Thoughts for the Journey by Pastor Ray “Initiatives, Musings, and Grace”

The One Rule Jesus Gave Us

I shared with the children Sunday morning from “All I Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. We were talking about rules so I shared a few from the book with the children, like, “cleanup your own mess” to which one of the youngsters almost rolled over laughing, saying, “Oh I don’t do that.” “Don’t take things that aren’t yours,” they thought that was a pretty good one. “Flush” was a another that received a hardy laugh, by my little friend, I suspect he has been reminded enough about that one. We all thought “Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you,” was a good idea. My jubilant little friend didn’t think it was necessary to take a nap in the afternoon, I suspect like the rest of us he will come to rethink that one. “Don’t hit people,” brought an interesting response, “In football its okay!” True enough it has to do with the situation and the circumstance as well as the way the word is used and what we are describing.

All of those rules are rolled into the one rule Jesus gave us “Love one another as I have loved you.” At this point there is no more depending on the situations, or the circumstances. It is flat out Love one another as I have loved you.” Let me share with you an incredible poem by Lucy Negus called “Christpower.”

Look at him!

Look not at his divinity,

But look, rather, at his freedom.

Look not at the exaggerated tales of his power,

But look, rather, at his infinite capacity to give himself away.

Look not at the first century mythology that surrounds him,

But look, rather, at his courage to be,

His ability to live, and

The contagious quality of his love.

Stop your frantic search!

Be still and know that this is God:

This love

This freedom

This life

This being

And

When you are accepted, accept yourself;

When you are forgiven, forgive your self;

When you are loved, love yourself.

Grasp that Christpower

And dare to be

Yourself!

I am fully convinced that until we learn to embrace and celebrate who we are as individuals, we will have a hard time living into Jesus’ command to love others as we are loved. I would commend you to celebrate who you are, the uniqueness that is you, not as a better than attitude, but rather a part of attitude of belonging and being. An attitude of knowing that the world wouldn’t be complete without you, the love you bring, the person you are makes the party complete.  “By this everyone will know you are my disciple, if you have love for one another.”

Waiting for Spring

April 24 and the weather is starting to feel like spring. If you are like me you have become frustrated with the refusal of spring to burst upon the scene in all its wonder, new growth, and possibilities, not to mention warm sunny days. We are like that aren’t we? We want it now, what ever the “it” might be. I am reminded of our Psalm text from last Sunday as I reflect on my inability to enjoy the moment and the gift of the day. It is easy to over look the beauty and grace of each day if we are always wishing for more. I can’t help but think of the little girl in the TV commercial. a group of children are ask if more is better. One little girl speaks up, I think often times her response is our response to life as well, “We want more, because more is better. If we have less we want more, more , more.” So we find ourselves frustrated with the weather because, well because we “want.”   Psalm 23 from the “Message” a translation of the Bible by Eugene Peterson puts it this way.

1-3 God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

There is a rhythm to life that we miss when we are in a hurry  in our wanting for more. A God given rhythm that offers us a place to catch our breath, and enjoy. Can we learn to celebrate the moment embracing the grace and beauty it holds? And just maybe if we can do that we can learn to embrace the wonder and grace of the self. God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows,  you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word,  you let me catch my breath  and send me in the right direction.

I wonder will that be enough? Grace and peace to You!

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