Posts Tagged hope

AT FIRST LIGHT…GOD’S DIVINE PROVIDENCE – Thomas Crowl

JOB:37:16…dost thou know the workings of the clouds…the wondrous works of His which is perfect in knowledge?

In a number  of recent articles I have written of special signs God has sent to remind me of His presence, often when I was at a low point in life and without much hope. On a cloudy Monday morning recently I awoke in another hospital bed trying to get my heartbeat regular and allow me to go home. On a particular Monday of late I opened my eyes to a solid wall of gray cloud and just then my blessed family physician appeared. A constant smile on his face and the look of possibility in the air. As he spoke his opening lines I saw the solid bank of clouds break and a piercing light emerge to chase the gloom from the air. This would be the beginning of hope and divine intervention!. His mastery of my problems would quickly disappear as he called a close colleague to resolve a urinary emergency. It went on like this for some time til I realized the completeness of  God’s mercy. In hours I would have all my issues dealt with, an expert at arms length and what would have been a very long day shorten considerably. Being named Thomas doubt kind of went with the name!

     You are always the possibility of success and when God is in your corner that possibility expands considerably. This was the special lesson of the day God intended. As the day wound on I learned of the incredible work of my doctor. His calls to associates, his re-working appointments and bringing in the cooperation of many others. In a world of “what’s in it for me” I was confronted by God’s special instruction…that the best of what we are is available as a gift to be given at the first call for help. The glow of that day will last with me for many years to come…that love and kindness are His greatest gift and not to be doled out piecemeal…and that we can join this cadre of souls anytime.

     I thought on other issues then, the special gift in life of a loving wife, who though troubled by her own ailments, would rise each day to gather and solve my problems. The welcoming door of my home, though not perfect, was as warm and welcoming as any.

     It is my sacred prayer for you this day that God will open those clouds in your life and help you welcome in the brilliant life of promise…available in that next minute. 

JOB WOULD GIVE US SO MANY EXAMPLES OF THE POSITIVE FORCE THAT LIVES WITHIN THAT NEXT REQUEST…A FORCE THAT DRIVES AWAY

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Skunk Hour – The Rev. Deborah Meister* – The Daily Cup

Skunk Hour
 Oct 12, 2016 07:40 am

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Two weeks ago, I was sitting on a bench in a field, watching the sun come up over the river. A thick mist rose from the water and made the field, the trees, the hills, the river itself vanish into a gray haze. Near the river, I saw three tree-stumps, which then began to move. The fog had been so thick that I had not been able to see that they were deer.

After a space, there was movement: a frisking and frolicking somewhere near my feet. I looked over and saw a skunk, dancing its way along the ground. It was small and delicate; its white stripe painted jauntily over thick black fur. It hopped and skipped and smelled the flowers.

I don’t think I’d ever been that close to a skunk before. (It’s not wise.) And so it had never occurred to me that they might be joyful creatures. All we ever hear about is the stench: fear and reaction, and lingering soggy shame. But my eyes were opened to the beauty that was there, beyond my fears, beyond my stereotypes, in the real and living beauty of God’s world.

So much of our experience is like that, I think. It is so easy to take one thing, one event, and let it color your sense of a whole person or community. Sometimes, I guess, that’s appropriate. I would never urge a person to be alone with someone who had assaulted him or her, or pretend that there was nothing sick in Weimar Germany. But most of time, taking that narrow view merely deprives us of much that is good.

The person who let you down still has a rest of their life. The community that is facing change may well grow in ways that are more beautiful and sustaining than it has ever been before. All we can do is trust and hope — and work for the future we want, maybe even beside people who have failed us before. After all, each of us needs to be redeemed, and the hope we long for in our own lives is the same hope that nurtures others through their bitter, dark nights.

There s one Hope, and one Future. And when we get near it, the very thing we dread might surprise us by dancing.

“The Rev. Deborah Meiister serves as rector at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. The Daily Cup is one of my favorite blogs. This post is used with her permission.

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A Chaplain’s Hope for Furman University* – Rev. Maria Swearingen

IMG_3487 (4) - CopyThis summer, two days after nine African-American men and women were slaughtered by a white supremacist in Charleston, Furman-Lake-autumn600thousands of people gathered all over the state to hold hands, process outrage, and acknowledge communal sins. As I watched 350+ people from all races, creeds, and religious traditions pour into the Chapel that afternoon, I was hopeful about what a collective response to racism and xenophobia would look like for our country, for the state of South Carolina and for this campus.

I was hopeful then. I am hopeful now.

Even so, I must be clear. That hope is not borne out of ignorance. As a chaplain and as co-chair of Furman’s presidential committee on diversity and inclusion, I carry a host of stories that pain me to my core. I know Catholic students who have been told they are going to hell, Muslim community members who have been told that their tradition is inherently violent, gay and lesbian students who have suffered slurs and blatant disrespect, international students told to go back to where they came from, and the painful list goes on. Perhaps we like to think these things do not happen here, but unfortunately, they do.

We have much to be proud of. We have a long way to go.

Amidst my awareness, exhaustion, and outrage over moments like the ones I just described, I hold to the seemingly outlandish conviction that it is within spaces of great difference, personal, religious, social, and ideological, that the real project of the university comes to life. Homes for higher education were never meant to merely conceptualize democracy for textbook consumption. The real project has always been to facilitate space, learning, and opportunities for the enactment of democracy. This enlivens and enfleshes discourse, calling us into one another’s lives and stories. Here, we sit at tables and live in residence halls and actively listen in classrooms with people who help us grapple with our bias, re-imagine community beyond our well-worn contexts, and embrace the complexity of difference we all pose for one another.

My hope for “what’s next” at Furman is that we will intentionally and joyfully choose to be a place that presses into this grand experiment with equal doses of fervor and care. We must believe that the project is worth our time, and even at the cost of overdramatizing, the grounding force for civilization.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR  Reverend Maria Swearingen is in her sixth year as associate university chaplain at Furman University. Originally from Texas, she graduated from Baylor University and received her master of divinity from Duke University. She offers pastoral care and interreligious engagement to Furman’s faculty, staff, and students, along with alumni and friends of the university.

*This article first appeared in the Spring issue, Vol.59 issue of The Furman Magazine and is used here with permission.

 

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Fifty-two Keys for Living, Loving and Working

The Centrality of Faith

Faith is the foundation of all relationships, with God, with our self, and with others. We establish and develop relationships through faith. We decide whether or not we want to establish or maintain a relationship based on a mutual understanding that states, I believe that this will be good for each of us. We also decide whether or not to enter into a faith relationship with God and at what level. According to the Holy Bible only a minute measure of faith is required – our faith only needs to be as great as a mustard seed which is the smallest seed known. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We must also have some measure of faith toward ourselves. This requires that we know who we are and what we are about – not an easy task. Establishing relationships demonstrates a basic faith that there is a tomorrow – a reason to live, love and hope.

 

 

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