A Time to Reflect

     The season of Lent is a time for many to contemplate our lives and think about what is going right, what has gone wrong, and what we need to do differently in the future. Many of us abstain or "give up" certain activities or foods, and "give in" to things of a higher nature. There is much going on in the world and this is a time like no other in history. Working with children every day has caused me to reflect on my own childhood and how I can make life better for the ones I come in contact with, even if it's just for a day. When I was in school, I was bullied a lot. I'm not sure exactly why, but I think it had a lot to do with being different. My family was from Barbados and had a very different way of thinking and doing things. When I started school I had an accent and didn't know a lot of the games or ways of speaking that the other children had. My grandmother was a seamstress and made all of my clothing, so I dressed differently. I was already reading when I went to kindergarten, so most of the time I was bored with most of the books that were being read and always finished the stories early. In short, I didn't fit in!

      I know that by now you are probably reading this article and wondering: "What does this have to do with worship?" The answer is: Everything. Worship is the way we relate to God every day, not just when we go into a sanctuary. The truth is, children haven't changed much over time, and I see a lot of  the same behaviors that they do being repeated in adults. How do we treat people that we see as "different"? Do we talk to them and make them feel welcome in our circles of faith? Do we put on the smiles when they are around but talk about them as soon as they leave our presence? Do we go out of our way to greet a new person who comes to visit our church, or just ignore them? What happens when someone new joins wants to be a part of our group?  Do we welcome them in, or see them as a threat and try to run them away from the church?  These are all things that people have either experienced at one time or another or been a part of and I can guarantee that some of it is going on right now, somewhere. But, look at what God's word has to say to us:

I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me into your home. I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you took care of me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’“Then the people who have God’s approval will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and take you into our homes or see you in need of clothes and give you something to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? “The king will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you did for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did for me.’
 Matt. 25: 35-40 (GWT)

     Christ came into the world to save people. He didn't pick and choose whom to love, or which persons would be invited into His kingdom. He came to save anyone who would believe (John 3:16).  As worshipers and followers of Christ, He expects us to treat all people with kindness, even if we don't understand them,  because that is His way. During this season and beyond, this is the time to reflect on our own ways. It's time for many of us to "grow up" in Christ and really learn how to relate to others who are different from us. The harvest is coming... are we ready to receive the ones that come in?

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways. ( I Cor. 13:11)

     Be blessed...

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