Nehemiah (the governor), Ezra (the priest) and the Levites impart
Their wisdom on the people: Feast, share, rejoice. Wise words, for any congregation, any person. When God’s love has been poured into our hearts, joy abounds, and generosity. “The joy of the Lord is your strength,” Nehemiah and Ezra say.
“You find somebody who is judgmental, they’re self-righteous, always putting other people down, they’re critical, they’re always negative, they’re always harping at perfectionist things. It’s a sign that they don’t feel love themselves… When you’ve been broken, and then forgiven, you just start cutting a lot of other people some slack.”
Rick Warren penned these words. The grammar hurts, but the truth of it stings even more. When I am acting like this, it usually means my prayer life is out of whack. When I bump into perpetually peptic spiritual leaders, I wonder if the same is true for them.
“Blind guides,” Jesus says of spiritual leaders with no spiritual life. Their religion has nothing left but the skeletal remains of a once ebullient and robust life in the Spirit. It’s all too easy for any spiritual leader to do the same. Life gets filled with tasks and mediating the voices of the perpetually unhappy, and before we know it we’re no longer laughing with abandon, yelling at ball games, crying at weddings.
This time of year is super for rekindling your spiritual life. The weather is intoxicating. Go for a long walk with God today. Cancel an appointment. Drop some task. Take an hour and find joy. (Leave your phone behind.) Be silent. Smell the trees. Let God be God.
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He takes me to lush pastures, he leads me to refreshing water.
He restores my soul. He leads me down the right paths for the sake of his reputation.
Restore your soul. Let God’s generous and expansive Spirit bubble up inside.
Say today, “The joy of the Lord is my strength!”
October 13, 2010 at 9:20 am
Bishop, a wonderful message today. Reality speaks. Reality bites. DNA is harder to tend with. The Greek verb to grumble, murmur, to harp is “GUGGIDZO” and so I have this theory of my family journey…
Some Greek guy was conscripted into Caesar’s army and was forced to march north to the British Isles grumbling the whole way…he got there…it was cold and damp…nothing like home along the Mediterranean beaches…
His food was bad and then the whole Roman empire began to crumble and he was left stranded in Scotland with no money or means to go home… and his grumbling was perfected…
So, he remained there, married a local girl…the man known as “the guggidzo” in time became the man whose family was called Gygges… and hundreds of years later in the early 1700’s some of the young Giggie lads made their way to America…they kept migrating from Nova Scotia to NY to Ohio…
In time one of the descendants met a girl whose family was from Germany and now lived in NE Ohio…they would be my parents…
So, when folks roll their eyes at me when I grumble and moan…just remind them… “have mercy on Gigee…it’s in his DNA and he fights it all the time…”
May your time with God be filled joy today…God is joy…
Grumbling today less than yesterday…
October 13, 2010 at 9:59 am
Thank you for that, Mike! I SO needed to read that today…especially when I realized while looking at my calendar that every one of my days off since Labor Day were interrupted by my work, either purposefully or because of unplanned emergencies…and I am wondering why the soul feels kinda icky.
Thank you for reminding me!