Find joy in the simple things. That’s all love needs to thrive on. From the TV series Call the Midwife
Our society has brainwashed us to think that happiness comes from things. The things we can buy. The truth is that happiness comes from inside us. It is almost as if it is hidden away to make us uncover its secret. Most joy comes from things we can’t buy. Love, the smell of a flower, the stars on a beautiful night, the sound of the ocean. These are the things that fill our soul and turn us toward true joy.
Prayer: Help us to see the things that are real.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
I can’t imagine what it must have been like. The fear and disbelief of the disciples. The grief of the mother of Jesus. The pain he felt. The effort of dragging the cross. It is all beyond my experience. I don’t know where I would have been in that scene. Would I have believed in him or been part of the angry mob? Where would you be?
I do know that things have been different ever since.
A faith of convenience is a hollow faith. ~M*A*S*H, Father Mulcahy, “A Holy Mess,” 1982
Christianity did not begin as a belief of convenience. In fact, it was very inconvenient as the early Christians were persecuted and killed. Now that it is an “accepted religion” we take it for granted. It is convenient to go to church on Sundays. It is also convenient that we can choose to not go. It is interesting to know that Christianity is growing the most in places where Christians are persecuted. Maybe we are too comfortable.
Prayer: Patient God, move us out of our comfort zone and help us to not take you for granted. 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
The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.” Georgia Harkness
It seems to me that more evil is done in the world in the name of religion than for any other reason. We automatically think of Islam and their fanatic suicide bombers. We tend to forget that Christianity has had its share of purges and killings. Too soon have we let the Inquisition fall from our memory. We become sure that we know what God wants and push our beliefs on everyone. Anyone who doesn’t agree is evil. This is not what Jesus taught.
Prayer: Lord God, there is so much hatred in the world. Help us to turn the face of love toward those who hate and teach them about your love. Amen
The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness. William Blake
Sometimes it is so much easier to hold on to our anger than to forgive. We may be using the anger to give us energy. It seems that the whole world is about finding someone to blame. We feel empowered by our anger. We feed on it. The truth is that anger drains us, uses up our energy and makes us ill. This is not what Christ said. He told us to forgive our enemies. The church tells us before we come to communion to turn loose of our grievances with others. We must forgive. Forgiveness heals.
Prayer: Forgive us as sins as we forgive the sins of others.
Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.
For many years we Christians blamed the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus. It was easier to do this than to accept that had we lived in his time and place we could have been a party to his death. We are not blameless even now. We kill him again each time we don’t acknowledge that was are Christians, each time that we hurt someone else or don’t do something the we know is right. We kill him little by little.
Prayer: God of forgiveness, we are sinful people and we fall off the path all the time. Help us to think before we act. Amen
It is so important that we do what we say we will. If we tell someone we will pray for them then we must do it. It seems that promise is made lightly today and not followed through. Be careful what you promise. God expects actions to fit.
With all the things going on today about Christianity we wonder how all of this is going to go. There is one things that we all have to remember. No matter what is going on around us we have to continue to follow the path of Christ. Each of us matters. Each of us can make a difference.
Crying is a blessing. God gave us tears for a reason. Tears release pain and cleanse our hearts. Remember that Jesus wept.