Ok ok…he is not really a guest anymore since he has written one already but Jeff Peterson had soooo much fun writing one he went for another one and I agreed he should. This is an awesome blog for the day. When I read it, I knew it was just right for today. Just what I needed to hear so I am sharing with you. Next week we will have another guest blogger for a day but I don’t want to give it away (she is deep into pondering which day she wants to take on). If you would like to be a guest, just let me know. 🙂 But for today…here is Jeff….
Today’s scripture:Romans 12:9-21
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
One of my favorite blogs is one that has become surprisingly popular in the past couple of years, called Humans of New York, which many people abbreviate to HONY. The premise is astonishingly simple; this guy, Brandon, starts a blog where he just goes around and take pictures of New Yorkers, asks them a couple of questions, and then posts them. You can see the blog below here, or join the over 3.5 million followers he has on facebook:
The blog is amazing. One of the most touching ones was a man who had lost his wife to cancer, and he talks about how they lost the battle. Another man talks about his son finally coming out to him, after years of the family dancing around the subject of him being gay, and having a 6’ 4” young man crawl into his lap and cry. Many entries are poignant, but some are whimsical, funny, or passing on life lessons. They are beautiful in their simplicity, their spontaneity, and the beauty of the human spirit.
Why is it successful? I think one of the reasons is because you see how often, as the passage above suggests, people “cling to what is good.” In the face of our humanity, of our loss, and of pain, at the end of the day, HONY is about our humanness, or genuine attempt to be as good as we can, as often as we can. That in ways that we can, we find ways to not judge and to be at peace with people as best as we can. There is something of those stories that touches me and my friends regularly – those of love, loss, healing, humor, and even sometimes of anger. They are genuine expressions in that moment in time.
I also think that Brandon does what we at the McMinnville Cooperative Ministries have tried to do – to listen. While HONY is about the pictures, I think the one thing he does best is to listen. He asks a question, and then he just listens to the response and puts it up for us to see and hear. It seems like such a simple thing, and often it is not more than one or two sentences, or a short conversation. But I think that this is illustrative of the fact that people crave being listened to, and that we do not do it often enough. We love hearing each other, and we love having someone listen to us – even if it is just for a moment.
And these are my questions for Lent. Who are you listening to this season? Is there someone that needs to be heard, even if it is just for a few minutes or a couple of sentences…? And do you need to be heard?