Posts Tagged ‘harmony’

Asking and thanking go together. They are a song that has perfect but unique harmonies. Asking & thanking in prayer is a tight union, like an A Capella group that intertwines the main melody with sounds and riffs, highs and lows.

Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. [Philippians 4:6, CEB]

I cannot ask without thanking. Well, I should not.

If I take my anxieties and concerns to God in prayer, then the next thing from my lips needs to be my thanksgiving because “God’s got this!” That’s the point. The prayer part, the appeal, is not so much about God or Christ, but about me. I am sharing, as transparently as possible, how I understand my  situation and what I believe I need to happen. But listen, I may (more than likely) be wrong about the best outcome. Thank God. I mean, sincerely, I thank God who listens but is not particularly moved by my limited discernment.

But when I’m hurting, I tell God. When I’m confused, I complain. When I’m angry, I confess. When I’m convinced, I give God an opening to disagree.

Thanks for your patience Lord. Sing with me.

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kissandmakeupTherefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. . . . Be reconciled to God. [II Corinthians 17-19, 20b]
Big word: reconciliation. How often do you use that during the day? And yet, we are doing it every day.
As a parent, we are reconciling our children all the time: settling disputes, making compromises, restoring harmony. At work, we do the same, particularly if we work, as I do, in public service. Sometimes my front desk feels like nothing more than a complaint department.
The key to reconciliation is a willingness to participate in a two-way conversation. Both sides have to agree, both sides have to be in the game.
In the case of God, through the sacrifice of the Christ, the door is open for a permanent relationship with God. Many old rules have been cast aside and a new covenant was forged. But, we still have to go through the door and, as it were, sign our copy of the deal. It’s not that the deal is not a good one or that we need to dicker, we just need to recognize it for what it is, an offer to start over.
Here’s what is amazing to me. It’s never too late to “kiss and make up” with God. This offer is eternal.

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Of course, not all brothers love each other (or sisters either for that matter), but there is something indelible there. The Amplified translates this phrase: “loving [each other] as brethren [of one household].” The root of believers — operating as a family.

I Peter 3:8
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

For some people, the idea of family is riddled with issues, either because of brutal or emotionally handicapped parents or destructive behaviors by individual siblings. These are not people who will gravitate readily to the idea of a “church family.”

Others have close family relationships and they have a different problem: they know the wonder of strong familial ties and often find a group of believers can rarely engender that kind of closeness or trust.

I guess I’m somewhere in the middle, but probably leaning to the first example. My mother was mentally unstable and I never knew from one day to the next what I would awake to. My father died when I was child and I only had one sibling, five years my senior who left the family home for college and never returned in any kind of meaningful way. It was not until we were adults that we developed a truly mutual relationship. So, I confess, I’m not quick to embrace people with whom I am thrown together because we are affiliated with the same church body. It’s a trust issue, I know. I know.

Here’s what should happen anyway (in theory . . . in my mind): believers are bound to one another by their faith in God. This is actually a blood bond because of the nature of the Christ. It does not flow through our veins, but through our Spirit selves.

According to Peter, spiritually-based relationships should have harmony, sympathy (empathy), compassion, and humility. In general, this means deference to the other, concern for the other, sensitivity to the other, and willingness to compromise.

Wait a minute. We could be doing this all the time, church or no church; family or no family; believer or no believer.

These are the basics of “human.” These are the essential ingredients to relationships of all types: with strangers, lovers, or even casual acquaintances. Basics. Love of the first order. Love without strings. Love without labels.

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Paradox or miracle? How can anyone see the invisible? I looked it up: not perceptible by the eye. But of course, we’re not talking about the eyes, are we? It’s about “seeing” differently — probably the key to everything.

Hebrews 11:27
By faith he [Moses] left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

This kind of seeing is somewhere between the understanding that comes with “oh, I see!” to envisioning what is unknown. It takes both imagination and understanding to embrace the faith of a true Messiah, to relate with God, to engage outside the 3-D matrix in which we tend to live mindlessly.

In Hebrews 11, the author is reviewing a long litany of men (mostly) and women who stood out in history as people of faith. A short “typifying” moment or two is written about each one. For Moses, it meant going upstream (like most people of faith), but the costs were huge. Think about it: Moses lived in the household of one of the most powerful men of the known world. And long before Moses’s “burning bush” epiphany, he walked away from Pharaoh’s house to follow what he saw in the Invisible.

I wouldn’t say he used the best way of “walking away.” He operated as so many young people do when they are caught by the wonder of a sovereign God. They are bulls in a china shop, causing residual damage as they plow through their world to get through the door. For Moses, it was killing a man; for a friend of mine, it was becoming a missionary, determined to live by faith financially, along with a wife and three young children who were not in step with him: the family broke.

To see, feel, hear, smell or taste the invisible is mind-altering. I have had such glimpses, only a few, and they were exhilarating. It was easier when I was younger. But now, no matter how close I get to the invisible, my 3-D responsibilities pull me back. My feet are quite entrenched in the pragmatic. I am like an amusement ride that swings back and forth, my equilibrium challenged continually.

I believe we are called to engage in a harmony of both of these worlds: the visible and the invisible. Like the energy that flows within the body, there is energy that flows between us and others, us and things, us and nature. This is Holy Spirit teaching working within but also without.

Balance me out today Lord. Keep me mindful of your presence. Open my eyes to see the invisible.

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