Sunday, February 12, 2017

Wisdom for Dark Days

Today I heard words of wisdom on how to get through these dark days of a president who restricts the arrival of refugees, deports harmless people, and vows to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which provides health care to many who would not otherwise get it.

"What is not in the bowl cannot spill out," said Pastor Lynn Cheyney at Westwood Presbyterian Church today. "Take care what you put in your bowl."

She was quoting a professor she had at Fuller Theological Seminary many years ago.  If you have anger or hatred in your heart, it will spill out, he said, so we need to protect ourselves as we live in the shadow of evil.

We can't let our minds be filled with the nasty words pouring out of the White House.  (These are my words, not Lynn's--she carefully avoided mention of the prez or his administration).

It's all too easy to take on the nature of our persecutors--to be angry and vindictive.

Instead we need to use difficulties as opportunities for learning.

"I'm just thankful that I was the one being robbed, not the one doing the robbing," said Fr. Greg Boyle once.  Founder of Homeboy Industries, he often speaks against "the lurking suspicion in our culture that some lives matter more than others."  

"Everything can be taken from a [person] but one thing: the last of human freedoms-- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances," she said, quoting Victor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning.  This book tells about his experiences in a concentration camp during World War II.

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,  whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things," she read from Philippians 4: 1-9.

Focus on truth, honor, justice.

"Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows," she continued, quoting Charles Spurgeon, the Baptist preacher in England who lived 1834-1892, "but only empties today of its strength." 

Avoid attitudes and assumptions that draw us away from peace of mind.

What a powerful sermon--just what I needed to hear as we begin the fourth week of the presidency of 45.

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