Tiny Testimony: What Does Easter Have to do with Progressive Christians?

A Tiny note:

We are forgiven, from a past, present, and future sins.  This does not give us an excuse to do wrong, but to use our freedom wisely.  To do good for all.

What does being forgiven mean for progressive Christians?  It means all the hate we’ve spewed, whether on purpose or by accident, is not held against us by God in Jesus.  It means the racism, bigotry, and Islamophobia that is rampant in our country, while it will be discussed between sinful folks and Jesus at judgement, does not curse us from God’s reign.  It also means, as we celebrate Easter this Sunday, that racism and all other horrible things against others and our Earth are not the last act.  They do not have the final word.  While there is trouble, Jesus overcame the world and all its troubles, and will endow and has already endowed us with God’s Kingdom on Earth, in Heaven, and in the Resurrection.  We can never escape God’s reign if we are believers.  

If we are believers, we can have a surety of hope that death is not the end.  Death due to hatred is not the end.  Our Earth, while falling apart, will be renewed as the city of the New Jerusalem will come down.  Love has the final word.  

Love has the final word.

Happy Easter everyone! As I’ve still discovering the Trinity, I’m learning more about having a relationship with Jesus and am building my own testimony of Him.

I’m so sorry I’ve been so flip-floppy on the Trinity vs. Unitarianism, but I think I’ve made up my mind.

Alleluia.  Christ is Risen Indeed!

Amen.

The Aftermath of a Faith Crisis: A Testimony of God

Hi everyone,
Today, with class being done, I’m recuperating and thinking of God, Heavenly Father.

I am a Unitarian Christian. This means I place more emphasis on God than Jesus, but do include Jesus in my faith story and love him with all my heart.

For so long in my short time as a Christian, I struggled with prayer. Who am I praying to exactly? Belief in the Trinitarian God didn’t make any sense – I couldn’t imagine this God as a power in my life. Prayer at church was awkward, even though I believed Jesus to be the incarnate God. I didn’t really read my Bible at the time, and when I did, only read the Epistles, not the Gospels. It was a summer after attending an Independent Baptist Church that I read the Gospels. It was that summer that I just knew that I was a Unitarian. God, the Eternal Spirit (as I would learn about him), was my God. Jesus, God’s second-in-command and my best friend, has been through this with me in all of this. He has been strength, my meditation, my hope. His sacrifice on the cross opened salvation for me. Over time, I also moved away from a works+grace theology into just a grace theology, but kept the idea that we can lose our salvation if we forsake Christ all together.

I’ve matured in my faith, and each faith crisis I have brings me that much closer to God, His Son, and His Spirit.

I don’t believe the Holy Spirit to be a person – that belief takes away from Heavenly Father BEING ONE GOD, and three gods in one makes my head spin. God isn’t a clear picture for me, then.

I firmly believe God isn’t a complicated, mystical being – but a Spirit that loves us with all he can.

So, I’m just basking in the never-ending presence of My God, the Almighty Father of all of us (both believers and members of creation). I’m getting more confident in my faith each day, and I hope to see my relatives in Heaven one day and see God the Father and Jesus Christ face-to-face!

Amen and Amen.

Love, Leigh Todd

A Poem of Creation

When God formed the Earth
Jesus was at his side.
His Spirit was the power they used.

When God looked through history
As he knows all decisions we will make.
He knows our free will matters.

When God saw that we wouldn’t listen
To Him, so God was troubled.
Troubled so much, that God cried at his creation.

When God finished his work,
His Son, seeing his Father in distress,
Gave his life for God’s creation.

So that, one day, God could be with his creation.
In peace, God and his creation could be holy.
Because without Christ’s ultimate sacrifice,
To which the Father cried about, too,
We would not be at peace with God.

When God finished his work on the sixth day,
God rested on the seventh.
And he instituted a sabbath rest that would resemble the
Peace we will one day experience in Heaven.

God loves us dearly.

Amen.

LORD? You’re there, right?

Hi Beloveds,
Today is the first Sunday in Lent. We lost an hour due to daylight savings time, which made me late to church (37 minutes late to work, to be exact!), but I still got to sing to my Jesus and pray to my Father in Heaven, being enveloped in the arms of His Holy Spirit.

Today’s readings have a common theme: Calling upon the name of the Lord. In Deuteronomy 26:1-11, the Israelites are commanded to give the first fruits of their labors to Heavenly Father, in remembrance of what God did for them when they called out to him in Egypt. He rescued them, as they were in a desperate situation. In the Psalms, David (as tradition says he is the author) cries out to God the Father in hope. He declares that the Lord is his “refuge and fortress” and that he “rests in the shadow of the Almighty.” He declares, further, that we can call upon the name of the Lord, where he will not only be ever-present with us in our troubles, but will “deliver us and honor us.”

In the New Testament, Jesus becomes the Arm of the LORD (Isaiah 53:1). He is a refuge, our hope, our fortress. He becomes the way in which the Father interacts with the world, through God’s Holy Power. In Luke 4:1-13, this Jesus walks through the desert for forty days, fighting temptations from the devil. He says to only serve Heavenly Father and to not test God Almighty.

Then, finally, in Romans 10:8b-13, Paul reminds us that EVERYONE, not just Jews like in the past Exodus, can be saved by calling upon the name of the LORD. As Disciples, we are saved by calling upon the name of the Lord via baptism (Acts 22:16).

Calling upon the LORD in past times was reserved for trouble and praise. Surely, David and all the other Psalmists cried out to God in both praise and in anguish. David sinned A LOT, yet the LORD was always near to his heart. Jesus reminds us that even in the desert, we should look to God through worship, praise, and anguish. I can only imagine that he relied upon the LORD when he was tempted, hurt, hungry, and anxious for his ministry, death, and resurrection ahead. In Paul’s epistle to the Romans, Paul explains that calling upon the Lord Jesus and Heavenly Father is not just for little pains or crying glories, but for salvation itself! As David explains in Psalm 91, “I will show them my salvation,” God shows us his salvation amidst all our troubles via our sins and others sins. That, as David sinned and repented, we can erase our sins through repentance, calling upon the name of the LORD, and baptism. We can be free of our sins. We can be free.

God, are you there? Surely, he is. Jesus and Heavenly Father are there, wrapping their arms around you through God’s Holy Spirit. Call upon them, my dears.

Be loved, and share that love, Beloveds.

Amen.

God Has a Habit of Calling the Unlikeliest People

Dear future congregation,

While I haven’t met you yet, and I imagine we don’t share the same beliefs, I just want to say that I am excited to serve you in the future.

With today being the fifth Sunday of Epiphany, we are covering four scriptures: 

  • Isaiah 6:1-8, (9-13)
  • Psalm 138
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
  • Luke 5:1-11

In Isaiah 6, we meet Isaiah being caught up in a vision.  He fears greatly, because he has seen the Lord with “unclean lips.”  By this, he means he is a sinner.  

In Luke 5, Simon declares “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” when Jesus causes a miracle to happen at the Sea of Galilee, with loads of fishes.

In 1 Cor. 15, Paul considers himself the least of all apostles, because had had persecuted the early church of God.  He considered himself too sinful to lead Christ’s people.

Do you see a connection?  Do you see a connection within this church, within yourselves?  Have you ever considered yourself “too sinful” to be called by God?

I know I have.  Before I discovered grace, I thought I was too sinful to be a Christian.  Surely, I failed God everyday.  Every day I forsake salvation by my sins.  Everyday I committed myself to Hell.

Truth be told, folks, we’re saved by grace.

Nothing in highest heaven, lowest hell, widest earth, and deepest space can separate us from God’s love.  When we entered those waters of baptism and were immersed in Christ’s love, we were saved.  Past, present, future sins forgiven – not because we were righteous, but because Christ died for us on that cross.  As we look forward to the season of Lent and Easter, let us meditate on our forgiveness and bask in the glory of the resurrected Lord.

But let us not stay in this meditation.  Let us go forth, as Jesus called Peter, “to become fishers of people.”  Let us carry this meditation in our hearts as we reach the world out in love, peace, and liberation as we preach the gospel.  But what does this preaching look like?  How is it done?

In Psalm 138, God is considered majestic, holy, exalted.  But he considered the lowly, those in the midst of trouble, those troubled with foes.  The Bible is clear: Although we are citizens of Heaven, we should make a home with the lowliest because they first will be last, and the last will be first.  

Preaching looks like reaching out to the old lady who is lonely, and wants company as she watches the news.  Preaching and spreading the Gospel looks like helping homeless vets, drug addicts, children, women, literally everyone.  It means giving away perishables.  LORD, you know what I’m talking about!  It’s the same thing I will preach every day, and I never tire of preaching this: The Leader is the Servant.  The Least is the Greatest.  The Weak are God’s People.  Those struggling with rent or the electricity bill are God’s angels.  

When we become children of God, we become servants of Christ.  We are not raised on a pedestal, but lowered on a humble chair as we serve our Master.  As we serve His People.  If you think you’re something special when you become a Christian – think again.

As we look forward to celebrating Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, let us remember who he reached out to during his ministry.  The poor, the disabled, the sinners.  He even said that he did not come to call the righteous, but the sinners unto repentance and healing.  He came to reach out to heal, to help, to humbly raise the lowliest to the greatest heights. 

I hope you do the same.  

God has a habit of calling the unlikeliest people – sinners saved by grace. “I am what I am” and grace is grace. Now let us carry that love God gave us at baptism and give it to the world.

Alleluia and Amen.