Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr Day, the only federal holiday that is a national service day. What a wonderful way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. He was a man of dedication, commitment and humble service. He was a man who lived his convictions trying to bring peace and love to our country, using Jesus as his model. As I’ve contemplated Dr. King I’m drawn to his quotes. I believe the best way to share the peace and love that he described is to share his actual words.
One of Dr. King’s images he used in his last speech, “I Have a Dream”, was that of a Drum Major. He spoke of the Drum Major instinct – that instinct to be first in order to be the most important. “But that isn't what Jesus did; he did something altogether different. He said in substance, "Oh, I see, you want to be first. You want to be great. You want to be important. You want to be significant. Well, you ought to be. If you're going to be my disciple, you must be." But he reordered priorities. And he said, "Yes, don't give up this instinct. It's a good instinct if you use it right. It's a good instinct if you don't distort it and pervert it. Don't give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be first in love. I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. That is what I want you to do."
When I walk through the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, I stop to read the quotes that offer the depth of his message. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." It reminds me of a favorite passage from Doctrine and Covenants. (163:4a) “God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.”
We mustn’t allow ourselves to become complacent, believing our contributions to the welfare of others is inconsequential. Every kind word, every kind act is meaningful and may be the only encouraging gesture of compassion and worthiness a person may encounter that day.
Dear God, our leader of justice and love, direct us in ways of compassion. Turn our eyes so we see the pain, hunger, loneliness and needs of others. Ignite our passions to serve so we may show others their worthiness and your love. Help us to say, “Here I am, Lord, send me.” In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Welcome to the Sunday Morning Devotion. If you are like me you are feeling rather harried at this very moment. It’s difficult to enter into time with God when your mind is thinking of a hundred other things. So let’s take a deep breath. Inhale deeply. Exhale fully. Dear God, clear our minds. Wash away the lingering emotions of worry and stress. Remove the clutter of thoughts that hang on like filmy fragments of cobwebs.
Perhaps we should work hard to align our gifts to our perceived view of God’s plan for us. But could that actually impede our progress? Instead of focusing on “his will for ME”, we need to focus only on “HIS WILL” Don’t chase your call but chase the God who calls you.
The words in the hymn “The Summons” says
“Will you come and follow me
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know
And never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
Will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown
In you and you in me?”
Let’s look at those words again. “Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?” Yes - Chase the God who calls you.
If we can but clear the clutter of our will and allow God’s will in our lives, we might hear God’s call more clearly. Embrace the quiet where God resides. Don’t just expect a push; be ready for the nudge. By all means, use the gifts and talents that God has given you. But don’t limit yourself. God knows you are able to do so much more. He might be preparing you for something that has never even been on your radar.
“Lord, your summons echoes true
When you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you
And never be the same.
In your company I'll go
Where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow
In you and you in me.”
May we open the door of our mind and our heart to allow the breath of God to enter in. As the breath of God fills the very center of our being, may the mighty wind or the gentle breeze of God’s call be heard.
Author: Bonnie Barber
[The words of "The Summons" are printed with permission under ONE license 722962.]
Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Are you a stargazer? I was disappointed last night that it was raining. I was hoping for a clear night where I could view the stars. The rain was intermittent, but it was just enough to keep me inside, stars or no stars. I’ve been thinking about the star that shown so bright at Jesus’ birth. So bright that men could use it to navigate their way to Jesus. If there were no star – how would they have found Jesus? We don’t have that particular star, so how do we find Jesus?
What shines bright in your life? What person or event has been an important part of your journey to Jesus?
I look back I have to place my parents as the star. For them, going to church was important and we went every Sunday. But my parents didn’t only take me to church, they were part of church. My father was the Christian Education Leader. My mom was an active behind-the-scenes person, offering her time and support to the church events. The scripture that defines my mom is “Feed my sheep”. Our home was a meeting place for church outdoor dinners and get-togethers. Church was established as an important way of life. My parents were my star. Who was yours?
Is there an event in your life that was life-changing that led you to Jesus? I know there have been several events that have shone brightly for me. My introduction to Community of Christ has had a significant, over-the-top influence. I found Community of Christ as a teenager when dating my boyfriend, now husband. Within that body of people, I found an exercise of faith that was astounding. People shared their faith so personally. People from all walks of life taught classes, gave sermons, and shared personal testimonies where they saw the hand of God and the Holy Spirit active in their daily lives. It was those testimonies that changed the way I looked at my life. They helped me see God in my every day. And those testimonies were stars leading me to Jesus.
I also label God as a star. God led me to Jesus and leads me today. It is through God’s word. It is through God’s strength and comfort where I lay my head. It is His hand that guides me and holds me up. It is His patience, and it is His grace. It is His overwhelming love for all people. I will stop in a crowd and look around and my mind explodes as I realize anew that God loves each and every person that I see. I don’t know all these people. There are so many strangers, and God loves them all and walks amongst them. God leads me to Jesus.
How has God been a leading star for you? What events or people have been instruments of God’s heart and hands in your life? Whoever, whatever and wherever your star has been, keep your eyes on that star. There was only one star that led the shepherds and the wise men to Jesus. We have many stars. May those stars shine bright in your heart, mind and soul every day and lead you on. And may you be that shining star that illumines another person’s path to Jesus.
Author: Bonnie Barber, Co-Pastor, Washington DC Community of Christ