May 012013
 

HAVE YOU EVER VISITED A NEW CHURCH AND CAN’T SEEM TO BLEND IN?  You feel completely clueless as to what is and isn’t acceptable.  You are hesitant and awkward as you sing, greet the person next to you, and heaven forbid it is Communion Sunday.  It feels as though everyone is staring.  At you.  Constantly.

This has been my reality on multiple occasions.  Every time it is the same story.  I have now just come to grips with my inability to “fake it”.

We were attending my nephew’s baby dedication.  We had never visited their church before.  (You may sense the foreshadowing.)  And yes.  Luckily.  It was Communion Sunday.

I meticulously watched how to “do communion”.

IT WAS A FOUR STEP PROCESS:

  1. Go up front and take a piece of bread from server #1
  2. Dip the bread into the cup of juice from server #2
  3. Quickly eat the soaked bread (so as not to get drips on the church attire)
  4. Calmly and quietly go back to your seat

Straight forward, no sweat.  “I could do this Communion process in my sleep,” I thought to myself.  Waiting in line for my turn something caught my eye up ahead.  I noticed a tragedy.

Someone sunk their bread in the cup.  Alert the elders!  The whole scene brought a sick smile to my face.  In fact I even leaned over to my husband to clue him in.

Yes.  I judged. “How could the person have been so clumsy?  It’s not rocket science to dip a piece of bread into the cup.”

It was my turn.  And would you believe it?  I sunk my bread too.  Classic example of pride coming before a fall.  I hung my head in shame.

Why do I judge others so quickly?  My first response should be grace and mercy.  It’s what Jesus did and does for me.  “Mercy always triumphs judgement”.

It’s possible my new mission should be to start a support group for us “all thumbs communion dippers”.  Come on, I know you’re out there!  We would practice, practice, practice and then…who are the expert dippers now?  They say your greatest area of ministry is the place where your biggest life lessons have been, right?

This embaressing moment actually helped me see my legalistic, self-righteous mindset at times.  How often do I look down on someone for what they did or didn’t do “right”?

Even if I don’t say anything, I think it.  I am thankful for moments like these that humble me.  Lately it seems these teachable moments are not so few and far between.  They are every day.

Lord give me humility.  Forgive me of my self righteous attitude.  Help me see others as better than myself.  Give me grace and charity for my brothers and sister’s in Christ who think, act, or worship differently than I do.

Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Is there a specific brother or sister in Christ you look down upon?  Are you willing to humble yourself, forgive, and make peace if necessary?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 262012
 

I always wanted a sister.  In fact I came up with a sweet plan to make this dream a reality. 

When my mom was pregnant with my 3rd sibling, I told my younger brother to say that he bet the baby would be a girl.  I then would bet the baby would be a boy.  (My 8 year old self had a full proof plan.  Manipulation of my younger sibling.  Reverse Psychology-Want a girl, then say you want a boy.  Also, cross your fingers every times you say you want a boy.)

Needless to say all my hard work did not pay off.  No sister.  I cried when I found out the news in the hospital.  There went all my dreams of playing tea party, barbies, and dress up.  I would just have to make due with the playmates I was given.

Memories of life with brothers and no sisters:

  • Dressing my brother in a leotard and forcing him to practice ballet with me.
  • Being the “keeper of the peace” between my 2 brothers.  My younger brother was the master of teasing.  My older brother was the master of falling for it.  Everytime.  It took it upon myself to rescue my younger brother from my older brother’s clutches and give my older brother a couple of one two punches for good measure.
  • Playing Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles with my brothers in our “Nintendo Nook” because I didn’t have anything better to do.
  • Having numerous talks with my Jr. High brother that wearing sweat pants to school EVERY DAY was a fashion statement he would regret.
  • Taking turns in our pretend play.  Wedding first, then cowboys and Indians.
  • Forcing my brothers to play MASH.  (For those of you who didn’t have the privilege of playing this, you could see into the future. Where you would live, who you would marry, what car you would drive, and how many kids you would have with just a paper and pencil.)

As you can see, I was deprived of sister fun as a child.  I may have never had a sister, but the blessing/irony is that I now am the mother of 2 little girls.  I am daily surrounded by the laughter/love of 2 sisters, the sharing or lack of sharing of 2 sisters, the frustration/anger of 2 sisters, the mess of 2 sisters, the play of 2 sisters, and the uniqueness of 2 sisters.

The featured picture is of my girls.   I chose this picture because it was one of the few in which they were being loving to each other.  🙂  This picture represents an older sister taking care of a younger sister.   The younger sister looking to and wanting to be like her older sister.

When we belong to the family of believers, we have many sisters in Christ.   We play the role of older sister in some relationships and younger sister in other relationships.  In either role, we are one in the same faith, the same love, the same forgiveness, the same Spirit, the same purpose, and the same hope for the future.

So let’s build some lasting sisterhood memories.  Let’s encourage one another.  Let’s be present.  Let’s be the “keeper of the peace” when there are disagreements/differences.

We are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”  When was the last time you yelled out loud in pure excitement for a sister who received a blessing?  When was the last time you sat with a sister and cried with her in her pain?

A verse to ponder:  Eph 4:2-5 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

How has a sister in Christ been there for you?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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