House Cleaning and God

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This past week, our house received a pretty thorough cleaning as first we hosted house church, carpets cleaned on Friday, laundry (blankets and comforters too) on Saturday and the master bath today. I don’t know about you, but it’s rare for all the house to be similarly clean at the same time. In fact, I would say we’re fits and starts type of cleaners where it will look great then become very not great before being great again, and all of that in stages, not usually all at once. While that can work somewhat for house cleaning, it just doesn’t work nearly as well for our spiritual formation. If we stop in the middle of cleaning, the house will be in relatively the same place a few days later while if I suddenly stop praying or reading the Word or attending worship, my relationship with God doesn’t just go on hold while I’m gone, ready to be picked back up at the same place when I return. It’s not that God goes anywhere or gives us demerits but rather that our disposition toward him begins to break down somewhat like my house that begins to be dirty again.

When our disposition or attention toward God breaks down even a little, other concerns and distractions take their place. In her book, The Quotidian Mysteries, Kathleen Norris talks about the connection she found between her daily housework chores and the liturgy (or work) of the people of the church. Like our housework, the daily acts of faith and our regular acts of worship can move from rote repetition to loving acts of devotion if we are mindful of what it is we are really doing – interacting with the one who created, saved and sustains us. After all, cleaning the house does more than make it clean. The house becomes more welcoming and comfortable, we’re more willing to open our home to others. Likewise, being persistent and consistent in our spiritual practices makes us more welcoming and comfortable, more willing to open our hearts to others just as God asks.

 

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A Different Kind of Wind

Moore, OK Tornado YouTube

Moore, OK Tornado
Courtesy YouTube

Wind. A welcome breeze on a lovely summer day brings joy. At Pentecost in the Upper Room, a different kind of wind blew through the room along with the Holy Spirit. Ironically, the day following our observance of that Holy Spirit wind, the people of Moore, Oklahoma experienced a devastating version of the usual sort of wind as a tornado ripped apart that community. I grew up in the next town south from Moore. I no longer live in Norman but it and Moore are still part of “home” for me. So, the pictures of the aftermath of the tornado shocked and hurt as though I still live there. But in disasters such as this, people in general feel a kinship with the people affected. What if it had been our town, we collectively murmur under our breath along with a sigh of relief.

What if, indeed. Like those stricken with any disaster, we would depend on the kindness of others who were not impacted. We would expect people from all over the country to reach out to help us, as well we should. I have a question, though. Why does it take something of this magnitude to touch people’s hearts and move them to action? It shouldn’t. In the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25, Jesus tells us how he identifies those who love and serve him: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Why would we so often do these things only in major disasters? For the person experiencing it, it takes much less than a 200 mile per hour tornado to qualify as a disaster. Loss of a job, death of a spouse, serious illness, to name a few, all these are disasters for those touched by them. So help those in Moore, Oklahoma, by all means. Then look around to see what you can do in your neighborhood for those whose lives need the blessing of the different kind of wind that only comes through the Holy Spirit.

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Pentecost

Tongue of Fire as at Pentecost

Tongue of Fire

Pentecost, meaning fiftieth, happens this coming Sunday, fifty days after Easter. In the Old Testament, Pentecost was also called the Festival of Weeks or Shavout. Originally a harvest festival, it was one of three festivals where all Jewish adult males were to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem with gifts and offerings. In this case, they would appear with bread made from the grain of the harvest. Now known by Christians as the birthday of the Church, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples also occurred on Pentecost as we read Acts 2.  The Holy Spirit, called the third person of the Trinity, is one of the three persons of our one God, called Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit (see http://goo.gl/MXe9i for more about the Trinity). Symbols of Pentecost include ‘tongues of fire’ as in Acts 2 or a dove and the color for the day is red.

 

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Living Water: Honor your Mother

 

David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mother’s Day. A day meant to be a happy celebration of the maternal bonds we have with our mothers. Yet, for some women, the observance painfully reminds them that, for whatever the reason, they could not be mothers. Others, men and women, remember that their mothers harmed them more than they helped. In each life, though, God provides a person, male or female, who mothers us, providing nurture, acceptance, accountability and love. So let’s celebrate those persons who have touched our lives in the spirit of this day.

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It's Elementary

I watch the TV series, Elementary, in which a modern day Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joan Watson help the New York City pMouse Trap with Baitolice department solve crimes. Except Dr. Watson happens to be a ‘Sobriety Companion’ for Holmes, who recently completed another in a series of expensive trips to rehab. In a recent episode, Holmes’ former drug dealer, Rhys, arrives from England and begs Holmes for help finding his kidnapped daughter. Rhys attempts to get Holmes back on drugs, even telling Holmes, “you were a much better detective when you were high” and “you are some ghost of you, some pale imitation, you need your meds [heroine].” In a completely unexpected turn, Continue reading

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Living Water: Easter Season

Easter Day is come and gone, so Easter’s over, right? Well, no. The season of Easter in the Christian year lasts from Easter Day until the Easter LilyDay of Pentecost, seven weeks later, a period of 50 days that begins at sundown the night before Easter. The Sunday before Pentecost (the seventh Sundy of Easter) is often celebrated as Ascension Sunday, though the 40 days of Jesus’ post-resurrection time on earth actually ends the Thursday before. color for the season is white representing the purity and new life available through the resurrection. During the Easter Season, Christians spend time reflecting on their response to the Resurrection as well as on their purpose, mission and calling as disciples of Jesus Christ. So, what’s your response to the resurrection?

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Living Water: Falling Plates

I think the video at www.fallingplates.com says it all about what this Holy Week and Easter are all about.

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Living Water: Place Yourself in the Story

The CrucifixionIn our Wednesday house church, we’ve been reading the book of Luke. Yesterday, we covered sections on the conviction and crucifixion of Jesus in chapter 23. We experienced the Scripture in a powerful way as we heard the Scripture and placed ourselves in the story: standing in the crowd, hearing the mocking of Jesus and finally watching Jesus die. This Sunday, Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. Read the Scriptures for yourself this week, place yourself in the story and see what you learn about Jesus and yourself.

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To Yield or Not to Yield

Of late, while driving on the highway, more and more cars fail to yield as they enter the highway from the on ramp. So intent to merge without yielding, one car ran me into the next lane which was, thankfully, empty. This trend results in bolder and bolder moves on the Yield Signpart of drivers entering the roadway, making it much more dangerous, as I experienced. This affects more than driving, though. As Christians, yielding ourselves to God in humility and obedience marks the way of authentic faith. Yet, some very popular faith principles such as the prosperity gospel sound more like making our own plans and offering them to God for him to bless. Jesus lived differently, always yielding only to what he received from God rather than his own will.

John 5:19 Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”

If Jesus, the Son of God only did what his Father God showed him, how much more should we? During this Lenten season, spend time in prayer about your relationship with God. Are there areas in your life that you have not yielded to God?

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Living Water: Website and Blog

The website for The Well debuted recently, including transfering this blog to the site with a new design. Stop by the website at http://www.TheWellHomeChurch.org. You can access the blog from the website and those subscribing to the blog continue to … Continue reading

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