A Prayer

This is a prayer I offered on behalf of our congregation this past week. Several have requested a copy, so I’m sharing here. A portion is rephrased from another prayer. I pray that it blesses you this week.


 

Lord,

We come before you concerned, weary and worn from all that is going on in this world as well as with what has happened in this country over the past week. Lord, we thank you for your presence in all that has happened and in all that will happen.

Help us to be a people that follow hard after you. Help us be a people that love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with you. Help us to remember, above any current divisions, that God you reign supreme no matter who is in control of our country.

Lord, help us to remember you are a God who is above all flags and above all men.

You are a God who is for your people.

You are a gracious God who created men and women in YOUR image.

Let us put our trust in you, Jesus, as you were born into an occupied and oppressed people group, you were a man who entered this world at the bottom of the food chain and stayed there your whole life.

Jesus, you walked as a man whose policy was that when it comes to your own rights you “turn the other cheek” but when it comes to the disinherited you listen, you mourn, you act, and you boldly protest for change.

You were a man who gave to the hungry and the thirsty without hesitation, a man who welcomed in all strangers without concern, a man who clothed the naked, looked after the sick and cared for those who thought they had no value.

Today, let us remember that we still follow you, Jesus, and that you spoke truth to the powers that be yet gave everything away till you had nothing left and you desire us to do the same.

Lord, help us to stand for your truth, to listen to each other, and bring glory to God throughout all the generations now and those that are to come.

Amen

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Love Always Wins

My heart hurts for our nation today. Not because I voted one way or another. Or because you voted one way or another. I hurt because I see hatred and division running unchecked. Because I see people clinging to their view only and lacking any sort of tolerance. Because I see people holding so tight to fear that it’s driving their actions and reactions.

That’s what scares me the most right now. People are living and acting out of their fear without regard to what they’re doing or who else they may be hurting.

Friends, it’s okay to feel some fear. Yes, it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be angry. Anger is God’s intended warning light in your life. Pay attention to it. Rest with your anger for a moment. But just a moment. Because you can’t live there. You can’t live your life based on fear and anger. And how you choose to react to your anger can have very real consequences.

Whichever side of the country you feel you want to sit with, I know where I stand. I stand with the one who made me, the one who made everything, the one who is in control. But that can’t be the standard answer to all of my friends; to just trust God and it will all be okay. I know God was in control before the election, is in control today, and will be in control tomorrow. But just saying those words to many, many of my friends who don’t yet know Him, well, that feels confusing and hurtful. Because so many of my friends have been hurt by the religiosity of this day. And just knowing He’s in control doesn’t remove the pain or the hurt and it doesn’t automatically heal the divides that have been created.

heart-love-romance-valentine-medium

Instead of living from a place of fear, what if we were to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly? Together? What if instead of holding so tight to our preconceived notions and living divided by differences we chose to extend mercy to those around us? What if we were compassionate and kind towards those who offend us? To those who are different than us? What if we react out of love, not fear? And when we see others not being treated fairly, especially if the unfairness comes based on the color of their skin or country of birth, what if we stood up for them? Or gave them a step up? Instead of just speaking for them and what we think they want to say, what if we just let them speak freely? And we listen.

As we listen, love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly, what if we also ask ourselves what is the next right step for me? What choices do I have (we always have several) but what is the next right step for me in my life right now? And how does that step help those around me? How do I step away from fear and closer to love? How do I step out of the divisions around me, and closer to love? How can we be a bit kinder to those around us rather than arguing party lines and further dividing our country?

I pray that you sit with this for a bit. Then I pray the step you choose leads you closer to others. Closer to understanding. Closer to kindness. Closer to forgiveness. Closer to love. Because love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. I pray that love always wins. In your life, and in mine.

Be blessed, my friends.

nancy


 

Here’s a song that’s inspired me the last few days. I hope it helps you to care a little more too.

“Forgiveness is the only real revenge…

Keep yourself open…

Peace and love aren’t so far…”

 

All People Matter

people-eiffel-tower-lights-nightI have been troubled by all of the violence and terror in the world the last few months. I’ve started to write many different pieces about it. But before I finish one, another tragedy occurs. Horrible tragedies here in the Pacific Northwest; across the world in Paris; images of refugees with no home or hope; the shooting in San Bernardino; a presidential candidate promoting racism; and just today the closing of schools in LA due to bomb threats. The list could go on and on. Honestly, at times it makes me really frightened for the future world my children are growing into.

Social Media has made this world smaller. We have access to all of those images that we can’t ignore. Or look away from. Some of us share posts or tweets out of outrage. Some out of heartache. Others add the profile overlays to stand in solidarity. I know I did for Paris. Then others mock those who did, because they didn’t change their picture for every other tragedy.

I have even had people unfriend or unfollow me because apparently I didn’t react quick enough to respond to tragedy. Or stand up strong enough with my Christian values to affirm refugees, gay marriage, black lives or Muslims. I have such a mix of feelings over all of this. Not the issues, but the judgment of others. I seek first to understand, then to find common ground.

Here’s what I believe the common ground should be: all people matter. All people were created in the image of God. All people have value. Whether they’re from my part of the world or the slums of a foreign country. Gay or straight or somewhere in the middle struggling with their identity. All people including all the beautiful colors of skin and hair and eyes. And all the people that worship differently than I do. We all matter. We all sin. Yes, some have done horrendous acts that I can’t even begin to explain or understand. Yet I trust that God will judge them appropriately. That is not my job to judge anyone and I don’t want to live in fear of anyone.

It also doesn’t mean I passively sit or live a life of apathy. Just because I haven’t taken a stand for every cause on social media doesn’t mean I don’t care. I choose not to engage in a lot of rhetoric in social forums. Again, not because I don’t care, but because I would prefer to have a face to face discussion, so that you understand the heart of love behind all I do.

Most of these face to face discussion happen in my own home.

Because this is where changing the world starts. It starts with our own kids and raising a generation that knows what it means to be loved, listened to, cared for. A generation that knows how to love, care for and serve others.

Let it also start with you. Start the change in your own life, in your own home. Have discussion about the hard things. Decide together as a family what you can do, how you can give, where you can serve, or how you can pray. Trust, grow, be stretched, be challenged, and then model the same for your kids. Model mercy, compassion, and justice. Be honest with them when you don’t understand, when your heart hurts, when you’re confused, and even when you’re angry about social issues. Seek answers. Have discussions. Find answers in reputable sources. And still model love. Let it all show love.

Also, let’s let Facebook be the place to share the bright spots of our day and funny pictures of cats. Because funny pictures of cats make me laugh. Okay?

 

 

act justly, love mercy, walk humbly

Micah 6:8