Stripped image of John Wesley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Do you believe you are going on to perfection?”
Perfection? What an impossible goal, some of us might think. We are just trying to do the best we can, and we know that we are not anywhere near perfect! How could the question even be asked. We are often encouraging ourselves and others to self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is difficult enough, much less the idea of perfection. What a question!
This is a question that is regularly asked, however. It is asked of those being ordained in the United Methodist Church. It was asked by John Wesley to any who were leadership in the early Methodist movement. United Methodist believe in perfection. Steve Manskar in wesleyanleadership.wordress.com says: Wesley defined perfection as “love [seated] upon the throne which is erected in the inmost soul; namely, love of God and [humankind], which fills the whole heart, and reigns without a rival” (Sermon 92: On Zeal). It is the “holy tempers” formed in the soul: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
It is a lofty goal, but we are called to aim high. We are called to self-acceptance, but we are also called to grow in God’s grace. We are always a work in progress. We need transformation. We need to strive towards perfection. If you don’t believe that you are going on to perfection, then where are you going? Are you headed anywhere? Are you just staying where you are?
This week, let us accept that we are not perfect, but we are going onto perfection. We are on a journey. Let us work towards being more fully the people God has created us to be.
Image via Wikipedia
We can predict so many things in this modern age that there are very few surprises. Thanks to NOAA we can even track Santa’s path around the world. Babies are different. They come when they are ready. They come when it is time. Doctors try to predict, and they are close, sometimes. However, the baby always has the last say. My doctors had determined to induce labor on a particular day, but my baby decided to come a day early. She wanted everyone to know that her arrival was on her time schedule.
The celebration of Jesus birth comes at the same day every year, but there is something else that is less predictable. The birth of God’s Spirit within us is unpredictable. Whether it is our first awareness of God’s love. Our first acceptance of God as our Lord and Savior is another surprising moment. It is that moment we accept that we are disciples of Jesus Chris or even the realization that we have put our whole trust in God’s grace. The way grace works within us, transforms us, and offers to us a new way of living and being is often a surprise.
Some believe that once the first ha happened, then there are no more surprises, but God still has surprises and blessings in store for us. If we are open to the possibilities, then we will experience the birth od God’s Spirit within us. We will be reawakened to grace. We will experience a heart-warming, life altering moment of grace. As we prepare to celebrate Jesus birth, be open to the surprises. Be open to the moments of grace. Be ready for God to be born within you.
In the gospel of John, John 4:5-42, Jesus goes to an unusual place, Samaria, and he meets an unusual woman. She is a Samaritan, and she is judged by others. There must be a lot of things in her life, because she goes to the well in the middle of day to avoid the other women of the village. While trying to avoid the other women, she meets Jesus. He asks nothing of her, and offers to give her living water. Jesus went to one of the places that was usually avoided and talked with a person who was usually avoided. Instead of feeling awkward, Jesus offers to quench the woman’s thirst. He offers to give her eternal life.
What about us? When do we purposefully engage others so that we might offer to them the life giving presence of God? Most of the time, we avoid those people and places that are not comfortable or acceptable to our own social group. We don’t associate with those who are different, especially if we deem them less than us. Maybe it is time for us to seek out new relationships. Maybe we should be making friends with those who are different. In those new relationships, we may find that we learn about ourselves as well as God’s grace.
Take a look at this video on You Tube as you consider were you might meet and build relationship with those people who are different.