A moment for fighting part 2

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“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 (NRSV)

How to not be a bully:

-Don’t let your fear control you- We often bully others when we are afraid.  We are worried that if we don’t act first, we won’t be ready for what will come at us.  Trust that things will work out ok, even if it is not how you thought it should be.

For fear is nothing but a giving up of the helps that come from reason;   Wisdom 17:12(NRSV)

-Don’t let your agenda drive you- We all want our way most of the time.  However, a collective effort will always produce a better result.  Listen well to others and look for where your opinions merge with theirs.

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.  Jeremiah 29:1 (NRSV)

-Maintain compassion for others- Everyone has insecurities that you can use to push your agenda.  Instead of using them to your advantage, be an encourager.   Use their strengths to balance your weaknesses.

Encourage one another and build up each other.  1 Thessalonians 5:10

-Notice resistance- When you sense resistance or disagreement beginning, you are likely coming on too strong.  Try a gentler approach.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, 2 Timothy 2:24

Trust that the world is more good than bad- The world is a beautiful place when we are kind to ourselves and to others.  Being kind to ourselves, loving ourselves is often the most challenging part of the scripture above.  We see in others the things we do not like in ourselves.    Focus on the good in yourself and the good in others.  Be gentle, be kind, be loving, and be forgiving of yourself.  Then you will see others in a more gentle, kind, loving, and forgiving way.

Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:31-3 (NRSV)

This is how we fight for peace.

A moment of following

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As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes.  Luke 20:41-42

Peace–It seems lately everywhere I look I am reminded how important it is to seek peace.  First within myself and then with others.

 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”  Matthew 21:10

The Prince of Peace enters Jerusalem, and yet there is turmoil, not peace.  They failed to recognize him.  They were busy joining the crowds, though not understanding who they were “welcoming.”  They were busy selling and buying in the temple.

But there were others who were paying attention and noticing that “Peace” had entered.  The blind and the lame came to him with hope.  They were hoping for vision, they were hoping for healing.  He met them where they were and healed them.

“Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”  Matthew 21:22

To find Peace, meeting Christ, I believe you must break away from the busyness of the crowd.

He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”  

Zacchaeus may not have understood what would happen if he and Jesus made eye contact but he sought to see Him and as a result he was seen.  He must have looked a bit of a fool climbing that tree and yet his discontent in being part of the crowd put him in the right place at the right time,  and Jesus was coming to dinner.   I can imagine quite a dinner conversation as Zacchaeus opens his home and heart to Jesus.  Zacchaeus promises things to Christ to make himself more worthy and yet he is assured that he has already done what is needed.

Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

Peace

A moment of laughter

 

Give me a sense of humor, Lord, give me the grace to see a joke.
To get some humor out of life, and pass it on to other folk. Bob Hope

Some days are just heavy, and the weight of them is almost too much to bear.  We need laughter to help release the emotions that we have been well practiced in holding back.  Reading Bob Hope’s words today brought a memory back so strongly…

My mother died 21 years ago, and my heart still breaks from missing her.  My Grannie passed almost three years ago, but the memory of attending her service in New Orleans recently came to me like it was yesterday.   I not only mourned my grannie again, but the loss of my mother returned to the surface.  My grannie had taken care of my mother through her cancer.   I witnessed as she lovingly walked my mother, her child, to the end of her life.

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In New Orleans, LA most burial plots are above ground, and my mother was buried in a mausoleum.  Her plot belonged to my grandparents, and my understanding is there was room for three bodies, but not three coffins.   When my grandmother passed, and her body was to join her husband’s and their child’s.   My mother’s body was removed, wrapped and returned to the plot without her coffin.  Even I, as a grown woman, had a great deal of curiosity about this whole process.  So, I tried to peek into the curtain covered space.  When I did, I whispered, too loudly (there is quite an echo in the corridors),  “I want to see my mummy.”  As you can imagine some laughed with me and others did not.  But my quiet laugh turned into a fit of quiet giggles and my giggles to tears, and I felt so much better for the emotional release.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 Ecclesiastes 3 (NRSV)

Has there been a time in your life when the seasons mingle together?  Spend time in the memory.  It is a moment of grace.

A moment of favoritism

As my teenage daughter attends a classmate’s Celebration of Life service today, I am reminded of why I am working through my issues with computers and technology to send a message of God’s love out into the world.  I don’t have any idea where this will land, or if anyone will hear the message, but it is in my heart, and I don’t want to contain it.

My head is filled this morning with thoughts of teenagers and parenting and my own personal successes and failures.  I have found the only way to stop the spinning is to focus on God’s love for all of us.  A dear friend of mine always says, “I’m His favorite.”  My response to that is, “Me too!”  If I could say anything to the young man who is being wept for this very minute, it would be. “You are God’s favorite.”  It doesn’t matter what we have done in the past when we look into God’s eyes, our successes and our failures are enfolded into His loving embrace, and we, in that moment, are His favorite.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to be his children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding…Ephesians 1:1-8 (NIV)

God created us, understands us and loves us in every moment of our lives here and beyond.

Peace,

Alana