Day 3: Congregational excellence

3.jpgEphesians 3:17-19
I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you will know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.

It had been coming for quite a while, but we had not recognized it for what it was, as I believe that we should. We lost precious children and teachers in a horrific event at Sandy Hook School. We also lost a parent and her troubled child.

But, God came to save all of the cosmos in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Doesn’t that call us to accept our shared humanity with all of its brokenness? To do so would open in each of us opportunities for the pain of others to be felt. By acknowledging and feeling the pain of others, we can begin to respond with compassion. After all, the word “compassion” means “with passion.”

Compassion is not regret. Regret forgets until the next time. Compassion is active involvement in the healing process.

I pray that you have never had to suffer the horrific pain of such violence. And, I pray that you never will. I also pray that we will be more sensitive to the pain and struggles of others on all levels, whether in our own country or in other lands across the globe.

There are no easy answers to the pain and brokenness that surrounds us. There is, however, hope. Hope came in the form of an innocent child:
• exposed to the elements,
• the neglect of the community,
• and the retaliatory fear from both religious and secular leadership.

Hope came through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is this hope that draws all of us to gather together in the loving embrace of a congregation where mercy and compassion reaches out to one another to bring healing and wholeness.

Prayer: God, grant us compassion for those You came to save. Place in us your heart for others, that we might find the fullness of life through living in the embrace of your love in our churches and in our conferences. May our congregations be healthy examples of your forgiveness and grace.

Dr. John R. Bonson, Sr.
Director of Connectional Ministries-Memphis Conference

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Use a program on your computer, a traditional journal, or feel free to use the comment section of this blog post to record your reflections as a conversation with others…

READ – What spoke to me as I read today’s meditation?
REPENT – Where is God showing me that I have failed to be obedient to the call to discipleship today?
RECEIVE – What words of redemption and grace is God offering to me?
REMEMBER – Who and what is God calling me to remember in prayer related to today’s reading?
RESPOND – How is God calling me to respond today?

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4 Comments on “Day 3: Congregational excellence”

  1. Rev Jackie Clevenger says:

    “. . .that you will have the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge. . .” In visits at the hospital, the affirmation, “God loves you” is the one that appears to be the most surprising to patients. I remember a man who had kept his eyes on the TV and insisted he didn’t “need anything from a chaplain”, slowly turn his face toward mine as I offered those words before leaving the room. Choking back tears he said, ‘no one has ever said that to me’. May we whisper those words to someone every day – and to ourselves as well – so we will ‘be filled entirely with the fullness of God”.

  2. Lisa Vaughn says:

    What a wonderful reminder of how we should treat people. In this crazy ole world we live in, and evidence of the devil running rampant here, we always need to have the heart of Jesus so that we will help the least of these. May we pray for those who hate us for being Christians, and by God’s Amazing Grace, may some of them be changed from Christian haters to become soldiers of the Lord. Thank you God for mercy and compassion. God Bless, lisa vaughn

  3. Dedra says:

    This spoke volumes to me today. I am broken today. My heart hurts as I feel yet again the loss of my earthly father. He left this morning to go back to FLorida. I feel much like I did when he left the first time 27 years ago. My main question has been why? why the hurt again? why the same old feelings of abandonment? THen I read today’s devotional.

    This Sunday officially begins my Childrens’ Ministry. How many children will the Lord send into my path that has felt the same abandonment? How many children will feel the same hurt I have felt? Perhaps I need to feel all those old feelings again so that I can exercise true compassion. Mr. Bonson gives an excellent description when he says, “Compassion is not regret. Regret forgets until the next time. Compassion is active involvement in the healing process.” Perhaps my feelings today give me the ability to be involved in the healing process of someone else tomorrow. Today, I choose to feel the pain of loss but yet, not to live in it. I choose to allow God to use those feelings to create passion within me, not bitterness. I choose to allow God to continue to use me in new and amazing ways through the situations in my life, even the painful ones. It’s through these times, I choose to allow Christ’s love to flow through me like a mighty rushing river knocking down all borders and walls that prevent healing. Today, I choose Jesus.

  4. Bill Vaughan says:

    Thank God for HOPE and COMPASSION!