Published on Mar 17th, 2016 by wpd-office | 0

From 3:00 p.m. on I was, as my mother loved to say, “busier than a one-armed paper hanger with the itch.” Of course, this little saying may not make much sense now because so few people paper the rooms of their home anymore! I set the table with my woven placemats, my most fun and funky dishes, my lovely gold silverware, the glasses with wheat etching on them, and the carefully folded white napkins. I made the soup—a brand new recipe for something called “curried corn bisque,” which I found in a brand new cookbook given to me at Christmas. Then I added triple berry muffins, watermelon and strawberry salad, and for dessert ice cream with lemon cookies. Not a bad meal, I surmised!

The best part of the evening came, however, when my guests arrived. I had not had an opportunity to be with them for quite some time, and it was as if we would never run out of topics to discuss—which I am sure is true! With such good friends, no limits to conversation exist! The evening ranged from catching up on families to discovering new things about college experiences to giving out recipes to posing deep spiritual questions with which we all wrestle in different ways at different times. The time passed far too quickly, and the good nights came with a certain reluctance to leave and let the evening be over. I was so grateful beyond words for their visit!

And then came the other best part of the evening. As I cleared dishes and washed them, then sat down to meditate, I was so utterly happy that I had this time to reflect, to celebrate the friendship, to think about what I had learned, to pray a blessing on the couple as they went home, and then to eagerly anticipate the rest of the night to which I could now go, secure in the joy of both the friendship and the time afterward to give to myself, but more importantly, to give to God. And a part of both this fellowship with others and with God is the stuff which I want to give you as a gift when I write this reflection.

How often our interactions with other people are so casual! We just say “hi” and “goodbye” with little thought. We may exchange some pleasant ideas, or for others, maybe the interaction is fraught with tension and unhappiness. We hurry about our days, with little thought of what we might be saying or doing—we are just busy, period. Or we fill our time with others with the trivia that makes up so much of our living.  And yet, friends, the people we meet, the people we greet, the people we interact with little or a lot, are, if rightly seen, gifts from God! And as gift, they are to be treated with utmost courtesy, utmost respect, utmost love, for indeed, that is how God treats them! Even if we do not like some people, they are still to be treated with utmost courtesy and respect and love, even while being firm and honest.   NOTHING is more powerful than to be with people in this way. We fix good meals, we take them out to eat, we press their hands and make them feel special, we listen to them even when we disagree, we discover new ways of thinking, we reinforce our old beliefs or get new ones, we honor their ways of living and being so far as we can. And when we do these things, we are on Holy Ground!

And then, we need to spend time with God. Such time can be consecrated to thinking about all the people we have met. Such time can be consecrated to considering how we can be more caring and loving to all. Such time can be consecrated to praying for and blessing the people around us. Such time can be consecrated to our own self-examination as we go about our lives. Such time can be consecrated to problem-solving and possibility-making. Such time can even be consecrated to simply being with God in holy union and harmony as two old friends might be together simply enjoying the being and the closeness that binds us ever more deeply into the Life that is now and the Life that is to come.

If, then, I could leave you with a gift it would be the gift of time with others and the gift of time with God. And I would pray for each and every one of you that these gifts might bless you and your days with the peace that passes understanding and with the hope and joy and love of our Lord!

Grace & Peace,

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Sonja Griffith,
District Executive Minister

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