Monday Meditation – Touch

Touch

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners, (Isaiah 61:1  NIV)

Jesus healed the sick by touching them and restoring them to their communities. The priests only wanted money for sacrifices to be made in order for one to be allowed to rejoin one’s family and community.  They wanted to be paid in order to make one ritually “pure” again.

Miracles

Big miracles like the virgin birth and the resurrection just don’t happen in my life with too much frequency.  But many miracles Jesus performed every day, like touching someone in need, often those who no one would touch.  I’ve seen such love, I know it can happen.  I just don’t see it enough.  Touch is an incredible miracle.  Because without it none of the others would matter.  Even one’s weak faith did not disqualify you from receiving Jesus’ touch.

A touch.  The compassion of one man willing to break all the rules to touch you at your lowest.  It doesn’t have to be physical, it can be spiritually.  But both together are so powerful.

Dear Lord, Your Son came to touch and heal us.  Let us follow His lead and reach out to those nobody wants to touch.  Grant us courage to do so.  Amen.

Civility & the lost art of listening

civility

P.M. Forni, in his book The Civility Solution, writes that in today’s America, incivility is on prominent display: in schools, where bullying is pervasive; in the workplace, where an increasing number are more stressed out by co-workers than their jobs; on the roads, where road rage maims and kills; in politics, where strident intolerance takes the place of earnest dialogue; and on the Web, where many check their inhibitions at the digital door.

The Civility of Conversation

Conversations and discussions no longer exist. It isn’t even about who is right or wrong. Both sides know they are right. It is not a question of changing anyone’s mind. How can conversation happen when people are “YELLING” at one another with slogans and epithets on TV, in their “status,” and in their “tweets”?

In Jeremiah 29:4 – 7 (NIV), God tells the Israelites to pray for Babylon, the empire they have been exiled to from Jerusalem. God doesn’t tell the Israelites to stop believing as they had when they were in their own land even though now they are in a pagan, gentile land with its own prophets and diviners that God calls deceivers. Now God commands them to pray for the city they have been brought to as the spoils of war – that, in fact, their prosperity was tied to the pagan city’s prosperity.

The Civility of Prayer

Can all the sides of the ideological divide, pray for each other to prosper? Can viewers of network news with opposing sides pray for those with a different opinion? Can opposing teams pray for each other on the field of play? Can people on both sides of any issue facing The United Methodist Church pray for each other? In I Peter 3:15b, the Apostle Peter tells the followers of Jesus “Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it.” (CEB)

The followers are then told they must “… do this with respectful humility, maintaining a good conscience.” (CEB)

In other words, talk – don’t yell. Be aware of your every word. Speak your truth. Listen. Comprehend.

The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church are in prayerful discernment about ways we can be in dialogue about issues that face the denomination. Can we all pray for one another and have the Holy spirit move in our actions and decision making?

To understand is not to condone. It is an act of humility to say, “I will put aside myself right now and respect you enough to listen to you.”

These acts of civility are things our Savior would surely do and appreciate us doing.