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
There are so many divisions that separate people. We will join a cause…one that seems just to us and forget that we are to love the people on the other side. Injustice calls us to take sides but we can’t forget that on the other side are people that Jesus accepted and loved.
With so many divisions, many of them violent, it is not only hard to not take sides but also to see the other side as being human like us.
Jesus has mad it clear that there is no other choice. He does not ask us to forget about injustice. He calls for us to end violence and hatred but at the same time forgive and love those who we would easily chose to hate.
Those who read this blog know that music is the thing that turns my heart and soul toward God. Today I was thinking about how much help others need now and when we are again able to gather together. We are called by Christ to help each other. I have sung this song so many times and for so many years but it still speaks of how we should live.
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. – Colissians 3.12&15
It is important to understand that this means US! We are chosen by God. He has told us we have been called by name. Each and every one of us belongs to God. Clothe yourselves with these good things but as you do remember that we can have the peace of Christ. It is ours for the taking.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
I hope that all those people whose fear caused them to choose selfishness will turn to this verse and listen to God. The scripture is so very clear. If we choose love we can turn away fear and act with compassion.
He said to him, “‘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.’
The verse says that this is the first and greatest commandment. It is also the most difficult to follow. By neighbor it means everyone. Not just the people we like but everyone! Not easy to do. There are so many people that for one reason or another I would rather not love but God calls me to do so.
I hope that God teaches me every day how to love those that are hard for me.
I really think this section of Romans says it all. We don’t need to add to it …just follow it.
Marks of the True Christian
9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.[e]12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;[f] do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 1
God’s gift of love to us in Jesus does not separate us from those who are different. It unites us, in one loving embrace. We forget that when we believe we are God’s favorite, to the detriment of all others.
-Br. James Koester Society of Saint John the Evangelist
How many Christian denominations want to believe that they are the chosen. That if we do not believe as they do we are not OK. We are the outcasts. Jesus spent lots of times with those who were outcasts. He did not discriminate. His love embraced everyone. Remember that.
Someone once said to my husband that Jesus was a conservative. My husband’s response was “he was so conservative that he got himself killed.” If we pay attention to the ministry of Christ he was radical. He went against the mores of his day in so many ways. He ate with tax collectors, acknowledged women, healed lepers and preached love for all humankind. If we could live as he did it would be a revolution. Prepare by pondering on this.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c]38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If only we could live out these two commandments. How much is it to ask? There are no lists of do’s and don’ts just two simple statements. However, for us flawed humans they are the hardest things to do. If only the whole world could live this way!