March 27-31: Sign, Grace, Open, Will, & With

“Through the darkness
Through the fire
Through my wicked heart’s desire
Your love remains, Your love remains
Though I stumble
Though I falter
Through my weakness You are strong
Your love remains, Your love remains”
~The Brilliance

We live in a world where there are signs all around us. An example of a sign is between Noah and God in Genesis 9:17 where it says “Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.” Signs take form in many forms in the world, we just have to look for them. How we see signs is just part of the question and journey. How will you look for signs this week? 

Grace is a very Wesleyan and Methodist thing. It’s something the founder of Methodist Church John Wesley cared about deeply. We as Methodists believe in 3 kinds of graces: prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying. I will be focusing on sanctifying. From The United Methodist Church site it says “Through God’s sanctifying grace, we grow and mature in our ability to live as Jesus lived. As we pray, study the Scriptures, fast, worship, and share in fellowship with other Christians, we deepen our knowledge of and love for God. As we respond with compassion to human need and work for justice in our communities, we strengthen our capacity to love neighbor. Our inner thoughts and motives, as well as our outer actions and behavior, are aligned with God’s will and testify to our union with God.” So much in what I do that is social justice oriented is related to sanctifying grace.

As I have matured my ideas on ministry with the poor have changed as my eyes have been opened up with the ability to see the will of what the people in need want, not what I want. I use to be a mission trip lover but I didn’t realize how toxic we have created mission trips until I did a cultural immersion trip instead. I did a cultural immersion trip to the Philippines in July of 2014. Our objective on the trip wasn’t to change anything but to be in ministry with the poor. Our job was to just be with the children in the Parañaque. We learned about the housing crisis that was being experienced in the Parañaque, people we living off of borrowed land that the government could take away from them at any moment. No running clean water and proper sanitation was lacking where people were living. I’ve learned that ministry with the poor is about being with the people and the community, it’s not about what you want it’s about what the community wants and needs.

I’m closing with the first verse and chorus of “Open My Eyes, That I May See” hymn #451 in The United Methodist Hymnal.  Open my eyes, that I may see Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me; Place in my hands the wonderful key That shall unclasp and set me free. Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready my God, Thy will to see, Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

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