Sunday, November 30, 2008

Isaiah 64:8

"Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." -Isaiah 64:8

We are all the work of God's hand. That's a pretty good place to start as we head into the season of Advent, is it not? I mean, with all the expectations that the coming month can throw upon our shoulders and into our already busy lives; what if we could just keep in our mind, soul, and heart that "we are all the work of God's hand"?

How might that humbling, yet comforting phrase help us to clarify the priorities of this month? In what ways might we treat our siblings in faith, as well as all those with whom we come into contact, differently? Might remembering that we are all the work of God's hands help us stop from time to time throughout these next twenty-six days to pause and give thanks for being held in God's hands?

When and how will you work to better understand what it means to rest in God's hands even as the crush of Christmas bears down on us all?

O Lord, watch over us as we prepare our whole selves for the mystery and beauty of the Nativity. Guide us into a greater understanding of what it means for us to be the work of your hand. And with that understanding may we see both our siblings in faith and the stranger on the street in a whole new way. Amen.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Family Visits

Today my in-laws arrived in Twin Falls. They are here for a short 48 hour visit. Don't get me wrong, its not that I'm complaining, I have been blessed with pretty good in-laws. What I mean by that is that when the visit the reconnect with their daughter and do an excellent job grandparenting, all the while being respectful of me.

The reason I'm posting this is that we are all entering the time of year when we will receive guests as well as being guests ourselves. And how we fulfill those roles is an excellent time for us to practice our faith. For as we move into what can be awkward or at least different situations we are presented with opportunities to choose to follow Christ by loving our family even if we feel as though they aren't always loving towards us.

I'd like to encourage you to pray and think about the family you've been given. Really take some time to count your blessings for those whom God has placed you in relationship through birth and marriage and do your best to love them with the love of God. For when you take that opportunity to work on the relationships that you have been given through marriage and birth then I believe that you will be better equipped to work on all of the relationships that you have been given in this life.

So, as you prepare for the holiday tradition of visiting and receiving family I encourage you to find the courage to love your family as much as Christ loves us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Time to Heal

Ecclesiastes chapter three begins, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...." and for many of us there is great relief that the 2008 election is all but over; give or take a few thousand votes to be counted around the country. Even as a majority of Americans clearly backed Barack Obama, there are many others who did not. So, for all of us who call on the name of Christ, no matter which candidate we supported, today begins a time of healing.

For those of you who supported John McCain, my prayer is that you will embrace the central message of his campaign with a twist. I hope that you will not only be able to put "Country First", but as a follower of Christ, that you will be able to put your Lord and Savior into the midst of your relationships with those whom you disagree politically. For that is how the Body of Christ is healed and made one, and as Christians who live in America, once we heal our relationships with our siblings in Christ, then healing the country will be so much easier.

For those of you who supported Barack Obama, my prayer is that you will embrace the sober mood of his acceptance speech last night. All too often the temptation of victory is to gloat and to walk around with an "I told you so" attitude, but again for those of us who call on the name of Christ, such boasting is out of line. I hope that you will be able to put your Lord and Savior into the midst of your relationships with those whom you disagree politically as well, and take a moment to love your neighbor as you would want to be loved if you were in their shoes.

For all of us, this day after the election perhaps another Scripture passage that we should consider is Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Let us all seek to have a heart cleansed from partisanship and brought together as Christians first and Americans at a close second. Let us also seek a right spirit of building up the Body of Christ first, so that we are more prepared for the challenges and opportunities to reconcile with our family, friends, and sibilings in Christ with whom we disagree.