It’s so nice outside (a little cold though). Hope you are enjoying the hints of Spring that are popping up all around! I love it when Spring begins to be real and not just a fluke of warm weather interrupting the cold. It reminds me that my life is like that; newness is always just a season away.
This Thursday we are going to explore the adventure of going on a Mission Trip. We will have folks share their past experiences with mission work, how it changed them, and what to expect (plan for) when you go for the first time. This will help us get geared up for our Mission Trip to Mississippi next week, where we will help with Hurricane Relief Efforts. It should be fun. Remember, free food at 7pm, program at 8pm. Love to see you there! For more info or a ride
Now for “Sami’s Ramblings About Jesus:”
Last Thursday night several of us went to see Amazing Tones of Joy sing at DUC Auditorium. It was awesome! The way those young men and women sang about the Lord and moved in rhythm to the music made me want to get up and join them. I left hungry. Hungry for that kind of joy, that kind of enjoyment of the Lord. Not that I don’t enjoy the Lord. It’s just that enjoying the presence of Jesus is something that seems to get crowded out in the midst of serving Jesus.
I am reminded of the time I spent in CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education). It was like my college experience on steroids. I was in a classroom setting that also had a practicum component, basically learning to be a better pastor by working as a chaplain in a hospital setting while writing long papers about it and undergoing intense peer review and supervision. It was stressful, and I wasn’t dealing well with the stress. One day my supervisor said to me, “Sami, I hope you aren’t taking this [my stressed out, anxious, defensive attitude] home with you.” His words hit me like a ton of bricks. In my worn-out-ness, I was only thinking of how I was being affected. I hadn’t given any thought to how my reaction to my circumstances was affecting others. I guess I thought they should just have to deal with it. Needless to say I wasn’t much fun to be around.
I hope I’m better about leaking my exasperations with life on to every one else. I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes in trying to live out our faith, we can become toxic to be around, the worst advertisement in the world for what the world needs the most: Jesus. But when I heard those students sing the other night, something in me leapt up. I wanted to be one of them: I wanted to raise my voice in song, lift up my hands and heart in joy. To enter into the wonder of reaching for the God who constantly reaches for us. I wanted to be one of them.
I can’t help wondering how many times a person without faith in Jesus Christ wants to be one of us who follow Him when they look into our lives? Truth be told, I don’t know what the answer would be for someone looking into my life. But I know that the Spirit of the living Lord inspires. The Spirit of the living Lord captivates. God’s Holy Spirit makes us hungry for more of Him. And when we are saturated with Him and His Spirit, people can’t help but be drawn to Him. I guess the issue is how much of what we do for Him is actually done IN Him?
O God, fill us with Your Spirit. Show us how to simply live and breathe and move and have our being IN You, so that those whose lives we intersect with are drawn to You. Forgive us for all the ways we work so hard at sharing something which cannot be manufactured but is truly GIFT: Your presence.