Friday, May 31, 2019
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:5-7
Before the sermon, those present sang the hymn “A Place at the Table”. I don’t remember having heard it before but the melody was very familiar. The lyrics to the hymn can be found here https://www.hopepublishing.com/find-hymns-hw/hw342.aspx#FullDescription (you will have to click “read more” to see all the verses). Brite Seminary at TCU is very progressive. In the 1950s and 1960s they focused on civil rights. They had a strong voice during the Women’s movement in the 1960s. During the last 20 years seminary students and professors have continued to advocate for women’s rights, an end to racism, recognition of ageism, and protecting the rights of all, regardless of sexual preference. Most interesting to me was the identification in our current climate of not only homophobia but also heterophobia, and the ways that it is further separating people.
I have thought about that sermon the last two days and have wondered about how we came to hate and fear for so many reasons. It would seem that in the last 70 years instead of advancing past our differences, and accepting people regardless of things like, sex, age, race, sexual preference, that we have desired instead to call out what makes us special and different and have used that to further isolate ourselves from others. One of my favorite quotes from Margaret Mead is “You are absolutely unique, just like everyone else”. Be unique, let people like or alternately dislike you because of your personality, or your ideas, but not for your demographics.
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalms 36:5
Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. Psalms 119:90
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
The trees, flowering shrubs, and flowers this time of year are so beautiful, but the beauty is fleeting. My lilies of the valley stay fragrant for just a few days. I love lilacs, and the scent brings back childhood on the farm, where we had a towering bush full of the lavender blooms. The blossoming trees (pear, crab apple, redbud, magnolia) are so stunning right now here in Lincoln, but next week they’ll be uniformly green.
I think if these blooms and scents lasted all summer, we wouldn’t appreciate them the way we do…their essence is fleeting, and we relish it while it lasts.
God’s love ISN’T fleeting…it is steadfast. It is true. His ever-abundant grace never “goes away” or shuts down for the season. God’s love never changes…he is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
How thankful I am that this is true!
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your love and grace, that we can call on You day after day and year after year. Amen.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
As a child I remember “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. In the movie, Bambi, Thumper said “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. As I child I do remember being teased, which probably now a days would be called bullying.
As an adult I don’t believe people should get offended by everything around them. I also believe it’s the intent or the spirit that hurts not the words. I also believe that Thumper is right: if you don’t have anything nice to say keep it to yourself. As a Christian I don’t understand the need or desire to intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, even if that person is intentionally trying to hurt your feelings or spirit.
As a Christian I believe in standing up for what I believe and standing up for the person who can’t stand up for themselves. I also believe in praying for my enemies that they may find their way to Jesus and change their ways. I know it is their journey and only Jesus can guide them. I also don’t know the path that led them to this destructive behavior.
Recently I was confronted with a situation with someone trying to damage my spirit but knowing I am never facing life’s trials by myself helped me. I heard recently someone say as long as I am holding hands and entering the room with Jesus I can do anything.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for always walking with me in the good and bad on this earth. Thank you for guiding me to do my best in treating others with the same respect I wish to receive. Hold my tongue from causing any damage to others. Let me not judge others but I pray for their finding your love. Amen
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13:34
“So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.” Galatians 6:10
Prayer Concerns at Eastridge Presbyterian Church are lifted up in our weekly Lamp as well as emails. Many churches do this.
I recall at one of my previous churches, prayers in action shown to our family. When I was recovering from surgery, a fellow church member delivered a meal to our home. Many times, we had given this “love in action” to others. The church member sensed I felt uncomfortable receiving the generous meal for our family of five. She said, “We just found the skinniest family to fatten up.” That made me smile.
Recently, I have been challenged by a painful leg and back issue. Church members have reached out to my husband and me. Hopefully, now older and wiser, I accept this gratefully. Just as God cares for us, we are called to care for others.
Persons of any age can share a smile. I am especially pleased when young people hold open a door or give me a smile.
Gary Sinise, actor states, “Each person on this planet is here for a purpose ---- That purpose is to care for other people and to help this world become a better place through service to others.”
Each day we have opportunities to show love in action. What can we do today? The prayer below, used in our worship bulletin on May 12, 2019, lists some simple ways we can share love with others.
Prayer: Generous God, we thank you for all we have been given. As we learn to recognize our gifts, help us not to overlook the simple ones: the smile for strangers, the word of encouragement, the get-well card, the listening ear, the willingness to be patient with the long-winded, and gentle with people we find difficult. So shall we all be enriched with your grace, and share your love with all we meet. Amen.
Monday, May 20, 2019
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
I have recently noticed an increase in the use of the word kind. While used as a compliment, it is often met with a tinge of surprise. Even though I am glad to know that we are becoming a community where kindness is nurtured, there is a note of sadness when people are surprised by it.
My grandmother always watched out for people. She had the sweetest and kindest heart. If she knew someone would be alone on a holiday, she opened her home and made them feel like family. She was often thinking of others and used her kindness to share with people that they were special, and thought of. That might be a card for a friend having a bad time, it might be fresh cookies for neighbors who were getting ready for travel, but it could be as simple as smiling at someone in the grocery store. She understood that a successful community was one that loved and cared for each other.
It might seem like some communities are too big for kindness to take root. I disagree, I think that kind and simple things can go a long way. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. This spring I want to think about ways that I can nurture kindness and watch it grow. Not for recognition, and not as some kind of penance, but because we love and care for each other as God’s chosen people.
Prayer: Creator God, help us all to share your kindness with those around us. Please be with me now and always, reminding me of the simple ways that people can feel special, welcome and loved. Amen.