Tag Archives: Interdependence

Called to Heal

Living in the Spirit
September 12, 2017

Scripture Reading: Exodus 14:19-31

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.’ –Exodus 14:21-25

The stories of God’s actions passed to us from history and still being documented today always include a partnership of interaction with a person, or more often with people.  I love Margaret Mead whose famous quotes stand the test of time and amplify the importance of our interdependence and our individuality.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

 Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.

I always think of twelve ragamuffin disciples from the first century when I read the first quote. It applies to Moses with his brother and sister, too and Martin Luther five hundred years ago and Martin Luther King Jr. 60 years ago and someone today standing on the brink of Kingdom building ready to say “let’s go.”

Each of us must hear and respond to the call bringing our unique gifts all of which are necessary for the transitioning of the world from its current fractured state to a world powered by love. In such a world everyone is respected for the individual they are and for the unique part of interdependence they serve.

If we seem to be experiencing brokenness more than wholeness, perhaps we need to listen to the still small voice crying  “I am with you, let’s go” following our ancestors in faith to do the justice needed to heal brokenness and make the wounded whole*.

Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul*.

Prayer: God of Justice and Mercy, open our ears to hear your call, enable our spirits to response. Amen.

*First verse of There is a Balm in Gilead a traditional African American Spiritual see at http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/lyrics/hs889.htm

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.

Spiritual Weeding

Living in the Spirit
July 22, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ –Matthew 13:24-30

One thing learned from gardening; it is a continuous process: preparing the soil; planting the seeds; watering, if needed; protecting plants from bad bugs and encouraging good insects; weeding; keeping critters from eating the plants or their produce, and harvesting. One cycle ends the next begins. All the things designed to get good plants produce a wealth of weeds.

Weeds need removing when they are small. Left to develop, weeds rob plants of vital nurture including water. If weeds are allowed to grow, their roots become entwined with plant roots. Their removal most likely results in killing the plants as described in our scripture today. Much like the garden with plants and weeds, we live in a world of both good and evil. We are free to choose which path we take. We pay the consequences or reap the rewards of our choices.

Individual choices are important, but what responsibility, if any, do we have regarding the negative impact evil inflicts on others? It seems that creating a world where evil is plucked early in development would not only benefit each of us individually but also all of us together. Evil rarely, solely resides in an individual. Evil’s continuing existence is as dependent on transmission to others as is Love’s.

Failed education systems are pipelines to prison, and our prison systems tend to turn out harder core criminals rather than people restored to wholeness. Our outlandishly expensive health care system makes some rich but limits the availability of affordable, accessible care. Those who cannot afford it often wait to seek help until it is too late and much more costly. We pay a heavy price for our greed as we reap its consequences.

Prayer: Lord, instruct us in the way we should go. Amen.

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.

Hush, hush, somebody’s callin’ my name

Water running to the seaEpiphany
Celebration of God
Manifested in the World
January 13, 2015

 Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’  — 1 Samuel 3:6-10

There is a traditional African American hymn that captures well the plight of the young Samuel to whom the Lord had not yet been revealed.

Hush, hush, somebody’s callin’ my name,
Hush, hush, somebody’s callin’ my name,
Hush, hush, somebody’s callin’ my name,
Oh my Lord Oh my Lord what shall I do,
What shall I do?

 There comes a point in each of our lives when we hear the invitation and it is our choice how to respond, but we never do it alone. One of the most remarkable aspects of creation to me is our interdependence. I envision it as a giant 3D operational puzzle where, when every piece is in its proper place, it runs as smoothly and accurately as the water flows to the sea. Of course, in our not yet perfected world even water has a tough time making it to the sea, but it never stops trying. Sometimes it carves out new paths over more welcoming land circumventing whatever is standing in its way.

Samuel was like that new land. He was someone, who when the Lord was made known to him, listened and responded. Jesus too was a new way toward God’s great kingdom and he passed the job to his disciples leaving them and us with the power of the Advocate. The synergy of this oneness with the guidance of the Holy Spirit is unstoppable. The tasks now is in our hands.

Prayer: Lord, make us path clearers not stumbling blocks. You have given us ears to hear, help us now to listen for your call. Amen.

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 American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Whatever is Just

JUstice for childrenLiving in the Spirit
Light a Candle for Children
October 10, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:1-9 

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.— Philippians 4:8-9

I am a very goal oriented person so it takes work for me to get into the processes of life. I have learned though that attaining most of the goals of life result from people doing the processes with perseverance. We must have a nice balance in both being goal oriented and dedicated to doing the processes that result in the attainment of our goals. Sports is an excellent example of that. The goal may be to win the game, but the game is won because the athletes have learned and practices the processes of the game so well that they become automatic on the field of play. Our goals as a follower of Christ are to love God, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and to make disciples for Christ. In our scripture today, Paul lists some of the processes that need to become automatic in our lives to help us achieve those goals. Doing justice is one of them.

Justice does not happen by accident. We must do justice. Justice, however, is not something we can ever do alone. It always entails interdependent relationships. Justice, of necessity, involves our working together, one with the other, and that requires us to find common ground on what is just.

Most of the issues that relate to our children are issues of justice. What is right for every child? Every child needs to be loved; have his or her basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter met; be educated; have proper preventive and, when necessary, restorative medical care; and be protected from harm. The list could go on but the point is these needs are the responsibility of all of us and the details of what they mean must be addressed in community.

 Oklahoma Fact: In 2010, 24.8% or 929,666 people in Oklahoma were children.*

Prayer: Lord, challenge us to take up both the goal and the processes of justice for children as they are more vulnerable to the storms of injustice than even we adults are. Amen.

* http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/2541-child-population—decade-count?loc=38&loct=2#detailed/2/any/false/133,11,1,42/any/8997,8998

 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 American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Human Nature and God

Human nature and GodLiving in the Spirit
Light a Candle for Children
September 22, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Exodus 17:1-7

 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarrelled with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?’ — Exodus 17:1-3

Human nature has not changed much over the years. We want somebody else to fix our problems. We do not want to take responsibility for the hardships we face. In all honesty sometimes those troubles get so deep that the only thing we can do is hit out against them. The truth is that we are all in life together and we are all interdependent on one another to make life better for ourselves and each other. We put one foot in front of the other and continue down the path of life in stages. Sometimes things go well; sometimes things go horribly wrong. Sometimes we are responsible for both; sometimes outsides forces are responsible for both. We are challenged to search out the things for which we are individually accountable and make the proper adjustments to correct them when they go off course. For those things that are caused by outside forces we are called to work with one another to overcome them. We never ever, however, are alone in our actions. The God who created us is always with us to sustain and comfort us and to guide us along the path. These Israelites who followed the cloud and the fire out of Egypt had forgotten that. Sometimes we forget, too.

This is never truer than when we are dealing with issues related to our children for they are still learning the ways of people and the ways of God. All adults are accountable for the future of children for children are our future.

 Oklahoma Fact: in 2013, Oklahoma ranked 39th in family and community wellbeing outcomes in the United States.*

Prayer: Creator of all, convict us of our responsibilities for children, guide us each step of the way as we strive to make a positive difference in their lives. Amen.

*2013 KIDS Count Profile: Oklahoma. Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, www.oica.org.

  

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 American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.