Dark, horrible, despairing news just about everywhere I turn. If it's not the tragic details, speculations and debates over Friday's massacre, it's the talk of the impending end of the world.
I found this link on another blog and it's just a series of tiny reminders that we have a choice, every single one of us, to make a positive difference. You might want a tissue nearby when you watch it.
Our sermon on Sunday was called "Bells" and it was a how-to to live a life of few regrets and to make a tremendous mark on the humanity around us and within our orbits.
B = set out to BLESS three people this week. A blessing can be a compliment or kind word, buying a cup of coffee or someone's lunch. Holding a door and offering a smile. It is not difficult to offer hope and goodwill. It's actually embarrassingly easy at times.
E = eat with at least three different people this week. Share a meal or snack and connect. Make eye contact, listen, engage, silence the phone and put it out of sight. We, as a society, are quickly becoming islands connected by fragile threads of technology.
L = Listen to God. An hour a week, get somewhere where you can just listen to and for God. No noises, no distractions, just racing thoughts that eventually calm into listening and connecting to the creator of the universe.
L = Learn. As religious folks we are prone to follow rules, sometimes to the point of crushing people. Spend an hour a week reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - the first four books in the New Testament). We all think we know who Jesus was/is. He was a baby who changed the world, an amazing teacher, and then He died and rose again (to simply sum up the Christmas/Easter stories and common overall feeling). The Gospels display Him in action, quote His words, and show us His heart towards us. He is the ultimate picture of grace and this world needs all the grace it can get.
S = Sent. Our lives have purpose. Every last one of us. We are not random, disposable creatures. We were created to love and be loved at the most boiled down level. Beyond that we were created to live life to it's fullest. And to give, love and be for others. We will interact with the world. Our lives will tell a story. It's up to us to decide what story we will tell. What picture we will paint.
In this Christmas season, into this hurting world, we can all ring with the hope and joy and truth that light does penetrate darkness. That heroism and grace, mercy and love exist and can be found. Be a bell. Ring.