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Christ Presbyterian is a spiritual incubator, caring for members as we listen for the voice of the Spirit calling us to service.  We affirm that as a spiritual community we seek growth, not perfection, and welcome all in love.  We are hopeful that each of you will form a stronger bond with God and the community of Christ on your journey.

Thought for Contemplation

Growing Into Our True Freedom

True freedom is the freedom of the children of God. To reach that freedom requires a lifelong discipline since so much in our world militates against it. The political, economic, social, and even religious powers surrounding us all want to keep us in bondage so that we will obey their commands and be dependent on their rewards.

But the spiritual truth that leads to freedom is the truth that we belong not to the world but to God, whose beloved children we are. By living lives in which we keep returning to that truth in word and deed, we will gradually grow into our true freedom.

– Henri J. M. Nouwen

For further reflection …

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3: 17 (NRSV)
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God’s Presence

I am a reasonably orthodox Methodist, and I go to church on Sunday because fellowship matters, because I find meaning in the history of the Israelites and in the Gospels, and because I love to sing hymns. But it is not in “God’s house” that I feel God’s presence most—it is in his outdoors, on some sun-warmed slope of pine needles or by the surf. It is there that the numbing categories men have devised to contain this mystery—sin and redemption and incarnation and so on—fall away, leaving the overwhelming sense of the goodness and the sweetness at work in the world.

Bill McKibben
Source: The End of Nature
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Reading Spiritually About Spiritual Things

Reading often means gathering information, acquiring new insight and knowledge, and mastering a new field. It can lead us to degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Spiritual reading, however, is different. It means not simply reading about spiritual things but also reading about spiritual things in a spiritual way. That requires a willingness not just to read but to be read, not just to master but to be mastered by words. As long as we read the Bible or a spiritual book simply to acquire knowledge, our reading does not help us in our spiritual lives. We can become very knowledgeable about spiritual matters without becoming truly spiritual people.

As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God’s voice. Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through its words.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen
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Utter Fullness

If we honor, as Jesus did, the primary role of the Kingdom of God, which is about life radically lived to the full, then resurrection is not so much about the vindication of his death as about the affirmation of a life lived in utter fullness. Resurrection belongs to the life rather than to the death of Jesus. In a similar vein, resurrection is an affirmation and celebration of the fullness of life as exemplified by Jesus and offered as a new horizon of creative engagement for all who follow the pathway of Jesus.

Diarmuid O’Murchu
Source: Catching Up With Jesus
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Praying is no easy matter

Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched.

-Henri J.M. Nouwen
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Daring to Become Dependent

When someone gives us a watch but we never wear it, the watch is not really received. When someone offers us an idea but we do not respond to it, that idea is not truly received. When someone introduces us to a friend but we ignore him or her, that friend does not feel well received.

Receiving is an art. It means allowing the other to become part of our lives. It means daring to become dependent on the other. It asks for the inner freedom to say: “Without you I wouldn’t be who I am.” Receiving with the heart is therefore a gesture of humility and love. So many people have been deeply hurt because their gifts were not well received. Let us be good receivers.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen
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Using Our Imagination

I believe our task is to develop a moral and aesthetic imagination deep enough and wide enough to encompass the contradictions of our time and history, the tremendous loss and tragedy as well as greatness and nobility, an imagination capable of recognizing that where there is light there is shadow, that out of hubris and fall can come moral regeneration, out of suffering and death, resurrection and rebirth.

Richard Tarnas
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His Living Presence

THE EARLIEST REFERENCE to the Resurrection is Saint Paul’s, and he makes no mention of an empty tomb at all. But the fact of the matter is that in a way it hardly matters how the body of Jesus came to be missing because in the last analysis what convinced the people that he had risen from the dead was not the absence of his corpse but his living presence. And so it has been ever since.

Frederick Buechner – Originally published in The Faces of Jesus
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Becoming What We Are

We shall never in this life be simply creative, loving and free. The old opposites in lesser strength will still be with us as long as we live. However, we accept them now with more tolerance of ourselves, with less fret and self-hatred and self-punishment. We die to the old pattern of living in the past and for the past in order to live toward the future and for the future. We trust in a deeper way and we risk in new ways as we lay claim to our essential selves, as we become what we are.

Jesse Trotter
Source: Christian Wholeness
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Planting Seeds

There is room for all of us in the resurrection conspiracy, the company of those who plant seeds of hope in dark times of grief or oppression, going about the living of these years until, no one knows quite how, the tender Easter shoots appear.

Robert Raines
Source: A Time to Live
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Easter Day

Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed!!

The Risen Christ

AS YOU DID IT to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. Just as Jesus appeared at his birth as a helpless child that the world was free to care for or destroy, so now he appears in his resurrection as the pauper, the prisoner, the stranger – appears in every form of human need that the world is free to serve or to ignore. The risen Christ is Christ risen in his glory and enthroned in all this glorious canvas, stained glass, mosaic as Redeemer and Judge. But he is also Christ risen in the shabby hearts of those who, although they have never touched the mark of the nails, have been themselves so touched by him that they believe anyway. However faded and threadbare, what they have seen of him is at least enough to get their bearings by.

Frederick Buechner – Originally published in The Faces of Jesus

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