Monday, March 19, 2012

It's a Small, Small, World

This past Sunday, I asked our Confirmands, “Do any of you have Muslim friends?” They all raised their hands, and the father of one of our confirmands is a Muslim.

I thought to myself: “This isn’t my Gramma’s world!”

And it certainly isn’t the world into which I was born.

In the span of my 67 years, the world has changed dramatically, and I can only say, “Thank God!”
Because the world has gotten a lot smaller for all of us - as Walt Disney puts it.
it's a world of laughter, a world or tears
its a world of hopes, its a world of fear
theres so much that we share
that its time we're aware
its a small world after all
its a small world after all
its a small world after all
its a small world after all
its a small, small world
There is just one moon and one golden sun 
And a smile means friendship to everyone. 
Though the mountains divide 
And the oceans are wide 
It's a small small world

We have Muslim neighbors, Buddhist and Hindu and Jewish and Atheist neighbors, co-workers, and who knows what else. Our children and grandchildren go to schools that are a virtual United Nations, even as is Calvary Presbyterian Church.

In many parts of the world, Christians have long lived with folks of other religions, and may have even been in the minority. Here in the States, Christians tended to know only Christians and have always been the majority. While Christianity remains the dominant religion of the United States, Christians are having to adjust to a very different world. While there was a time when it was easy for Christians to assume a sort of superior attitude, it’s a whole lot harder to do that.

Humility is a virtue, no doubt, and for Christians these days, we can all remember and celebrate that no one else has to be wrong in order for any of us to be right. There is a wideness in God’s mercy, and it’s good to remember that when the world is so small.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Walking a Labyrinth

From a dear friend and a very good writer, Dawn:

It was an interesting journey with lots of insight into how God leads us on the journey of life.  At first I was thinking of the path to the center as a journey toward God, but then at the center I realized that the red bricks beneath my feet there were the same as the red bricks under my feet all along the path and I thought about Christ's promise that he will never leave us or forsake us.

As I walked long sections in one direction I was grateful for the times in life when things go smooth and life is easy and joyful.  In the sharp turns I was reminded of our need to repent and thankful for the opportunity that God gives us to do so.

As I pondered the difference between walking by faith and walking by sight, I realized that I could still look about and see other choices and options with my eyes (sight) while I chose to walk by faith on the path representing God's good plan for my life.  Therefore, just because we follow God's plan doesn't mean that we won't have choices or temptations.  It is when we follow those other choices that we may wind up repeating or skipping parts of the path or if we stray far enough we may end up in the mud, brush, and briers.

The problem with walking by sight is that we tend to look straight ahead of where our feet are pointing.  If you stand on a curved section of the path, especially evident near a hairpin turn, you will notice that your sight is not looking in the direction that the faith path under your feet is taking you.  We walk by faith and not by sight.

Finally, from all places on the path the cross is always visible if we look up, which reminds me of Hebrews 12  - And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

The Labyrinth is at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church, Livonia, MI. Click HERE to see some pictures.