Sunday, February 3, 2013

Be the Change

"Surrounded by terrible news, we are tempted to feel powerless before the strength of darkness.  And yet, we are NOT powerless...  Through God, we have the power to use our spiritual resources to banish all darkness - to transform our world from a state of limitation and fear to a state of abundance and love."

"...Bless those who do harm as well as those who do good, for any judgment blocks the light and keeps miracles at bay.  Becoming emotionally reactive when we are confronted with darkness only serves to keep the darkness alive.  Reacting to fear with fear merely feeds the fear. 
Instead, let us claim for ourselves the power of love..."

"...When love and forgiveness replace blame and retribution, we will have begun construction on a new and better world..."

"...Often, we are guided to do something to make the world a better place.  Often, we are inspired to pray without ceasing.  Almost always, we are moved to do both."
--Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace
I've been really enjoying reading a little bit of this book every Sunday afternoon...  It's a lovely piece of inspiration for the week...  Inspiration to keep striving to do better!
This reading reminded me of our mission trip to an Indian reservation last year.  We had a great week - lots of new experiences, wonderful people, and bonding within our group.  But the very last day, when we returned from our workday, several of us realized we had things missing.  Someone had come into our house and stolen cameras, phones, ipods, etc.
I was crushed.  With all the good that happened that week, the last thing I wanted was for this to be the lasting memory our kids would take home; the story they would tell.  Our nation's reservations are struggling in all kinds of ways - and this reservation is no different.  But the ministry that we worked with has made such a HUGE difference in this place - respect and friendship between the cultures...  I didn't want to ruin that story with one person deciding to steal from us.
So that night, at our devotional time, we processed what happened as a group.  The kids were the first to say that this was one small piece of the trip - and that it did not define the Lakota people.  They recognized the sadness that someone felt desperate enough to steal from people who came to be friends and help out.  And together, we prayed for the person that stole from us...
When we returned home and the kids told their stories - there was no mention of this incident.  Instead, us adults told the story in a compassionate and grace-filled way.  And our congregation stepped up and helped our kids to replaced their stolen goods.  Amazing.
This could have been an incident of darkness that tainted a good trip, ruined a relationship with people that we've come to love, scared kids from going on mission trips again...  Darkness could have won here.  But our faith - and the love that God calls us to live out, won.  Light overshadowed the dark - in big ways!
And yes, we're going back this summer.  Looking forward to visiting new friends!
 Things I am thankful for today:
1.  A fun Sunday school class with the kids.
2.  The hubby speaking in church - and doing a fantastic job!
3.  The love my congregation members share with me.
4.  Sweet hugs from elderly people.
5.  Seeing Sue - who is cancer-FREE!  Woohoo!
6.  Watching the Superbowl with our friend, Alex.
7.  Salmon grilled on the cedar-plank.  Delish!
8.  This video - my favorite!

9.  In honor of the football game, this video, too: 
10.  Sharing our FPU (Financial Peace University) experience at church.
QotD:  On a scale of 1-10, how sad are you?  Why?
Not sad today...  Life is good!

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