Lenten Reflections

Week 4 – Sharing:  Changing my own actions

So, if there is no one in our lives at the moment with whom we have difficulty, are we enmity-free?  Probably not.  “Hard” enmity is overt hostility and belligerence.  “Soft” enmity is indifference or apathy.  Both are about keeping a distance and a separation

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A constant struggle for people of Faith is meeting needs and knowing how to do it. We hear about a huge problem, like homelessness, but we don’t know what to do. Do we actually know anyone who is homeless? Should we sell everything we have and go live with them under a bridge? Do we even understand all the problems? Wanting to make a significant difference may lead to frustration and inaction because we don’t know where to start. So, start small, and then expand:

Giving resource so others can live can include:

  • buying groceries for someone you know is struggling
  • paying someone else’s electricity bill (especially in the winter) – https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/save-energy-money/help-paying-your-bill/one-time-assistance/reach/donation/donation.page
  • give up your back yard so someone else can have a home – http://koin.com/2017/03/17/portland-seeks-backyards-for-tiny-homes-for-homeless/
  • give money to the pastor’s discretionary fund at your church (used for people’s emergency needs)
  • donate money to clean water projects (see UMCOR’s list, or Toilet Twinning)
This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’
If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.
—Isaiah 58:6-11 (Message)
Thou art never weary, O Lord, of doing us good. Let us never be weary of doing thee service. But, as thou hast pleasure in the prosperity of thy servants, so let us take pleasure in the service of our Lord, and abound in thy work, and in thy love and praise evermore. O fill up all that is wanting, reform whatever is amiss in us, perfect the thing that concerneth us. Let the witness of thy pardoning love ever abide in all our hearts.
—John Wesley