Saturday, October 26, 2013

Reconciling Peace

Reconcile - to restore to friendship or harmony; to make consistent or congruous; to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant; to check against another for accuracy; to account for

apokatallasso - to reconcile completely; change from one state of feeling to another.  Denotes the restoration of a relationship of peace which has been disturbed.

Ephesians 2:14-22
Colossians 1:15-22

This word reconcile has been ruminating and rumbling around inside my head for awhile now.  It's not a commonly used word in God's Word, only three times in the entire Bible, which is interesting to me because it is the one word that describes, to me anyway, what Jesus has done for me, for you who read this and for the world.

He reconciled us back to God, the lover of our souls.

He restored our friendship with Him.  He brought us into harmony with Him.  He made a way for us to submit to the unpleasant things.

He restored the relationship of peace which was disturbed and broken by our sin.

We don't have peace with each other, because we don't have peace with Him who reconciled us to Him.

We don't have peace with our circumstances because we haven't reconciled our circumstances with His will for our lives.

We don't have peace in our hearts if our hearts aren't reconciled to Him who made the way for reconciliation.

He's done the hard work.  He's reconciled us, and all that is us, to Him.

I don't get it.  I don't understand how one Man can reconcile the world.

But just because I don't understand, doesn't mean it isn't true.

Wishing you reconciled Peace in abundance today,

Ephesians 2:14-22
Colossians 1:15-22

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Different is still good

When I was a girl I had a large extended family on my mother's side.  She was one of six, her mother was one of five, and so there are many memories of lots of people at all the get togethers we would have throughout my childhood.  They were usually quite loud, everyone talking at once, the hard of hearing talking louder and no one hearing anything, but always lots of laughs and fun stories told.  There was always lots of good, good food, and the men would congregate in one area of the house or yard and the women in another - the kitchen or the "parlor."   When the boys would run out of words to say, like the male gender tends to do, they would meander into the women's area where the topics were still going strong and hadn't run their course.

One of the things that struck me most since we've moved back though, and gives me a great feeling of sadness, is those who are not here anymore.  My great aunts and the life of the parties are no longer here, my grandparents are all gone, and the connections that were there when I was a girl have been frayed, some cut, and some held on by thinner cords then the thick ropes of large families getting together at wedding showers and baby showers and confirmations and weddings.

We still are family.  We still have the memories of those who used to be here to enjoy the times together, but it's just.....different.

(The word I would use to describe everything lately.....different.  The same, but different.  Not good, not bad, just....different.)

So we and the next generations are walking in the footsteps of the generation before us.  We're having our showers, our get togethers, and paving a different, yet same road that was started generations ago.

My Mom and sister-in-law hosted a post wedding shower for my new daughter and the next generations were there.  We've all gotten an unspoken promotion to who we are in the younger generations memories, and although we're much hipper and cover our gray better then the generation before us, we still are, I know in my nieces' eyes, OLD!

But that's ok.  Life goes on.  Even when the memories of those we miss still are as real as the last time we were altogether laughing and talking, and we miss them and wish the younger generation could have known them and shared the memories, life goes on.

Life is good because God is good.



Saturday, October 5, 2013

Walking through the door for grief or... blessed are those who mourn

I think the older I get the more I realize how everybody is carrying something.  Everyone is carrying baggage that is invisible to those around, but as we walk this journey of the in-between life we are weighed down by the weight of the burdens we carry.

Maybe you're carrying a burden of anxiety, or shame, or guilt, or fear, or sickness.  Maybe the burden you are carrying today is the grief you feel at the loss of a loved one.  Maybe you are carrying the burden of a wrong(s) done to you of which you had no control.  Maybe you are carrying the burden of having done wrong to someone and don't know where to put that wrong.

Maybe you're a believer of Jesus, you know the message of the cross and the hope it brings, but're BURDENED.

There's a place in Jerusalem, along the temple wall, called the Hulda gate.  I learned when I was there that this gate was a special gate.  During the Jewish holidays and religious days, "the eastern gates were used for entry to the temple, while the western gates for exit.  The only exception was for visitors in periods of mourning, which entered in reverse direction, so the public will know about their loss and wish them well."
Read more about this gate here

This is a fascinating piece of history and I wonder, on this cool overcast Saturday morning in Wisconsin, what our places of worship would look like in the United States if we had such entrances and exits in our churches.

Then I wonder, would we all be going through the "exit" door, rather than the entrance gate.  I'm sure there would be plenty of folks who would expect the recent mourners to go in the reverse direction.  The ones who are mourning the recent loss of a loved one in death.  That seems logical and expected.  We can give people the space they need in the face of a death.

But what if those who mourn and needed to walk through the exit door were those who are mourning the loss of their childhood because of abuse, or they are mourning the loss of their marriage due to divorce, or they are mourning the loss of a relationship because of substance abuse.  

What if those people started walking through those exits doors?

I wonder.....

Would we know what to say?  Would we feel comfortable offering a touch on the shoulder or a squeeze of the hand? 

Jesus knows what to say and do for those who are mourning.  He touches us.  He feels our burdens, He feels our griefs. 

He doesn't just pity us, He has compassion on us.  He doesn't just say to us, "I'm sorry for your loss," and moves on.  Jesus is moved with compassion for us.  He "splagchnizomai" for us.  He is moved in the inward parts.  He doesn't just pity us, he has a "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it."  He feels it with us.  He feels the grief we feel, with us.

He doesn't tell us we shouldn't feel that way, or "don't you think it's time you moved on from this grief?"

No!  Not Jesus!

He knows when we're fighting to not get overwhelmed with grief and he knows when we're doing all we can to avoid feeling the grief.  

Your grief, in whatever stage or degree you're in, no matter what caused it, He feels it too!  He's touching you on that shoulder as you walk in through the exit door.  He's squeezing your hand, whispering in your ear, "I know."

Give it to Him to carry.

It's not for you to be weighed down by it.

Give your grief to Him whose shoulders are never too small and never get crowded by the world's grief. 

Blessed are you who mourn, for you will be comforted.  You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you.  Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.  


Matthew 5:4; 9:35; 14:14;     Mark 6:34;     Luke 7:13; 10:33; 15:20