A Living Faith

A Living Faith

Wednesday is coming! For students, teachers, and school officials, it marks the beginning of a new school year. Noah has been looking forward to this day since the middle of May when school ended for the Caldwell County Kindergarten. He is ready for school to begin.

Personally, I am ready for a season of normality. I’m also ready to live into our usual family tradition of dropping off Noah at school and quickly running to a restaurant that he will not eat at for breakfast. Suggestions are more than welcome on where we should go Wednesday.

While there is excitement and joy for a new year and the possibilities that it will bring, I cannot help but admit that I have some anxiety about this school year. It is the same anxiety I have felt for several school years and will probably always have. Will Noah receive the care he needs from his teachers and school therapists to thrive? Will other students respect him and recognize that he, too, is a child of God and a person of worth? What will we do if this doesn’t work out?

Those questions weigh heavily on my mind. Even though we have always had a good working relationship with his school, his therapists, and his support systems, I have that fear. Even though I have seen him thrive at every school he has been at and treated with kindness by his peers, I have that fear. Why? Because, as we all do when we are faced with an unknown, we are more focused on the negative possibilities than on what has carried us before and what will lead us moving forward. When life gets difficult, both in our homes and in the life of the church, it is easy to get discouraged, throw up our hands, and say, “I’ve had enough” or “nothing will ever get better.”

Ever feel that way? Maybe that sounds familiar to you with where you are in your faith or the how you see the church this morning? When we come to these moments, what can we do? Should we just give up and say, “Faith shouldn’t be this hard, and it’s hard for me, and I don’t like it, so I quit.” Or should we claim a way that reminds us who we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going? Continue reading “A Living Faith”

Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015 – Love

One of the things that I have struggled with throughout my life is love. I have a hard time receiving it and, to be honest, there are times when I have difficulty sharing it with others. 

Much of my difficulty with love is rooted in some deep hurts in my life. It is hard to feel the sting of not being loved by those who were unwilling or unable to do so. I have felt the painful rejection of friends, and even family members. The loneliness of connection, for an extrovert, can be quite difficult. My own hurts and pains, throughout the years, have created a wall that makes it difficult at times to receive and experience love.

It is painful for me and, to be honest, a reality that we all confront. In one way or another, we have all been hurt by love. As a result, we all struggle with love at some level, either in its giving or receiving. All of us know what it feels like to be rejected. We have struggled with sharing our thoughts with someone close to us. We have been hurt, broken, saddened, and frustrated by our attempt to share love or receive love. Writer and theologian Eugene Peterson writes about our desire for love. He says, “In no other human experience do we fail so frequently, get hurt so badly, suffer excruciatingly, and get deceived so cruelly as in love. Still, we continue to long for it, dream of it, and attempt it.”  Continue reading “Sunday’s Sermon: Resolution 2015 – Love”

Expect the Unexpected

A high school friend of mine, yesterday, made an interesting observation on Facebook about this time of year. She said she wanted a bumper sticker that proclaimed to fellow drivers how she survived shopping at Wal-Mart the Saturday before Christmas.

That is a bumper sticker we all want by this point in December. We have arrived at the moment in the Advent season where we start to echo the motto of “survive and advance.” Survive all the rushing around, the frustrated shoppers, the overcrowded parking lots, in order to advance to the celebration of Christmas morning. After a month of hustle and bustle we’re just ready for things to slow down and to move on to the celebrations.

To be honest, however, there might be some among us who might have a different view about at this time in December. You might not be thinking about simply surviving to Christmas morning or wishing for things to slow down. You are thinking about something else. You are just ready for Christmas to be over. Continue reading “Expect the Unexpected”