Tag Archives: Higher Ground

Living in the Spirit
September 28, 2017

Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-13

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.—Philippians 2:1-4

We need to hear this scripture today. In Matthew 12:25b,  Jesus is  quoted as saying Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. Principalities and powers from I believe, selfish ambition or conceit, are working hard to gain power by dividing the people of the USA. I listened to 60 Minutes (9/24/2017) and heard regular people talking together saying they feared things had gotten so bad that we were near civil war in this country. Congress has lost the ability to find common ground as has the Oklahoma State legislature. I just heard a report that we have jobs in Oklahoma going unfilled because there are no qualified people available and many people who cannot find jobs. We have underfunded education for years and seem to lack the will to provide even adequate education. What is the source of this self-defeating behavior?

We need to purposefully work at being of the same mind, having the same love, and being in full accord and of one mind. Such a transition will never occur unless we are intentional about it. Such a transition will never occur unless we practice humility and seek the Common Good.

The Thunder Basketball team starts its 2017-2018 season with the addition of two superstars, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, to play alongside 2017 MVP, Russell Westbrook. Melding individual skill into a working team including the other players will be a challenge requiring a central purpose of winning games. A challenge at first is just getting into rhythm but I trust they will succeed.

Our role in serving God requires the same type of central purpose and an even higher level of humility and dedication. This state, this nation, the whole world depends on our getting it right. With God’s help, we will.

Prayer:
In loving partnership we come,
seeking, O God, your will to do.
Our prayers and actions now receive;
we freely offer them to you.

 We are the hands and feet of Christ,
serving by grace each other’s need.
We dare to risk and sacrifice
with truthful word and faithful deed.

 Loving community we seek;
your hope and strength within us move.
The poor and rich, the strong and weak
are brought together in your love.

 In loving partnership, O God,
help us your future to proclaim.
Justice and peace be our desire,
we humbly pray in Jesus’ name. * Amen

*Hymn In Loving Partnership by Jim Strathdee see at http://www.pateys.nf.ca/cgi-bin/lyrics.pl?hymnnumber=759

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

We Go High

Living in the Spirit
September 6, 2017

Scripture Reading: Psalm 149

Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
   his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
   let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing,
   making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
   he adorns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
   let them sing for joy on their couches.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats
   and two-edged swords in their hands,
to execute vengeance on the nations
   and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with fetters
   and their nobles with chains of iron,
to execute on them the judgment decreed.
   This is glory for all his faithful ones.
Praise the Lord!

For the Lord takes pleasure in his people. We are a source of God’s happiness. If you are a parent or aunt in my case, it is easy to imagine. I take pleasure in seeing my nieces and nephews thrive and success using their God given talents. I apparently inherited that trait from God. So did you. God loves each human and thus wants the very best for each of us. We need to share in and support each other’s growth and development.

We all recently watched people rescuing people in the recovery efforts related to Hurricane Harvey’s hitting the gulf coast. A horrible disaster, yet the love that poured through that area surely gave God pleasure. Long-termed restorative care is now needed. An extension of letting our love pour through our everyday lives seems appropriate too. Disasters tend to remind us of what is important.

Ultimately, we are responsible for our behavior, and it is important that we take that responsibility seriously. As we live in community,  we meld our ways of being with others for good or for bad. Our goal is to maximize the good and minimize the bad, which means we must find common ground on which to build our society that requires the patience to understand one another and not take for granted what is reality for me is another’s reality. Finding common ground is hard work requiring us at times to leave our comfort zones and move to higher ground.

Prayer:
Lord lift me up, and let me stand
By faith on Canaan’s table land;
A higher plane than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.* Amen.

*Chorus to hymn Higher Ground words by Johnson Outman Jr. See at https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/396

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.