Sunday, November 09, 2008

Reflections


I stowed my luggage in the overhead baggage compartment and sank into my window seat on the aircraft. The friendly man who sat next to me introduced himself, as did the woman beside him, but I was glad that they were soon in conversation with eachother. I had lots to think about on my way home from England.

We were soon airborne and flying at a lower altitude than normal to avoid turbulence. I looked at the land far below; at rivers, lakes and a patchwork of fields and communities, as the aircraft slowly moved across them like a giant bird. How peaceful and quiet the world looked from that angle!

The week I left for England I had been thinking about the ongoing work of God in our hearts; how he softens and shapes us, sometimes painfully, but always lovingly.

My friend Susan gave me a book to read on my journey to England called, A Treasury of Great Moral Stories~The Book of Virtues for Boys and Girls, edited with commentary by William J. Bennett. It might seem like an odd choice for an adult, but actually it was perfect.

The day I left, we both attended a leadership training day put on by satellite by an organization called Lead Like Jesus. It was a profoundly moving and challenging day, in which old fashioned virtues were emphasized as strongly desirable servant-leadership traits. Things like humility, kindness, gentleness and above all, love.

While away I memorized a couple of verses from the Bible about these traits or "fruits," : Colossians 3:12 and Galatians 5:22-23; and I spent time meditating on the character of Christ.

England is a secular culture; much more so than even Canada, and I was interested to see that when Christians showed up as characters a couple of times on programs on T.V., they were unflattering characterizations--portrayed as wacky weirdos. Yes, they were stereotypes, but sometimes there is a grain of truth in a stereotype. I wondered how different it would be if Christians spoke less about what we believe; focused less on what needs to change in others lives, and instead lived Christ's teachings more faithfully ourselves, truly following his example. The people he upset most were the religious people, but others were drawn to him like a magnet: the outcasts; the unpopular; the renegades--they all loved him.

If we did this, would people be drawn to us, as they were to him? I think so!

To be continued on Thursday.
Colossians 3:12 (New International Version)
12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

2 comments:

Susan said...

Thursday seems such a long way away!

Belinda said...

Not to me, the writer, it doesn't! :) But thank you for saying so.