The Letter of The Law?

Am I more concerned that fellow christians adhere to ‘the letter of the law’ than I am about whether they are  loving God and loving others?

I don’t like to think so, but I suppose there are instances where I do judge church go-ers based on which laws they break.

What good does that do me or anyone else? Yes, I know, in some instances, we can help a brother or sister with a heart issue…but…isn’t that done in love rather than judgement?

I will be paying close attention to my attitude in response to other churchies. I don’t want to be judged the way I judge people. I’m a fairly picky person. If someone picked me apart the way I sometimes do in my own mind, I’d be done for. Completely!

I ask you, Holy Spirit, to remind my mind to guide to heart in loving response to people. All of the people.

 

I’m pretty sure, now, that I just guaranteed that some, er, ‘difficult personalities’ will cross paths with me in the near future.

Or, perhaps, my difficult personality will cross paths with you…

Just For Show?

There are an abundance of blog posts floating around lately about singing out loud in church. There is information about the history of singing in church, laments about how men are being left out because we don’t make it easier for them to sing in church, admonitions about staying silent when we should be involved in corporate worship.

Okay. Are we agreeing with the person speaking on the holy scriptures and/or sharing some testimony? You know, out loud. Are we praising Jesus when we give our financial tithes and offerings with a heart of worship? Are we joining in corporate prayer?

Are we singing songs of praise throughout the week, with our small groups or in our cars?

I adore the singing part. It is amazing how easily I lose myself in the words of worship, the music lifting me away, helping me into a place of worship and surrender. There are many times when I physically can not sing out loud.

The Holy Spirit blesses the group with his presence, and I am overcome. I raise my hands in praise, but am choked by the tears that flow…the only response I can manage.Maybe I’m missing it. Maybe all of the others in the room that are not singing need to be reprimanded. Maybe we should bring back those tasseled knobs that ushers used back in the day to rap sleeping parishioners on the head to wake them up. We could prod people to sing out loud.

Or not.

When people are moved by the Holy Spirit, they will respond in worship. Perhaps the silent person next to me is being allowing his/her spirit to mingle in worship while offering prayers for those around him/her during the time of music. Perhaps this person is mourning something. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Corporate worship means that we are agreeing together. I have a difficult time even imagining that it means we are following a prescribed order, not be be wavered from.

If there are people in the pew that are simply tight lipped in a personal agenda to avoid worship, then I hope and pray that the prayers of others along with the worshipful offering of song will be helpful tools in softening the hearts of these people.

If the worry of congregational silence during musical worship truly creates a worry that those leading the musical worship are simply putting on a show…then cut out the show.

Really, though, why be put out about people with natural talent, who have been putting in hours of practice, showing us that they are being who God made them to be? Please! Bring on the dancers, and the painters, too!  Show me how people pursue the gifts that God gave them and use them to worship and praise Him!

Then a gain, maybe I’ll be seeing posts about how remiss I am for not joining in the dancing and painting during Sunday morning meetings…

Excitable.

Excitable isn’t a word that describes me. Anyone that knows me would probably be more apt to call me blase`, or even keeled.

Oh, I do get excited about things! It’s the way I show it that makes people wonder.

I smile, maybe I eyes get wide, I say things like “wow!” and “neat!”  You know I’m really excited if I clap my hands.

Once, my husband surprised me with a cupboard full of new dishes. He took out all of the old mismatched ones, washed the new ones and put them up. He didn’t give me any hint that he’d made this grand gesture. He simply asked me for a plate to put the dinner on that he had cooked. I opened the cupboard and stared, confused, for several seconds before realizing what I was looking at. He was genuinely delighted when I hopped and squealed.

He knew, then, that I was excited about his thoughtful surprise.

I’m okay with that. Being called blase`. Holding my physical and vocal outbursts for truly exciting things.

I get excited about Jesus. When the musicians are up front playing their instruments and using their voices in praise and worship. When the accolades to God sweep me away and His Holy Spirit fills the room, I bounce and clap and weep. When a brother or sister in Christ is sharing truth, solid biblical truth, I want to raise my hands in the air. I want to stand up and bounce. I want to shout affirmations.

I can be excitable. But it has to be about something big!

Word of the Year

All of my smart friends have chosen a word to exemplify something important for them in the year 2013. I obviously don’t include myself in the list of ‘smart’ friends, as I am sure to have offended a few that haven’t chosen a word.  There are other words  that I could have put there instead of ‘smart’. ‘Driven’, perhaps, or ‘motivated’.  I could point out that there are only five (that I am aware of) people in my circles that have officially chosen their word. I do believe that there are far more than five smart people among all of those that I communicate with regularly, and far more that I barely touch base with on Face Book from time to time.

What I’m getting at, I guess, is that I’m having a rough time finding this elusive word. It doesn’t make sense to me. I like words. It shouldn’t be difficult for me to find one that defines something that I intend to strive for.

Last night, when I went to bed (isn’t that when the best thoughts come upon us?) I had two ideas that did some kind of strange dream-world meld. These ideas weren’t some sudden revelation cracking through my mind like lightning bolts. This is somewhat disappointing. Lightning bolt moments are amazing!

The thoughts were combinations of two ideas that I have been reading about, hearing, and seeing in many places over the past few months.

Orange.

Interruptable.

Okay, interruptable isn’t a word, but it’s the best way to consolidate the idea. Orange. That one is all over the place.

I’ve been reading a book in The Orange Series titles ‘Parenting Beyond Your Capabilities’.

I read a blog, Orange Rhino  about a one year challenge to stop yelling.

Orange has been surpassing green as my favorite color over the past two years. Orange. Of all colors. I have painted the girls’ bedroom orange. Two shades of it. The boy’s room has a thick orange stripe all the way around it. I have an orange duvet cover. I am strategizing  how to change the living room and kitchen decor to include orange. Yes, it’s that important to me. I began liking the idea of orange before I heard of ideas linked to orange. Now, every time I see orange around my home, or when I wear orange, I remember what I’m doing. Or, what I hope I’m doing. Or, most probably, I’m reminded what it is I want to be doing instead of what I am doing.

I want to be who I was created to be. I want to be patient and kind. Gentle and peaceful. Joyful and  with self control. No biggie, right?

So many things compete for time in my thoughts, it’s easy to forget what I was thinking about or researching last week. Even the things I was excited about! There is so much information, noise, and activity in our lives that committing to a course of action seems difficult. We need challenges and accountability partners, and creative ways to remind ourselves to stay on track. Well, I do, anyway.

Orange is the thing that is reminding me. One of bigger ideas I am reminded of is being Interruptable.

I get caught up in things. I have learned how to shut out noise and activity to concentrate on something. A book, a project, whatever. But…I have children. Scads of them. Seven, in fact. Have you ever tried to tune out seven children? It never ends well.

No one has to tell me that the needs of my children are more important than whatever project I am currently working on. I know this. The problem is when I don’t act like I know it. When I am concentrating and thinking and researching and I’m on a roll and someone wants me to look at something or hear a joke that I’ve heard them tell countless times. When my response is is a terse “in a minute!”, I have not shown my child that they are, in fact, more important that my project.

Just this morning, I began this post when my children were in bed and the house was quiet. They got out of bed one by one. They wanted breakfast, so I stopped writing to cook and feed them. One wanted a book read to her.  It was her brand new book, the one she just received for her third birthday yesterday. So, I stopped writing and read to her. Then the four year old wanted my to play Sorry with him. So, I stopped writing and played Sorry with him.  Next, I’ll be taking a child to a birthday party, taking another child to an educational outing, then returning home to start dinner, get a child off to music lessons and take another one to pick up a sketch book. All interruptions of this blog post.

But they are infinitely more important than this post. Even if it takes me all day to get it written. I don’t have an editor, so I’ll be hoping that my grammar is acceptable and my thoughts are coherent.

And I’ll be hoping that some of you begin to like orange.