Christians believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. But it’s time for Christians to start believing that the resurrection is just as real today as it was long ago in that garden tomb because God has unleashed the power of resurrection into real life. This means God heals those who are sick, restores relationships that are broken, offers second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances to those who need new beginnings and transforms hopeless situations into new life. And here’s where it gets personal. Because this also means God is ready to heal you, restore your broken relationship, offer you a new beginning and transform what seems absolutely hopeless to you. The question, however, is whether you are ready to receive it.
What if you spend three minutes just listening to God before beginning the hustle and bustle of your day? What if you praise God once an hour all day long? What if you pray for every member of your family today? What if you name the three best things that happened during the day before falling asleep tonight? What if you engage in one random act of kindness sometime today? What if you remind yourself five times that the most important thing you’re doing today is being an apprentice of Jesus?” Sure, that’s a lot of ‘what ifs’. And it may seem like a lot to do when you feel like you don’t have time to add even one more thing to your already hectic life. But if you take just a little time to turn your ‘what ifs’ into ‘yes, I dids’, you’ll be astounded how amazing your day is.
I try to avoid getting political. That’s not always easy, however, when you have a degree in political science. But as tempting as it is to pontificate politically, I’ve discovered that people don’t need another talking political head. They need a spiritual voice. And so that’s what I do my best to offer. Sometimes, however, employing a spiritual voice means addressing moral issues that lead to discomfort on the part of both the speaker and the hearer.
The plight of the Haitians at the U.S. border near Del Rio, Texas is a moral issue that you and I have to face exactly because we claim Jesus as Savior and Lord. While I don’t have all the answers about what we should do, I know this. Responding with overused religious cliches is inappropriate. Claiming there are slam dunk simple and obvious answers is naive. And believing that either democrats or republicans are agents of Jesus’ public policy borders on sin.
So how should you and I respond in the face of a moral crisis? Go spiritual! Read the Gospels. Let them shape your mind and heart. Pray deeply. And then ask yourself some questions. How would Jesus react watching the video footage showing outrageous treatment of the Haitians by an isolated group of U.S. Border Patrol agents? What would Jesus tell his disciples to do given the fact so many have inadequate food, housing and hygiene, and thousands are huddling under a bridge? How many tears would Jesus shed watching as thousands are shipped back home to a nation devastated by earthquakes and hurricanes?
Yes, it’s time for us to go spiritual. But beware. God won’t just help you find the right answers. God always has something for you to do as well.
Early September is a period of time – in my mind at least – when the heat of summer should begin to be a thing of the past, the air should turn cooler and the land should enjoy a respite of refreshment before slumbering for the winter. But not this year. Instead, it was hot and dry. Parched, actually. The grass turned brown, leaves dried up and dropped off trees, and the land was hard and cracked. Then the rain came; gentle and lasting several hours. And the most amazing transformation occurred. Wilted plants perked up, brown grass turned green, and the land was renewed and refreshed.
This is exactly the kind of transformation the Holy Spirit brings me. It refreshes me when I am parched, renews me when I am tired and brings me new life in the midst of exhaustion. And it’s what the Holy Spirit longs to do for you as well. So get ready if you are weary, parched and feeling as if joy in life is being sucked out of you – because God is sending the life-giving rain of the Holy Spirit into your life.
Rev. Ferguson (pastor of Traskwood UMC) has just received a cancer diagnosis. Next steps are to be determined next week.