Proverbs_week 4(still hanging in there?)

Last Sunday we gathered around the table.  We chatted with each other, said hi, might have grabbed some coffee to sip on, and we opened in prayer.

Following prayer was the time to check-in.  The time when we offer the insights and observations (and revelations from God!) that have come in the prior week and considering the prior homework assignment.  This entire month of course, the homework has been to be reading a chapter of Proverbs daily.  Some have found it to be helpful in remembering what day it is, some have found it to be rich/dense/much especially as it can feel more instructional and disconnected (as compared with narrative).  More than one shared the repetition of the book is clear, especially when reading 1 chapter/day.  (There was the mention that for example the rules for Boy Scouts seem to include the character of Proverbs without using so many words; someone (this might have been me!) might have offered that even with the repetition it seems we don’t retain the wisdom shared!)

Reading Proverbs in this way seems to be a good grounding/rooting for us.  Offering some insight that we might well know, or might have very much forgotten.  Some of the Proverbs of course lend themselves to laughter & smirks (at least around the table we gather at — I’m thinking specifically of all the verses speaking to what type of a house is best to live in! — let’s just say contentment & peace is to be sought above all else!).  And it seems as a verse sticks with us — we find ourselves around the table talking about the bigger questions that we have; questions without easy answers (even if we find Proverbs to be an “easy” book.).  Questions that this last week included grace, salvation, heaven, hell, who Jesus is….questions that leave some of us up at night, some of us in tears, many of us in prayer (& grateful that indeed we are not God).  These are questions we are blessed to be working though and considering together in community.  Questions that some perhaps never think about while others only think about them.  And so with Christ as the center, and Scripture as a guide we continue the conversation.

Then we turned to chapter 21 — because it was the 21st!  And we read verses and considered their meaning.  And the conversation continued.  It will continue this Sunday & I invite all y’all to join — maybe it’s selfish, but I enjoy being gathered at the table with y’all — it is a blessing.  Until then prayers that God keeps you all and surprises you with grace that makes you smile & laugh!

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater 

Proverbs_week 3 (1 chapter/day)

On Sunday we gathered around the table as is our custom.  We opened in prayer.  And we started checking in with each other.  Sharing about how reading 1 chapter of Proverbs a day is going, and getting clarity on the goal to be reading one entire chapter of Proverbs daily matching the date of the month with the chapter we are reading.  Some named the contextual nature of the Proverbs, most ascribed to King Solomon, perhaps giving more credence to the well known oral proverbs of the time.  We discussed a bit the observation as to how wisdom is defined as a woman, as well as how also the woman is depicted as one who leads the way to sin and death (we took a moment to notice how often the foolish one is a man!).  But we returned to the scripture, and a few observations — one mentioned that at their age (and at most of our ages) we should be familiar, we should know what wisdom is — we’ve lived long enough to have the proverbs prove themselves as true — whether at times in a very literal sense — but often with their metaphorical truisms revealing themselves again and again in our lives.  And while this point is well stated and important to consider, we also took a moment to notice in Chapter 9 how similar the call of Lady Wisdom & Lady Folly can be — so even in our age, even in what we know it behooves us to go back to wisdom, to seek wisdom, to pray for clarity, discernment, and for the will of God to be like a burning bush in our daily lives.  Because as one among us mentioned, in often trying to follow wisdom & wise council, they find at times the way followed was not wise at all.

So with these thoughts we turned to the Proverb for the day, Proverbs Chapter 14.  We read until verse 15 (with a mention of verse 16).  But took some time wondering about if we can know the depth of bitterness in our own souls, if the presence of bitterness is what disallows us from being able to share joy with a stranger (see verse 10).  And also we spoke a bit about verse 13 how “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.” (English Standard Version)  Taking a moment to consider the proverb in reverse.

As we take time with this book of Proverbs, noticing that trying to consider a Chapter a day can seem fast! questions come to mind, what and who is wisdom?  The helpful offering to consider wisdom to be Christ has been given.  Or related, do we find a more (what we consider) feminine quality to God in considering wisdom?  And Proverbs writes from a perspective of an ordered world, they make sense both in the allotment of the good & bad things as consequences; however we have lived long enough to push at times against the wise council of these proverbs which seem not so true occasionally.

Let us continue this journey of seeking God — seeking wisdom through the daily reading of Proverbs, and growing in revelations that the Holy Spirit might breathe into us!  Happy reading y’all & see you soon!  (Homework remains 1 chapter of Proverbs/day).

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater 

Proverbs_week 2 (daily wisdom)

Now, last Sunday I was not present but still the saints (that’s all y’all) gathered round the table.  You prayed.  And you checked in.  There had been two weeks of trying to live peaceably with others; two weeks of living in harmony.  And you brought the reports back.  It wasn’t easy.  The conversation flowed and a theme that emerged was that in intimate relationships (you know — those close relationships with people you see often, people who you love & who love you, people who you just can’t avoid because they are part of the daily routine — they make up a big part of life — yes, those intimate relationships) THIS IS HARD.  Like really hard.  Living in harmony with people we really live with (or are in very close proximity with) is not easy.  Now I was not there for this conversation (a HUGE thank you to Gina for facilitating Adult Study!) but please let me wonder aloud as I consider this challenging theme:

I wonder if we find it hard to be honest in the most intimate of relationships because there is so much history, and because the people are so important to us?  I wonder if often we might find ourselves in the extremes, either just saying “yes” to everything (except our needs) to keep the peace — or if we are those who are so demanding to get our way because it’s right & peaceful?  All because we don’t want to (or don’t think we can) disrupt the peace.  (Note: this is perhaps more appropriately considered either a fake peace or a peace of avoidance — which is no peace at all!)  And no — for the record, I do not believe that trying to live in this type of “peace” or “harmony” is not God-honoring.  So I wonder what this very hard place might look like if we were willing to pray in these spaces, God please help, God show me what harmony is in my most intimate relationships…in the ones that I hold dear….I wonder.  (OK pondering done). 

So we were challenged in the daily living in peace & harmony and then shifted to the daily routine we have been engaging (& will continue to engage all month) of reading Proverbs.  One Proverb each day.  Sunday was Oct. 7th, and so Proverbs 7 was the chapter of the day.  The chapter was read through 5 verses at a time and conversation flowed.  Noticing things that perhaps were not seen prior, hearing the wisdom of this book, this instruction, as not just about one type of morality, but about everything.  And talking about how do we avoid temptation, how do we deal with what we struggle with?

Proverbs 7 begins,

My child, keep my words and store up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.                                                                                  (Proverbs 7:1-3, New Revised Standard Version)

And I wonder as we continue in this book; as we try to read 1 Proverb each day of this month; is this how we bind these words on our fingers?  Is this how we write scripture on the table of our heart?  In going daily back, even when it’s hard, even when we know we do not understand in fullness, even when we are so tired and our minds so full (or whatever) that it seems the scripture – the living Word of God — has no room to enter; I wonder if it is in this practice, this going back, this daily seeking to hear something — if it is here that we do exactly what this wisdom literature bids us do?

And so we come to the homework that follows us all this month.  To be reading 1 Proverb a day.  To be open to hearing from God in this way.  To seeing what might happen as we turn to this wisdom (which may at times seem too much to understand, or so simple that we all know it) and humbly allow God to continue to work that has already begun in us — for it is not yet done.

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater 

 

Reading through Proverbs…(still living in peace & harmony)

Greetings y’all.  Last Sunday we gathered in our typical fashion, and opened in prayer.  BUT we had a different day — we have a guest speaker & we had some of our sisters and brothers from N. Spencer gathered around the table with us.

And instead of checking-in with our homework we had the opportunity to slow down and read through (most of) the Sermon on the Mount (See Matthew 5-7) taking note of the fact that this was written/directed to the Pharisees, and trying to understand a bit more of the Jewish context that it comes out of.  It was a nice time of seeking to hear what Jesus was emphasizing to a group of people (the Pharisees) who in their desire to seek after God had made even more rules (traditions) to follow — something that we still often are doing (even with the best of intentions).  And I found it a special treat to slow down a bit and consider the beatitudes, slowing a bit on the words like meek and merciful and considering what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness (coming to the point of realization that righteousness is God!).

So we had a blessed time in a different manner of study of the scriptures together.  Then, before we closed in prayer we reminded ourselves of our on-going homework: living in harmony with each other & being at peace, as much as it is in our control, with others.

And a 2ndary homework assignment was given too: Read 1 Proverb/day.  The month of October (which began on Monday!) has 31 days.  The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters.  We will be letting scripture speak to us and shape us but being in this one book daily, leaning into the invitation to read 1 chapter/day and knowing which chapter is assigned based on the date!

So blessed peace-making & reading!

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater  

Live in Harmony (Romans 12:14-21)

Last Sunday we had the delight of being able to gather around the table again.  We opened with prayer.  And then we began to check-in with each other.  We tried to identify the part of the body that we are, and we found that to be challenging.  Challenging in multiple ways, because so many of us do so many different types of things — what one part could we be?  Challenging because some of the body parts that we think we are sound too showy — as though we were being proud.  Challenging because for many it is very hard to see or to consider that indeed God has gifted and shaped us in certain ways (so it’s a lot easier for someone else to see us and notice our shape rather than for us to be able to think soberly about what God has gifted us with!).  Challenging because are we talking about gifts, about skills, about talent — and is it just in a spiritual way, just something we do in the church — or maybe something else?  So challenging to think about where we fit and how we work.  And yet, even in the midst of struggle we were able to identify some parts of the body that we are; hands, the bottom of feet, the heart, the ear, a finger (index), the mouth, and the eye.  Likely, not all the body parts referenced what someone else would have imagined that part of the body to do; an index finger that captures the call on one to teach, a mouth to speak for issues of justice; a part of the mind to remind people of their faith; an eye to represent the gift of empathy to feel to the point of deeply seeing into the soul of another.

This idea of who we are, of how we are shaped, of what gifts we have is not an easy one.  Many pondered often about the question, engaging spouses who might not be present around the table in their consideration of the question.  Some shared insights outside of the time we were gathered together.  There was reflection of how gifts might work in allowing us to live into the part of the body that we are, how we might fully live into the design that God has for us to fill, and the honesty as to how God will use those of us who are willing (regardless of what our gifts/shape are!), as well as how being gifted or shaped does not mean that we don’t need to continue to develop said gifts/talents — nor does wanting/working hard on developing skills mean we can (on our own) anoint ourselves to do the work (or have the gift(s)) we desire most.

And something important was named.  Love.  That Love is the greatest gift.  That all of us — as we are shaped and gifted, all of us as different members of the body are called to love, expected to love.  And love is hard, and perhaps a word that has lost meaning in some sense (for many) and a word that we struggle to understand and know — but we are to love, to share love, to be lovers — lovers of God and lovers of each other.  Love is the greatest gift.  Love is offered to all.  And in my opinion, because of Christ we can all be great lovers — we each moment of each day are invited to grow in how we can love well (amen!) — because God is love, and God is patient, and God is full of grace!

So we continued in Romans, and read verses 14-21:

 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And we quickly named our homework, to consider Romans 12:16a & 18.  To “Live in harmony with one another” and, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”  Everyone was THRILLED for this assignment, as of course this is exactly what we do all the days of our lives, right?  So for the next 2 weeks (now a little more than a week more) we will be living in harmony and peaceably with one another.  So — with some laughter we turned to prayer to close another time of gathering together — a time of seeking to hear from God together through scripture and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Y’all today, in our context and moment in time, think about the possible implications of living in this way, in harmony and peacefully as much as it depends on us with each other.  What a gift we could be offering and opening together…

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater  

What body part are you? (Romans 12:3-8)

Y’all last Sunday we gathered..and some were early (sorry about that) — just as a friendly reminder here at least — Adult Study is at 10AM now!  So we gathered and opened in prayer.

Then we began checking in.  Talking about how we live Romans 12:2 — being not conformed to the world; having our minds be transformed; discerning the will (the good & acceptable & perfect will of God!).  So much richness and passion came from this discussion.  Conversation about what is the way of the world, insight as to what Paul was calling his audience to when he tells them not to be conformed to the ways of the world (of Roman Empire and such).  Points lifted how the way of the world can be to appease people, to be impatient, to not be kind…that to be Christlike — to be one who follows what Christ said and did is to be different than the world that is around us; that if something like the sermon on the mount is what shapes us (ideas of forgiveness, of meekness, of seeking peace) all the while recognizing the cost of loving in this way for Christ — the One whom we follow — is death on a cross — then we should look different, be different — dare we offer, this is what it is to be in the world while not conforming to it?  And there was insight too as to how do we have transformed minds?  Though the grace and the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who can and will convict and lead us as is necessary; through reading the Word of God with the prayer that the Holy Spirit will speak to us through God’s Word; through gathering round a table with people (who we do not always agree with!) looking to Christ & searching the scriptures for what God is saying to us today!  The conversation was rich…and I wonder, if we all are willing to bring our full selves to the table open to each other & open to the voice of God speaking — how will God change us?  Transform us?  And what will the other people around the table say when they see who God has transformed us to be?  It’s exciting y’all — because the thing is, God’s not finished with ANY of us yet — and at least for me, I’m grateful with that truth!

So after this grace and passion filled conversation we pivoted back into Romans 12 and read verses 3-8 (New Living Translation below):

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Another challenging selection of scripture.  Don’t think too much of yourself.  Be sober in your judgement.  Be careful in comparing.  We discussed how people are given (gifted) different skills, talents, abilities; and naming how also we are the same in the sense that all have sinned & fallen short, all are not worthy of the gift of grace & the gift of faith — and so to compare ourselves to each other….well in that sense (or for pride) why?  The scripture calls us to honor & respect & be honest in assessment perhaps holding simultaneously the truth that grace is offered to all, that we all are called to the perfection of God (and none of us is there), and that we are gifted differently too.  Perhaps all easier said (or typed) than done.

Thus we come to the homework time.  An invitation to think soberly about ourselves and to ask that the Holy Spirit reveals — what part of the body are you?  (and why?!)  Then once you know what part of the body you are (yes you can be creative!) & why — imagine the body part you are is getting a check-up — how are you doing?  How are you functioning?

Y’all I’m excited to hear what God has been revealing & to see what members of that body will be gathered around the table this coming Sunday!  As I mentioned before we prayed out last week, one Christian I know named herself as the bile in the body — not everyone wants to be there, it’s smelly, it’s not pretty, but it’s agitates and it is necessary & without it the body is not healthy!  So….what part of the body are you?

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater 

Not conforming & being transformed? (Romans 12:1-2)

Last Sunday we gathered.  We prayed.  We began checking in with each other.  Talking about what we found to the be hardest for us from the “list” we could hear as we read Romans 12:1,9-13.  One person named that they felt they had no zeal nor spiritual fervor (which by the way interestingly enough was immediately challenged by another sitting at the table!), while another after hearing many speak shared that they must be surrounded by a bunch of saints (hehehe) since they found the hating what is evil & holding to what is good to be rather challenging.

Yet most of our time centered around hospitality.  Hospitality and sincere/genuine love.  There was this understanding of how we might be able to offer the actions involved with hospitality while our hearts might not be sincere.  Also, there were questions to about what exactly hospitality is?  Does it look the same always?  Is there only one way to possibly offer hospitality?  Is hospitality offered differently when we are thinking of individuals (or a family) as compared with a church?  In all the ideas of hospitality discussed there was a commitment to centering the other person, to making space for them in the midst of our (busy) lives.  Hospitality seems to include an element of recognizing someone else (perhaps at great cost & (mild) frustration to us) as a priority.  Part of the conversation mentioned more than once was the idea/practice of “fake it ’til you make it” the concept of doing the hospitality until your heart does become sincere…this is something that has worked for some well in the past but which is challenging to others.  I wonder if in a very real sense though this is part of our walk with God?  That as we learn to (and live into) love there is this element of faking it until we make it — this sense of trusting God along the way until we get it (a little more!) and by that I might mean that God can love through us a little better (or that we don’t get in God’s way of loving through us so much!)

We could have stopped here, observing the invitation to offer hospitality and seeing how it is a challenging growth point for us….I wonder how the Holy Spirit might be wanting us all to grow in hospitality?  As individuals as well as a church?  Isn’t it great we have our annual brunch this weekend?  But we continued with scripture, Romans 12:1-2:

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual[b] worship. Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

We focused on verse 2.  And asked some questions like…What does it mean to NOT be conformed to this world?  What does it mean to have a transformed mind?  And can we know (discern) the will of God?  (A specific (to us) will of God?, a general (for all) will of God?)  Some started the conversation of how the world has different expectations than God, how most have worked “in the world” and that perhaps was a challenge.  So the homework for this week and next stems from this idea of non-conformity & transformation as we try to figure out how exactly do we live verse 2?  And in living verse 2, what exactly is the point of discerning what is “good and acceptable and perfect” if we know what the will of God is?

I can’t wait to hear what will be shared when we gather round the table next (on 9/16)!

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater 

Reflecting on the hard & asking for help (Romans 12:1,9-13)

Last Sunday we gathered round the table.  We prayed.  We started to check in with the homework; the homework which had us seeking to outdo others in showing honor (or showing love) and also seeing where (or what) we heard that had encouraged us to live out what scripture invites us to do.

There was the naming of poetry and of music.  And a recognition that (secular) poetry had been telling the story of scripture in different words, and with words that were not rejected even when the person reading them was not following Christ.  This is an important note, how words and songs (and aren’t songs essentially poems set to music?) have the power to speak and to reach even those who might not know Christ; who might not have learned how much God loves them; these words can share the grace of God and the love of Christ in beautiful ways. (AMEN!)

And there was an important mention too about how if we are seeking to outdo others in showing honor (or love) and we think we do it correctly – that doesn’t seem to be the point…the whole “I’m so humble” mentality and being proud of it.  However, I wonder two things.  First, would it be so bad if what we were competitive about was outdoing each other in showing love and honor to one another?  Would that really be all that terrible?  And second, don’t we sometimes seek to outdo others in showing love and honor but in ways that do not feel competitive at all?  An example being, wanting to surprise or spoil someone (maybe a friend, a family member, even a stranger); maybe you see them having a terrible day, or they’ve gone through something rough, or you just want to treat them for some other reason — and you don’t do it so that you get the spotlight, or that you can boast about it — but your heart is to shower them in an extraordinary way….and isn’t that what God has done for each of us in so many different ways?  (Gifted us with an extravagant grace….like the Prodigal Father running toward the son who has returned?)

But let’s be honest.  It’s hard to show love and honor to others at times.  And so, we turned to the same area of scripture again to listen.  We heard Romans 12:1,9-13 read.  You’ll note that the 2 verses from last week (Rom. 12:9-10) were included again in the reading.  We mentioned that many of these seem to be the practical ways we live our faith.  In fact, it might be that the way we can offer ourselves (our bodies) as a living sacrifice to God is to actually do these practical ways that we can live out our faith.  But does practical always mean “easy” dare I say….not at all.

Which (of course?) leads to the homework for this week.  To think on all these things (Rom. 12:1,9-13) and the list of actions named.  This list will sound a bit different depending on which translation of the Bible you happen to be reading.  But — reflect on all of them, and (get excited!) consider which one you are WORST at!  Yes, which one of these is the HARDEST for you to do?  (Is it keeping spiritual fervor, being patient in affliction, sharing with others who are in need, practicing hospitality, being faithful in prayer, being joyful in hope, never lacking in zeal, presenting all of yourself as a living sacrifice?)  Which one of the actions is hardest for you.  And then — once that is identified, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal why this one is hard (and listen to what is revealed).  And finally, ask God to help you be open and to continue growing you in this area so that someone might be blessed by God through you!

So — to recap, reflect on Rom. 12:1,9–13 — consider the list of actions — determine which you are the WORST at — pray for revelation as to why & pray for God to work through you in this area!

Blessings y’all in the reflection and prayer. And I’m looking forward to seeing you Sunday.

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater

PS:

This is a little excerpt from “My Utmost for His Highest” which seems appropriate as we consider the homework for the week…

“Our tendency today is to put the emphasis on service…It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him.”

Outdoing each other…in showing honor (Romans 12:9-10)

Guess what?  Yes, it is Thursday — and the weather today has been a delight!  With it being Thursday, it seems a fitting time to remember that we gathered round the table this last Sunday to connect, to pray, to sincerely seek to hear from God together.  And last Sunday we did just that — gathered, introduced ourselves, and prayed before checking-in.

And our check-in was a multi-week homework assignment, to be like Christ, to imitate Christ.  The check-in was honest.  This was hard.  We are not Christ.  And even if we maybe were “Christ-like” we hear our thoughts rather loudly so….it was a little discouraging.  Yet, the frustration with trying to be like Christ (or trying to be perfect like Christ) reminded us too that God is not finished with us, that we are works in progress — and that can be an encouragement along the way too.  There also was a bit of a reminder as to why exactly we even try to be like Christ (which stemmed from thinking about why Christ came — why God found it necessary to have flesh on and be with us!) — it is not so that we become perfect, so that we can be proud….it is so ALL can be in relationship with God.  Christ came to reconcile the world to God — that’s the point, not perfection for the sake of perfection, not rule-followers for the sake of following rules, but relationship with the God who gives each of us life.  We try to imitate Christ so that we don’t get in the way of God loving on ALL the folks around us.  We try to imitate Christ so that others know how beloved they are of God.  We try to imitate Christ because in imitating Christ we grow into more loving people — people who can see the wounds of the world & be part of the love that will bring healing!

So the homework — the LIFEwork continues, as God promises it will — we continue to seek God above all and to be like Christ all the days of our life!

But we did turn to scripture, to Romans 12:9-10:

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.

Again we heard the voice of Paul.  Some asked questions of if this is for fellow believers & Christians, or if this is for those who are not (believers).  I asked — what do you think?  Is there a difference?  Who did Christ come for?  (ALL).  And even here we  have to think about the homework that follows us, this idea to be like Christ.  BUT, what does that mean; what does that look like; and what can help us?  This section of Romans is labeled in the New Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible, as “Marks of the True Christian.”  We are going to slow down and go through these scriptures for a few weeks seeing what God might be inviting us to do/learn/understand in order to be (more) like Christ.

The next step in this study is the homework stemming from Romans 12:9-10.  It has 2 parts:

  • 1st: Outdo someone in showing honor (to someone else) this week.  (Or if you prefer, outdo someone in offering sincere love to someone this week!)
  • 2nd:  Read or listen to sources/places outside of scripture that encourage you to live what scripture is saying.

Some things before signing off….the genuine love we are to show is from our core, from the inside — it is sincere — sometimes perhaps we might have to “fake it” until we “make it” asking God to change our heart along the way.  Also, I shared 3 quotes — which are example of sources outside of scripture that might encourage us they were:

  • Aretha Franklin:  We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white.  It’s our basic human right.
  • Finale of Les Miserables:  To love one another is to see the face of God.
  • Mr. Rogers:  As human beings our job is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has — or ever will have — something inside that is unique to all time.  It’s our job to help discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression. 

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater 

Be like Christ (1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1)

Goodness me, it’s been quite some time since we all gathered round the table.  In fact — we all last gathered together officially round that table last month on July 29th.  Do you remember it?  We gathered and we prayed as we do.  And then we began to check in with each other by offering our answer to what it means and looks like to be laborers in God’s harvest (giving examples of labor and of harvest).  We did not all quite agree (this happens when we are talking with more than just ourselves!) as we had some different interpretations…And yet, unless memory fails me (it can) we did seem to agree that the harvest is people, and that laboring looks like loving and being faithful to how God is calling us to be.

And of course after this we pivoted to scripture, looking at 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1.

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

11 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

We listened to Paul inviting us into the perspective that the fullness of creation belongs to God and we have freedom to give thanks and enjoy all that God has made.  However, we are encouraged to use our freedom to build up others & community — to use our freedom to help others, and to be aware of what their needs might be — seeking always to be helpful and not harmful.  And (where we read) Paul ends in offering a different invitation — to imitate Paul as Paul imitates Christ, putting what he has written into action — moving from the idea of a thing to the action of it.  Paul of course leads us to what the homework assignment has been over these past weeks, to be like Christ — to imitate Christ — because as great and faithful as Paul was (and this goes for any believer!) we are called to be like Christ!  So — the homework is both simple and the most challenging thing ever….be like Christ.

One person mentioned, “WWJD” (what would Jesus do) and another mentioned that Jesus did overturn tables (righteous indignation)…Christ also is the One who took time to talk with God, the One who looked at those caught in sin and did not throw stones, the One who healed with his hands and with his spit!, the One who wept over the death of a friend, the One who showed patience even when knowing he was talking to those who would betray & desert him, the One who while the Son of God still shows us he can be taught too by the faith of one he calls by a derogatory name (check out: Matthew 15:21-28).  So let us humbly seek to be like Christ in all we do.

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater