Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Should I stay or should I go?

The above is a song title. I was thinking about it a bit more theologically than romantically. There is a tug in the life of a follower of Christ. A tug between staying and going.

Christ asks us to stay and learn from him. To stay and be loved by him. To stay and develop a relationship with him that will carry us through life. To stay enough till he becomes our North Star,

But we are told to “go” as well. Go to others who need a relationship with Christ. Go to those who are broken and unloved and overlooked and bring healing.

Do you stay too long and miss changing a life? Or do you go too often and try doing it on your own without God? Or do you strike a good balance?

Today, is God encouraging you to stay or go?

Jesus said, You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:48-50 (NRSV)

Then Jesus said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” Matthew 26:38 (NRSV)

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. Lamentations 3:25 (NRSV)

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42 (NRSV)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NRSV)

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. Genesis 12:1 (NRSV)

For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost. Luke 19:10 (NRSV)

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. Acts 9:10-11 (NRSV)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Important Question. More Important Answer.

If the football coach says be here at 6 am, EVERY DAY we say, “Yes,” without questions because we want to be a football player.

If the band director says, practice through dinner and every Saturday, we say, “Yes,” without question because we want to be the best band ever.

If the soccer team says, we have to be on the road to play each weekend, we say “Yes,” because we want to make varsity.

If Jesus says, make Sunday morning a priority to worship me, what do we say and why?

O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!  Psalm 95:6 (NRSV)

And they worshiped him (Jesus,) and returned to Jerusalem with great joy
Luke 24:52 (NRSV)

He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him (Jesus.)
John9:38 (NRSV)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Big Hair

One of my early introductions to life in Texas was Jean. I had first talked to her on the phone. She had a voice like maple syrup with a hint of jalapeno. Sweet and peppery. As I do in most cases, I imagined what she looked like. Well, a month later, I met here face-to-face. That hair! As a professional engineer, I would say (if I did not see it) that it was structurally impossible. I looked for the flying buttress that kept her head from tipping over. I got to know Jean over the years. She was tough.

But always kind.

She made sure that I and others in my situation navigated the organization with ease. And, if we did get knocked on our butts, she had a kind word as she dusted us off and sent us back out. There were days we wished we would have an excuse to go see her knowing that the trajectory of our day would be better having been touched by her kindness. She left a mark on all she met and gave a face to the organization that said, “you matter.”

Kindness changes the day for you and for someone else. Make each encounter today a kind one. Thank God for the kind ones you meet.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NRSV)

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. Galatians 5:22-23 (NRSV)

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 (NRSV)

Friday, September 13, 2013

I can’t

In almost 30 years of being a priest, the phrase I hear most often from fellow Christians is, “I can’t.” I can hear defeat or resignation in it. Most often, this response stems from two situations. The first is when a person seeks me out because she is in a tough situation. The second is right after I encourage fellow followers of Christ to deepen their relationship with God by being more regular in worship or by bringing their children to Christian Formation (and going themselves.)

I can’t. I am too busy. Too tired. Too stressed. 

No doubt we are. Our world believes in the 25 hour day. It believes in the how-many-trophies-can-you-pile-up life. It holds true that worry changes things. It demands that we keep up with our neighbor’s frenetic pace.

Here is where it pays to have a North Star, a guiding light. If I let God set my agenda, I will never be crushed by the day or the demands. My spirit always will sing.

Stay close to God today. Move closer still. Everything else with take care of itself. God wants us in a relationship and out of that relationship pours life.

Surrender. But surrender to God. 

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-30 (NRSV)