My sun porch

My sun porch

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Power of the Cross...

"The power of the Cross is the power of becoming one"
-- Chaplin Will Mullins

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to sing with the Campus Choir during our weekly chapel service at Muskingum University. This was good timing for me. I needed an uplifting and reassuring reminder of God's power as I have been having problems having hope and being at peace in the middle of the political, cultural and spiritual division that is currently happening in this country and world. We are SO divided and there is SO much ugliness. 

The song we sang spoke hope to my heart. Here are some of the words:

Gracious Spirit, dwell with me, I would gracious be.
Help me now thy grace to see, I would be like thee...

Truthful Spirit, dwell with me, I would truthful be.
Help me now thy truth to see, I would be like thee.
And, with wisdom kind and clear, thy life in mine appear.

Mighty Spirit, dwell with me, I would mighty be.
Help me now thy power to see, I would be like thee.
'Gainst all weapons hell can wield, be thou my strength and shield;
Let thy word my weapon be, Lord, Thine the victory.

Singing these words made me remember that God IS in control and He IS with me every day. I strive to be like Jesus each day. I fall short, of course, but it is my goal each day to let my words and actions show those around me the love that Christ shows me. They will know I'm a Christian by my love.

When I get frustrated reading people's hateful posts to each other, I need God's power living in me. When people judge others and not know the whole situation, I need God's gentleness living in me. 
When I see our elected leaders throwing away people who need to be remembered and taken care of, I need God's patience living in me. When I am moved to take action against intolerance and hatred, I need God's strength, might, wisdom and boldness living in me.

I know that God created me to be a peacemaker. Those natural skills I have, which if not kept in check make me a people pleaser and make me weak, can also be used for good to help others. I have TOO much empathy sometimes, perhaps I have enough to spare. I just wish EVERYONE could learn to walk in someone else's shoes before they say and do hurtful and hateful things. Can I help people to learn to understand others and be more empathetic? Can live so that people can see Jesus in my heart?

During his message yesterday, our Chaplin spoke about how what Jesus did on the cross has the power to make us one. As divided as we are as a culture? Really? As divided as we are as Christians? Are you sure? YES! God IS that powerful! I think I forget that sometimes. I forget that he is the creator and ruler of the world. If we can harness God's power of what He did through Jesus on the cross, we COULD become one in body, mind and spirit. It seems impossible to me me right now. I have seen families split apart by politics. I have felt the angst of feeling like I don't fit in among my own church family. I have been part of heated political and theological arguments. It feels like there is no way we could all be one in ANY way.

Then I remember: "Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

If EACH one of us who believed in the power of Jesus would try to live LIKE Jesus in all we do, we could come to more of consensus more often. Maybe if we lived more like Jesus in all we did, others, who don't believe, would want to know more about how we live. Maybe if we STOPPED hating and arguing with the other side long enough to TALK to them, we might even learn to understand them better!

STOP hating liberals. Try to understand why they think and believe the things they do. TALK with them! Treat them like you want to be treated and listen.
STOP hating Trump supporters. TALK with them and openly and respectfully discuss why they feel so strongly. Treat them like you would want to be treated and listen.
STOP hating women because they are pro-choice. STOP hating pro-lifers. TALK with them. Learn to understand why they believe that way. Work together to discover ways to reduce the number of abortions.
STOP hating Muslims and people of other or no religion. TALK to them. Listen to what they believe. REALLY listen. In my experience, we have more in common than we can even imagine. Even if you think your way is the only way to heaven, LISTEN and work together to solve problems. Are there extremists who are evil and want to part of peaceful solutions? Of course! But there are MORE people who just want to live in peace. 
STOP hating immigrants. Not all of them are evil drug pushers or terrorists. Not all of them are out to steal our jobs and ruin this country. Most of them are just trying to escape a terrible way of life by coming to this wonderful land of opportunity. Of course there are those who are coming into this country for dishonest and hurtful reasons. Is it worth THROWING AWAY the people who genuinely are searching for a better life? If that was the case with our country a hundred years or so ago, I would be an Irish citizen right now. (Hmmmm...those of you that know me know that I am thinking that sounds like a good idea!) 

Gracious Spirit, dwell in me and dwell in the believers in this country. Through the power of your cross, we can learn to be one and work together to show others the love of Christ, even if they don't believe in him at all. Lord, I am a dreamer and dream of a world where we can work together to solve the problems of our world. However, I am not naive enough to believe that this world will ever be perfect. Help me to be an instrument of your peace in the world around me. I love you Lord, and in YOU comes my hope. Amen.