…encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you. Corinthians 13:11
If we’re looking for the true answer to all that troubles us today it seems to be right here. Encourage each other, agree with each other. That’s the opposite of what’s happening these days and it’s all giving me a giant headache. Every time I turn around it seems like there is another line in the sand and a group of folks screaming at us to pick a side. Why? Is there a prize for being on the “right side” of an argument that makes no sense to begin with? Some issues absolutely do have a clear right and wrong side but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the stuff that stirs up fear and anxiety. The stuff that is based on half truth and opinion. The stuff that is dividing us for no good reason and is sucking away our peace.
I saw a headline the other day that said, “Where is God now? I was surprised to find the perfect answer to that question in this reading from Paul to the Corinthians. Where is God, well, he’s with you and he’s measured out his love and his peace in huge heaps if we do one simple thing….live in peace. Peace is a choice we have to make sometimes several times a day. When we check social media and get wound up over something, we have to stop and say, “Jesus, bring me your peace.” Instead of firing back a reply or comment to someone's argument, stop instead and say “Jesus bring me your peace.” When you read an article or hear a story about violence, unrest and blame, stop and say “Jesus bring me your peace and Jesus bring your peace to _____.” If we’re arguing and dividing and proving and blaming we won’t find peace; in fact we’ll create a heaping scoop of the opposite.
Paul gave these words of wisdom and encouragement a couple thousand years ago and it astounds me how much we still need them today! Encourage others, seek peace and the love and peace of Christ will fill you. There is so much nonsense going on right now if we actually stopped and thought about these short words and prayed for peace each time we got ruffled that would be a big hunk of time spent doing something that will actually make us feel better. I happen to think there are thousands of us looking for a way to feel better!
God is not absent right now. He’s not on a luxury cruise or hiking in a remote mountain range. He’s truly present and busy in the middle of all the mess but we have to seek him out. We have to go where he is, in the peace, the encouragement, the positive, the light. That’s tough to do some days for sure. The effort is worth it and our souls will thank us when we seek his peace instead of getting stuck in the mess. This is our cross to bear. Slugging our way through the ugly and the uncertain in our world right now is our way to grow in holiness. Growing in holiness takes effort. Words like these from St. Paul help break things down into simple, doable parts if we grab them. If you’d like a little inspiration from a wise disciple living a little closer to our time, here is some wisdom from an “almost nun” who lived through WWII and stepping into motherhood with nearly a dozen children who were not her own. “We shall be together with the man of Nazareth, who will recognize us as his disciples if we now patiently bear our daily cross.” Maria von Trapp
Where is God in all this? He’s right there waiting to help us pick up our daily cross so he can lead us toward peace. As we walk together through our day with those crosses, let’s take St. Paul’s advice and sprinkle some more encouragement and a little less arguing into our days.
A Seed To Plant: Call or text someone today with a word of encouragement. For extra “peace points” make it someone you don’t always agree with.
Blessings on your day!
…with God, all things are possible. Matthew 9:26
Twice a week, Mrs. Pohl and I get to have “Sister Zoom” with our 22 girls. Before schools closed in March, Zoom was a word to describe the speed you needed to travel to get a warm chocolate chip cookie as it came right out of the oven. Today Zoom is the technology that allows us to connect. Zoom is the way we teach, it’s the way offices have staff meetings, it’s the way we communicate with family and friends instead of sitting down at the table together. Twice a week it’s how we see our “girls” and twice a week it’s how the St. Mary staff gathers for morning prayer and yesterday it allowed nearly 100 people to connect to finish Confirmation Prep. God bless the person who invented Zoom! I can’t imagine how we would have stumbled through this pandemic without it!
The first Sister Zoom assignment our girls had was to bring a sign to hold up that contained a positive message they thought their friends might need to hear. It was a great activity because we were all a little frazzled and maybe even a little frightened when this all began, so giving them the chance to pick some words to lift each other up was good for the spirit. Today I thought I’d let them offer the same words to all of you. Here are a few of the messages they shared.
*Find a way not an excuse
*Wake up, smile and tell yourself today is my day.
*What you are, is God’s gift to you. What you become, is your gift to God.
*Wake up. Be amazing. Repeat.
*You were given this life because you’re strong enough to live it.
*With God all things are possible.
*I look problems in the eye and give them a wink!
*I may not be perfect, but Jesus thinks I'm to die for.
*It’s not the size of the girl in the fight, but the size of the fight in the girl.
*We all love a beautiful rainbow, but you have to get through the rainstorm first.
I hope their words put a little lift in your day, a little hope in your heart and a little smile on your face.
A Seed To Plant: Pick one or two of the messages and use them to lift your spirits this week. For extra credit, share one with someone else who might need a little encouragement compliments of the 6-1 Sisters.
Blessings on your day!
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