Tag Archives: Glass

July 5, 2015

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Who owns the water?

God must smile as we quibble about who owns the streams and wetlands and who is responsible for keeping them clean for human consumption. Yet that is what is happening. Agricultural interests advocate for less governmental oversight and environmentalists push for more. Doesn’t the water belong to everyone? Or, more accurately, isn’t water on loan from a Creator who commands us to take care of it?

river by keencariene“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it. For he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.” (Psalm 24:1-2)

We do all agree on the importance of keeping our rivers and other bodies of water clean. The disputes come as we discuss how to do that. What is the goal, exactly? What role does each of us play—governmental officials, farmers, urban residents, activists—in reaching that goal? How can we develop and implement a plan?

While it may appear trite to say, “Let’s all get along,” encouraging communication to reach common ground and mutual understanding is a good place to start. That would require less acrimony and partisanship and more listening and openness. The responsibility of caring for the earth rests with each of us.

Questions for Reflection:
How in tune am I with the wellbeing of the earth?
How does my faith inform my responsibility for addressing its need for protection?
How can I encourage honest and respectful conversation with people who believe differently from me?

Written by Diane Glass

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com
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May 10, 2015

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“While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word.”
Acts 10:44 (NRSV)

“I turned to Jesus Christ because my Buddhist faith left me feeling lonely and empty.”

Adyashanti, a Buddhist practioner acknowledged this longing for Christ at a recent conference, “Returning to the Heart of Christ Consciousness.”

“I was missing a sense of relationship and love,” he went on to say. “That’s what Christianity brings to me.”

Adyashanti has not abandoned his Buddhist faith, yet he faithfully reads the Gospels, allowing the stories “to interact with me as they will,” he said. Assuming the role of one of the characters in the stories, he imagines how he might have responded and what he might have said in the presence of Jesus, a “revolutionary mystic” whose teachings instruct his life.

The Holy Spirit falls upon all those who hear the Word of God and live out the lessons of love and relationship as conveyed in the stories of Jesus in the Gospels. That makes the teachings and life of Christ a powerful force for peace and reconciliation in a world divided by religion fundamentalism.

Prayer:
Risen Christ, may the stories of the Gospel inspire us to live out the Word in our daily life. Amen

Question:
How is the life of Christ influencing my thoughts and actions?

Written by Diane Glass

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com

March 1, 2015

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“For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.”
Romans 4:13 (NSRV)

Mastering the mechanics of playing the piano is important—the tempo, notes, phrasing, the fingering. Yet playing the piano well requires more than accurately following the score. It requires conveying the unique beauty of the piece, attending not only to the composer’s intent but also your own.

So when God assures Abraham that he would inherit the world not through the law but through faith, I resonated with my piano-playing experience. At my Piano Club, amateur pianists like myself share a piece we have been working on. Most of us do so because we love this piece and want others to enjoy it as well. We have faith that, even though we are likely to make a few mistakes along the way because of nervousness, our audience will receive with gratitude our efforts.

God knows that we too will make mistakes along the way but welcomes our expression of faith through serving God, the Earth and one another. That doesn’t make observing the law irrelevant. It makes it not enough.

Prayer:
Gracious God, challenge us to go beyond the mechanics of following the rules of our religious tradition to develop through faith a closer relationship with you. Amen

Question:
In what area of my life am I needlessly concerned with perfection or getting it right, to the exclusion of a deeper sense of peace, joy and beauty?

Written by Diane Glass

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com

January 4, 2015

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“And the Word became flesh and lived among us.”
John 1:14 (NRSV)

Until I became a grandparent myself, I failed to appreciate how a new baby can reorder your life priorities.

Three months ago our second grandchild arrived. Her name is Raadhya (pronounced Rod< yah), meaning “worthy of worship” in the Hindu tradition. Jeff and I adore her, gladly taking care of her while our daughter-in-law Saraswati and son Aaron tend to other matters. Raadyha’s picture goes with me everywhere in hopes my friends will indulge my gushing. Only our two-year-old grandson Soma gets more air time in my conversation with others.

The way we allocate time and money has changed. Rather than take an exotic cruise, we choose to visit family in Eagan, Minnesota. Why buy luxury items for ourselves when children need clothes, toys, and a college fund? I think more about the world we are leaving these little ones. Will it be safe, enjoyable—or even habitable?

So this Christmas season, I savor even more my relationship to a God that chooses to appear to us as a baby—tiny, vulnerable, powerless and yet worthy of worship. This infant we come to know as Jesus calls us to reorder our life priorities—to share the good news of his arrival, to feed and clothe his people, and to use our time and money to live out his Word.

For babies everywhere this year, I am divinely grateful.

Prayer:
Captivate our hearts once more this Christmas season so that the miracle of Jesus’ birth transforms our lives. Amen

Question:
When in my daily life do I feel awe and adoration for the Word made flesh?

Written by Diane Glass

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com

November 9, 2014

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“Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her. One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate.”
Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-14 (NSRV)

After reading this verse, I wonder how, after so many years, I have avoided becoming wise. After all, Wisdom, God’s partner in creating the world, is “easily discerned,” if I seek her.

Then I reflect on what it means to “love” wisdom and to “desire” her. Is there more to that than just accumulating life experience and learning from it? To “rise early” suggests hard work and persistence. Looking for the gate calls for courage and openness to big change.

Transformation of this kind requires turning your life on its head, rethinking cultural norms and cultivating what is true, deep and eternal. Seeking mastery, not simply achievement. Insight, as well as knowledge. Purpose and not simply success.

Viewed in this way, loving and desiring wisdom leads us to God, exactly what Wisdom has in mind.

Prayer:
Holy Wisdom, we express gratitude for your help in finding God. Amen

Question:
Am I steadfast and wholehearted in seeking Wisdom?

Written by Diane Glass

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com

September 21, 2014

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“The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Exodus 16:3 (NRSV)

We’ve all experienced both plenty and scarcity. Happiness and sadness. God’s presence and God’s absence, or so it seems.

Right now is a happy time as I relish the hours devoted to writing childhood stories—capturing memories, discovering insights and giving life to words on a page. Yet when inspiration runs dry, I bemoan this apparent wilderness. Where are the good ideas? Who brought me to this place of barrenness? When will my confidence return?

A wise friend challenged me for lack of faith: “Why this dissatisfaction? Don’t you know that it’s in the wilderness that God speaks to you?” She might have added, “Don’t you realize that it’s in the wilderness that you listen to God?”

She’s right. When the words flow, I am filled with my own thoughts—so impressive are they, I imagine! When they stop, I look around. Who is my muse now? Can that solitary flower emerging from a rocky path teach me to be resilient? Can the voice of a friend remind me to be courageous? Can a line from Scripture encourage me to open up my mind and heart? Can the very stillness prompt me to make room for God to do the creating?

I prefer those times of joyous abundance when it’s easy to be grateful to a generous God, yet experience teaches me that it’s often in absence that we open up to new growth, new possibility, new depth. As with the Israelites, patience and trust during the lean times yield the bread of a full and satisfying life.

Prayer:
Creator God, we welcome the fullness of life, both the times when abundance leads to gratitude and scarcity leads to a renewed faith in you. Amen

Question:
How do I experience wilderness?

Written by Diane Glass

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com

August 3, 2014

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“When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.”
Genesis 32:25 (NSRV)

In this ancient story, Jacob wrestles with a mysterious man who is revealed to be God. Jacob appears to be winning until his hip is relocated. Jacob is renamed “Israel” and he limps away from this struggle with God’s blessing.

Many of us limp through life as we encounter obstacles—illnesses, injuries, conflicts, and major disappointments. In retrospect, we may recall these struggles as blessings in disguise as we go on to live richer, more grateful lives, newly aware of the preciousness of each day. Did God send these struggles so that we might learn?

Your theology may differ from mine. I do not believe God destined me to be born with spina bifida. Nor did he punish me by sending breast cancer. Yet both health crises left their mark. I am not the person I would have been without them.

Is there a blessing here and who has offered this blessing? Unlike the story with Jacob, the answer may not be so clear.

While neither spina bifida nor breast cancer are blessings unto themselves, they have brought gifts—the generosity and caring of friends, family and health care professionals; a growing sense of compassion for what my body has been through; gratitude that my life continues well beyond what anyone predicted; and a life direction not dominated by careerism, a concern about success unrelated to happiness.

You might well say these ARE gifts from God—God as expressed through others, God as expressed within me. To that I say, AMEN.

Prayer:
Holy One, bless us with the willingness and ability to see you at work in even the darkest moments of our lives. Amen

Question:
As I limp through life, aware of my struggles, how do I feel blessed?

Written by Diane Glass

The Bridge is a collaborative ministry by four Downtown Des Moines churches. The Bridge Meditations are part of the ministry of The Bridge which is working to enrich the lives of those working, living and visiting downtown Des Moines. Programs developed by The Bridge offer spiritual formation and development, professional counseling, holistic health and family support. The Connection Cafe is a Bridge ministry which provides a free mid-day meal five days per week. The Connection Cafe is located next to the YWCA on Grand Avenue and is supported by many churches and civic organizations in its ministry. For more information, or to volunteer to help with The Bridge, The Connection Cafe or other Downtown Des Moines ministries contact Rob Hoover at 515-771-1481 or by email at theconnectioncafe@hotmail.com