There are so many who seek power. We see it in politics, religion, business, everywhere. Seeking power through religion has led us down some dark paths. Until we can focus on Christ’s message there will still be those who use religion for their own reasons. Only by following the walk of Christ…act like Christ, nothing will ever change.
Following the rules can be good but sometimes the rules can be stifling. We have to learn when the rules keep us in a safe place and when they need to be discarded. In our religion rules can be either. Discernment is needed to see when they are helping us to follow Christ’s way or when they are holding us back. Throwing out the rules in favor of heeding Christ’s word can be scary. Sometimes doing so can be disruptive and does not show respect for those around you. When, where and how must be chosen carefully. Much prayer and listening is needed but there are times when stepping out in faith is important.
We can end up in a box created by rules. The rules are supposed to allow us to move closer to God. Some of the rules seen in ritual can help us to “center down” and experience God. Bowing at a certain time, in some faiths taking your shoes off in a holy space, genuflecting, saying the proper responses can make you part of the experience.
However, some rules that are more related to following Christ’s actions may not be for you. These are not true of all Christian denominations but each denomination has their own set. Rules that keep us from reaching out in compassion to all others by condemning them do not seem to be Christ’s idea. He treated all people with love.
Some ideas block us in and make us feel unworthy: You are not knowledgeable enough. You are not educated enough. You are not holy enough. Most of all you must believe what those around you believe. You must see the same God that they do even though in truth none of us see the same God in our minds. These things keep us in the box.
These things can be meaningful if we do them because they move us in an emotional way closer to God. They can make us comfortable. But if we are doing them just to follow the rules then they put us in a box. In the box we must follow the rules in order to be accepted by God but the truth is that we are already accepted by God’s grace. There is nothing we can do to make us perfect enough to reach the level of God. No matter how hard we try.
I don’t remember anywhere in the Bible that Christ told anyone they could not heal or bless. He encouraged his disciples to baptize in the name of the father. He never said anything about forming a church or setting people apart from others. He encouraged us to go and make disciples of ALL. He said we could do all these things on our own. He never said you needed anyone’s permission except that you follow the 2 great commandments; love god, love one another. I will do my best to follow that.
Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul. Democritus
The Bible talks about making idols. Do we realize what those are? They are not statues made of gold but the things we love more than God. Idols can be money, possessions, power….anything that gets in the way of putting God first. Our happiness comes from loving God and knowing that we are loved.
Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them. –Mother Teresa
This is so true! Most of us would prefer to avoid the homeless or those begging on our streets. We see them as “less than” us. It’s as if we are concerned about becoming contaminated by them. We have to begin to look through Jesus’ eyes and see them as children of God just like us. Then we will be willing to talk with them.
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. Buddha
The light of a candle is not the only thing that can be shared. Love is never diminished by being shared. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This is what Christ is all about. Love , love , love….if only we could stop all the anger and violence and just concentrate on loving each other the world would change.
Gracious God, do you despair of our every getting the message? Please help us to forget all the complex issues and just understand the message. Love is the way. AMEN
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Matthew 20:28
It is so difficult to believe that someone would give his life for me. I don’t feel worthy of such a sacrifice. Think about it. You are standing on a street corner and a car comes up over the curb. The person next to you pushes you out of the way and is killed instead of you. Knowing this I would have to live my life differently.
That is why, knowing Christ’s sacrifice, I need to look carefully at how I am living my life.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for sacrificing your life for me. I am unworthy of your love. Bring my life closer to your example. Amen
Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.
We are told to love the Lord Our God with all our souls are all our hearts and all our minds. We are not told to prove that God exists. We are just told to love Him. Can we turn loose of all our trying to understand all of this and just love?
Prayer: God of love, help us learn to just love you with all that we are. Amen
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
My father always told me to not respond in anger to someone who is angry. Good advice but not so easy to follow. When someone is yelling at me about something it is very hard to keep my cool. I can feel my heart racing and my mind gearing up for battle. I’m ready to yell back. Yet very little is solved in anger. Most problems are resolved when everyone calms down.
Prayer: Gentle Jesus, help us to think of you and respond lovingly to someone who is angry. Amen
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things
I Corinthians 13: 4-7
We hear this so often at weddings that I don’t think we really pay attention to it any more. But these are words to live by. How many times am I arrogant or rude or boastful? How many times do I insist on my own way? I need to wake up and smell the coffee. These words apply directly to me!
Prayer: Forgiving God, I am guilty of letting these words slide right by me. Help me to take them to heart and live by them. Amen
We are called to love one another. What exactly does this mean? It means to follow the example of Christ. The following quote sums it up.