At Church Week Two

Yesterday was the second week of my class on the St. Francis Prayer. So, far each week has produced a great conversation. The first week was just introducing the prayer and talking about St. Francis and the prayer in general. You can read my thoughts on the first week on this blog. This week, the second week we talked about loving others. What it does and does not look like to love others. We discussed Matthew 5:43-48 (love your enemies) 22:36-40 (The Great Commandment). We had a good talk. One of the things mentioned was just because we should love everyone doesn’t mean we should let others walk over us or be abusive. We are to love everyone, but this love is not mushy or emotional. This love is not easy. Loving others is costly.  Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is remove ourselves from a situation or correct others. We should be honest and clear with our love and let our love for ourselves, God, and others shape how we live our lives on a daily basis. Love should be our response to life in all circumstances.

I showed a segment from the documentary Lord Save Us From Your Followers. In the portion I showed Tony Campolo tells the story of when he was in high-school there was a gay boy who was being ruthlessly bullied and dehumanized. Tony wasn’t there for the worst attack. I won’t repeat what Campolo says the other boys did to this boy, but it was horrific, evil, inhuman. That night the boy went home and took his own life. Campolo said, “On that day I wasn’t a Christian. If I was a Christian, I would have been that boy’s friend” The following two scene’s stand out to me as to what a peacemakers do and are. In one scene, a DJ from a local rock station accompanies World Vision to Africa and hands out stickers to kids and this touches her so much that when she gets back through her radio station she gets 700 children sponsored. What touched her so was how excited and happy those little children were to have a piece of America. It didn’t take much to put a smile on their tired faces–just a Spongebob sticker. While there she witnessed, what happens when Christians gets there hands and feet dirty loving people instead of bashing people over the head with the bible. In the other scene a Portland, Oregon Church goes out and cares for the homeless of the area making a meal, cleaning them including washing their feet just like Jesus did on his last night. This to me is what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our broken world.

To live this prayer you stretch out your own hand to a stranger and say let me show you how much God loves you, how much God cares for you. By being an instrument of God’s peace we are emphatically saying that there’s another story to tell a better one. A story of love, hope, joy, and light as opposed to the all too common story of hate, despair, sadness, and darkness.

One of the ladies shared a story. Her neighbor was out driving with his new puppy. The puppy was in the back playing as puppies do. The car windows were down as it was a warm day. He came to corner and stopped. A homeless man jumped out of nowhere. The homeless man had a knife and demanded the man give him money and do it now. The puppy jumped into the mans lap and just sat there. The man worried that the homeless man with the knife would kill the puppy to get the money he had demanded. The man sat there shaking with the puppy in his lap. The puppy jumped from his lap and hopped over to the open  window. The puppy didn’t bark or make any aggressive move. The puppy licked the mans face. The man dropped the knife and apologized.

This story gives new meaning to dog is God spelled backwards.

Another week at church sharing my thoughts on a prayer that has helped me connect with God. I hope this study has helped others see this prayer as I do. Leading this study has strengthened my intention of becoming a pastor one day.

How was your church experience this past sunday?

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