A little bit more!

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Some people have never heard of Advent. They may not be Christian or espouse any God at all but in this season there is a difference in the air. In the time building up to Christmas there is more focus on the needy and homeless. Collections are made for children, food is collected, the Salvation Army and others receive more help. We are more generous and there is a spirit of compassion abounding. It seems that advent calls for generosity and kindness.Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanakkuh or only the commercial aspects this season changes people The spirit of the holidays is around us and yes, it is something more.

Caring God, help us to carry this spirit into the new year. AMEN

Lies and more lies

Psalm 12: 1-2

Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly;
    the faithful have disappeared from humankind.
They utter lies to each other;
    with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

Orwell-political-languageWith all the political agenda going on in the US this Psalm speaks the truth. Even those who claim to be godly are throwing mud at their opponents. It is not possible to believe everything they are saying. Instead of telling the good about themselves they concentrate on spouting evil about others. This is not the way of the godly. We truly need help to bring back civility and truth to our nation.

All knowing God, you see how far we can stray from your path.  Help us to change the climate of hate and abuse into that of love and kindness. AMEN

Only love will work

Psalm 4: 5-6 

There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
    Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”
You have put gladness in my heart
    more than when their grain and wine abound.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

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The world is a scary place. There is so much hatred. It is hard not to be afraid. So many shootings….many so random. How can we manage? There is only one way and the Psalm answers it for us. “For you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.”

Loving God, give us the wisdom, the courage and the ability to fight hatred with love. AMEN

The road less traveled

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The road that Christ followed is not an easy one. The disciples thought they could when asking him to sit at his right and left hand. They later found it was not easy. To choose this path is scary and difficult but it is the right one.

All knowing God, you sent your son to show us what to do. Help us to tread that difficult path. AMEN

What is grace?

1-13-Grace-DefinitionDo we really understand grace? Do we get that this gift is greater than any we have ever received or ever will. The fact that grace is a free gift of God does not remove us from responsibility. It is not a get out of jail free card. Grace carries with it the fact that God loves us so much that we are given this gift before we respond…..and respond we must. Living out the message of Christ and follow his word is our response.

Generous God, you are willing to give us the gift of grace without any promise on our part. Help us to respond with hearts full of love and willingness to be your hands and feet. AMEN

 

 

Be welcoming

Hospitality is a form of worship —————————The Talmud

Welcoming people is so important. I have been to churches where no one spoke to me. Obviously I was in no hurry to go back.

Being together over a dinner table is so important. Meals bring us closer together. Jesus left us with a meal for us to share. It is the ultimate hospitality.

Greet people in love and share meals of food and meals from the altar.

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Generous God, help us to be as generous to others as you have been to us. AMEN

And the greatest is love

Today I am tired so I ask you to think deeply on these words about love.

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1 Corinthians 13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Gift of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or 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.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[b] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Keep quiet—walk away

Conflict cannot survive without your participation. ————-Wayne Dyer

The Bible shows us how to avoid conflict. It tells us to turn the other cheek. Not an easy thing to do. For most of us it has nothing to do with physical violence but instead using words (that may not be too kind). A person can’t argue by themselves. If you can’t keep your temper walk away. Words can hurt and cannot be taken back whether out loud or on social media.

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Gracious Lord, you have called us to kindness and love. Help us to remember this when faced with unpleasant situations. AMEN

Mercy

Pope Francis insists that mercy is at the very top of the Christian hierarchy of great truths and everything falls apart whenever mercy is displaced by anything else or anything less.

The dictionary defines mercy as: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

The Old Testament. Mercy: A Part of God’s Nature. Although people have the capacity for showing mercy, especially toward those with whom they already have a special relationship, a lack of mercy is more natural to the human condition. Mercy is, however, a quality intrinsic to the nature of God. It is for this reason that in some situations “merciful” was a sufficient description of God. from: Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Mercy is something we don’t always see as related to us. We think of a courtroom with a judge. But sometimes we are the judge. We can choose to be hard-nosed or forgiving. Notice that the dictionary includes forgiveness in the definition. Forgiving a hurt is mercy. We have opportunities to forgive and it is sometimes difficult to do. We may have to show forgiveness but work for a while on really forgiving.

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Merciful God, you have forgiven us so much. Help us to show the mercy that you so readily give. AMEN

Why are we here?

If I can stop one heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one in pain

Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again,
I shall not live in Vain.

Emily Dickinson

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We often wonder “why are we here?” What is the point of this life? I think that this poem tells us why. We are here to love God’s world and everything in it.

Miraculous God, help us to cherish everything in this world. AMEN