GOD’S WILL

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“We have an opportunity at this time in history to completely change the course of human culture.  That opportunity is not simply an option anymore, it is a gauntlet thrown down by the forces of history before a generation still not decided whether money and power or love and brotherhood should form the basis of our civilization.  And we will decide, or life will decide for us.  The human species will learn to become profoundly compassionate toward itself and toward all life.  We will learn it through wisdom, or we will learn it through pain.  But we will learn, because it’s God’s will that we become the people he has created us to be.  It’s not up to us where we are going—but, how we get there and when is determined by every choice we make, every moment of every day.”

Marianne Williamson, “EVERYDAY GRACE”

Whom are we created to be?  The world’s movers and shakers today chase after money and power while over 75% of our world’s population lives in poverty only dreaming of having enough food or proper sanitation or potable water.   Corporate and personal wealth in the United States is mind-boggling yet one in five  American children go to bed hungry.   The compassionate world our God intended was not one divided over issues of power, wealth, and theology.  The world’s massive wealth was not intended for just 1% of the world’s population.  Every sacred scripture points to enlightenment as a civilization where all are created equal, where all are deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, where all share a piece of God’s blessing in brotherhood. 

We seem to forget that our Creator had a game plan.  Whether you believe in the creation story of the Jews and Muslims, the Hindus, or the Buddhists is unimportant.  We were created as a compassionate species whose sole purpose was to please and venerate our Father.  We seem to forget that God is holding the trump card, that his will shall prevail with or without our approval and cooperation.  So, how do we conduct ourselves?  Shall we learn through wisdom or through pain?  It’s our call.smiley-face-2

 

SOBER PATRIOTS

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Clean and serene living is a blessing which is undeserved and unmerited grace from the one we call God.  Whether you call your Higher Power God or any other name designated by various faiths, we accept that this indescribable, undefinable, incomprehensible power is the sole reason for our sobriety.

This way of life is a gift, but, there are payments due.  It is not free.  An attitude of gratitude is universally accepted as a prerequisite for “enjoyable” sobriety.  Staying sober becomes a life of drudgery when we do not appreciate and give thanks for the sanity which has been restored to us.  Responsibility begins with the willingness to share in the work of the fellowship.

Just the willingness to be that helping hand indicates our commitment to sober living.  But there is more to living alcohol free than not drinking.  The purpose of dedicated sobriety is to integrate us back into the communities from which we isolated ourselves.  This means abandoning our attachments to self and ego in lieu of our children’s school activities, our local service organizations, churches, and, for some of us, politics.

When we begin to comprehend the vastness of God’s gift of sobriety, we also begin to appreciate the greatness of the society in which we live.  Americans have an extraordinary heritage and tradition of liberty, freedom of choices, guaranteed personal rights, inclusiveness, and civil rights.  We cannot take these ‘unalienable’ rights for granted.  They were won for us by the blood and courage of our forefathers.

Today, some of us believe this heritage is in jeopardy.  We believe there are forces coming into power which intend to  deprive and annihilate the ethics and values which have defined us as the world’s bastion of egalitarianism.  Some of us stand ready to use our intelligence, our gifts, our wits, and our power of sober-living to wage battle, as our forefathers did, to protect our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  We intend to ring out joyously the sentiments of the Declaration of Independence.  This is our duty as citizens and patriots.  But, we must take action in humility and temperance; anger and name-calling will gain us nothing.

As experienced drunks we learned to pick our battles carefully, to weigh the odds and strike effectively.  As sober patriots we need to do the same.  Ranting over the results of an election, becoming immobilized with anger, and rattling off insults and profanity will not protect the America we cherish and love.  As recovering alcoholics we know how dangerous and unproductive anger can be.  It serves no purpose in our lives.

America’s challenges are daunting just as our personal challenges were in our addictions.  But, with the God of our understanding in charge we can be victorious in any battles we face.  Intelligent direction of effort, dedication to purpose, and, as President Obama stated in his farewell address, the “Yes we can” attitude will prevail.

It’s inevitable.  The God of our understanding did not create a humanity where one race, one creed, one lifestyle is favored over others.  The darkness of bigotry, intolerance, and injustice cannot survive in the light of our God’s mercy and love.  But, it’s up to us to carry that light, to live in that light in all our affairs.

Onward!  We have a country to protect.

PEACE OF THE LORD

“The peace of the Lord be with you.”

“And also with you.”

I love this part of our worship experience in my Lutheran tradition.  The pastor announces the sharing of the peace and then we, the congregants, spread throughout the sanctuary hugging, shaking hands and repeating these words to our fellow worshippers.  These few moments in the service define the essence of the Christian fellowship.

When we accept and cherish the peace which is freely available from our Lord, it is expected that we shall also freely share that peace and love with our fellow-man.  It is not a gift from the Father which we should hoard and hide within.  No, we must unselfishly give as it has been given us.

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Matthew 5:9  “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.”

2nd Corinthians 5:20 “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

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“Christian worship is filled with profound actions: heads bowed in prayer, arms raised in praise, standing in reverence during a Scripture reading, coming forward to give an offering. One ancient and significant gesture in worship is the passing of the peace. Passing the peace is a tradition rooted in Scripture that embodies our identity as peacemakers (Matt. 5:9; 2 Cor. 5:20) and trains ours hearts, hands, and tongues in the ways of peace.”

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Luke 24:36 “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.'”

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“From the beginning Christians have exercised this practice. “Peace be with you” is a greeting Jesus himself used with his disciples (Luke 24:36; John 20:19, 26). The apostle Paul opened each of his letters with the words “Grace and peace be with you” (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2).”

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Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

“The gesture is simple, but the meaning is profound. When we extend our hand to another, we identify with Jesus, who extended his life to the point of death to make peace with humanity (Col. 1:20-21). What’s more, in the midst of divisions we symbolize our unity through handshakes and hugs (Eph. 2:14-21). Likewise, when we regularly pass the peace we practice God’s call to make every effort to maintain the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).”

http://www.reformedworship.org/article/march-2011/passing-peace

 

LET GO, LET GOD

The world which we see on broadcast media and in newsprint is a world based on fear.  From this fear the news stories evolve depicting terrorism, murder, abuse, desolation, and human depravity.  We read, we process, and usually we respond shaking a fist at and cursing the perpetrators.  Anger is our most readily available response and we allow it to overwhelm us, to defeat us, to negate our innate spiritual bearing.

Our anger only encourages the darkness.  Our anger allows that darkness to trespass upon our natural, God-ordained state of serenity and peace.  It colors every thought we harbor until we get on bended knee and return to the inner peace which is our true and natural state of being.

We believe that love is compassion in action.  We believe that the opposite of love is fear and indifference.  We believe that, although the arising emotion appears to be anger, when we question ourselves about what is driving that emotion the response could be:

“I am sad, very sad, and frightened.  Sad over what this world is and frightened about where this world is going, what it holds for the children and grandchildren.”

When we take ourselves from the fist-shaking, cussing realm of anger into the deeply honest and soul-searching realm of concern for others and the world they are inheriting, we transcend the ego of self to the eternity of love and compassion.  When we turn it over to God and ask blessing on those who make us angry, we are putting the world into the hands of the only Power who can transform and enlighten.  As people in recovery state so perfectly:

“Let go and let God.”

No, we should never give up or not be concerned about the world’s hatred and bigotry.  We should always uphold the worthiness of all people and endorse their right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.  But, when we do it prayerfully in obedience to a Higher Power we are connecting to the powerful stream of light which no darkness can conquer.

 

 

JOHN LENNON

“I’d give you everything I’ve got for a little peace of mind.”

Lennon/McCartney 1968

 

OK, so the Beatles were not the poster boys for sober living.  But, unlike many of their contemporaries, they did survive the drugging and drinking and left us with numerous memorable lyrics.  Lennon, the peacenik, the rebel, the political activist who found himself on the FBI’s “watch list” for subversive activity wrote “IMAGINE”, the lyrics of which could be a blueprint for world peace.

Ironically, Lennon’s  life ended prematurely in 1980 when an assassin gunned him down in front of his apartment building.  A man dedicated to compassion, love, and peace was taken from us by a gun-wielding madman.  Today, 50 years after the Beatles and 37 years after Lennon’s death, the music and the words continue to remind us that there is a better way to live this life which our HP has given us.

“I’d give you everything I’ve got for a little peace of mind”  resonates with the comfort and good will which has always been intended to be God’s gift to us.  For a man of immense wealth and talent to write those words offering everything he’s got for a little peace of mind should reveal to us that what is important in life is not riches nor fame.

Peace of mind is especially difficult to capture in today’s violent, unstable world.  We will not find it in church, religion, or philosophy.  It will not suddenly appear through the right ritual or prayer.  It is an inside job which only our connection with a higher power can accomplish.  When we realize and accept that nothing of this worldly existence is greater or more important than the God connection, then we will know the beginnings of “peace of mind”.

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