Peaceful living in an Angry Society

For the past two weeks, I have been preaching on the subject of anger. It has seemed to me that the day in which we are living is an angry society and only increasing in the expressions of its anger. One cannot explore the news without seeing profound expressions of anger: violence, personal attacks, physical and emotional abuse, and personal attacks in political ads are all symptomatic of the deep-rooted anger in our culture today.

I am pretty convinced that this anger is infecting many churches and many followers of Jesus today. Church conflicts and church splits are evidence of the anger simmering beneath the surface of many followers and many churches today. Yesterday I spoke with a person who has been disillusioned by the conflict aimed at his family and others…from within the “church.”

Angry emojis fill the experience of so many!

Yet, we are told by scripture that fits of anger and malice are contrary to the lifestyle of the gospel.

Please understand, I am not talking about healthy expressions of anger focused on injustice that draws attention to wrongs being committed and becomes a catalyst for change. The anger that concerns me is the inward-focused anger that simmers just beneath the surface until the opportunity for explosion happens and then spews over all who are nearby. Sinful anger is the anger which destroys others…and ultimately destroys our own life, relationships, and spirituality.

As followers, we are called to put off such things. When Christ is reborn in us, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit to cleanse the deepest part of our beings from the stains that sin creates in us. We are created to be free for living life in the leadership of the Holy Spirit and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

So, how can we put our the fire of our anger? Here are a few practical suggestions.

Understand our emotional triggers. What causes us to become angry? How can we respond to those stimuli before they become destructive? Manage anger and the emotions that contribute to anger before others…or our relationships are damaged.

Analyze our anger. Why am I becoming angry? Is the immediate cause the real reason or is there something operating under the surface? Is my anger bred from selfishness or an expression of God’s righteousness. We need to understand why we are angry and ask ourself if the consequences of our fit of anger is worth the price we will ultimately pay.

Discipline our minds and take control of our emotions. We are in control of our emotions…or we should be. Empowered by the inworking of the Holy Spirit we can take control over our responses and our actions that flow out of our emotional life. We do not need to act out or act upon our every emotion. We, empowered by Jesus Christ can live lives of self-control.

Turn the searchlight of the Holy Spirit loose in our inner being. We are given life by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth. The Holy Spirit is at work in us creating the life of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, if we allow Him. We must open our hearts and our minds to the work of the Spirit and obediently follow God’s leadership.

Refuse to act out of anger. Ultimately we may have little control over the external stimuli that creates the emotion that we experience. But we DO have control over our perceptions, our reactions, and our words. We can put aside those reactions which damage others and damage our relationships. We can, and must, discipline ourselves to act in the best interests of others.

The work of Christ can put out the simmering fire of anger within us…if we release ALL of ourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit.

Put out the fire…

Anyway…that is just my meanderings today…

Advertisement

Dignity and Dialog

Angry dialog is the hallmark of our society…even in the church

I have been thinking a great deal about a topic lately. As I have been watching political advertisements fill my television time and seeing the “discussion” that happens on social media, I have begun to despair that there will ever be such a thing as “civil” discussion again.

What abounds in our national discourse is vitriol, snarkiness, and ultimately ignorance. Opposite sides of whatever argument is the argument du jour vilify and dehumanize those who do not agree with their position. No one seems to have the ability to critically think about another person’s view nor empathize and try to understand why that person believes as they do. Even further, no one can conceive that their pet position might be wrong.

Stirring the intellectual pot for me is the fact that God has been speaking to me a great deal about discipleship and following Jesus lately. You see, I am coming to believe more and more that our greatest need is to sit with the Savior, to listen to his voice, to be drawn deeper into his character.

Yet, many of those who consider themselves “followers” are the guiltiest of the most dehumanizing dialog. It is often those who claim to be disciples who are purveyors of the angriest retorts, who refer to others as “idiots” or worse. I can’t help but lament the damage they do to their witness and to the witness of the Savior.

As I have been living with the gospels for the last number of months, I have witnessed NONE of that behavior from Jesus. Jesus valued the people he encountered. Jesus dialogued with people of vastly different beliefs. Jesus touched people who were “untouchable” in the eyes of his culture. In Jesus, we see the embodied eternal love of God for EVERYONE regardless of faith, of race, of economic status, or political belief. Jesus is the incarnation of God’s Holy Love for all.

You see, if we truly believe that human beings are created in the image of God, unique expressions of God’s creative love, each person is worthy of our love and worthy of all the dignity we can afford them. If we would truly be followers of Jesus, we must treat others as Jesus himself would treat them. (Kind of sounds like the Golden Rule, doesn’t it)

My prayer today is that these ramblings would create the space for the Holy Spirit to do a refining work in you, especially in the area of how we relate to others…even those who disagree with us.

Anyway, that is my meanderings today…

Discipleship, Followership and the Christian Walk

Jesus’s simple invitation was “Follow me…”

Recently, I shared my annual vision message with my congregation. Vision preaching is a discipline I feel challenged to practice and to do well. I pray about what God is leading me to share and then how to strategize how to make the vision become a reality. I look for ways to communicate the vision in a continual way so that we never lose sight of where God is leading us, as a community of faith.

Over the past few months, really over the past number of years, God has been speaking to me about discipleship. I have come to believe that genuine discipleship, followership, is lacking, if not missing, in many congregations these days. We gather together to “worship” (I wonder if what we have come to call worship really is, but that is another blog post), to fellowship and then we return home and to our worlds not really different than when we entered.

The disciples left their previous lives behind, fascinated and captivated by the person of Jesus Christ, and joined him in a personal journey on the earth. They had close conversations, they laughed and broke bread, they watched Jesus engage people in ministry, they heard Jesus teach. The disciples were changed by the relationship they had with Jesus. The relationship was close, personal, and transformative.

It occurs to me, in our rush to have people “make a decision” for Jesus Christ, we never introduce them to the Savior. We never enter into that personal relationship with Jesus that God so desperately wants for us. Perhaps we ourselves have never personally met Jesus, we don’t hear Jesus’s voice speaking to us. We don’t see Jesus working in a personal way in our lives. We know ABOUT Jesus, but we don’t really KNOW Jesus.

Jesus disciples SAW Jesus in a personal way, and they followed Jesus.

I encourage you today to reflect on the nature of your relationship with Jesus. Do you know ABOUT Jesus…or do you KNOW Jesus? Do you occasionally see hints of Jesus as you serendipitously cross paths, or are you following in Jesus’s footsteps? Is Jesus rubbing off on you? Is the voice of Jesus (known as the Holy Spirit) speaking LIFE to you?

My prayer is that we would become followers of Jesus…not just fans of Jesus.

Anyway, that is my meanderings today…

Abandoned

Abandoned Church on the Prairie in South Dakota

Last night, I taught the regular weekly bible study at the parish where I am the lead pastor/teacher. For nearly three months we have been studying the book of Revelation. We are going deeper than many will and trying to come to grips with the message of this often misunderstood and misapplied book of the Bible.

This week, we studies the fifth message to the seven churches of Asia Minor, to the Church at Sardis. Candidly, this message haunts me, as a pastor, every time I read it.

The message to Sardis is blunt, and to the point, you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Your works are incomplete. The implication is that the church in an affluent community grew inattentive and prideful. Their “churchy” works were well known. The Sardian Christians grew soft and slowly stopped confronting society with the mission and the message of the gospel. The Sardian Church became a church in name only. Having accommodated to the culture in which they lived, they relied on their name, rather than growing in the work of the Gospel.

That message brings me to the image I am sharing with you. I ran across this building while on my sabbatical in 2016. The site of it caused me to pull off the road and think about what I was seeing. As you can see, the building is in disrepair. The windows and doors are gone. The pews have been removed. The sacraments are no longer served. Hymns are not sung. Homilies are not delivered. Prayers are not prayed. The church, the living breathing Body of Christ which at one time celebrated here, has died.

I desperately wanted to go inside…but the property was fenced off…with barbed-wire fencing. So I did not enter.

This image has become deeply unsettling to me, in light of Revelation 3. So many churches, and by extension, the members who comprise them have become exemplars of what Jesus is saying to the church at Sardis. Too many are no longer concerned with living the gospel in a hostile society. So many rely on programs, on children’s ministries, of choirs, of bands, of bible studies as the evidence of spiritual life. The reality is that none of these things are, in and of themselves, real evidence of the life of Christ at work in the church.

Life, true life, comes through a personal walk with Jesus Christ. Daily hearing Jesus’s voice, focusing on the message of the gospel we have received and heard. Practically living the mission of the gospel fills us with the life of Jesus Christ. As we remember, as we teach, as we live that which we have heard and received, we become the incarnation of Jesus Christ in a world desperately in need of him…and we truly live.

My prayer is a pastor is that it is never said of a church I lead, “They look alive, but they are really dead!” It is my prayer for each who reads this that we would live in the life of Jesus Christ…and realize our potential in Him through the work of the Holy Spirit…

Anyway, that is my meanderings for today…

An Immigrant Family and the Modern Christmas

There was no room in the inn

We are moving inexorably to our celebration of Christmas. Those of you that know me, who have been listening to me preach lately know that I have been critical of the modern celebration of Christmas. It seems to me that even the church has been drifting away from the real meaning of this celebration. We lose the story of salvation in the crush of lights, of programs, of hurry, and of bustle.

Lately, I have been thinking about that first nativity. You know, the story of the young immigrant couple, the wife great with child, searching fruitlessly around Bethlehem for someone with enough hospitality to put them up for the night. From each door upon which they knock, they hear, there is no room.

The result was that Mary and Joseph sought shelter and comfort in a stable where the Savior of the world was born.

We demonize the innkeeper. We look down our noses at the hostel owners who already had full beds, who were crushed with the demands of caring for a house full of guests when I am not convinced they are any different than us. After all, they had extended hospitality to so many that they were overtaxed, they were harried and haggard, their reserve of energy gone. They were simply caught up in the crush of activity in the town that day.

In our frenetic pace to celebrate the holiday well, whatever that may look like for us, we fill every hour with baking, buying, decorating, and partying. We have dishes to clean and preparations to make. We have sheets to wash and floors to mop. Who has time?? And once more, we look past the immigrant family, the natal star, and the Savior who has entered into the world to bring us salvation. We completely miss the Prince of Peace.

Perhaps it is already too late for this Christmas, but, perhaps, we need to slow down and simplify what it means to celebrate Christmas. Maybe we need to look for the faces of the immigrant family with their new baby in the midst of us. Maybe we can, and should, say no to the crush of the holidays and make room for the Peace that has come into the world to bring us rest, salvation, hope…and peace.

Let there be peace on earth.

Anyway, that is my meanderings…

Social Media, Zacchaeus, and a Pastor’s Grief

I have been listening to a podcast and an audio book this week that are gnawing at my brain. The podcast is called the Western Huntsman (no surprise to those who know me) and the audio book is A Burning in My Bones, a biography of one of my spiritual mentors, Eugene Peterson.

Each of them has sparked some thinking and ruminations in my mind, and stirred a grief in my soul.

The podcast was speaking of the division in the hunting community that occurs on social media and among our rank and file over literally everything. We debate over the type of boots we wear, the ammunition we use, the firearms and the bows we choose denigrating those who do not think like us. The same sentiment was weaving its way through the tail end of Peterson’s biography as he resisted the move within Evangelicalism to attack and to war against anything that didn’t look like us. (My summary).

There is so much in the world that divides. There are so many opportunities to attack nameless, faceless dragons whose philosophy is deadly to the soul, to conservation, to my tribe, to my way of life. (*tounge firmly planted in cheek*) It is so easy to type wildly and madly into our phones or on our computers vilifying those who don’t think like us, look like us, talk like us, dress like us, use the products we use…all without consequence. Topping it off, when we hit “send” we are awash in a superior sense of self-righteousness knowing I did my part to fend off evil. (*dripping with sarcasm*)

The animosity, the vitriol, the anger grieves my heart. Watching Christians (and sports people) devour one another with malice, anger, and bitterness deeply saddens me.

For the last week or so, I have been thinking about Jesus and Zacchaeus.

Zaccheus – Devoted To You
Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he! He climbed up in a sycamore tree…

You see, Jesus was passing by and Zacchaeus, being aerially challenged, needed a better vantage point to see the Lord. So, Zacchaeus climbed up in a sycamore tree to see better.

Now understand, Zacchaeus represented EVERYTHING that was wrong with humanity. He was a tax-collector for the Romans. No one was lower in ordinary folk’s estimation than one of their own who would turn on them, collect taxes for the oppressor, and be sure to line his own pockets in the process. For most, Zacchaeus was beneath contempt, notice, or esteem.

Yet, Jesus stopped under the sycamore tree and invited Zacchaeus to come down, to go to Zacchaeus’s house to share a meal. Jesus entered the life of an untouchable. Jesus welcomed him. Jesus talked with Zacchaeus. Jesus broke bread with Zacchaeus. Jesus HEARD Zacchaeus. Jesus, while espousing NONE of Zacchaeus’s values had compassion and moved into Zacchaeus’s world. Jesus offered love, friendship, conversation, and he treated Zacchaeus with dignity.

And Zacchaeus world was turned upside down.

We have lost the ability, in our churches, pews, homes, and world to see the other… we refuse to enter their world and try to understand where they are coming from, to see their view point. We rally around our flags, trumpet our rhetoric and decry the downfall of our civilization as we know it. With our actions we communicate, “If you don’t think like I do, you can go to hell!” And we wrap ourselves in self-righteous glory in doing so.

It makes me sad.

We look less and less like our master everyday.

I wonder how things might change if we intentionally, compassionately, put down our phones and computers and entered into the life of another. If we genuinely and openly engaged someone in conversation who doesn’t hold our values. I wonder what might be different if we treated everyone we encounter with dignity, respect, and dare I say it, love.

I pray that we can recover civility. I pray that we can embrace the value of others. For God’s sake…

Anyway, that is my saddened ramblings this week…

Pocket Knives, Shots, and Grief

A Case Easter Commemorative Knife Given me by a Dear Friend, David Sapp

Today, I am carrying a very special pocket knife. The knife is a Case Easter Commemorative from five or six years ago. The knife was given to me on Easter Sunday the year it was issued by a very special friend and hunting buddy, David (Sappy) Sapp. Dave and I enjoyed many hours together in the woods hunting, talking, sharing, celebrating God’s creation. We dragged out and processed many deer together. We shared a love of racing and God’s great outdoors. I ministered to Dave when his grandson passed from this life years ago.

This pocket knife has been one of the “Sunday carry” knifes I rotate through each week.

The reason I am carrying it today, a weekday, and carried it yesterday was Dave passed away Monday morning, from Covid-19.

I am carrying this knife both in honor of my friend, and as a way to cope with the sadness and the grief that fills my heart this morning. I find I have a deep, overwhelming sadness as I hear of each new passing. Dave, while being the closest friend I have that has passed from Covid, is one of perhaps a dozen friends, and too many dear friends have CONTRACTED Covid-19.

It is also not lost on me that on Monday morning, I got my annual flu vaccine. I also updated my DPT vaccine. A couple of years ago, I received the two-shot shingles vaccine. When I was a baby, I received a polio vaccine, the small-pox vaccine, the measles vaccine, and the whooping cough vaccine. I don’t know what was in those vaccines either. I do know I haven’t contracted the measles. I haven’t suffered with polio. I haven’t been infected with the shingles, small pox, or whooping cough.

Understand, I have been accused of not being political enough. My counter is that my politic is one of the the Kingdom of God. My politic is informed by the calling to live incarnationally in this world, embodying the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone God gives me the opportunity. As such, I believe out calling is to live our life in love for the good of others. (I will be preaching on this passage on the Sunday before Veteran’s Day.) What I am about to say is driven out of love, out of concern for people I love, and for the congregation I serve, and grief at having lost entirely too many people I love.

Please, for the good of those around you, for the good of the world, and for your own good…get vaccinated against Covid-19. The grief you save may be your own family’s.

Anyway, that is my ponderings for this morning…

Reimagining Success: Redefining Congregational Success in a Mega-Mall World

Reprinted from Grace and Peace Magazine (Issue 11, Winter 2015)

Rev. Art Roxby, Pastor of Christ Center Wesleyan Church, author

Created: 08 January 2015

Women Who Proved That Failure is the Path to Success - The Dawoodi Bohras
The difference between failure and success is often blurred in the church.

For months I felt like I had been pounding my head against a brick wall. I was doing everything I had ever been taught to do in order to see my church grow. For fifteen years, I had seen the churches I served grow both in worship attendance and in membership. Decline was something I had never experienced in one year, let alone successive years. Each new district assembly served to highlight the decline. Other churches grew. Why not mine?

I read the most current literature. I engaged in conversations with colleagues. I imagined the church growing and thriving, climbing to the next size structure. We should be averaging 150 in worship. We should be building a new family ministry center. We should be the new hot and amazing church in the area—yet, we were not.

We were declining. Finances were tight. There was no new building. The realities of my vocational success were insignificant. A cloud of depression hung over me. Slowly, without the notice of others, I surrendered to feelings of hopelessness. Everything my colleagues were, I was not. I was not a successful pastor. I did not serve a successful church. I was a failure. Each district assembly reinforced my failure as a pastor-leader.

During the throes of my faith crisis, I read and studied about how small churches recovered from being stalled or in decline. Over time, an epiphany occurred. It was not a burning bush, but it was clear. I had unwittingly surrendered to a faulty measure of success defined by American consumerism: Success equaled more. The goals set for ministry, and ultimately the yardstick against which I measured my perceptions of success, had more to do with the numbers that we throw around at clergy meetings (noses in worship, dollars in the plate, and the size and additions to our buildings) than what appeared to be most significant in the body of Christ. Perhaps I was encouraging my congregation to pursue the next size barrier more than I was inviting them to be formed in Christ. Perhaps I remained too focused on the positive feelings I experienced when others recognized me for the growth of my church, rather than for the spiritual presence of Christ we experienced as we gathered for worship. It took the crucible of several years of decline for me to realize success in the kingdom is measured differently than success at the corner of Wall Street and Main Street.

Other churches grew. Why not mine? -Art Roxby

Grappling with this new insight, I reflected on the ministry of my declining church over the previous years. At one point, I realized that many of the teens who left the community to go to college had not left the church of Jesus Christ. They had merely changed locations of worship and were ministering to the world. The church had nurtured and formed several who were actively engaged in vocational ministry. Members were still being called to ministry. Although numbers were declining (as was the population of the community around them), the church was making a difference in the world. That is when God spoke to me about the ultimate measure of success in ministry and in his kingdom: faithfulness.

This began a journey. I searched the Scriptures, seeking to understand how the early church assessed participation in God’s mission. Early Christians understood themselves as successful when they lived out God’s calling in their lives—individually and corporately. Success came from new believers finding faith in Jesus Christ, of widows being cared for, and disciples finding maturity in their faith. Interestingly, I discovered that, in the book of Acts, the only mention of numbers is in relation to the activity of the Holy Spirit moving upon people who knew the power of the resurrected Christ and were baptized. The use of quantifiable numbers never referred to the number of people who attended worship services. Faithfulness was measured in terms of the mission that God had given to his church—to be living witnesses and to make disciples.

Faithfulness is Making Disciples

It is far too easy to forget that Jesus did not call us to build a big church or to create slick new ministries. Jesus did not call us to be the popular church or the most-loved leaders. Jesus called us to make disciples. He called us, both as leaders and as churches, to pour our lives into people. We are called to create sacred space where people find Christ, and where the nominal believer comes closer to Christ. God uses us to create the environment in which believers can grow and mature in their faith and become the witnesses that we are all called to be.

Faithfulness is Responding to the Brokenness of the World

In the early days of the Church of the Nazarene, local churches had compassionate ministries that sought to alleviate the hunger, suffering, and pain of people in the communities where they lived. Worship spaces were designed so that everyone might experience a sense of welcoming and belonging in the worship space. Nazarenes located themselves in the neighborhoods overlooked by many, or defined as poor or dangerous. After World War II, perhaps as the church grew in social stature, it sometimes moved to the suburbs. In doing so, the church may have misread the compass giving direction to participation in the missio dei.

The image of the early church in the book of Acts finds a people holding their possessions so loosely that they could sell what they had to care for the needs of the poor and the underprivileged. The early Christians laid hands on the sick, the unclean, the broken, and the blind. Through their faith and prayers, all manners of illnesses and even death were healed. This is faithful participation in the missio dei. As followers of Jesus Christ, we too are called to respond to the broken, the hurting, the lonely, and the infirmed in our world today.

Faithfulness in Prayer

The early Christians were people of prayer. They spent significant time in intense, corporate prayer meetings. Jesus repeatedly stole away from the crowd to spend time with God in prayer. The miraculous outpourings of the Holy Spirit came in response to the humbled, gathered church bowing before God in prayer. Prayer was the central factor in the power of the early church.

As a fire exists by burning, so the Church exists by mission.

Far too few Christians and churches today spend significant time in corporate prayer. We have long prayer lists for many things, but all too often we are not given to the discipline of joining together corporately in both large and small groups to pray for the renewal of our churches, for salvation of the lost, and for disciples to grow in grace, knowledge, and the power of the Spirit of God. The result is a weak and lukewarm group of nominal believers who make little difference. If we are to realize our unique calling as the body of Christ, we must return to faithful, ongoing prayer.

Faithfulness in Mission

Much has been made lately of the centrality of mission. Theologian Emil Brunner once said, “As a fire exists by burning, so the Church exists by mission.” We are charged to carry out the message and hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our local communities and in the world as a whole. Success may only be measured in terms of our faithfulness to that mission.

The realization that faithfulness to our real calling is the true measurement of success was both liberating to me and sobering. It would be easier for me to create a program that people found pleasing and exciting, to which they would want to invite their friends. Living in the story of Christ and leading my congregation to move into that story is in some ways more difficult. However, the understanding that my pastoral “success” and the church’s “success” are really only measured by God released me from the tyranny of living for nickels and noses and challenged me to pursue the only goal worth pursuing, making a difference in the world for the cause of Jesus Christ. It may be time to remember that we live the economy of the kingdom—not the economy of Wall Street and Main Street.

My prayer is that you too might find liberation in the calling of Jesus Christ.

Coffee, rest, and sabbath

Anyone who knows me knows that I like coffee. Well, to be perfectly honest, I like GOOD coffee. I tend to enjoy bold, dark roasts that are done with premium beans from ethically sourced producers. I drink my coffee black and enjoy the deep rich notes of the roast.

Please understand, the way I like to enjoy my coffee the most is sitting in my lounger watching the sun come up in the mountains somewhere…or alongside a cool mountain trout stream. I really savor drinking in the mountain views while drinking the coffee whose beans I just ground to release their goodness. The stillness and the warmth of the coffee still my mind and renew the inner parts of my soul.

My idea of a perfect morning!

The ability to drink coffee in an unhurried manner, in a pastoral kind of setting is a mini-sabbath for me. My morning coffee is a renewing time for me. That unhurried time is a time for me to focus on the inner state of my being. In the stillness of the moment, I am able to tune into the voice of God and know the leading and directing more fully. Those times when I can drink in the sounds of nature, the aroma of my coffee mingled with a mountain stream clear my head and remind me of the priority of stillness and sabbath for a disciple.

As followers, we must create those sabbath-keeping rituals when God can renew our spirits, can speak into our souls, can lead us deeper into our understanding of the Kingdom and God’s word. Sabbath keeping is not only important to our souls, it is VITAL. The hurried soul quickly loses connection with God and God’s voice in our life. The hectic pace we keep pushes God aside, unsettles our spirit and disorients the peace that God would give.

If there is one piece of advice I could give disciples of Jesus, it is keep Sabbath. Find those times when you can be still and quiet in the presence of God. Create those holy moments of sacred space where you can clearly hear the voice of God and know the renewing work of God’s Holy Spirit. Coffee in the mountains might not be your thing, but create space for God to remind you that you are a beloved child of God. Make time for that renewing, reorienting, experience with God.

Anyway, that’s my meanderings for today!

Live Present

The True Meaning of Living in the Present Moment

During the past week, several things have come together to have me thinking about some deeper things of life. I have spent most of the last week alone…Allyson has been in the east, visiting our daughters and their families. Last Sunday I preached on the book of Revelation…”The End is Near!” On top of that, in my community and in my state there have been two horriffic and unexpected tragedies. 

All of those circumstances have intersected to have me thinking about the life have been given and how we live that life each day.

You see, I am a firm believer that each of our lives is a gift from God. We are created in God’s image and a reflection of God’s creative grace. What we do with these lives God gives us is an act of worship and thanksgiving that we return to him. However, the event of the past week have reminded me of how transient and brief these lives often are. We have no guarantee of our next breath, let alone next week, next month, or next year. 

Now, I am not meaning to sound or become maudlin or gloomy. You see the awareness of the transience of our earthly existence should motivate us to live life differently. To treasure the experiences wee have in this life. If we lived as if this moment was the only ting of which we are guaranteed, the moment and the people in it become a treasure and a gift of God’s grace. If we really were not sure that we would be here tomorrow, so many things that we take for granted, we would no longer take for granted; and some things that, in the moment we deem of ultimate importance, suddenly seem insignificant. 

I wonder how differently we would live our lives if we made a commitment to live present in each moment, to cherish each interpersonal encounter as something of eternal significance, and each person someone of inestimable value. I wonder what things we might decide NOT to do or say and what kinds of things we might joyfully embrace and cherish.

I invite you to make a commitment today to live mindfully and be totally present in each experience, in every conversation and each moment. After all, this breath, this moment, this day is a gift from the creator savior God who lives in each moment with us. 

Anyway, that is just my meanderings today.