10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
This verse from Paul seems so timely. Does anyone agree with anyone else anymore? Dissension is not just in politics but it has spread to everything in life. Nothing can be discussed without rancor. Sometimes I think that people defend things they don’t even believe.
Paul is reminding us that this is not how we should live. As a child many of us were taught “If you can’t say anything nice say nothing at all.” Maybe we can’t agree with the position others have taken but we can at least practise kindness and not press differing opinions into an argument. The problem is once we have planted our feet we can’t seem to back down. It is important to understand that we will never convince someone else to change their view by using arguments. It is possible that we still have things to learn from other insights. How WE behave is what matters. Things change by example not argument.
I have long been a believer in the “butterfly effect.” The idea that somehow we are all connected. I see this in so many ways. There is a wonderful children’s book called “The Invisible String” that tells us that love is one of the ways we are connected and it is the “invisible string” that never goes away even with death.
Sometimes we have a strong feeling of connection to someone we have never physically met. I feel that way about some people I connect with on this blog. I hear their voice through their words. I have a sense of who they are and feel connected. Because I don’t know them otherwise I could be wrong but there is still something there. Kindness and compassion are clearly felt.
We are connected to the people we see in our everyday lives. It could be seeing the same grocery clerk every week or someone we meet for lunch. People touch us in our work. Obviously some of these links can be good or bad but there is still a connection. Each of us has an impact on those around us.
We are connected to those who have gone before us. We may not know about them or we may have heard stories about their lives. They are present in our DNA. We often find that there are personality traits that have been passed on. People say that I look like my great grandmother. Pictures do show a strong connection.
In the church where I worked for years there is a sense in the building of the lives that have gone before. It is something I feel when I sit in silence in the sanctuary. It is as if the “communion of saints” is physically present.
Don’t doubt that we are all connected. The things that I do each day affects others. Science tells us that nothing is lost…just changed. What I do matters. What you do matters.
We often ask the question “why are we here.” For me the answer has been “to help others.” In today’s world this idea is taking a back seat and society seems intent on forwarding ourselves and phooey with others. There is love and caring in the world but many are trying to make it take a back seat.
We are seeing some of this is some attitudes about covid 19. If only we could begin to turn back the other way.
Genesis 4:9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
God would easily answer yes to that question. For those of us who are doing our best to follow the acts of Jesus there is only one response. We are responsible for our behavior and how we treat others. Each of us is only one but many ones together can make a difference. Follow the path of Jesus and show your love and care for your fellow human beings.
I have purchased a wonderful little book called The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. It has wonderful pieces of wisdom and today I read “Tears fall for a reason and they are your strength not weakness.”
The way our world is today many tears are falling. Sometimes all the pain becomes more than we can bear. However, our loving God gave us the ability to cry. Those tears rolling down our cheeks can cleanse some of the pain. God did not promise that life would be without pain. Only that he would be there with us…and to help….he gave us tears.
Sometimes I wonder about how ideas about Jesus and his way are interpreted. While my youngest child was in elementary school and got sick the teacher told her to ask herself what she had done wrong to bring on the illness. When I picked her up from school and she told me about this we went back to discuss this with the teacher and our minister. (the school was renting a building from our church)
That kind of thinking pictures a stern God who is just waiting to punish us for our sins. I am sorry that some people see God this way. Instead I see a loving God who wants the best for us. This God helps us to find our way through the bad things in life and stands with us when we struggle. I could not survive if I did not have God with each and every day.
Prayer: God, I know that you are with me and will hold my hand through all of my fears. You give me strength when I have none. Continue to give me your loving presence each and every day. AMEN
A wonderful exegesis of the Samson and Delilah story from one of my favorite writers.
In my quest to write my own Midrashim (alternate explanations for gaps in the biblical text, AKA biblical fan fiction), I’ve found that I’m drawn to stories about wicked women, like Jezebel, because I always wonder if the biblical authors were telling the whole truth or slanting the stories to fit their prejudices. It also […]
3 …………… we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Reading this morning this jumped out at me. I am so stressed but rely on God to keep me in his care. I wouldn’t have managed this long without him. This verse reminds me that all this is not wasted but will result in the glory of God. I have always believed that everything that we go through readies us to use our experiences to help others. My knowledge of how to weather the storm can be passed on. And what I pass on is filled with God’s love as that is what brings me through.
I lean on the hope that this too will pass and there will be better times in the future. I have been so supported by my family that I can never repay the love and caring shown to me. Their love has been added to God’s to uphold me. It is what has sustained me.
My husband also knew what must be done in spite of his desire to stay in our home. I think he knew what was coming and wanted me safe and secure. His love has also given me strength. I miss him but know that he helped me to do what was best. His love supported me for almost 59 years and will continue to do so. I know that I was and am loved.
This morning I came across a quote from Rabbi Abraham Heschel that has continued to stay with me all day. It is one of those things that causes the brain to expand.
The primary task of the philosophy of religion is to discover those questions to which religion is the answer.
This is so much the reverse of what we usually do that it is hard to think about. We have so many questions about our faith and God. This makes me think about why it is all important. What is it for me that the answer is religion…or not religion exactly but God? What question would I be asked that the answer would be God? I think one would be what holds me together? What gives me strength and supports me on my path?
I am not sure that these are the type of questions that the rabbi meant but these are certainly questions that would lead me back to God as the answer. I know I will be pondering this quote for a while and just to take this one step further I was reminded of this quote from Thomas Merton. Not exactly the same thing but something else to think about.
At first is seems odd that this suggests that fear causes us to believe in something we cannot see. The truth is that is exactly what we are doing. It is so easy to worry about things that will never happen. To project what we imagine into our future. We often make mountains out of molehills. There are certainly things to fear that are real but even those have aspects that we can’t even imagine.
Projecting ourselves into the future is useless. Leaning on the promises given to us by God is a much better use for our energy. Faith in God is a strong rock to hold on to.
Prayer: God whose grace gives us hope, remind us that fear does us no good. Help us to turn to you each moment and accept your love and promises.