What does it mean to be protected by God?
Stop holding onto to our worries about whether there is enough – enough food, enough things, enough possession and just be held by the God who knows what we need.
Stop holding on to our concern about whether we are enough – let go of our quest for power and prestige and glory and just be held by our God who loves us exactly the way that we are.
I’d like to suggest that it is the questions of faith that keep us going. I’m not implying that answers aren’t important, but there wouldn’t be any answers if we didn’t have any questions; and by the time we form a question, we have already begun to live into the answer.
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you”
Jesus can’t really mean that, could he? Just a few words to describe a complex deed.
It sounds so easy but feels so difficult.
“Love your enemies.”
Well, let’s assume, just for a bit, that there are no metaphors here – that Jesus is being straightforward about what we’re supposed to do. How do we do that? How do we dig deep enough to find a love deep enough to open our hearts to someone we think of as our enemy?
“One piece of teaching that’s sometimes given to preachers – at least progressive preachers – is that we are called to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” That certainly seems to be what Jesus is doing here. If you’re poor or hungry or sad or excluded, don’t worry – everything will be fine someday. But if everything seems to be going well for you today, watch out, bad times are coming.”
“It’s not about doing it perfectly. It’s not about singing with a fancy voice or preaching with fancy words or helping others solve all of their problems. It’s about being present; fully present to each other as Christ is present to us.”
“… when the researcher picked up an object such as a peanut to hand it to the monkey, some of the monkey’s motor neurons would fire. … these were the same neurons that would also fire when the monkey itself grasped the peanut. They eventually dubbed these neurons ‘mirror neurons.’ “
Out in our world, God has anointed us to help others in a variety of ways: so many of us are serving humanity through volunteer work and through our vocations. Generation after generation who have attended Memorial Congregational Church have gone on to make a difference in God’s world by helping and serving God’s people.
If we look for the signs, we’ll see that all signs point to God, all signs point to love, a love created by a Divine Creator who invites us to be co-creators; all signs point to a love lived out in every moment of Jesus’ life as he chose to stand with the oppressed and outcasts and chose self-sacrifice over revenge; all signs point to the love that surrounds us and lives within us as the Holy Spirit lifts us up and gives us the strength to have faith in God and faith in ourselves.
How were the Magi changed by meeting Jesus? How was Jesus’s life altered by meeting folks so different from him?