Author Archive: Sandhya

About Sandhya

I was recently described as "schizophrenically talented," but I prefer "Renaissance Woman." I love to teach, preach, organize, sing, cook and write. I also really love to hang out with friends over coffee or a glass of wine. My true love is Oakland, and any man who dates me has to be comfortable with that.

Liberating Love Devotion January 22

Here’s your weekly love note from God! Most daily devotionals focus on your personal relationship with God. As I re-read the whole book, I was struck that most of God’s teachings are to a community, not to an individual. So sometimes God whispered a word in my ear about community life. It’s a little different, but I think it might be pretty urgent for the moment we are in as much as it was for our spiritual ancestors.


Philippians 1:27-28a Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents.

—-

My son Paul took many risks to share my love and the love of my beloved Son Jesus Christ throughout the Roman Empire, constantly risking his life because he felt the love of Christ so deeply. The knowledge of Jesus Christ literally saved him from a life of violence justified by his religious commitments. So often my name has been used for the sake of violence. Paul’s message to the church in Philippi is my message to you and your spiritual community: I want to hear reports that you are standing together for the gospel of love, not bowing to any opponents who promote a false gospel of hate and judgment and violence. How is your faith community living into that practice together? How can you go deeper together?


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Liberating Love Devotion January 15

Here’s your love note from God! As a pastor, it has brought me particular joy when a couple chose this passage as their wedding vows, when they were committing to each other across cultures or when their same gender love meant one person’s family would not embrace their love. Ruth and Naomi capture something so profoundly human and divine. I hope you are moved by their story also.


Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth said,

‘Do not press me to leave you

   or to turn back from following you!

Where you go, I will go;

   where you lodge, I will lodge;

your people shall be my people,

   and your God my God. 

Where you die, I will die—

   there will I be buried.

May the Lord do thus and so to me,

   and more as well,

if even death parts me from you!’ 


I love how, to this very day, this passage about my faithful servant Ruth is used in wedding ceremonies all over the world as people commit themselves fully to each other. What people sometimes forget is that part of the reason this beautiful story ended up in the bible is because my children had forgotten my teaching to love the stranger and show compassion for the foreigner. This story of Ruth’s deep commitment to her mother-in-law was intended to remind them (and you) that people different from us can model for us the deepest commitment, love and faith, and to give us strength in hard times. I meant you to know all of the beautiful diversity of my creation. I made you in my image, and I am so big that I needed billions of people to capture the fullness of my divinity. I invite you today to reflect on how you can deepen your connections to the people, the parts of my image you don’t yet know.


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Liberating Love Devotion January 8

Here’s your weekly love note from God!


John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness,

and the darkness did not overcome it.

 


These days are short; there is a lot of darkness. And I know that these can be some of the hardest days to face, also. I want to remind you that because of people like you, in the hardest days, my light has never disappeared. It has always been there to light the path for people facing their own shadows or the shadows of fear, pain, and heartbreak. Today I invite you to reflect on how my beloved Son came to shine a light that still shines today. And I invite you to reflect on how that light shines in you for those who need it, and where you can invite me in to shine more brightly in your own life. Because I always want to be there now; I have always wanted to be there.

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Liberating Love Devotion January 1

Here’s your first Love Note from God for the year 2020! I hope you find it meaningful. I hope you find ways to receive God’s love all year.

–Sandhya Jha, author


Genesis 1:1-3 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.


I was there from the beginning, and I was there from your beginning. Today is a day for us to re-start our journey together, and this I promise: I will always provide light for the journey. Today, I invite you to take a moment and revel in my creation, and to find ways to honor it and care for it. This is what I seek for us together this year: that you might grow closer to me and creation, and that you might always feel my light around and inside you, even in the hard seasons. If I could create all of this, what can’t I create in you?


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December 25 Liberating Love Devotion

How strange that today’s devotion isn’t from the Gospels, right? When I set out to write this, I wanted to make sure I didn’t slip into the tendency of writers before me of leaning on only the texts I love. (Most year-long devotionals are primarily gospels, maybe a little of the prophets, and a lot of Psalms.) I also started writing with a calling to reconnect us with the complexity of the scripture and its many characters. So every even day is from the new testament, working in rotation from Matthew to Revelation and then starting over again. And every odd day (starting with 1/1 in Genesis) does the same with the Hebrew Bible. So here we are with the wisdom of the prophets on the day of the birth of our saviour. I hope you find a point of connection.


Hosea 14:2b-3  ‘Take away all guilt;

accept that which is good,

   and we will offer

   the fruit of our lips. 

Assyria shall not save us;

   we will not ride upon horses;

we will say no more, “Our God”,

   to the work of our hands.

In you the orphan finds mercy.’ 

                 —-

On this birthday of my Son, I invite you to turn to an ancient text which he would have studied and learned from. As you celebrate him today, reflect on what it means to give up believing that the work of your hands or a strong army is your salvation and instead to embrace me, the God of the orphan and of the innocent and sinner, the God of a baby born vulnerable among animals brought in from the cold and of his teenage mother and his father who also wasn’t his father, the God of the family who took in a very pregnant woman and of the many people who would not. I ask you today to offer me the fruit of your lips.


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12/18 Liberating Love Devotion

Here’s your weekly love note from God! And here’s hoping that during this frenetic season you are finding time to breathe and know that you are loved.


Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

—-

My beloved child who wrote this letter wanted his church to be a beacon of hope and inspiration to those in need of hope. Today I invite you to read this letter as it was written: to a group. Imagine it has been written to your faith community. If it helps, add the phrase “you all,” to remember the writer was inviting a whole community to rejoice together, not placing that burden on one person who might not be able to do so, and inviting a whole community to be known for its gentleness, so that on a day that one person could not be the embodiment of gentleness, the rest of the community could step up. I made you for community so you do not have to be Christ to the world all by yourself, but that your community could support each other in being Christ to the world.


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Liberating Love Devotion for 12/11

Here’s your weekly love note from God! With the new year coming up, you might know some folks looking for a spiritual practice to start the new year off right. Maybe encourage them to subscribe to the Sunday e-mail list so they get a love note every Sunday in 2020 to start the week off right. I hope these devotions have been meaningful to you; I’m going to keep posting them through 2020!

—-

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

—-

Honor me and follow my commandments is all you are supposed to do. Leave the judging to me, because I have a better view of the whole picture. It seems that many people like to play God, by judging and condemning. Those same people aren’t very good at being human–of honoring me and following my path of love and compassion are care. May you find others who can be human with you for this journey I have called you to.

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