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Dear Reader

I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?

I ended last week's column with pre-election suspense: "As sacred as
we hold our own conscience and free will we must hold as sacred our
fellow citizen who is opposite me. The choice is ours to build a
community, society, culture and nation that can find a way [to] value
our differences and from many, be one."

Despite my disappointment and inclination to write about "Father,
forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Lk 23:34, I
must respectfully "find a way to value our differences". Always much
easier to preach than to live or practice one's faith.

Coincidently, these last couple of weeks for those Christians who
follow a common lectionary (prescribed set of readings from scripture
to be read at church) have been about the end times or second coming
of Christ. We Christians differ a great deal in our interpretations
and understanding of these scriptures. Some make a very big deal about
these times as being the fulfillment of doomsday prophecies. But
following a more sober and "main line" interpretation, I take these
readings as a source of comfort in times of trial. Intended as they
are of a God's reassurance that no matter how bad things may get in
any given time or place, God is there to reassure and strengthen us.

In selecting hymns for my own church I've more recently discovered an
old hymn probably familiar to most Protestants, " How Can I Keep From
Singing" by Baptist pastor Robert Lowry. The tune and lyrics have
truly captured my soul in these times. "No storm can shake my inmost
calm, while to that rock I'm clinging. Since Christ is Lord of heaven
and earth, how can I keep from singing?"

Cling I must.

Sing I will.

Each of us likely live in a comfort zone of friends and family. But
nevertheless, we also interact at work, in stores, and with neighbors
who hold convictions and beliefs very different than our own. We may
get too accustomed to name calling and dismissing them in private. But
the danger is becoming convinced that these asides are true
characterizations. Faith impels me to seek understanding rather than
judgment.

When one's world is shaken, faith offers us safe harbor to gain our
moorings. Ultimately faith calls us to action. Action that must be
sourced out of hope and directed towards love. This leads me to yet
another prayer known to us all, and commonly sung:

"Make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred, let me bring
your love. Where there is injury your pardon, Lord, and where there's
doubt true faith in you. Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness only light, and where there's sadness, ever
joy. Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are
pardoned, in giving of ourselves that we receive, and in dying that
we're born to eternal life. Oh, Master, grant that may never seek so
much to be consoled as to console. To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love with all my soul." Words adapted by Sabastian
Temple.

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