Sunday, September 11, 2011

Coincidence or Message?

Is it a coincidence or a message?  That was our priest's question for us this morning.  Is it a coincidence that our Gospel reading this morning, September 11, 2011, is about forgiveness, or is it a message?  September 11, 2001 is a date that is seared onto every brain, and the pain and shock of the events of that morning are still raw, still fresh for many of the citizens of this country.  Many U. S citizens woke this morning knowing instantly that it was the 10 year anniversary of the most horrific terror attack on our country.  But not me.  I had to be reminded of the significance of today's date by my priest.  You see, my mind has been elsewhere of late.

I have made a mistake that is common amongst stay-at-home moms.  I have over-extended myself.  I have volunteered more hours than I can afford to give.  I've made a note of it, and will try to not repeat this mistake next year, but for this year, I'm tied to my commitments.  So, for the past month I have been running to and fro, smiling, shaking hands, and trying to act like I've got it all under control, even though, on the inside, I'm coming apart at the seams.  Much of this running around and generally feeling like I don't have even one minute to spare has kept me from going to church.  For quite some time now I've been saying to myself, "I just need to get through this one task.  I'll go next week when I have more time."  But this week, Sunday school started, so I had a really good reason to make the trip.  Ok, ok, that's just a joke - maybe not even a funny one.  I went to church this morning because I needed to go.  I needed to take a break, slow down, and pray.  My heart, soul and spirit needed to be rejuvenated.  And, apparently, I needed to be reminded that my little world is part of a, much larger, global community.

My priest may have meant for today's sermon to be about the difficult task of forgiving those who have done us grievous wrongs, but it meant something entirely different for me.  I have experienced several events over the past week that struck me as important, and today's sermon about letting go of anger and forgiving seemed to tie them all together. 

Lately I've been feeling guilty because many of my prayers have been hurried and rushed, and always asking for something.  It seemed that I would get to the end of my long list of requests and then say something like, "uh, oh yeah, and uh, thanks for a beautiful day....."  Not exactly glorifying God's mercy.  Then last week, I was sitting with a group of women and we were talking about this very thing when one of them said, "I think God wants us to come to Him with our problems."  As soon as I heard those words, I knew they were important.  A few days later I read a verse in my Bible that seemed completely new.  "In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other," Eccl. 7:14  Then my daughter stated that people who don't believe in Jesus are koo-koo.  At first I just laughed and thought, "How cute.  The things kids say!"  My husband didn't share these thoughts and a rather serious discussion ensued.  I walked away feeling ashamed and pretty off balance.  Once again I was faced with the dilemma that our world is filled with people of different beliefs.  How do I deal with this reality and still give my daughter a solid foundation of faith?  Lastly, just before I left this morning I was talking with a dear friend who is going through a very tough time.  Through out most of our conversation I just wanted to plead with her to please stop being so angry.  Of course, I couldn't actually say that.  She would have viewed it as affirmation that everyone was against her and she was alone in the world. 

With all of these events and a few others floating around in my head, I entered my church for the first time in many weeks.  I knelt and prayed for my friend; I asked that she be so filled with love from the Lord that there would be no room for her anger and unhappiness.  I asked for answers, for comfort, and for peace.  And there it was!  Less than 10 minutes after my prayers!  Our second reading for the day: Romans 14:1-12.  The very first line jumped out like it was in bold type, "Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions."  I knew this was the way to explain those with different beliefs to my daughter while maintaining the integrity of our own beliefs.  Then came the sermon.  All about how damaging harboring anger can be to the person who is angry, and yet doesn't even touch the person who is the subject of all that energy.  How forgiveness doesn't make a wrong right, but has tremendous healing power for the one who was wronged.  How forgiveness is essentially the letting go of anger, and does not need the cooperation (or even knowledge) of the other party.  After church let out, it seemed that everywhere I looked I saw quotes from the Bible telling me to trust in the Lord, and to bring my burdens before the Lord.  My whole morning was like one huge epiphany!  So, the question again: Coincidence or Message?  I don't believe in coincidence.

Every day of our lives was made for us by God.  He makes each day perfectly and beautifully, even the bad days.  I know this is a little deep for a "Cooking with Kids" blog, but it was what was in my heart.  And frankly, I've been so consumed with everything I've been doing that I haven't been including my kids in any meal preparation lately.  I guess I'm feeling a little guilty about that too.

1 comment:

  1. This filled me with joy. Thank you.

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