Sunday, December 29, 2013

Beginnings, Resolutions and Getting Ahead of Ourselves

Beginnings are fraught with opportunity. At the beginning of any game, an underdog has an opportunity. When we start the engine of our car, we can aim them down any highway we desire…and that aiming has everything to do with where we will go. When we open our eyes in the morning, who's to limit what could be accomplished, change or develop during that day.

Today, I’ve been wondering about our resolutions. We want to lost weight, or gain income or travel or retire or build our career. And we imagine ways to help us accomplish these things. We map a course with every intent to keep to it.

But what if our plans are not the best ones? What if our prejudices are not wise? What if our desires will not accomplish what is best? What if the Mighty One wants to do something more mysterious, more altruistic, more big-picture? 

I’ve been thinking—in a somewhat lighthearted way—about Joseph and Mary of scripture. What if Joseph had a resolution to keep a good name for himself the year an angel told him to take a pregnant girl as his wife? What if Mary’s passionate resolution had been to stay thin for the year? What if the Wise Men had resolved to stay near home that year? What if Herod had vowed to exercise his mighty authority, even if it required vicious and hateful action? (Oh, evidently he had.) 

Getting Ahead of Ourselves
Are we getting ahead of ourselves? I guess what I’m getting at is the importance of leaving room for God to do God stuff with your plans. Maybe we shouldn’t be so certain that we know exactly what is best for us? Maybe God's priorities are different than our own?  Perhaps approaching a new year in humility quoting Mary's "Let it be for me as your Spirit wills it," would be the wisest of attitudes.  

Just wondering…

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Enemies? Or Those With Whom We Disagree?

My childhood was marked by the fear of my nation's cold war adversary--the USSR. As sad as it is to admit it, as a very young child, I once questioned if it might be best if my country would get the war over with by launching a first nuclear strike. In my childish way of thinking, that would solve the problem. I was following the ways of fear.

Not My Enemies
Today I know people who would have been destroyed in such a horrid act of violence. These people are not my enemies. They have names. I've lived in their neighborhoods, eaten in their homes and worked, worshipped and played side-by-side with them. They are my family. I love them.

Jesus' teaching, that we should love our enemies, is possibly best obeyed by getting to know our enemies--until they are our enemies no longer.

Action Step
Is there a nation or a people whom you fear enough to hate? Is there a religion or system you despise? Could you take the initiative to meet with one of these "enemies" long enough to know them? Have dinner with them? At your house or theirs? I did not say to meet them in order to agree with them; but for the purpose of knowing them--(even serving them). And if you know them, mightn't you love them? For the Christian, the answer of course is: "Yes."

If fear rules, which it does midst unknowing (or ignorance), then my enemies will remain enemies. I will live with a desire for their demise and for my own safety.  The only path to safety seems to be through destruction of the other.

Why Not?
Fear brandishes hateful weapons with the intent of relieving fear.

Love delivers goodwill with the intent of bringing peace.

More on this, and what brought it to mind, coming soon.