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Love begets love

I know love when I am in its presence.

It smiles at me, holds me in its embrace, takes my hand and wants to show me. It asks me why, tells me when, wonders how. It thanks me and nods its approval. Love leaves me smiling.

Love begets love.

Ah, but I know its enemy, too.

Its face is grim, full of angst, disapproval, disgust. It pushes me away, takes my measure and comes to finish me off. It doesn’t ask, it tells. It doesn’t listen, it shouts. Evil leaves me frightened.

Evil begets evil.

Ah, but that’s how I know it. You do not belong here with me, in me. Go your own way.

I choose to love, to bring love to life, my life.

I know love when I am in its presence.


How, Lord, do we respond?

“The evil out there will not stop because of the faith in here.” ~ Tom Berlin, Easter 2016 Sermon

IMG_4668You can’t just
on your principles.

You must
on your convictions.

What will we
that we haven’t been doing?

that we haven’t been saying?

to stop
what’s not stopping?

Renew us,
in your image.

Let your Kingdom come,
in us.

And through us,
to the world You dearly

Who’s Stealing Your Good Day?

“We must be prepared to have certain things done to us.”

Well, you don’t have to tell me that twice. Have you seen the way people drive around here? Cutting you off, swerving in and out of your lane, passing you on the right… And don’t get me started on the pushing and shoving at the mall. Christmas is coming, you know?

checkout selfOh, but the worst is that person who comes after you in the self check-out line and sends his purchases along the conveyor belt before you have packed your things up. And his stuff starts bump, bumping into your stuff. And you look up at said person, incredulous that he doesn’t notice what he’s doing, and he’s happily scanning away.

‘Put your bananas on the belt’…and so he does. Really? Can anyone be more annoying? But, it’s to be expected, right?

And for just such an occasion, Peter advises, “Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but, on the contrary, bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain (inherit) a blessing.” (I Peter 3:9)

Be prepared … so that what I do next does not disqualify me from the family inheritance. It’s not that I don’t have a right to be annoyed by self-checker, or drive-and-texter, or Humbug-hurrier, it’s that Love must look different from the rest of the world. On all these occasions.

Honestly, most Christians I know are generous. They volunteer their time, donate their money, serve the needy, feed the poor and hungry. Some even travel to far away places where poverty is great and resources are few to build churches and schools. These people are amazing.

But, I also know people who would not call themselves Christians but are exceedingly generous just the same. They donate their money. They volunteer time and resources. They give to the less fortunate and they may even travel long distances to do it. I am amazed by these people, perhaps even more amazed than I am by the Christians, because Christians have marching orders; these folks are just doing what’s right.

So what’s the difference, if good is getting done? Perhaps it is this very self checkout thing. Christ calls us to act differently from the world, especially when we are wronged. When we have something done to us, an injury or ailment befalls us, or we are the victim of unfairness or prejudice, we are prepared. We don’t return evil for evil.

But wait. No one in their right mind would just let that guy’s groceries barrel into hers without giving him a piece of her mind! I mean, he needs to know better so that he doesn’t do it to someone else. Or maybe I’ll teach him a lesson and put his granola bars into MY bag. Or casually smash the incoming eggs with my hefty orange juice. Ah, this could get ugly.

And that’s the thing. When we are unprepared, ugly wins. And I don’t mean his ugly: I mean my ugly. I can defeat that foe only when I recognize it before it’s unleashed and send it away. If I want to have a good day, I need to be prepared, for people and occasions like this.

Not just grin and bear it so it has a happy ending. Not just grit my teeth so I can “earn” that blessing I “deserve” because I showed amazing restraint. No, I can adopt a frame of mind that will address the problem calmly and satisfactorily, solely because I haven’t let ugly take it from me.

Hey – did you know that there is a plastic bar folded to the side of the conveyor belt that you can extend in order to separate your order from that guy’s behind you? Me neither, until, after grinning and gritting, I got so irritated I went to complain to the manager.

It’s not my job to teach that guy a lesson, but I don’t need to let him steal my good day today. Tomorrow, of course, is another day.

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