So I am sending you

by Pam Tinsley

“As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you,” Jesus says to his disciples in the upper room on the evening of his resurrection (John 20:21). We hear this verse every year on the second Sunday of Easter as part of Jesus’ greeting to his startled disciples, who are gathered fearfully behind locked doors. Note that after offering his peace, Jesus’ first message to his disciples is to go back into the world to continue Jesus’ ministry.

This serves as a good reminder that Jesus consistently meets people where they are, physically and spiritually. During his earthly ministry he healed, taught, forgave sins, reconciled people to God and to one another, and gave hope to the poor and marginalized. Jesus called his first disciples while they were in the midst of their daily lives, working as fishermen, as tax collectors. And Jesus also calls us to follow and serve him in the midst of our daily lives.

Jesus reminds both his first disciples – and us – that we are to continue his ministry out in the world and not within our church walls. The Episcopal Collect for the second Sunday of Easter also emphasizes this message: “Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess in their faith.” At a time when we are still savoring the joy of the resurrection, Jesus sends us out of the comfort of our rooms and churches to continue his ministry by helping to heal a hurting world with our love for one another, wherever we might be.

Advertisements

Resolutions

by Pam Tinsley

As we turn the pages of our calendars to January 2018, perhaps we look with hopeful expectation to the New Year. Perhaps we think of it as a fresh start. And it will indeed be a new year: although our rituals and the seasons lend continuity and a sense of familiarity, each day opens us to a new beginning.

We may even contemplate New Year’s resolutions! Yes, I know: within a week, 25% of resolutions will be history. By year’s end, fewer than 10% will have been fully kept.

As much as I’m not a particularly avid “resolutionist,” a newspaper article[1]  recently caught my eye:  The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions. The author suggests that, if we rely on self-control and willpower, resolutions will fail. Instead, he contends, our emotions — specifically, gratitude, compassion and an authentic sense of pride (not “hubris”, but what I would call “inner joy”) — encourage us to behave in ways that result in self-control. When our values are focused outwardly toward others, rather than inwardly toward ourselves, we are more likely to make meaningful changes in our lives. In short, these qualities – gratitude, compassion and a sense of inner joy – are also the basis for establishing and sustaining relationships.

And, certainly, as followers of Christ, we understand that our values are shaped by Jesus’ values of love, compassion, gratitude and inner joy.

This insight is helping me reframe my own perception of resolutions and to consider how I might take steps to embrace Jesus’ values more fully in my daily life. What about you? How might your New Year unfold if you embrace Jesus’ values of love, compassion, gratitude and inner joy in your daily life?

[1] DeSteno, David. “The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions.” The New York Times, December 29, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/29/opinion/sunday/the-only-way-to-keep-your-resolutions.html