By Ron Harmon, Presiding Bishop
No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
[Excerpted from sermon delivered at World Conference 2023]
Several years ago, a woman approached Barb outside the Independence Auditorium and said, “I need a place to stay. Can you help me?” In a moment of divine disruption and compassion, we brought her, and her little dog, into our home. As we fed her and did her laundry, we learned she was a prostitute and addict in withdrawal. As she became agitated and aggressive, she hysterically sobbed, “I just want a better life for me and my dog.”
She eventually fell asleep, but we did not sleep all night. Were we afraid? Yes. We recognized the complexity and potential danger of the situation. She chose to leave the next morning, the pull of her addiction more compelling than the plea of her own heart. We don’t know the rest of her story. She wouldn’t take our phone number when she left. I want to acknowledge that the courage to share our home and resources was accompanied by a good dose of fear. But, that night in her presence was a divine encounter that indelibly changed our hearts.
What compelled the Good Samaritan to stop? Why did he decide not to play it safe but risk something new? Was he caught in the generous movement of God’s compassion? Did that change how he saw the victim on the side of the road?
Is this how God’s generous movement of compassion grows—as we risk simple acts of compassion, it grows within and around us, an unstoppable movement of goodwill, gradually enveloping our interconnected planet?
“giving thanks to God…at all times and for everything” (Ephesians 5:20)
[Adapted from A 7-Day Guide to Gratitude by Diana Butler Bass]
Often, we feel we have to escape from everyday life to embrace the mysteries and blessings of God. But we don’t need to go far, we can look inside ourselves. The greatest gift is the one we most often take for granted: that we are alive. Take ten minutes today for silence. Sit somewhere you will not be disturbed and set a timer. Reflect on the words, “I am. We all are.”
What happened in the silence?
Did a sense of gratitude emerge in this exercise?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.