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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