Friday, May 19, 2017

SWEET DREAMS, BELOVED

SWEET DREAMS, BELOVED.

As ever, angels guard your rest and the rest of all those you love.  No matter what is going on with you, with those you love, or with anyone in the whole world, the Lord knows, and the Lord is sovereign.  The choice we have is either to join Him or to reject Him.  If you have never reached out for the Hand He is extending to you, please do so now.  He is yearning for you and wants to show you how much He loves you.  

Before you came to be incarnate, your spirit was part of His Spirit in the Fullness of Love.  You came to this life on Earth because He desired you to live here and to be loved by Him and to share His love with everyone you meet.  He created you for His sake -- to love you and to bless you.  

During your life on Earth, you are given opportunities to grow and to become who you were created to be.  Your spirit and who you are physically have a pact together to raise up your soul to know God so that you can live forever in His love as a complete human being.  

Your soul only exists because you came into being when your spirit became one with who you are physically.  Your soul is eternal and you were given free will to live your life completely as you desire to live.  

When you choose to seek God and to answer God's call to join Him and His only begotten Son, Jesus, God's Holy Spirit reveals just Who God is. You ten come to know just who you are to God, His beloved child.  From the time you agree consciously to be in relationship with God Who Is Love, you move from existence into a bright shining glorious vibrant life, and you can never go back to mere existence.

As ever, my prayer for you is that you will indeed answer God's loving call to you.  If you have already done that, I pray that you will continue to get to know Him better.

The Lord has good plans for you. During your whole life, the way you become fully who you were created to be comes from a dynamic partnership between you and the Creator of the Universe. As I have written before, God Who is Love created you to love you and to bless you.  The more you come to know this, the more the whole universe will open up to you and the more blessed to be a blessing you will be.

Won't you please give God in Jesus Christ the chance to show you just what that means for you? In the unique way that He will have for you and you alone, as if you were the only human being He ever created, God will bless you and care for you.

I hope you will reach out to Him in response to His call.

May the Lord continue to bless and keep you and all those you love, now and always, all ways and forever -- Kathy <3 div="">



Thursday, May 18, 2017

THE FAMILY OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS

For years when I worshipped at Foundry UMC in Washington, D.C., very often the first person I saw and spoke with when I entered the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning was my friend Robert. He was always a peaceful, joy-filled and quiet presence and was always a blessing to me.

I thank God for him and for other dear friends who are truly brothers and sisters in Christ. As I slowly made my way through the ordination process that the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference laid out and that the larger authority of the United Methodist Church engendered changes that made the process longer and more difficult for me and for many others, friends like Robert who were spiritual siblings reflected the love and companionship that seemed exactly as I imaginedJesus and His disciples and dear friends who were like family to Him had.

The Lord is so amazing and He never leaves out anything that we need. He never wastes anything or anyone, either. If something seems to be going wrong and when we feel discouraged and are afraid that nothing will ever be all the way right again, we just have to remind ourselves that even in the most disastrous moment when Jesus body was taken down from the Cross and laid in the tomb; even when the rock covered was rolled over the opening of the tomb and sealed by the Roman soldiers as representatives from the Sanhedrin looked on; even when everyone who loved Him was full of grief and hopelessness; even though there was Good Friday and Saturday . . . Sunday was coming.

Jesus suffered and died, yes. But He triumphed over slavery to sin and death and forever more we can trust the One who came back to life and promised that we will, too. We will because Jesus has given the gift of faith to us, and we have only to receive that gift and trust Him indeed to bring us to the place where He has gone. And meanwhile, Jesus is faithful to have sent us the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter; the Paraclete -- meaning the One who comes alongside us.

And Jesus has promised that He and the Father are One. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He has promised that our Father in Heaven is faithful and loves us with an everlasting Love.

All we have to do is to open our hearts even a little bit and allow the Fullness of Love to come in and to answer all our questions, assuage all our doubts, give us beauty for ashes and hope when things seem to be hopeless.

The Lord is eagerly waiting for you to answer His call and open the door to your heart.

If you haven't already done that, please do right now.

If you HAVE already invited the Father and the Son to dwell in your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, I have some secret good news for you. There is always a deeper level of faith, a closer walk, access to more rooms in the "interior castle" as St Teresa of Avila was led by the Lord to describe the spiritual structures that the Lord reveals to us through prayer. [https://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/CASTLE.TXT]

Another facet of this loving relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is described by the mystic monk, Thomas Merton in His "Seven Storeyed Mountain." [http://merton.org/ITMS/Seasonal/15/15-1Maltis.pdf]

As ever, my prayer for you, Beloved is that you will give the Lord a chance to answer your questions; to show you how much He loves you; to manifest the good; wonderful plans He has for you; to let God love you as He desires with all His hear to show you.

Meanwhile and forever, may the Lord continue to bless and keep you and all those you love.

In His Grace, Joy, Mercy, Peace and Love -- Kathy

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

THE GIFTS OF DEVOTIONALS AND BIBLE STUDIES

I can so clearly remember seeing my mother reading her Bible and The Upper Room and other devotional books and watching her pray. And when I was a teenager, she told me she also saw her mother doing her daily devotionals, too, As a young wife and mother -- and then as an Air Force officer . . . and in other jobs until and beyond the time I answered the call to ministry I had first experienced as a six year old child, The Upper Room and various study Bibles were the doorways that opened up the spiritual reality in which the Holy Spirit revealed God the Father and sweet Jesus, His only begotten Son to me. So when I read the devotional below, it touched my heart.

That was also enhanced by the descriptions by the writer whose heritage is Armenian. One of the neighbor mothers in our lives was an Armenian woman named Mary who was born and raised in the Armenian Quarter of Old Jerusalem. She was our piano teacher and the mother of our last baby sitter before our brother got old wnough to watch us. She wnd I have been blessed to stay in touch as adults and she has always been a wonderful encourager and me tor as well as friend and big sister. We both miss each other's moms , who loved each one of us, both of them.

SEEDS OF FAITH -- The Upper Room Devotional

'Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.'

"And he laid his hands on them and went on his way. [Matthew 19:13-15 (NRSV)]

* * * * 

"Train the children in the way they should grow.  When they are old they will not depart from it."

* * * * 

My parents were of Armenian heritage. My mother’s name was Zabel, or Isabel. I give thanks to God for my parents and their legacy of family prayer.
I remember with fondness each night when my mother would place a worn carpet on the floor. She, my father, my three siblings, and I would sit in a circle as my mother read a daily devotional. Then she would open her Bible and read the scripture in her language. We all listened attentively. We would offer our reflections, and then my mother would ask us to join in a prayer.
Today I begin each day reading a portion of scripture along with the daily devotional from El Aposento Alto, the Spanish-language edition of The Upper Room. The meditations and life experiences of our brothers and sisters around the world enrich my life. I treasure the seeds of faith my mother planted in us — the discipline of devotional reflection, Bible reading, and prayer. Her great faith continues to inspire me and keeps me centered on God’s will for my life.
The Author -- 

Rebeca Boyadjian Fahmazian (Uruguay)

Thought for the Day --
How might I plant the seed of faith in others?

Prayer --

Creator God, thank you for the teachings and guidance of those whose faith has created the foundation of our own spiritual formation. Amen.




Tuesday, May 16, 2017

IF SOMETHING IS NOT LOVING, IT IS NOT FROM GOD

IF SOMETHING IS NOT LOVING, IT IS NOT FROM GOD

There is a lot of conflict and a great deal of misunderstanding regarding the verses in the Bible about people loving one another as opposed to people using and abusing one another.

Here are some important points:

1. God is love.

2. God loves each and every human being, each and every creature and all of creation.

3. God has called all human beings and all of creation good.

4. God hates cruelty, killing, infidelity and anything that makes life difficult. God does not hate the people who act in cruel and evil ways. God hates the feeling and activities that lead to cruelty, neglect, abandonment, infidelity and everything that keeps people and creatures from living peaceful lives in the fullness of love.

5. The problem with what people did in Sodom and Gomorrah was not that people loved and cared for one another -- it was that those who transgressed cruelly used and abused people.

6. The only time that Jesus mentions what we call "homosexuality" was when he spoke of eunuchs -- that some were born eunuchs and some became eunuchs.

7. God has a problem with the way people act when they judge and condemn others. Judging and condemning are as much a sin as any other transgression that hurts people.

8. Over and over God proclaims God's love and good intentions for each and every person who has ever lived, who is living now, and who will ever live.

9. When people get it into their heads to decide who should or should not belong in God's Kingdom, they are trying to do something WAY beyond their pay grade.

10. Every sin has already been forgiven -- past, present and future. God God's Self came to be incarnate in a human woman's body, experience every part of life from the time of conception, lived, taught, healed, cast out demons, restored people to life. God as a human being suffered for us, died for us, defeated slavery to sin and death; and rose from the grave fully alive and completely human.

There is no other way for human beings to be restored to the loving relationship and blessings that the first human beings had with their Creator.

God loves and blesses all who love and all that is love comes from God.
To reject and persecute people because they love people of the same gender is sick and evil.
The more love and faithfulness there is, the more God likes it.

God HATES when anyone is hurt, abandoned, killed, rejected, sick, crippled, mentally ill, starving, a refugee, and in sorrow. God desires that each and every person andd each and every family will live out her or His or their live(s) in love as described by the Hebrew word "shalom". This means more than just peace and tranquility.

"Shalom" is active, not passive. When people or a person have a roof over their/her/his head; clean water to drink; food to eat and to share; live in safety; enjoy people in relationship as blood relatives and in a spiritual family as neighbors' are not ill; are not disabled; are not destitute; and are free to live and practice the spirituality of their culture' educate their children; and able to choose to pursue what makes her/him/them happy while not taking any of these rights and freedoms from any other individual, family, ethnic group, or society--this is the fullness of dynamic shalom wholeness.

THIS SHALOM is the complete, abundant, dynamic, enriching and enriched life that God in Jesus promises and that already exists in Heaven and in Earth.

THIS SHALOM wholeness, the fullness of peace, joy, mercy, love righteousness, faithfulness and assurance of blessed relationship IS the reign of Heaven or Kingdom of Heaven.

THIS SHALOM Is guaranteed to each and every human being who has lived, is living and will live one Earth. Salvation IS this Shalom. We can continue to dwell in God's love for all eternity, but we must choose to receive this Shalom wholeness and fullness of love while we still dwell on Earth.

(Nevertheless, anything we might think of as conditions does not restrict God Who Is Love from drawing any and all persons to God's Self.)

Glory to God!

God wants each individual to experience love, mercy, stability, provision, loving family life and all the loving relationships that each person can have individually and in families, and in all sorts of loving, nurturing communities.

No person or group of people in any organization or institution should ever ever ever lift up as representing God and God's love that any indidvual and/or group of individuals is not loved by God Who Is Love. This is especially true for those organizations and congregation who have people in them who call themselves by Jesus' Name and title.

But please make no mistake, we put up walls between ourselves and God when we hurt others. It grieves God's heart and God weeps for us and for the people we hurt.

God is always hoping we will return and seek God's face JUST FOR GOD'S OWN SAKE.

God in Jesus Christ is the only true living God--the only Creator, the only Redeemer, the only Sustainer--and this has been true from the beginning of Creation and will be true until there is nothing left but God.

If you do not know God and understand how much you are loved, please take a moment just to ask God to show you. The Holy Spirit will answer your questions and help you know the love that exists, redeems and sustains you no matter what has happened to you in your life, and no matter how people have or a person has hurt you. No matter how you have been hurt.
God is gentle and kind, and full of mercy that goes beyond righteousness.

God has revealed God's Self to all human beings through creation itself, in books, narrations, movies, radio sermons, Bible studies and even just by the way people lovingly treat one another.

Each ethnic group, each family, and each individual has a story about how the Divine has made the Creator known to each one. The "canon"of the Bible should never have been closed because God is still writing the truth of each person's life; of each culture's life and history; of each institution's and club's and nation's existence and relationshipwith the Divine.
You cannot expect a Pacific Islander to know the One True God in the same way the peoples of the Arctic do; or as the river dwellers in Africa do; or as the mountain dwellers in South America do; or as the people of the plains in Asia or in the Americas do.

As individuals and as people of a particular culture have a unique history and culture and spirituality, so do each of them have a special and unique way of being in relationship with God.

When Jesus says, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through me," He means that He is in the Father and the Father is within Him. They are inseparable, but at the same time unique. This is a mystery, but God can actively help you know why and how it is true.

When a person doesn't know God, or a group of people doesn't know God the Divine Creator as Jesus, that is just an indication that a very special knowledge and relationship is waiting for that person or that group of people.
God will not ever force anyone to believe in God and there is no one who should tell you that you should believe in God.

You are completely, absolutely, eternally and unconditionally loved. The choice is always yours whether you will agree to a relationship with God or not.
You can refuse all your life, but God will still bless you. God will continue to love you.

If you turn your back on God and on love from people who know God, you will miss out on a lot.
But the One who will be even more hurt will be God, because God yearns for you to turn to God. God wants to bless you and enjoy being with you; provide for you and help you allow God to draw you to God's heart.
Please give God a chance.

Meanwhile, I will keep praying for you and yours, Beloved.
May the Lord of Life and Light and Love and Truth continue to bless and keep you and yours, today and always; all ways and forever.

Alleluia! Amen and amen.

Friday, May 12, 2017

DURING THE RUSSIA INITIATIVE CONSULTATION IN 1998 . . .

People would come up to me and say, "Oh! YOU'RE the one."

And I would answer, "What one?!??"

Then she or he would say, "One of the ones that Bishop May keeps talking about all over the world."

"Huh?"

"He says that a woman who had been translating American military documents into Russian for the Soviet Government, and a woman who had been a specialist in Soviet Military Affairs in the US Air Force were sitting together planning to reach out to former Soviet immigrants in America for Jesus."

And so the following summer,  I found myself walking down an aisle in an almost empty conference room in Washington DC during a break in the Baltimore Washington Annual Conference get-together. 

He asked me, "You don't mind when I talk about you and the woman from Moscow working for the GBGM, do you?"

I rolled my eyes and replied, "Well,  since you seem to be implying that I was doing something totally different by working  for the US government, and  then working for the Lord, I do mind. I was always doing what I felt called to do, both when I was in military service, and in ministry. At the same time,  I think we are giving her the benefit of the doubt in many ways, because she was a loyal citizen of a government that taught all its citizens for nearly seventy years that God did not exist and that the Church of God in Jesus Christ was evil.  She may have been a big conversion, and maybe not!" 

 The bishop seemed rather irritated with me and dropped the conversation. 

In the spring I had had a recurring dream where a Russian man was talking to me something like the way a man from Macedonia talked to St. Paul in a dream as St Luke related in the Holy Scriptures Book of Acts. Whenever I seem to be doing something or dreaming about something that has to do with an apostle or a prophet or someone like that, the Lord makes me quite worried.

So I felt forewarned.  

My best friend from Wesley Theological Seminary (WTS) lived in an apartment on the campus next-door to me with her three kids.  The address of WTS is: 4500 Massachusetts Ave, NW; Washington, D.C. 20016. My daughter lived there with me during vacations from college.  But in the summer of 1993, I was taking part in a program called "A Christian Ministry in the National Parks." I worked at the Paradise Lodge at Mt Rainier National Park in Washington State. That summer my son still had one semester of his senior year in high school.  He was living with me and still finishing high school.  So my daughter and my son stayed in our home apartment on the seminary campus while I was on the west coast of the US and riding Amtrak back and forth.  I visited friends in Iowa, Colorado and Salt Lake City going back and forth.

That was the summer when the "Hundred Year Flood" in the Missouri River/ Mississippi River/and tributaries began in mid-May.  As I took Amtrak west, on the news farmers were already saying that the flooded fields had delayed preparation of the fields and planting.  When the water had gone down enough for the trans and cars, buses and trucks to use the bridges, it was mid- August..  

That summer Krista worked two jobs and Tom worked full-time for the building cleaning and maintenance and grounds staff at WTS.without me but with my son in the summer.

But back to my next door neighbor and me.  We were staying with together in the hotel, as usual, when we had a gathering of all of our colleagues in ministry. On the second morning of the conference, my friend woke up before I did. So after I was ready to go downstairs, I was looking for her. I also had a question  to ask of somebody in the conference connection room, a kind of headquarters where those who had planned the conference were orchestrating what was going on and making sure everyone had credentials and name tags; tickets for meals and many other details.

I was waiting outside the door way to the Management Office, when one of the pastors in charge of one committee or other came rushing up to where I was standing.  He said that there was a pastor and his family from Siberia, Russia.  Their sponsors were looking for someone who spoke Russian and English. He wasn't  talking to me, but I said I spoke Russian and could help if anyone needed an escort-interpreter. 

He answered, "No, the pastor speaks English,  so we don't need any help like that."

 In the dreams that I had been having about the Russian man calling to me, he had said, "You have to help us.  The American Methodist volunteers and  Board of Global Ministry employees keep doing what they want to do, what they think we need.  They don't listen to us about what we say we need."

Subsequently I went up the escalator to the main lobby floor, still looking for my best friend and roomie. Lo and behold, I saw her speaking with a small group of people inn the main lobby of the hotel. I came up to the edge of the circle, and heard that they were talking to a Russian man, a Russian woman, and a Russian teenaged boy.

 The man spoke English in a basic way, but the woman and the boy did not speak English at all, though they all could read English somewhat. The group of people were the Russians sponsors were from a very large UMC in a rural area north of Baltimore.It happened to be the same church where my friend and roomie was serving as an associate pastor, her first charge right out of seminary. 

When I was introduced to the Russians, I spoke Russian to them, and they all looked relieved. 

The Americans asked me to come to lunch with the Russians so that I could escort interpret for them. They were joining the bishop and other pastors in the Cabinet and other positions in the hierarchy of the Annual Conference. 

I did that, and that's when the bishop found out that I speak Russian, and that I was also from his hometown of Chicago,  even though we were both at that time in the mid-90s, we were both on the Central Atlantic Coast of the US. 

We were asked by someone to introduce ourselves, one-by-one. Then, as everyone else did, I talked about my hometown and where I was serving in ministry.  The bishop gave me a baleful look when I said I was from his hometown of Chicago. He had been a civil rights advocate even back as long ago as the 50s, and he was African-American.  So, o I said quickly, "I know we were not living in the same Chicago," to which he smugly nodded in reply with something like a "Tsk, tsk," or, "That's what I'M talking' about."

 Along with the recurring dreams, I had been fussing at the Lord to be serving three rural churches in America when I had hoped to be serving in Russia or at least at the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, among other things, the sending authority for United Methodist people in mission all over the world. 

At that time in the mid to late 90s, the GBGM of the United Methodist Church was not at all open to women becoming missionaries, unless they were spouses of missionaries or promoted by the Women's Division.  The women who went overseas on behalf of the Women's Division that was the first organization of the Methodist Church in the U.S. who started to send missionaries oversea, first to the African nation of Liberia in the mid-19th Century.  Those women were ordained and called "deaconesses' and were unmarried.  They were each a kind of servant of the Lord similar to Roman Catholic or Orthodox nouns or nurses or teachers who had taken oaths of celibacy, poverty and obedience.  Anyway . . . they were a Protestant form of that type of missionary or clergy. 

 In answer to my fussing at the Lord, God both seemed to be telling me to be patient, and asking me to trust Him.

I was saying to Him that it didn't seem like He remembered why I thought He had called me to ministry. I felt like the LORD had forgotten that I had asked him to serve the Gospel in the former Soviet Union.

 Nevertheless, and somewhat miraculously, by Saturday night of the annual conference, I had all the answers to my questions. The replies God gave me were very specific and unmistakable to me. 

As I spent much of the days left with the Russians, the pastor and his wife, and their son, I translated both ways for them. Sometimes I explained what the Russians or the Americans wanted to get across to one another.  Including pastors and staff members, there were spouses and retired pastors and spouses as well as lay leaders and witnesses like reporters from media outlets -- up to about 1200 people or so helping to translate for as needed.

After the Saturday UMC bishop from the area that included Michigan and Indiana spoke.

Lots of times we become captive audiences to bishops and they like to lift up topics and stories involving their own soapbox subjects. 

That bishop from the Midwest started to talk about being in a fast food restaurant in Iowa, when a white teenager who was serving at the counter became very rude to a person who was not white.

The bishop was standing in line between the gentleman who was being subjected to a rude and cruel tirade based on his ethnic origin.  

In outraged response, the bishop said, "Just stop it!" 

 He was very angry about it and made it clear that he felt that enough was enough concerning racism. 

Next, the bishop started talking about some missionaries in Liberia where he had recently visited.  This was during the civil war in Liberia in the late 80s and early to mid-90s. He went on to speak of something that his Liberian guides near Monroeville, the capital of Liberia, told him.  They were giving a tour of the Methodist compound, where there were schools and a hospital, about a woman who was the wife of an agricultural missionary man.  They had four children, and had been helping farmers.  When their finished one season in Liberia, they had gone back to the US.  The man studied in the US to become and ordained pastor.  Several years later, the whole family returned to Liberia as a Methodist Mission family..

 During this second stint near Monroeville, the wife became ill with a problem that would have been easy to address if they were in the US.  But the powers that were made a decision not to send the wife back to the US to have the surgery she needed. 

Sadly, she died in Africa because of not being able to receive the medical care she needed. 

When she knew that she was going to pass away, she asked that her body be sent back to be buried in the U.S., but that her heart would be buried in Liberia. 

The first time I had heard that narration was on the evening before I answered my call to ministry that I had had since I was six years old. The person who told the story was the husband missionary of the woman whose heart was buried in the Methodist Mission Compoud in Liberia.

When speaking to him the next day, I found out that this bishop also, by the way, knew my mother's mother in northern Indiana.  This was eight years after I had answered my call to ministry, and the first anniversary of my ordination as deacon/pastor under the rules that had been in effect before the early 90s.

What are the odds that a stranger I had never met would tell the same narration that I had heard the night before I answered my call to ministry? 

On that first anniversary of the evening before my ordination through the bishop from the Midwest, the LORD answered the questions I had. 

God refuted all accusations I had made including that the Lord was not paying attention to me and in truth was still aware why God had called me to ministry.

By the end of the conference when I was saying goodbye to the Russians, the pastor said to me, "I really need to tell you that you MUST come help us. The people who are officials in the United Methodist Church don't understand what we want.  They keep giving us what THEY think we need. You have to come and translate for us because we can't make them understand."

I walked away from them in a daze, thanking God in amazement for all His mercy, lovingkindness, grace, love, peace righteousness and joy..

God is very faithful and awesome.  

But the LORD also can be extremely irritating and a bit too mysterious. 

🙄😎❤️🌹😊

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

PEACE

In the turmoil following the sad and heinous violence at The Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida, strong emotions are driving virulent tirades and there are all sorts of political and religious battle lines being drawn. Hopefully we can stop the oppositional activity, the accusations, the labeling and the name calling. 

Hopefully we can focus on what we have in common and the ideals that engender love, peace, honor and respect. 

Is that really so difficult? If so, why is it?

We are a nation with a diverse population. We have people from nearly every culture in the world. If any group of people can tap those who understand and can explain how folks of different backgrounds and belief systems think about life, we should have a better chance than those of many other cultures.

There is no reason the demonize any person or culture. There is no reason to use violence and the threat of violence to control and oppress. We can make that all unacceptable without resorting to the use of force.

The main focus could be, "Would I want this to happen to me or to a member of my family?" 

We could join together to find peaceful ways to prevent the violence, oppression and subjugation. 

We say we stand for liberty, freedom and opportunities for everyone, but there are always forces that rise up against that and we must always be vigilant and work against those who seek out or succumb to those negative forces.

Peace is not just the absence of violence or battle or way.  True peace means nothing missing, no sickness, no hunger, no homelessness, no one imprisoned or oppressed.

True peace is described in Isaiah 61 in the description of the Jubilee that Jesus came to read in Nazareth, the town in which He grew up.  He came there and attended the synagogue deliberately on the day that passage was to be read according to the annual series set out according to the holy days and pertinent readings.

This was not a coincidence. After reading the passage from Torah, Jesus proclaimed to the people who had known him and his mother and father since they returned from exile to Egypt. They had traveled there and dwelt there in obedience to the angel who warned Jesus' earthly father, Joseph, that people in power sought Jesus' death.

So when He read the most important Messianic scripture to the people who knew him beat and had known Him the longest, He may have expected to be believed and celebrated. 

Instead, there was outrage, and they rebuked Him for speaking the truth that the centuries-old prophecy about the righteous deliverer of God's justice, reconciliation and recompense was fulfilled by Him and through Him in their presence.

Those people who had known Him since He was a child were so upset and angry that they wanted to kill Jesus by throwing Him off a cliff.

In contrast to the way Jesus was able to heal and deliver people from illness and evil in many other cities, towns and villages, in Nazareth only a few people benefitted from His ministry. Because of the prevailing anger and outrage against Him, only several people had enough faith to receive His blessing.

The narration of this incident follows a very similar pattern that has been passed down over the centuries and sadly is still extant in the world and in our culture today. 

But we can do better and we can stop the violence, hatred, intolerance and oppression.  We have to have the heart to try. Reaching out to help those who suffer is the beginning. Sharing the unique characteristics of our cultures can also help.

We have so much to celebrate and so many ways help improve how people in need live. Instead of hoarding what we have, we can share what is in excess. We were not given more we need to keep it, but to pass it on to those in need.

Peace is not passive. We have to work at it because it is too important and to lose it puts everyone at risk.

May the Lord continue to bless and keep you and yours, Beloved, now and always.

Peace.

❤️ ❤️ ❤️