This time out of time has really been a test. We have all learned things. Some we never wanted to know and some that moved us forward on our journey with God. God didn’t bring this virus but we have all moved through it in whatever way we could. It has been harder for some than others. Loved ones have been lost. Many are grieving. But through it all God has been present. His loving arms have reached out to us. His peace has been offered. All we had to do was to cling on to him.
As this state of the crisis moves on we will experience new things both good and bad. God wants us to have learned from this. Our life is his. His love holds us always.
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Many of us have something to endure right now. This verse tells us that “endurance produces character.” This is very true. Whenever we go through a trial we come away with new insights, new ideas, and new compassion. By enduring we understand better those who have endured before us. We have insight we can use to help others.
Take what you have learned and share your compassion.
Jesus is God translated to us as we would translate a book. He makes God visible. His many examples of God’s kingdom teach us the way. The parables so clearly show the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught so that we would understand. There are many references to Jesus’ teachings on this. Here are just a few.
17 Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
A sign! I just want a sign! Come down God and do something! Write on the wall, perform a miracle. Show those people who don’t believe in you what you can do. Show me too so that I don’t have to depend on faith to get through.
How much we want this to happen. We want something we can see….something we can touch. But really…the important things are not tangible. Love cannot be touched. We can’t hold it in our hands. We can’t prove it yet we know it is there.
God is not visible but his acts are. His presence can be felt if not touched. Let go of wanting things we can’t have. Open our eyes….God is with us. His love surrounds us and his miracles are there if we just look.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
This is such a radical statement.Who really wants to be a servant. Maybe the servants in some British show like Downton abbey enjoy what they do but not all of them.They even had a pecking order.Yet this is what Jesus calls us to do.I have always loved the hymn called the servant song.I especially like the verse that says I will be the Christ light for you in the night time of your fear.
If through delight in the beauty of these things people assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them.
Our society loves beauty. It has set a standard of what is beautiful. You must have wonderful features and a great body. This applies to men and women.
All the ads that we see tout ways for us to reach this standard. However, no one talks about the more important beauty….the beauty inside. It is the person who loves without reason. Acceptance is their middle name. They feel compassion for all and don’t judge.
This is the beauty that lasts. This is the beauty that God wants us to find.
Vocation is not a goal to be achieved but a gift to be received. Every life experience becomes a vehicle for God’s call to be realized in vocation. In learning our limits and embracing failures, we can begin to recognize God’s particular gifts for us, which infuse our very being and form in us our unique vocation.
The past few weeks I have been blessed with what I call “God moments.” These are times when with eyes open we can see God working. One was at a visit to meet a surgeon and schedule surgery on my thyroid. In my experience most surgeons are good at their job but not the greatest at bedside manner. This physician was the exception. He made me feel heard, understood and I could sense his compassion. The surgery is not a difficult one as long as it goes as expected.
Following seeing him I was ushered to someone to schedule the surgery. In her cubicle there were Biblical quotes and words of encouragement.She was kind caring and efficient. My surgery was scheduled for the week following Thanksgiving. She remembered my desire to have it over as soon as possible and when the Dr. decided to work on this Friday called to offer that date to me. I accepted with pleasure that she remembered. She then took the time to pray for me and my surgery.
As another of my friends says “the arangels were at work.” I could see God’s hand in all that has happened and pray for the best outcome. God is present in our lives if we just take the time to see it.
A prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book of the Anglican Church. This is another of the prayers that I find so dear to my heart. The wording always makes me think in a different way. See if you like it.
Be present, Spirit of God, within us, your dwelling place and home, that this house may be one where all darkness is penetrated by your light, all troubles calmed by your peace, all evil redeemed by your love, all pain transformed in your suffering, and all dying glorified in your risen life. Amen.
Think about us being the dwelling place of God and his home. I plan to use this prayer every day.
Doubt can be a scary word. As children we are taught that some things are just true and we accept that. As we grow older we begin to realize that not everything we were taught is true. Our exposure to the world makes us begin asking questions. Some of the truths that held us up are taken away. We find ourselves in a dark place.
Many of us believe that doubt is the opposite of faith but I don’t think that. I think the opposite of faith is disbelief. Doubt is not sinful. It is a nudge to push us forward. It makes us question and by doing so…grow. It makes us search for God and look in places we have not explored.
Don’t be afraid of doubt. Embrace it and look deeper, listen more, learn and grow.