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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 9, 2011

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 9, 2011 ********** As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 8, 2011
      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of January 9, 2011

      **********

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
      here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
      "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
      Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      Changed hearts

      Jesus asked, "Why do you see the speck in your
      neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in
      your own eye?"
      Matthew 7:3

      "I don't understand what you mean," I asked,
      "Who are 'trash people?'"

      The angry response came immediately. To this
      man, just about everyone except himself was a
      "trash person." One of his sons married a
      "trash person." What made her "trash" in this
      man's opinion was her skin color. "Trash people"
      included all the minimum wage employees who cared
      for his aging mother, along with gays and lesbians,
      and people from different ethnic backgrounds. It
      sounded as if the only non-trash person on the face
      of the earth was this angry, embittered man. My
      heart felt sick as I listened and felt deep grief
      for his children's spouses. This angry man felt
      none of them were good enough for his sons. His
      disapproval distanced them from his life.

      "Do you have any pictures of your grandchildren?"
      I asked. He seemed surprised at this question
      and stopped his tirade for the moment. "No," he
      replied slowly, "I've never seen them. Their
      mother is 'trash.' Why would I want to spend
      time with her and her children?"

      The Psalmist writes, "When I look at your heavens,
      the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars
      that you have established; what are human beings
      that you are mindful of them, mortals that you
      care for them?" (Psalm 8:3-4). We are made in
      the divine image and are not trash. We are
      fearfully and wonderfully made in our human
      diversity. God is an artist, making human beings
      with many beautiful skin colors with the capacity
      to love deeply. God must be sorely grieved by
      our prejudices.

      Madeleine L'Engle shares this insight about Jesus,
      the storyteller. Jesus tells the story of a
      person who had a huge plank of wood in his eye,
      yet did not hesitate a moment to severely criticize
      another for having a wee bit of dust in his eye
      (Matthew 7:1-5). The word Jesus used was
      "hypocrite." L'Engle writes, "The parable is
      a true story about our unwillingness to see our
      own enormous faults, and our eagerness to point
      out much smaller faults in other people" (L'Engle,
      Madeleine and Carole F. Chase. "Glimpses of Grace:
      Daily Thoughts and Reflections," p. 320).

      It is easy to see other people's prejudices and not
      our own. I wonder what people see in me? I wonder
      what hidden prejudices are deep within me? Where
      do I need to have a new heart to see people with
      God's eyes? Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), a
      famous Danish theologian, clearly understood that
      while prayer did not change God's unchangeable
      character and attributes, it could transform the
      one praying with a new divinely inspired perspective
      (Bretall, Robert, editor. "A Kierkegaard Anthology,"
      p. 470).

      Months after my first encounter with the man who
      thought of people as trash, I had the privilege of
      attending church with him again. He had experienced
      a dramatic moment with God and was truly reborn in
      his inner spirit. My mouth dropped to the floor as
      I saw him embracing people of color. I rejoiced at
      seeing him with his daughter-in-law. His
      grandchildren delighted in their new and wonderful
      relationship with their grandfather. His son was
      profoundly grateful to have a relationship with
      his father again. The son's mother joyously shared
      with me that she had been praying for her husband's
      attitudes for the past twenty-five years.

      It was a moment of self-realization for me. Quite
      honestly, I had not been actively praying for this
      family. Fortunately God worked a miracle in spite
      of my prayerlessness. Truly, God can change the
      hardest of hearts. God is alive and well, still
      in the miracle business of transforming lives.
      Prayer changes things, beginning with the one who
      is praying. Perhaps all of us can learn from my
      experience. Are there people for whom you should
      and could be praying?

      God, change the hardness of my own heart, before I
      so eagerly pray for others to have a change of heart.
      Help me see the planks of wood in my own eye, before
      the perceived dust in the eyes of others. Let any
      needed inner change begin with me. Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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