Power of the Word 4-14

By Rev. Dr. Linda Hollies                                          
   Mista Chuck is a private pilot and I remember him taking me on my first flight in a little piper cub.  I asked about our connection with the airport.  I didn’t hear the radio speaking from ground control and I wanted to make sure that we didn’t accidentally hit another plane, or be hit by one either!  It was then that Mista Chuck told me that we are on a "see and be seen mission!"  This meant that he was watching out for other planes at our level and he was "hoping/wishing/believing" that other pilots would be on the alert for him!  Not only was this a scary way for me to fly, it’s all together contrary to the way that Jesus expects us to live!
    The Sunday School Lessons have us taking another look at our role model, Jesus, reflecting upon his teachings and checking out our personal lives.  It’s so easy for me to compare myself with others, around me, for I can always find some method, some way or some action that I can do "better" or at least, "not as bad" as them!  However, as Christians, we are not to be on a "see and be seen mission"!  We are to be seen, as lights in the world!  However, when it comes to a vital relationship with Christ, we are to do what we do, almost in the dark!
     "Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before others, to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from God!  So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it, as the hypocrites, so they may be praised by others.  Truly, I tell you they have received their reward.  But, when you give, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving might be done in secret; and God, who sees in secret, will reward you.  And, when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,…but go into your secret closet."  (Matthew 6: 1-6)   Our tension here is to do all the good that we can; for all the people that we can; wherever we can and to be quiet about it!  Jesus teaches us that when we receive the big pats on the back, that’s it.  When we get the cut glass awards, loud accolades, "atta girls" and "good boy", high-five strokes, we have all that we are going to get!
     And if you’re like me, I want my "thank you cards"!  I want my record of giving.  I enjoy being stroked for going out of my way, and doing the over and above job!  It’s the human nature and ego in me!  I like being noticed.  I want to be seen.  And, God knows that I’m looking to see what "YOU"RE" doing!  But, this is not the spiritual way that Jesus teaches me and it requires my daily, constant openness to the Holy Spirit working in me, on me and through me to help me do it the right way.  This is where it becomes mandatory that I practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, meditation on God’s Word; fasting and singing hymns, anthems and spiritual songs to keep me on the Jesus track and not the "see and be seen" tour!
    Sista Living Large sent me a byte last week that really made me stop and think!  Allow me to share Rev. Louisa Martin’s Byte To Chew with you.  "It takes courage to refrain from gossip when others about you delight in it; to stand up for an absent person who is being abused; to live honestly within your means and not dishonestly on the means of others; to be a real man, a true woman, by holding fast to your Christian ideals when it causes you to be looked upon as strange and peculiar. It takes courage to be talked about and yet remain silent when a word would justify you in the yes of others, but which you cannot speak without injury to another.  It takes courage to refuse to do a thing which is wrong, though others do it; to dress according to your income and to deny yourself what you cannot afford to buy; and to live always according to your convictions." (Anonymous)
     What this anonymous author calls "courage", I tend to call The Holy Spirit.  We cannot make it without the power of The Holy Spirit working in us, on us, through us and even, in spite of us!  For The Holy Spirit is God present in us!  The Holy Spirit comes to bring to our mind the teachings of Jesus and to help us "want" to do the right things!  And, the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to "do" what Jesus has taught us and role modeled by his life, death and resurrection! 
    This week, I pray that this little song will stay in our spirit.  I pray that this week, when we begin to want applause, notice and recognition that this song will break in upon us.  Breathe on me Breath of God.  Fill me with life anew.  That I may love what thou does love and do what thou would do!  May our practice of the spiritual disciplines, including singing this prayer song, this week, draw us closer to Jesus Christ.  For as we move closer to Christ, less of us and more of him will be seen. 
     Please remember me, for I’m on the journey with ya!  Shalom, Disciplined Ones!  God’s best Shalom!  Let’s live holy; laugh often; and let’s love with flair and with extravagance!
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