So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
A Word of Hope
Faith and how differently it is lived out, even among those who profess the same beliefs, is a hot topic these days. Judgmental words fly from all angles. I trust that I am not alone in having uttered the words, “How can that person act that way or believe those things and call themselves a follower of Jesus?” When that thought crosses my mind, I’m not sure which part is the cart and which part is the horse. Am I angry because they are calling themself a Christian, just as I do, and are acting in a way that I believe to be antithetical to what the Jesus I follow would want? Or, am I upset only because they are treating others unkindly or unjustly and the fact that they call themselves a Christian is not really important?
Today is Espresso Day. Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee, served in small, strong shots and is the base for many coffee drinks like mochas, lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiato. Is our personal spirituality not similar to the espresso in these drinks? It gives us a firm foundation on which to build our lives. Our faith should be the base for all that we are and all that we do. It is the starting point for everything else, the base, just as espresso is the starting point for many of the fancier coffee drinks . Jesus provides us with this strong foundation to support all of the “milk and chocolate and whipped cream” that is seen on the surface of our daily lives, but we really should not have to announce that we are doing something “because we are a Christian”. That piece of information is important only between us and our God.
What is most important to others is how that fact manifests itself outwardly, how it drives our expression of love of our neighbor. That’s what others see, feel, and remember. When we enjoy a nice vanilla latte, rarely do we think “that was great espresso.” We judge the drink as a whole. Similarly, we desire that others see us as a whole, kind, and caring person first. The fact that we are a follower of Christ comes with further understanding of the goodness they experienced through us, just as good espresso is discovered when we consider why that latte tasted so good.
Strong and faithful God, may I always know you as my strength and my foundation. I pray my knowledge of you and your ways will guide my words and actions such that I show your love and compassion to others. Amen
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare