Posts Tagged time

Why gratitude may be the best gift under the tree this year* – Jeff Brumley

If you’re reading this story on the new laptop or tablet or phone you just got for Christmas, be thankful.

But don’t forget also to be grateful, which, many spiritual leaders say, is not necessarily the same thing.

“We are taught repeatedly to be grateful when we have material gain, so it should come as no surprise that we wake up one day thinking people with more material possessions are more grateful,” said Joshua Hearne, abbot and director of Grace and Main Fellowship, an intentional Christian community devoted to hospitality, prayer and grassroots community development in Danville, Va.

“Our culture has taught us that gratitude is a bland cheerfulness that is all too often connected with financial security,” he said.

Rather, gratitude is a spiritual practice that, like other disciplines, requires daily attention. And its focus is on a growing awareness and experience of grace that may or may not be inspired by material blessings.

“In our experience, gratitude multiplies,” said Hearne, who serves as field personnel for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Those who cultivate gratitude, he added, “will not only be grateful for the thing itself, but they’ll be grateful for their own gratitude.”

Scarlette Jasper has seen that phenomenon firsthand.

Jasper is director of Olive Branch Ministries, which serves the homeless population, working poor and those experiencing medical crises, financial devastation and domestic violence in a 10-county area around Somerset, Ky.

The holidays always add a level of financial and emotional stress for most of the clients her ministry serves. It’s especially tough when children are involved.

“I had one call me last week saying the kids are asking ‘are we getting a tree?’” said Jasper, who also serves as CBF field personnel.

Likewise, there are more calls for help providing gifts and food.

“You just see the need increase,” she said.

But the gratitude also increases — even among the poorest people Jasper encounters.

Scarlette Jasper

“The families I work for are grateful for … the littlest things I do to brighten their day.”

It’s especially true for those struggling through medical challenges. People sitting with very ill or dying loved ones seem to be able to pull from a deep well of thanks for even the tiniest of moments of togetherness.

“They don’t have huge expectations,” Jasper said. “They are just appreciative … for the time they have together.”

Hearne said it isn’t necessary to feel sorry for people facing such challenges at Christmas. Doing so reveals a disturbing theology.

“This time of year it’s common to talk about how blessed we are and how sorry we feel for those who are doing without, assuming that material wealth is a mark of God’s favor or the value of a person,” he said.

Those who simultaneously experience poverty and gratitude, likewise, are not doing so despite their circumstances, Hearne said.

“It has little to do with their poverty. They just choose to practice gratitude.

*I posted this two years ago, but it is so good I decided to post it again.

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Ordinary Grace – Jo Turner

The Daily Cup
 Jun 21, 2017 08:54 pm

According to the Church calendar, we are in the season known as Ordinary Time. The 28 weeks are marked by … well, not much. No angels and wise men, empty tomb, tongues of flame, no ascending Messiah. It’s not called ordinary because it’s boring, however. The name actually comes from the root word “ordinal;” we are counting the weeks following Pentecost, all the way to Advent.

I’m more than comfortable with it just being plain old ordinary, though. It’s Holy Spirit season, when we are reminded that God is with us exactly where we are, not just in mountaintop experiences. I don’t know about you, but I don’t live a life of banners and fanfares, and life certainly is not always a celebration. Loving those enriching holy days as we do, we now have the opportunity to be Spirit-fed in our everyday living. Particularly here in Washington, we are often braced for the next dramatic turn of events. We may miss the gift of uneventful days to recharge in every way, including spiritually.

I left my office early today. Not in the best if moods, I was struggling, so I came home and scrubbed my kitchen floor. And I mean down-on-hands-and-knees scrubbing. In the silence of an empty house, applying myself to a simple task that humans have done for thousands of years, I started to feel at peace. As often happens, a bit of music started playing in my head as I worked.

From Bernstein’s Mass:
Sing God a simple song:
Lauda, Laudē
Make it up as you go along:
Lauda, Laudē
Sing like you like to sing.
God loves all simple things,
For God is the simplest of all,
For God is the simplest of all.

Whether we are scrubbing floors or sipping morning coffee or waiting for sleep at night, we can be quietly vulnerable to the workings of the Spirit. God longs to be in relationship with us, it is indeed that simple. Ordinary Time is a gift. Let us always keep an empty chair at our soul’s kitchen table for the heavenly guest. Our ordinary lives can be transformed.

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Fifty- Two Keys for Living, Loving and Working

Rest

The body and mind need quiet time. The body needs rest. The need for rest has been recognized since the beginning of time. Realize that there is a time to rest. Even the finest machine cannot perform at maximum output indefinitely. You are no exception. Rest your mind and your body. Turn off everything that makes noise. Sit and enjoy the quiet. We live hectic lives. We need time to pull away even if it is for just a few minutes. You will be amazed at the results. Quiet time is a gift you give yourself. It delivers both inspiration and healing. It helps us center ourselves. It renews our energy for what comes next.

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Fifty-Two Keys for Living, Loving and Working

Be generous

Be generous with your time, resources, knowledge, insights, praise and contacts. The more you share the more you have to share. Generosity often goes unacknowledged but never goes unrewarded. Dr. Robert Moore, long time president of Mars Hill College in North Carolina, said, “All that you have when you die is what you have given away.” Some say, “Give until it hurts.” I say, “Give until it feels good.” Read, Love is the Killer App, and apply the principles.

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