary of body and soul.

Belonging is a two-sided word. On one side, its definition has created centuries of war and conflict as defiance; on the other side, its definition has opened the arms and hearts of people throughout the ages welcoming the needy and exiled as compassion.

Yet on a day such as All Saints, belonging, rises above these human struggles and passions. For a moment, “all-that-is” takes a deep breath of gratitude. Our memories are flooded with those beloved who have gone before us — and,  for a moment we feel their imprint in the world and in our lives.

It is a good thing we are gifted with a day that slows us enough that our senses can move beyond the distractions of everyday living. A day when we can join in communion with all the saints – celebrating what “was and is and is to come”.



Advent III — does God feel nearer?

How busy can we get?! Oh very! Yet –the wonder of a child’s eyes as evening lights begin to glow throughout the neighborhood or the door we hold for someone whose arms are filled with food for the needy, remind us of the spirit surrounding us. This prayer speaks to the nature of that spirit’s call.

Advent III — are you beginning to sense the growing anticipation? Take time to notice…

Draw Close to the Love of God

God draw us close as we await the Advent of your Son
Into the embracing arms of a mother
Into the compassionate care of a father
God draw us close
Into your loving omnipotent presence
You who never tire of coming into our world draw us close
As we await the Advent of your Son.

For more prayers and reflections visit Christine Sines’ blog,GodSpace.