Take something on

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and Lent is here. We have always heard about giving up things for lent but it is also time to take something on. Make a decision to add something that helps others. Each day I like to choose something in my home that can help someone else…… things that can be given away to charity. I put them aside to be donated at the end of Lent.

Lent-2015 - christchurchcolumbia_org

Kindness wins

Matthew 5:38-40 

[ Concerning Retaliation ] “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheekturn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well;
Christ calls us to not respond in anger. He tells us to offer them the opportunity to hurt us again. We are responsible to control our inclination to anger and reprisal. Kindness is always the way. Kindness disarms. It can cause the other person to rethink. If it does then that is a good outcome. If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. It will change something even if it is only us.
'It threw him off when I turned the other cheek. So then I hit him.'

Inclusion

Today in church we heard the beatitudes from the gospel of Luke. They sound different than the ones in Matthew. I was particularly struck by verse 22. We have all suffered by being excluded, ignored, insulted. Exclusion hurts. It makes us feel “less than.” We have to remember that exclusion is something that humans do. God will never exclude us for any reason. God always includes.

DiversityAndInclusion

Luke 6:20-26 New International Version (NIV)

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

Hymn: “You have come down to the lakeshore”: Jesus is calling us

Today I want to share another hymn that is special to me. The words speak to me when I sing it. Truly God is calling each of us to follow. He wants us abandon our selfish ways and follow him. He want us abandon the things that are holding us back. Come, he says, I am waiting.

This is a favorite version as it uses the Spanish (and English) and is played in that style. It doesn’t have all the verses but is beautiful.

Lyrics:
You have come down to the lakeshore
Seeking neither the wise nor the wealthy,
But only asking for me to follow.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You know full well what I have, Lord;
Neither treasure nor weapons for conquest,
Just these my fishnets and will for working.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You need my hands, my exhaustion,
Working love for the rest of the weary,
A love that’s willing to go on loving.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You who have fished other waters;
You, the longing of souls that are yearning;
O loving Friend, you have come to call me.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you’ve called out my name.
On the sand I’ve abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

God brings hope to pain

Sometimes life is painful. It doesn’t matter whether the pain is physical, mental or both. Pain can bring on anxiety and fear. it makes us question if there is anything that can help us. We wonder where God is or if he is there at all. But even in the darkest pain there is hope and hope comes from god.  God turns us to hope and helps us learn from the pain. We are like pottery made beautiful by the fire of the kiln.

pain-quotes-and-sayings-1

Receive the answers

existence

We pray to God for many things. We pray for others, for health, about out daily lives. The list is too long to list. Sometimes our prayers are answered but it is not the answer we wanted. The answer can make us question how our beliefs. That can be scary. Don’t worry. Those answers will cause us to grow in the knowledge of God and his ways.

How can I keep from singing

I have always been move by music. The words of this hymn have always meant a lot to me and the music is fun to sing.

My life flows on in endless song;

Above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweetdagger, tho’ far-off hymn

That hails a new creation;
Thro’ all the tumult and the strife

I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—

How can I keep from singing?
What tho’ my joys and comforts die?

The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What tho’ the darkness gather round?

Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm

While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,

How can I keep from singing?
I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;

I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,

Since first I learned to love it,
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,

A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am his—

How can I keep from singing?

from Wikepedia