Some years ago I wrote regularly on this blog, then as President of the congregation I needed to write an article for the Grapevine every month. Needless to say that consumed my time. But I am back to the blog and hope to continue my ponderings from the Grapevine. During my time of writing for the Grapevine I received the name of R. Jeremiah – a reluctant prophetic voice. I think Jeremiah still has many issues to ponder and in so doing will hopefully help others in their journey of exploring and growing their spirituality.
While I seldom spend any time thinking about sins, I want to start by addressing what I consider to be a major sin and one that, I suspect, few folks ever think about – at least as a sin. These are Sins of Omission. Not something we do, but something we don’t do and in so “not doing” we are guilty of what might be the biggest sin of all.
When we consciously refuse to grow spiritually, we are rejecting the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 12:31 we read “Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” I am distressed when I see the poor attendance at special worship services and even more so with the poor participation in Bible studies and discussion groups. The Bible is pretty clear about many things. Perhaps at the top of the list is “love’ and, I believe, a close second is “to grow.” Refusing to be a full participant in the life of the church is a slap in the face against the Holy Spirit. It is a refusal to let the spirit lead us in growth and servanthood toward others.
In Luke 14:25-33 Jesus reminds us that we must count the cost of what it means to follow him. We are asked to Give up all we have, take up the cross and follow. Here is a reading used by some Franciscan Sisters in North Dakota to guide them in their walk with Jesus.
“GIVE UP ALL YOUR POSSESSIONS,TAKE THE CROSS AND FOLLOW ME”
† Give up judging others; take up the Christ dwelling in them
† Give up emphasis on our differences; take up our oneness
† Give up the darkness around us; take up the light of Christ
† Give up ill thoughts; take up the healing power of God
† Give up words that pollute; take up words that purify
† Give up discontent; take up gratitude
† Give up withholding anger; take up sharing our feelings
† Give up pessimism; take up optimism
† Give up worry; take up trust
† Give up guilt; take up freedom
† Give up complaining; take up appreciation
† Give up stress; take up self-care
† Give up hostility; take up letting go
† Give up bitterness; take up forgiveness
† Give up selfishness; take up compassion for others
† Give up discouragement; take up seeing the good
† Give up apathy; take up enthusiasm
† Give up suspicion; take up seeing the good
† Give up idle gossip; take up spreading good news
† Give up being so busy; take up quiet silence
† Give up problems; take up prayerful trust
† Give up talking; take up listening
† Give up trying to be in control; take up letting go.
Posts from various People reflecting on How Christ intersects with daily Life.