This is an example of how challenging it is for cops to to get the robbers. They did in this case. Congrats to cops. Laws don’t stop cyber criminals across borders with sophisticated beings. If you read the end of the article, there is a quiet admission of who will bear the laws. The cops didn’t recover nearly all that was recovered.
We will begin recording the initial episodes of the new Television Crossover Universe podcast in a few weeks. The show will be hosted by Robert E Wronski Jr., Ivan Ronald Schablotski, and James Bojaciuk. The guests lined up for the first four episodes are Simon R. Green, Erik Burnham, Christofer Nigro, and James Bojaciuk. We are still seeking donations to help pay for the studio fees. https://www.gofundme.com/TVCUPodcast
We are not added to the page yet, but we have been invited as guests at the upcoming Scare-A-Con, June 3 – 5 at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA. That technically makes the TVCU Crew celebrities, I guess. We will also be recording an episode at the convention, not live, but still before an audience. http://scareacon.com/scare-a-con-new-england/podcasters/
For those attending Scare-A-Con, I will be sitting in on two panels, both “Tips for Successful Podcasting”, on Friday, June 3, at 5:30PM and Sunday, June 5, at 1:30PM. You can learn more about the panel schedule at http://scareacon.com/schedule-ne/
Mark 12:28-34New International Version (NIV)
The Greatest Commandment
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c]There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
The greatest obstacle to my pastoral path is that people piss me off sometimes.
I try, try, try so hard to have patience and tolerance for all of God’s children, but sometimes people just do things that just push my buttons. It’s an ongoing struggle.
In theory, I know that all people are God’s children, and that love, peace, patience and tolerance are the answers… blah, blah, blah.
But in all seriousness, I do love all people, even if sometimes I don’t particularly feel it with certain people in moments. And I want to love all people. I’m called by God to serve him by serving ALL his children. So in order to do that, I must overcome what are indeed my own failings in order to be His servant.
And they are my failings. Because intellectually, I know that when people push my buttons, it’s usually because people aren’t doing things my way. That they aren’t understanding that my way of thinking is the right way. And I must confess, I’m not always right and my way certainly isn’t the only way and sometimes not even the right way.
This weekend is Martin Luthor King Junior weekend, and I wanted to preach today about equality and justice but as I began looking for a scripture that might fit my theme, I ended up searching for “Love thy neighbor”, which led me to today’s scripture reading.
There’s a lot more to today’s text than what I was originally looking for, and it gave me a lot to think about, and I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to discuss the text with Pastor Steph and others in our Cathedral community throughout the week to wrap my head around this part of the scripture.
And I’ve come to feel that my failings in the second part of this “greatest commandment”, “loving my neighbors as I love myself” may usually come when I don’t first focus on the first part, which is “to love God with all my heart, mind, and strength”.
It’s easy to lose patience with others when I’m focusing on how they are affecting me, or how they are different from me, or how they are better than me, or worse than me?
But if I’m remembering that first and foremost we are to love God, and after all, God is love, and therefore, the greatest commandment is love, then I must turn myself over to love.
Love of God, and love of his creation, and focus on gratitude for his love and his creation.
God gave this world great gifts. He gave us free will, and if people are different than me, that’s a gift of free will. Thank God not everyone is like me, because that would be an extremely boring and difficult world. Sure, some people may have very different values and ideologies than me, but on the other hand, there are so many people who have ideas that when I open myself to hear, may enrich my life and create growth in me. There are so many different cultures and backgrounds and experiences, and if I open myself up to the God that is in all of his creations, I can myself become a better person by creating connections with those who are different, rather than closing myself off.
And so when I indeed open myself up to love God, I can then become better at loving my neighbors.
And that’s my take on the scripture. Now it’s time for the rest of the sermon, where we pass the mike and get your takes on the scripture…
I gave a sermon in December. It was the only one that I only wrote in my head and not on paper. So sadly I don’t have it to post. A friend of mine video taped it though, and when she has the time, she will send me the video, and when that happens I will post it here.
Romans 12:1-8New International Version (NIV)
A Living Sacrifice
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a]faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
It can be hard to accept that each of us has gifts, especially when so many voices tell us otherwise. We seem to live in a society where judging another’s faults is trendy, and when people are constantly focusing on what we can’t do, it can be challenging to accept the idea that God has given us all gifts.
It can be more challenging to accept that God has given us each gifts to serve Him and others. Especially when our own lives are full of challenges, and we can feel defeated by life, how are we supposed to believe in the notion that we can help others when even saving ourselves seems impossible?
None of us individually may have the power to solve all the world’s problems, or even all of our own problems. But Paul shares in his letter to the Romans that each of us has different gifts.
I see this every day in this community. I’m not going to lie and say that our community isn’t full of people with weaknesses and vices. But I’d argue that about any community. But one of my gifts is that I’m a good study of character. As an introvert, I tend to spend a lot of time observing others. And every single day, in this community, I see people using the gifts that God has given them to serve, even if it’s simply to help a friend and not to save the world.
As individuals, we may not be able to conquer all challenges, but as we all have different gifts that compliment each others’, as a community, working together, we can support each other and all overcome challenges that we can not do when are divided or isolated.
But what if we haven’t yet figured out our gifts or how to use them? That’s the dilemma I’ve had to struggle with lately.
I had a plan. Actually, I’ve had lots of plans. I’ve come to recognize my gifts, and I’ve attempted to chart my own course on how to use those gifts. And every single time I’ve tried this, God had redirected me. In layman’s terms, my plans always crapped out.
I’ve had to accept that two of my great challenges lay within trust and humility, or rather in a lack of.
When I came to accept my own gifts, after years of devaluing my self-worth, I was sure I knew how best to use them. Though I accepted my gifts were from God, I thought that God was given me a vehicle in which to travel to the destination of my own choosing. And I kept hitting roadblocks.
I finally found serenity only when I figured out that I needed to just hop in the car and let God drive, and not even worry about the destination.
Ironically, when I was planning this sermon, I had in my head what I was going to talk about, and with God and Google, I came upon the scripture I just read, and instead of using scripture to support my plan, my planned sermon changed to what the scripture taught me.
And that’s pretty much how I’ve had to accept life. I’ve learned I need to follow God and trust he’ll show me the way, rather than telling him where to lead me.
My intended message today was that everyone here has something to offer, and you may already be offering it, even if you don’t see it. I see it. And others here probably see it too.
But in this week, I’ve also learned that if we don’t know it or see it, it’s okay. We just have to do our best to do what we can, and let go of what we can’t. God may not have given us all we need to overcome our challenges, but if we work together, God has given someone else the gifts that may help you, and you may have the gifts to help another. A wise friend and mentor of mine shares, “God may give us individually more that what we can handle, but perhaps He doesn’t give a community more than it can handle.”
So as has become a custom here at Cathedral, this was just half the sermon. We’ll now pass the mike, and allow anyone else who wishes to share to respond, add to, or offer an alternate view…