On Seeing

She speaks loudly for a group that I dismiss too easily.

I wave my hand and declare them narrow-minded.

Too worried about “bringing Jesus back to America” and not worried enough about the poor and marginalized that yell to me on the pages of the sacred text we share.

I realize how judgy this looks in print.

I’m sure it’s probably one hundred times more judgy in my head.

In my heart.

In any case, we are talking about how Jesus sees.

He looks at a blind beggar (John 9), at a grieving mom (Luke 7)

And his heart swells with compassion.

Instead of averting his gaze and walking by, he stops.

He moves toward.

He sees.

He feels compassion.

He moves toward.

She speaks loudly for a group that I dismiss too easily.

And this morning, she sees me wrangling a toddler.

Perhaps, too, she sees my visceral response when my pastor talks about the church walking alongside the Little Ones.  And their mamas and daddies.

In any case, she sees.

She speaks gently to me.

And in the two minutes between when the service wraps up and when I begin the frantic rush to gather my littles, she offers real, practical help to this single mama.

I almost want to hear a patronizing tone in it (there I go with my judgy self again).

But there is none.

Just kindness.

Compassion.

And grace.

From one who speaks loudly for a group that I dismiss too easily.

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Fall on Grace

I want to write tonight about living in the questions.

Or about seeing and then choosing to feel compassion.

But those words are not coming.

Not tonight.

I read of a smart man, a teacher of the law.

He wants to know the way to eternal life (Luke 10).

As he often does, Jesus tells a story.

Of seeing a need.  Of feeling compassion.  Of moving toward.

This, he says, is what it looks like to love our neighbor.

Just do this.

And love God unreservedly.

And you’re good.

There’s only one problem.

But it’s a big one.

You see, we cannot do this.

Can’t.  Be.  Done.

And so I wonder again, if this story, and so many others

Are here for us to remember

We cannot do this.

We cannot keep this law.

We cannot work ourselves into eternal life.

We cannot love ourselves into eternal life.

The chasm is far too wide.

It is an abyss that only Perfect Love can bridge.

That Perfect Love did bridge.

Not long after he told this story.

And so, again, we must fall on grace.

Grace enough for the experts.

And the rest of us.

An Invitation to Kindness

I don’t like random.

Random giving makes me nervous.

I like planned giving.

Research, comparison, knowing exactly how my gift is going to make a difference.

This kind of giving is good, no doubt.

But I’ve been challenged of late to be pulled toward generosity with my heart as well as my head.

Spontaneous generosity.

Like keeping five bucks in my pocket for whoever might need it more than I do.

Giving spontaneously, with no strings attached, is a challenge for some of us.

For me.

But this too is grace.

Even if we don’t know how the story ends.

And so,

This weekend, I am giving five bucks to help two kiddos come home to their forever family.

And, before I go back to work on Tuesday, I’m going to sprinkle some random kindness somewhere.

I might blog about it later.

Or not.

I might even win a super cool prize.

Or not.

But I’m gonna do it.  For real.

And so can you.

This is your invitation to kindness.

Will you join me?