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BONUS BLOG: In the Face of Division and Difficulty

Don Saliers is a hero of mine. He was my faculty advisor at Candler (School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta) and later a mentor and friend. He wrote last week’s entries in The Upper Room’s Disciplines 2020 book. It’s my joy to share several lines he wrote there with you here —

In the face of division and difficulty, Ephesians contains the central message of the gospel for our Lenten journey.

— Uhm…does anybody remember Lent?

Seems like dealing with COVID-19’s preempted it, at least temporarily.

Back to what Don wrote about Ephesians —

It prays fervently for the unity of Christ’s body while it speaks to our deepest personal struggle and remind us of who we are in Christ: we are “live in love, as Christ loved us” (Eph. 5:2).

—  So.

What’s one thing you can do to restart your own Lenten journey and  “live in love, as Christ loved us” today and beyond?




Remember You

“Why did you do that?”

“Because I remembered who I was.” — dialogue from Colony, after an action of great heroism.

Have you forgotten that your body is now the sacred temple of the Spirit of Holiness, who lives in you?

You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary.

You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God! (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, The Passion Translation)

Let’s remind each other Whose we are, and who we are because of that.

BONUS BLOG: When Nothing Seems Certain

When nothing seems certain but chaos,

when life has lost its footing

and faith has lost its imagination,

we can confess that

our future still holds something good,

even if we do not know what it is.

God knows.

—Rachel Hackenberg, Disciplines 2020, p. 110

How Will Things Get Better?

Things have to turn around. They have to get better,” says one character to another on Colony, S3E13.

The other responds, “I don’t know. What are we doing to make it better?

— Complaining is easy. Lots of people are gold medalists at it.

But whatever we’re complaining about, change starts when we ask ourselves, What are we doing to make it better?

One writer didn’t waste any time or pull any punches —.

Do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything?

Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?

— But wait. There’s more —

For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you?

Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

— “Hold up, Joe. This was written by a United Methodist, right?”

Let’s keep going —

I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”

Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works.

Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

— That’s James 2:14-18 in The Message version of The Bible.

And that’s pretty clear.

So…whatever we see that needs improvement, what are we doing to make it better?

BONUS BLOG: Trust God and Also….

Tim Taylor is a colleague in another denomination I admire (see 1st Corinthians 12 and extrapolate for details on such relationships) who has graciously given his expressed permission to share this with you here —

I trust God…and I wear my seatbelt.
I trust God…and I use oven mitts with really hot dishes.
I trust God…and I lock my house at night.
I trust God…and I have smoke detectors in my house.
I trust God…and I take my prescribed medicines.

I trust God…and I will follow the best guidelines to share the task of flattening the curve.

Acting with caution and wisdom does not indicate a lack of trust in God.

Tag Up

Like a baseball player returning to the base between pitches, I never want to get too far from this truth —

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son.

And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.

He came to help, to put the world right again.

John 3:16,17 The Message version

No matter what else is going on, I want to return to those two verses regularly.

Join me, and let’s remind each other to do that today.

BONUS BLOG: I Haven’t Said This Publicly Yet

An online friend I’ve yet to meet in real life, but sure plan to once this current situation is history, wrote this recently —

I haven’t said this publicly yet, but I have an autoimmune disorder. This makes things a little extra sensitive for me during the pandemic.

Staying home isn’t just about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting others from YOU and a virus you may not realize you have.

Please, help keep our communities healthy. The best thing you can do to help is to stay home whenever possible.

— Understood.

Now let’s act like we understand that.