Love or convenience?

Jan Luyken (1649-1712) Bowyer Bible, Bolton, England By Phillip Mehurst (Photo by Harry Kossuth) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

Jan Luyken (1649-1712)
Welcome the Stranger
Bowyer Bible, Bolton, England
By Phillip Mehurst (Photo by Harry Kossuth) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

[Jesus said,] “‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'”

It’s not always convenient to be mindful of others, especially those who need my attention, help, energy, money, talents.

Convenience is not the calling of a follower of Jesus. Love is.

 

Growing rich

JESUS MAFA. Parable of the Three Servants, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48297 [retrieved November 16, 2014].

JESUS MAFA. Parable of the Three Servants, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48297 [retrieved November 16, 2014].

“…out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.” Matthew 25:25

Today I will not bury myself in busy-ness out of fear of loneliness.

I will not surround myself with the noise of the world out of fear of the silence of God.

I will not let fear, indifference, or fatigue prevent me from growing rich in kindness, compassion, and encouragement, peace, and love.

 

 

Cleaning house

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) Jesús expulsa a los fariseos del Templo, 1521

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553)
Jesús expulsa a los fariseos del Templo, 1521

[Jesus] made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area. John 2:15

I am a little temple that houses God’s Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus and through the gift of the Holy Spirit, I have the power to drive out anything from my temple that obstructs and interferes with my ability to love God, myself, and my neighbor.

What shall I drive out today? Fear? Greed? Self-pity? Arrogance? Indifference? Prejudice?

What shall I invite in? Gratitude? Gentleness? Acceptance? Encouragement? Hospitality? Compassion?

Going home

Joža Uprka, 1860-1941 All Souls' Day oil on canvas, 1897 Prague, National Gallery Joža Uprka [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Joža Uprka, 1860-1941
All Souls’ Day
oil on canvas, 1897
Prague, National Gallery
via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me.” John 6:37

I have been on the giving and receiving end of rejection. Either side is a lonely place, a place of woundedness and deep grief.

Jesus, the Compassion of God, heals all wounds through the grace of his unconditional love for all of God’s human family. By his example I am learning it is the better part to accept than reject. I am learning it is the better part to forgive than resent. I am learning it is the better part to keep my eyes on the Lord than my nose in others’ business. I am learning to find my way home.

 

Choose Love

Stefy Mante The Shepherd's Love Opera di Pirografia su legno di pioppo, 2010

The Shepherd’s Love, 2010
Opera di Pirografia su legno di pioppo
By StefyMante (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

[Jesus said,]”You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

When I am in doubt about how to act, how to speak, how to relate to people, all people, my family, friends, colleagues, strangers, foreigners, people who look different from me, who think differently, who believe differently, let Love be my prompter.

When I am in doubt about who I am and what I am doing here, let Love open my heart to the Truth that I am the beloved of God, that you are the beloved of God, that we are the reflection of God’s love to each other and to the whole world.

When I hover between the choice to love or not to love, let Love remind me I was made in love and for love. I am entwined with the One who loved me into being.

What belongs to God

Rembrandt (1606-1669)The Good Samaritan, ca.1655-1660 pen and brown ink and white paint on paper  Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Good Samaritan, ca.1655-1660
pen and brown ink and white paint on paper
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
via Wikimedia Commons

[Jesus] said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.”
Matthew 22:21

As I move through today, let me repay to God forgiveness. I will make a conscious effort to let go of resentment and hard feelings, and to accept others as they are without wishing them to be different.

Let me repay to God healing. I will make a conscious effort to speak and act respectfully, to offer encouragement to others, and to admit when I am wrong.

Let me repay to God generosity. I will make a conscious effort to help someone in material, physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual need.

Let me repay to God nonviolence. I will make a conscious effort to choose peace over conflict, deep within my being and in all my interactions with others.

Let me repay to God compassion. I will make a conscious effort to offer my prayers and support to those who are suffering from the effects of war and life-threatening illness.

Let me repay to God love. I will make a conscious effort to live without fear, to refuse to be a victim, to reject self-pity, to welcome all people as my sisters and brothers in God, and to bring the hope of God’s vision of unconditional, all-encompassing love wherever I go.

The Invitation

Parable of the Wedding Feast

JESUS MAFA. The poor invited to the feast,
from Art in the Christian Tradition,
a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library,
Nashville, TN.
[retrieved October 12, 2014].

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.” Matthew 22:1

Each day God invites me to the marriage of
peace and nonviolence
acceptance and nonjudgment
mercy and forgiveness
love and compassion
joy and gratitude.

Sometimes I think I am too busy to attend. Just for today, however, I will accept God’s invitation with a thankful heart.