...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hope- God's True Miracle

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” Luke 2: 10-14 CEB

"In the snow and cold of winter, there's a spring that waits to be..." UMBOH #707
In exploring hope we can't escape one of gifts God has to give us!  The paper discussing transcendence defines hope as "expecting the best and working to achieve it."

But hope is a core Christian virtue as well. And hope is much more than celebrating Christmas a certain way. It's about what God wants, not just what we want.
So what happens when hope is lost? The Bible includes many instances of human hopes being shattered, or unmet. How about the majority of the people expecting a political deliverer and king, especially disciples like Peter? The mother of the disciples James and John? She wanted something special for her sons for their devotion to Jesus. Paul the Apostle? He prayed "three times" for his disability to be removed.

Isn't all human hope based on incomplete information at best and thus ripe for a let down? Human hope focuses on our limited knowledge and self-centeredness, often blinding us to God's gift of "wonderful, joyous news for all people."

There's a school of pastoral counseling that contends millions suffer from badly damaged hope. God's hope for us is more glorious and wonderful than we can imagine. At the very least, God's peace and favor for our world heals our lives and expands our futures.   

An amazing little story from One Minute Wisdom puts into vivid form a hope and prayer that millions of believers pray when they say "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done..." The truest of miracles and hopes is whenever and wherever we can participate in God's kingdom of peace and favor for all:

 A man traversed land and sea to check
for himself the Master's extraordinary fame.

"What miracles has your master worked?"
he said to a disciple.

"Well, there are miracles and miracles.
In your land it is regarded as a miracle if
God does someone's will. In our country it 
is regarded as a miracle if someone does
the will of God."


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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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