Thoughtful reflection this month has been stimulated by a couple different studies in which I’m taking part with two different small groups during this pandemic season. We are still meeting, communicating, and seeing one another with new tools, including the popular Zoom gatherings. One study had me listening to God through current events centered in Minneapolis, MN, and the other had me hovering around the Church’s care for one another.
Christ for the World
I was reading a devotion from the Whisper of God at Ritter Park waiting for the community rally, supporting our black community following the senseless death of George Floyd in Minnesota. His death, which has consumed the news for more than a week, was very disturbing, very upsetting, and another in a long line of what should be called a racist act.
Were you bothered by it? Did it trouble you? If so, isn’t that one way God “whispers” into your life? I think you hear God’s “voice” through the Spirit of God living in you; the grief of God over an injustice spills into your own soul! Isn’t your disgust for an outrageous action a “felt reflection” of the God with whom you are becoming intimate?
Over and over in the Bible we hear how much God despises injustice! In fact, when the religion of the Church had become sterile and cold, God re- minded His people through the prophet what it was that He expected: He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
When you feel the hurt over someone’s loss, isn’t that a reflection of God’s Spirit of empathy helping you connect with a friend? Doesn’t your anger over a needless tragedy reflect the nature of Christ? If you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, why shouldn’t your heart be persuaded by what God feels? You are “hearing” through your “feelings” too.
The bottom line: When we feel the hurt or the pain over cruelty or injustice, this is another way that we hear the voice of God’s whisper!
“Nothing has the potential to change your life like the whisper of God. Nothing will determine your destiny more than your ability to hear His still small voice.” – Mark Batterson
Christ for the Church
Another book I’m reading is Companions In Christ, with a small group from Church. This week, I was reminded that the whole focus of the Church cannot be outside on those who have not yet come to be a part of us, but our attention to one another within the Church is so important, too!
Peter wrote: Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins... Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. (1 Peter 4:8, 5:2)
Peter is speaking to the Church, the body of Christ, about loving and caring for one another in the Church. Jesus said that the uniqueness of our love within the Church sets us apart! Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples! (John 13:35) Love is the highmark of our identity! God calls us to exercise our gifts with robust reliance on the Holy Spirit. The gifts we receive are to be used liberally, knowing that we can never run out of the strength, grace, mercy, patience, and love given to us by God!
Think of someone who needs a word of grace or encouragement, someone who may need assurance that their faith in God is not misguided, and deliver that word with con- viction! If you have the gift of service then know that you serve God as you serve others. “We may pick up pencils and bulletins in the sanctuary as if we were cleaning the throne room of God! We may take a casserole to someone as if we were feeding the Lord Christ. We may make copies as if we were multiplying loaves and fish for the masses. Whether we clean a house, wash a wound, make a call, write a check, listen to a person’s story, or give someone a ride to the doctor, we may do so as if Jesus Himself were the recipient – because He is!” (Companions In Christ)
So what are we doing to care for and love one another within our family of faith? Let
your creativity run as you entertain the whisper of God within your own soul! And re- member the lyrics put together by Peter Scholtes when he wrote, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love; yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love!”
-Pastor Kevin, (Kip)
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Steele Memorial United Methodist Church
P.O. Box 346
733 Shaw Street
Barboursville, WV 25504