It is important to remember that if we take as our model of the church the hospitality extended to the stranger, it can in no way be a community of like-minded friends but must have at its very heart the inclusion of the others, the different.————Sallie McFague in Models of God.
Too often if someone appears at our church who is radically different from us we choose not to welcome them. We are called to do the opposite. Do we include those dressed poorly, someone obviously homeless or anyone else who doesn’t seem to fit?
Inclusive God, we are your creation and we are all yours. Help us to remove our fears and welcome all to our worship. AMEN
Religious liberty includes freedom to change one’ religion or belief without consequent social, economic and political disabilities. Implicit in this right is the right freely to maintain one’s belief or disbelief without external coercion or disability. ——–World Council of Churches
We are all so divided. Not just into totally different religions but into divisions within religions. So often we cast stones at those of other faiths or other denominations. Jesus called us to love one another. He did not include the word “if.”
Matthew 22:36-40 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 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.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Today I want to share a video of a song from the past. I met Khris Khristopherson briefly as his sister was married to a West Point friend of my husband. The story of how this song was written and the song itself have so much meaning for me.
Lord Jesus, help us to each share our story to encourage others to come to you. AMEN
...in taking up another’s cross, one must sometimes be crushed by the weight. —-Paul Kalanithi
When Jesus walked the way of the cross he was helped to carry the burden by someone in the crowd. As Christians we are also called to help carry someone else’s burdens. It is important that we do so but we do have to call on God to help or we will be crushed by the weight. We can also call on other Christians to help. Only with the help of God and others can we bear the burden.
Comforting God, remind us that we cannot carry burdens alone. We have to call on you and others. AMEN
No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues. ——-Bertrand Russell
I am sure that gossip is evil. I am also sure that gossip is irresistible. When we hear something juicy about someone we just can’t wait to pass it on. Does it make us feel better? Do we seem less vulnerable ourselves? Somehow we do think that putting someone else down makes us better than…..but we are not.
We are called to love one another, have compassion and be kind. We are not called to gossip.
Loving God, forgive our sharing of gossip and remind us that we too are not perfect. AMEN
Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not oust them.-———————Vincent McNabb
Hope is one of the most precious things that God has given us. We need hope to get up each day. We use it to start a new project or a new job. We have hope. Thank God for it.
God of compassion, thank you for the gift of hope. AMEN
There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. ———-A.J. Muste
The people who have taught us the truth of this statement come to mind quite easily. Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. It is obvious that they understood this. All of them changed the world in amazing ways by following the path of peace. It should be obvious to us that walking the path of peace changes things for the better. We should do the same.
Loving God, your son showed us the path of peace. Others followed his example. Help us to do so too. AMEN
Kindness has converted more people than zeal,science, or eloquence. ———Mother Teresa
In church we often hear the word evangelism. There are those who call it the E word and run whenever someone whats them to go out and do it. We are thinking of this word in the wrong way. To go out and tell people about our faith is fine but to live out that faith speaks volumes. We need to live so that people ask “why are they so kind and loving?” This is what will draw people to Christ.
Lord Jesus, you showed us how to live. You drew people by your works. Help us to do the same. AMEN
Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all. ————William Shakespeare
It is so easy for us to judge others. Gossip is usually some form of judgement. Often the things we are quickest to judge in others is the one we don’t see in ourselves. We have not walked in another person’s shoes. We don’t know the whole story. No judgement!
Forgiving God, remind us that we too are often wrong and quick to judge. Help us to walk with compassion and love. AMEN
At its best, Christian community nourishes the alternative life of centering in God, and instill at passion for compassion and justice for the whole creation.———-Marcus Borg
To be the Christian we are called to be we need to be in community. We need others to share our “God moments” and to hear theirs. We need the support of the community when we are in crisis and should be ready to help when others face problems. If you have not found your community keep looking!
Compassionate God, help us to find that place where we can nurture others and be nurtured. AMEN