Have Bible Study? Be Kind! (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Helping? Being of service? Why not with a bible study? This way is a natural for me. I love teaching, and I’ve been told I’m fairly good at leading groups. As I read over this post from last May, I thought, “How encouraging!” See if you agree.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Peace I leave with you Shalom

Have Bible Study? Be Kind!

Another Wednesday morning, another bible study. Sure enough, the good people who came together to study the Bible today were gathered for their regular, weekly meeting. And I was there to help, to facilitate, to lead the study. And, as a resource person, too. (I do happen to know a good deal about the Gospels, which were our study this morning.)

The appearances of Jesus after His resurrection. That’s been our topic of study for the weeks after Easter. Today, we were back in John chapter 20. All kinds of interesting things came up! However, as I was going down the regularly-scheduled bible study I had prepared, I had a sudden thought. And I asked a question—actually two questions. My first, what do the bible study members think were the disciples’ reactions when the saw the risen Christ? Well, a whole bunch of answers came up. Discussion was lively! I thought the interaction was great, too!

In fact, discussion was SO great that I asked a follow up question. “What would be our reaction if the risen Christ suddenly appeared in here, right now?” Sudden silence. I could almost hear everyone thinking!

I won’t mention anything further about the bible study group, but instead I’m going to concentrate on my reaction to the appearance of the resurrected Jesus. (And hopefully, your reaction, too.) I probably would be scared of the Romans, for a whole lot of reasons, too! (Just like the disciples.) I might think I was hallucinating, because of the complete oddity of the situation. And I might—just maybe—find myself filled with joy at the Risen Christ’s return.

I found myself considering (in my head, in my mind’s eye) what it would be like if our Lord Jesus came in to the choir room (where there’s a large table, and where church meetings are often held). How would it be for you, too? Would we be totally happy that Jesus was here, in the here and how? Or would we reserve a corner of our hearts for our own business, our own lives and affairs?

And what about our feelings, our emotions? What would they be like? If you met Jesus in your church basement or Sunday school class, would you be afraid? How about sadness—even with Jesus right there? Anyone know the feeling of guilt? Would you feel even more guilty if you came face to face with Jesus? And what about happy? Anyone with feelings of pure joy at the prospect of being in the same room with the risen Christ?

Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace be with you!” He says the same thing to us, too. God’s peace is right with us. All the time. We have the opportunity to access that peace, that serenity. That shalom. Wholeness, healthfulness. The disciples had that opportunity. We do, too! Isn’t that a wonderful prospect, that we can access God’s peace, any time?

That’s how I was kind today. I shared news of God’s peace and love. Thanks for the opportunity, God!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Have Bible Study? Be Kind!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Peace I leave with you Shalom

Have Bible Study? Be Kind!

Another Wednesday morning, another bible study. Sure enough, the good people who came together to study the Bible today were gathered for their regular, weekly meeting. And I was there to help, to facilitate, to lead the study. And, as a resource person, too. (I do happen to know a good deal about the Gospels, which were our study this morning.)

The appearances of Jesus after His resurrection. That’s been our topic of study for the weeks after Easter. Today, we were back in John chapter 20. All kinds of interesting things came up! However, as I was going down the regularly-scheduled bible study I had prepared, I had a sudden thought. And I asked a question—actually two questions. My first, what do the bible study members think were the disciples’ reactions when the saw the risen Christ? Well, a whole bunch of answers came up. Discussion was lively! I thought the interaction was great, too!

In fact, discussion was SO great that I asked a follow up question. “What would be our reaction if the risen Christ suddenly appeared in here, right now?” Sudden silence. I could almost hear everyone thinking!

I won’t mention anything further about the bible study group, but instead I’m going to concentrate on my reaction to the appearance of the resurrected Jesus. (And hopefully, your reaction, too.) I probably would be scared of the Romans, for a whole lot of reasons, too! (Just like the disciples.) I might think I was hallucinating, because of the complete oddity of the situation. And I might—just maybe—find myself filled with joy at the Risen Christ’s return.

I found myself considering (in my head, in my mind’s eye) what it would be like if our Lord Jesus came in to the choir room (where there’s a large table, and where church meetings are often held). How would it be for you, too? Would we be totally happy that Jesus was here, in the here and how? Or would we reserve a corner of our hearts for our own business, our own lives and affairs?

And what about our feelings, our emotions? What would they be like? If you met Jesus in your church basement or Sunday school class, would you be afraid? How about sadness—even with Jesus right there? Anyone know the feeling of guilt? Would you feel even more guilty if you came face to face with Jesus? And what about happy? Anyone with feelings of pure joy at the prospect of being in the same room with the risen Christ?

Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace be with you!” He says the same thing to us, too. God’s peace is right with us. All the time. We have the opportunity to access that peace, that serenity. That shalom. Wholeness, healthfulness. The disciples had that opportunity. We do, too! Isn’t that a wonderful prospect, that we can access God’s peace, any time?

That’s how I was kind today. I shared news of God’s peace and love. Thanks for the opportunity, God!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Holy Saturday, Batman!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, April 19, 2014

Daffodils - photo by Kevin Jones, 4/18/14 Chicago Botanic Gardens

Daffodils – photo by Kevin Jones, 4/18/14
Chicago Botanic Gardens

Holy Saturday, Batman!

Today is Holy Saturday. Or the Great Sabbath. Or the Saturday of Holy Week. Whatever we call it, today is the day after the commemoration of the death of Jesus on the cross. Traditionally, this is a day when Christians wait outside our Lord’s tomb, in quietness, prayer and fasting. The Church is to meditate on Jesus, His Passion and death, and His descent into Hell. (As is spoken of in the Apostle’s Creed, just to serve as a reminder for those of us with non-liturgical backgrounds.)

Yes, I grew up with a liturgical tradition, but I have never observed a Holy Saturday service, with the altar stripped bare. Or, an Easter Vigil on Saturday night. So, these practices are very interesting to me—and somewhat odd. Different.

How do I see Holy Saturday? I look on today as a waiting-time. Waiting for the celebration of Easter, waiting in the quiet of that garden long ago, waiting beside the tomb—with the stone still standing in place. I do not necessarily think of going into a church for a service on Saturday; but that does not mean I am not thinking of Jesus, His Passion and death, and His presence in that tomb.

My husband, daughter and I took today to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden, to see the lovely growing things. As I reflect on this now, after the fact, going to the Botanic Garden reminds me of the coming of Easter, for the most part. Sure, there are a few blooming spring flowers (You should see the daffodils and crocuses!). For the great part, the garden itself is waiting. The buds and leaves of spring are almost ready to unfurl and push their way out into the sunlight. For example, the vivid, bright green of the weeping willows—about to pop open! But, not yet.

Sure. The Botanic Garden on Holy Saturday is not the first thing that jumped to my mind this morning. However, this choice of ours (in response to my husband) to go up to the Garden and to enjoy the relative warmth of the day? Certainly a welcome opportunity after the long, harsh, cold winter.

My intentional act of service today came later in the afternoon, when I brought over some things to my sister’s house. And I did enjoy myself as I spent some time with my sister, family and friends (Yes, the food was definitely a high point!).

I hope the time of quiet I had this morning helped me to concentrate on the death of Christ. I know this afternoon in the gentle beauty at the Garden caused me to think of the beauty and infinite creativity of God, even while waiting for the resurrection on Easter morning. Lord Jesus, I’m waiting! Waiting for You, the Light and Life of the world.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.