July is a busy time of year for us folks here at the Beach. I am excited about all the wonderful things happening as we continue to be a source of Gospel Joy in the community. Our summer Bag lunch program for the Kids is off to a wonderful start. We also continue to serve our weekly meals for the homeless. A few folks of have volunteered at House of Mercy, offering support with cleaning and sorting of clothing. We are also enjoying the wonderful power of the Sun as it provides us with green energy. Truly inspirational.
In the midst of all the wonderful things we are doing we encounter a world that is in pain. I increasingly have more questions than answers when faced with our world at times. I find comfort in the Gospels especially as I hear stories of Jesus having compassion on the the crowds. I know for myself I can become numb to seeing and hearing the numerous things on television about violence in our country, violence overseas, pollution to our common home the earth, and blatant disregard for common good in our politics. We have a world in which compassion is very much needed.
We are called to open our hearts to God’s Spirit and grace. So for the month of July I would encourage us to practice compassion. But where do we begin?
Pray: Make a short list of some of the big things or people that concern you. (Maybe even people you don’t like) Take some moments to pray for these things. Pray for peace and that you receive the gift of compassion. Be specific if you can. Think about some of these things as we pray together on Sunday. Maybe even use your directory to pray for people.
Listen: Take some time to find voices that you aren’t familiar with. Strike up a conversation with someone new. Call somebody in the congregation you might not know well and say hi. Check out NPR for interviews from various people who might be different from you. Take some time to hear another person’s story.
Read Scripture, Especially the Psalms. The Psalms are a wonderful collection of poems that express a wide range of emotions. Pride, Anger, Betrayal, Despair. Maybe read the Psalms with someone else. Look for the emotions the Psalmist feel and look for yourself in them. The Christian life is not one in which are called to be “happy all the time.” God walks with us in all our trials. When we recognize that, I hope we can see how God is walking with others through their trails as well.
I hope that we can as God’s people not just do exciting things together but also learn to live in this broken world and offer Compassion to a world that so desperately needs its. We are Apostles, the sent one, We are sent out in the name of Jesus which means we are Jesus to the people we encounter. Let us be Jesus, Let us show compassion.