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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

"Welcome... God Has Welcomed Them."

I ask for the grace to pray and meditate faithfully.  I ask for patience, compassion, and empathy.  I ask to abstain from compulsive behaviours.  I ask to find centre and make space for the revelation of the Holy as the Advent season of preparation begins.  I ask that my words and actions reflect a will to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly.

Romans 14:1-4
14Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. 2Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

1) "Welcome;" "...must not despise;" "...must not pass judgement;" "...for God has welcomed them;" "...who are you to pass judgement;" "...they will be upheld;"

2) If only we spent more time with this passage.  "Who are you to pass judgement."  How much freer would I feel if I ceased to pass judgement, on others -- and myself?  If I just let go of passing judgement and exercised a more intentional acceptance of others and myself?  Life might be a lot easier.  And where is the boundary between not passing judgement and letting someone get away with abuse?  It's really hard to abstain from passing judgement on someone who is yelling at me, my staff, or my volunteers!  Especially when I start out with the judgement that a particular person ought to know better!  It is a good season to exercise an abstinence practice.  A "judgement jar"?  Every time I catch myself judging, I put a coin in a judgement jar?  I'm not sure.  I'm sure that if I called certain meetings to account for judging others and made them pay into a jar every time I heard a judgement, I'd leave rich!  In this case, Paul is making it clear that the difference is one of religious practice, and not judging other people's practices.  I'm just reading on the wall in front of me I have "the four steps to expressing anger" from Nonviolent Communication: 1) stop, breath; 2) Identify our judgmental thoughts; 3) connect with our needs; 4) Express our feelings and unmet needs.  That might be more productive.

3) What is the invitation in all this?  For the season of Advent, can I abstain from passing quick judgement on others? 

"Holy One, help us to abstain from passing judgement on others, and help us all to connect more with our feelings and unmet needs."

Breathprayer: "Welcome... God has welcomed them."

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