Friday, November 01, 2013

The saintly reaction

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 6:17-36

TO CHEW ON: "But love your enemies, do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil." Luke 6:35

She (let's call her Joan) was on her way to do an errand and decided to stop en-route at a drive-through to pick up a coffee. The lineup merged from two different streams and the order of the cars was a bit confused. As Joan inched forward she saw another car angling for the opening in the line, and was about to wave the driver in when the woman rolled down her window and released a string of expletives, then did it again when Joan smiled and waved at her.

On getting to the order station, Joan put in a request before ordering her coffee: "Please, whatever that woman ahead is having, I'll pay for it."

The irate driver didn't accept Joan's offer. Though in her brief conversation with the waitress at the delivery window,  on discovering Joan's offer, she expressed deep embarrassment.

Joan, reflecting on the incident (in a blog post which I haven't been able to find again after reading it once), said, in effect, "What surprised me was the honest love and compassion I felt for this woman." She was encouraged by the unexpected progress in her ability, this once at least, to love someone who had been hateful to her.

I'm challenged by Jesus' words to be that way—to love everyone and be completely open-handed with my stuff. We have an awesome, perfect, holy model in God the Father, lived out by Jesus His Son. Let's set our minds on being like Him, on blessing all whose lives we touch, one day at a time—today—with the love and generosity of our Father, no matter how they treat us.

Dear God, my instincts to defend myself and hang onto my things is strong. Please grow in me the grace of giving love and being generous with my things to all, especially the undeserving. Amen.

MORE: All-Saints Day

Today the church celebrates all the saints, past and present.  The liturgy for the day begins with this collect:

"Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen."

New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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