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Friday, September 30, 2011

Choices

My command is this:  Love each other as I have loved you.

                                                       John 15:21

A red light had stopped me at the bottom of an exit ramp when I saw him walking slowly in my direction.  I felt a familiar tightening in my stomach as a weathered and disheveled man trudged toward my car with his head hung low.  His tattered cardboard sign asking for work ended with the words "God bless you".

So what, I ask myself, is God asking me - the one with a profusion of undeserved blessings - to do in this moment?  That question never ceases to be an agonizing decision.

My immediate thought is that I should reach out to help the man but I think of how many different knowledgeable and caring people have told me that this is not a good idea.  Donate, they advise, to the Salvation Army, rescue missions, food pantries and other community organizations that support the homeless and the hungry.

Even though I know these are good and worthy suggestions, I still have the uncomfortable feeling that I am rationalizing  a comfortable cop-out.  What about this particular man?  How does he feel when he looks at me in my well-cared for car with eyes averted to avoid his?  Does he feel abandoned, discarded, worthless?

Although there are no easy answers,  the person before me is a real human being with the same basic needs to be loved, valued and noticed.  Who knows how or why he ended up in this sad forsaken spot?   I am not called to judge but to consider - consider how I can help make this world a better place, if only by a smile.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Vulnerability

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross.
                                                              Philippians 2:5-8 (NRSV)

One of the biggest challenges we face is accepting the reality of our vulnerability as human beings.

Vulnerability is not something we like to think about.  The world around us fights to eliminate all traces of anything that is seen as weakness.

We spend time building up our income, our education, our accomplishments, our social circle and our possessions in a vain attempt to ignore the truth of our vulnerability.  The world commends us for being strong and in control.

But Jesus gives us a different example to follow - a countercultural way of living in this world.

Unlike us, He did not attempt to gain power, wealth or popularity.  Instead, He gave up His total equality with God and took on the form of a servant.  He willingly gave away the very things we spend so much time desperately trying to acquire.  In the end, He made the ultimate sacrifice and gave away  His sinless life to redeem our selfish and sin-filled lives of ignorance.

Vulnerability may not always be easy or pleasant but it breaks down the barriers that divide us.  It reminds us that we are all human with the same basic need to be loved.  It strips away the pride that separates us from one another.  It reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

God, grant each of us in our blindness the courage and the strength to be vulnerable in Christ as we grow in Your love.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Callings

Walk worthy of your calling.
                             Ephesians 4:1

Where is God calling me in this second half of life that I am so blessed to have been given?  There are many who are not so lucky.

Both of my boys have now left home for college and I'm left wondering where their childhoods went.  The calling of motherhood never ends but the days of hands-on parenting and nonstop activity are past.

There are so many emotions that defy tidy labels and I am left speechless.  My days are different.  My life is forever changed.

But I know that God is good and even in the midst of excruciating pain He has always been there.  I have never been forsaken and that gives me courage to face the future - whatever it may hold.

This is a time for learning new things.  I have been jolted out of the rut of complacency and routine and I'm ready to begin even though I don't exactly know where I'm going.

God has promised that if we seek Him we will find Him and I intend to use this precious time to seek Him with all my heart.  He alone holds the answer that my heart needs.

I'd love for you to join me on this journey of faith and be my traveling companion.  There are so many blessings just waiting to be discovered and shared.