This is a story of how we are all connected. This supernatural encounter happened at a local diner. Robert and I sing in our church choir, and we had a rare Sunday off. We decided to skip church and sleep in. Robert suggested we go out for breakfast at one of our favorite places, Spencer’s Grill. Little did I know that I would experience church that morning sitting on a bar stool instead of a pew.
Ten years ago I lived in a little rental house. My neighbor’s wife died of cancer. She owned a bookstore that focused on spirituality. After she passed, her husband had a yard sale. A huge part of what he was selling off were hundreds of books and audio tapes. I made out like a bandit, buying up books and cassettes (remember those?) for just a few dollars. One book I purchased was A Course in Miracles.
I was fascinated by this 600 plus page book because I had heard so many spiritual teachers quote from its text. After acquiring it, I dove right in eager to devour the message. But, to be honest, it didn’t resonate with me. I found it extremely difficult to comprehend. Ten years later, however, I have picked it up again. Since I’ve learned the power of practicing to be still, its message is speaking to me in a profound way.
As of this writing, I am not quite half way through the book. But summing up what I’ve learned is that we have two choices to make. We can choose fear or we can choose love and that we are all connected. When we choose love, we can also be healed from past hurts and experience wholeness. Healing always produces harmony. I am reminded of 1 John 4:16-21:
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. The commandment we have is this; those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
I had just read about healing, harmony and how we are all connected when the lesson came to life at Spencer’s.
Time really flies. It will be one year next month that we added Wilson, the yellow lab, to our family. When we adopted him, he was about to turn two years old. We were the fourth family he had been with in a period of 20 months.
Now, I’ve never owned a Labrador. My last dog, and best friend, was Duffy, a Golden Retriever. I quickly found out that the breeds are entirely different. While both are known to be chewers, Duffy at least had some restraint. Wilson, on the other hand ate anything! In a very short period of time we lost a Handel’s Messiah score, the cover to one of my favorite journals, the cover to one of my favorite books, an I-Pod, two pair of eye glasses…. Need I go on? Continue reading
This whole topic that I am about to share with you makes me angry. I could have chosen a different word than angry and could have sugar coated it and said that this topic makes me sad. But that wouldn’t be telling the truth. I very rarely get angry. If my son were here, he would vouch for that. He would also say, “Pay attention, because Mom is mad.”
The reason Mom is mad is because precious lives are at stake. Usually the first wounding as Christians is when we are children. Let me share a story.
The Rev. Scott Smith is an Associate Pastor at our church. He has such a gentle spirit and a wonderful sense of humor. All of these qualities are still there. You see, Scott just returned to our church after first being our youth minister. He went on a tour to Iraq and served as a Chaplain in the Army. Scott knows a thing or two about being physically wounded too. He shared this story with us during the Ash Wednesday service.
You can’t talk about love and Bible verses on love without quoting the apostle Paul from I Corinthians Chapter 13. This famous chapter is quoted at virtually every wedding ceremony. While I’m not going to quote the entire chapter here, I will quote some of the key verses. If you’re looking for the definition of love, this is as comprehensive as it gets.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
And now these these three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
As Valentine’s Day approaches, a day where we celebrate love, ask yourself if you exude these qualities when it comes to love.
If anger or jealousy, impatience, keeping track of some harm or incident where you felt another person was wrong come to mind when you think about love, stop and think on the definition given by Paul.
It is easy to allow ourselves to crowd out true love. Perhaps we have been hurt so badly by others that we build up a fortress to protect our hearts from being hurt again. While this protection can serve us in the short-term, in the long-term we miss out on the freedom that comes with a heart that is filled with love. Our hearts can become so hardened that we may not even be aware of this self-protection. Continue reading
Romans 5:5 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
I John 3:1 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”
On Valentine’s Day we celebrate love. But if you don’t have a special person in your life, or if you don’t feel lovable, this holiday could make you feel lonely and… Continue reading