Words of Hope
Words of Hope
Thursday – October 28, 2021
Matthew 12 (NRSV)
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”
Word of Hope
I have heard this scripture since I was a child. I have incorporated it as an intention for my daily living. When I fall short, I try to correct the failure. It was somewhat of a shock when someone told me they did not want to be treated according to how I wished to be treated. They wanted to be treated as they wished to be treated.
That made perfect sense when I thought about it. It is a matter of perspective. To truly love someone, we must acknowledge them as a unique and wonderfully made person, separate from ourselves. Jesus taught us to love others as we love ourselves. That means I want for the other what they want, not what I want for them. I must get to know what they want before doing what I can to contribute.
That doesn’t mean I should scramble to give everyone what they say they want. It does mean I don’t send flowers to someone who is allergic to them. They would be happier to receive a picture with a message that says, “Thinking of you and sending you this rose that will not make you sneeze.” Of course, chocolates might be good too.
When I pray for others, I will pray for God to grant the desires of their hearts, for God will know better than I, and perhaps better than they, what will satisfy their deepest longings.
All this sounds frivolous, but I think it is very important. I think it matters that we love one another as well as we can.
God of Love and Mercy, help me to do better at loving others. Help me to get outside of myself, to listen carefully, and to sincerely love them as they wish to be loved. May your will be done in all of us. Amen
Carole Anne Sarah
Wednesday – October 27, 2021
As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!” Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.
Words of Hope
This passage of scripture reminds me of the power of compassion, something which the crowd following Jesus apparently had in short supply. Compassion can truly work miracles. I’ve experienced it myself many times, but one particular case seemed appropriate for today. You see, today is “Black Cat Day”, a day to eliminate the stigma and prejudice against black cats.
As the co-guardian of a big long-haired black cat, it resonates with me for several reasons.
We adopted Merlin the Cat from an animal shelter. He was fluffy and beautiful, but he was painfully shy and disappeared the moment we released him in our home. That’s why we called him Merlin, he magically disappeared and during the nights, he would sneak out to use the litter box and devour his food but remained invisible during the day.
We eventually found his hiding place, and my partner patiently spoke to him and offered him treats without attempting to reach under the cabinet where he was hiding. It started with him eating the treats only after we left them on the floor, but eventually he emerged and took them from my partner’s hand.
His behavior suggested that he had been abused in his former home. He was afraid of noises, new people, and even us whenever we came home. Showing him compassion and giving him space to trust us eventually led to his emergence into the home, and now after three years he is a loyal and friendly feline companion. He purrs, meows and chatters almost as though he is trying to talk to us, and he curls up every night next to my partners head on the bed.
Compassion opened not only his eyes but his spirit and brought him out of his shell.
May we remember to show compassion to all the people and creatures in our lives. By doing so may we offer healing and love in tangible and intangible ways. Amen
Tuesday – October 26, 2021
Change in the current era
“Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.” Deepak Chopra
A Word of Hope
Much has been written today about MINDSET and its influence on our behavior. Contemporary authors suggest that each of our mindsets are created by every experience we have throughout our life and in particular early in our life – good and not so good; remembered and forgotten. The sort of mindset that we have is a result of what we heard from the earliest days from parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, friends, bullies, pastors, TV, social media, movies, music and all that we read.
The sum of all those topic areas and more tends to create a mindset that is unique to each individual while at the same time resonates with others who have had similar experiences or “imprinting” on our brains. Some individuals are afraid of change to one degree or another while others are open to the future and understand change as a sign of life. Some have a rigid view of Church while neighbors may have a much more flexible mindset regarding Church matters. The same is true of politics where mindset may demand that we are conservative or liberal in our thinking or someplace in between.
More realistically, we fall somewhere along a spectrum of views and opinions depending upon how our mindset was created or is being created. Some mindsets are open and even welcoming of change while others are fearful of it. Can mindset be changed? Yes! Many times, it is merely a decision not to take yourself too seriously and being open to new experiences. It is said that bigotry is only a prejudice that cannot be changed when new evidence is found to the contrary.
Your special mindset determines how you pray, with whom you pray, how you relate to co-workers and supervisors, how you raise children, how you vote, how you process thought and feelings. Simply put, mindset is an incredibly important aspect of our life. Like intuition, mindset is a gift from God and how we understand it and use it, is our gift back to God.
O Holy One, we give you thanks for all your gifts. We give thanks today for the gift of our mindset as we recognize how complicated and wonderful it is. We know that we have not begun to fully understand its power to know you, appreciate you and advance your creation for good. We know that we can use our mind to be creative and loving or to be destructive and
hateful toward ourselves and others. Lord, let us be aware of our mindset and mold it to serve you in the best way we can and to be open to all the wonderous experiences that you have in store for us.
We make this prayer in your many names, O God. Amen.
Cathedral of Hope / United Church of Christ.
Monday – October 25, 2021
Hebrews 3:11 (MSG)
“By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.”
A Word of Hope
Today is International Artist’s Day, a day set aside to honor and celebrate the imagination and creativity of artists. And, we are all artists. Each of us carries within a spark of the divine creator. It is that spark that ignites our imagination, that power to see the unseen and give it life. Often only those that work in “the arts” are seen as artists. In reality, anyone who creates is an artist. Not only those who create music or literature or paintings, but also those who create meals and homes and feelings of comfort, hope, and love. We have to create a sense of these things in our own imagination before we can birth them into being and share them in the world.
As you go about your day, look for that spark of the divine, the artist, in yourself and in others. Honor and celebrate that which feeds imagination and creativity. In doing this we are offering praise to Our Creator.
When I saw that today is International Artist’s Day, the first thing that popped into my head is the song God Bless the Artists. The lyrics were written by Pricilla Dewey Houghton and the music by Suzy Roche. This song was created for the album Zero Church by Suzy and Maggie Roche. It seems fitting to celebrate this day with the words of these artists.
“God bless the artists and keep them safe,
Praise the creator and those who create,
Touch the senses, strike the chord
Sound the trumpet, praise the Lord.
Guide the potter’s mystic touch,
The painter’s brush, the actor’s heart,
“Dance the steps” to magic music
Grace the motion, move the spirit,
Guard the artist’s cosmic gifts
May they proclaim
God’s great creation.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Friday – October 22, 2021
Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
Words of Hope
Fun fact, today is “smart is cool day”. One of many smart things we can learn from Nehemiah, is the importance of prayer and intercessory prayer. Growing up, I was taught the importance of prayer before and after all things.
I remember when I was out with my friends for the first time and prayed before making a decision or before a meal, it stunned them. They were not used to seeing prayer outside of church service. For my family, prayer happened in all places, for and with all people, as the Holy Spirit convicted us to do so. In youth group, I learned the importance of intercessory prayer, praying on behalf of others or a community. This is what we see in Nehemiah.
In this text, we see the importance of prayer. When Nehemiah heard how his community was doing, he prayed on their behalf. Nehemiah also showed how when we are faithful to the work of God that we will be brought together in community for the kingdom of God. One of many lessons we can learn from Nehemiah is that when we align ourselves with the will and plan of God, we can accomplish so many wonderful things. When we are in communion with God, it helps us interact better with those around us.
Our partnership with God strengthens our relationship to Christ, others, and self. When we intercede on someone’s behalf, voicing our concerns to God, it frees our mind and our hearts.
Dear God, thank for the lessons learned in Nehemiah. May we be as bold in our prayer life and intercede one someone’s behalf in prayer and observe the transformation! Continue to be a light onto our path and a comfort to us in the waves of life. Amen.
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