" Being sent may be enough to guarantee my own presence, but it doesn't necessarily follow that I will be the presence of Jesus, too. For this, I need to learn how to truly be among the people to whom I am sent, as Jesus was among us. The character of my presence needs to be like his. I am sometimes struck by thoughts of the hundreds of lepers Jesus did not heal, the thousands of people who died of ridiculous little infections during his life time, the blind or lame beggars who missed his passing by a few hundred yards or a few minutes. He healed so few! And I, who can heal no one, am reminded being his presence does not nean fixing everything."
Being among people means being in their midst, not outside. It means being with them, not being over them. It means not looking away from their agony, or humiliation, but beholding it, and having the courage to be wounded by their pain.
( From " God in the Alley ...being and seeing Jesus in a broken world " written by Greg Paul )
May God bless you with discomfort…
at easy answers, hard hearts,
half-truths, and superficial relationships.
May God bless you
so that you may live from deep within your heart
where God’s Spirit dwells.
May God bless you with anger…
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may
work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears…
to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that you
may reach out your hand
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with
to believe that you can make a difference
in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try
what you don’t think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you’ll have all the strength necessary.
May God bless you to fearlessly
speak out about injustice,
unjust laws, corrupt politicians,
unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,
and senseless wars,
genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.
May God bless you that you remember
we are all called
to continue God’s redemptive work
of love and healing
in God’s place, in and through God’s name,
in God’s Spirit, continually creating
and breathing new life and grace
into everything and everyone we touch.
( translation by J.R. Woodward )
What if one day the entire body of Christ was struck dumb? What if we couldn't write a word; couldn't speak a word, and we couldn't move our lips to mouth one.
What would be left?
And what would our lives say?
What would they say about who we are and who our God is?
What would they say about what we believe?
If we were to take away the words, how much of the gospel would the world understand? Would we discover the world is illiterate? Or that our lives are illegible?
Would the writings on the pages of our lives, which we always took to be literate, turn out to be the scribblings of a preschooler? Or would the pages simply be blank?
"Preach the gospel," Saint Francis said, "and when necessary, use words." And he said that, I think, because he realized that the most impactful words are those incarnate in our lives. Words that are made flesh and dwell among the world.
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