Word for Word 7/11/18

Rev. Kim Gates
Rev. Kim Gates

We’ve been havin’ some warm, no, HOT weather – yech/yuck/ick is my response! I know there are many who love the higher temperatures but for me it’s a bit torturous. So I sure hope I don’t ever do anything which cuts me off from God and sends me to Hades!!!

Well, whether you’re paving a path to Hell or just existing in a 21st Century Iowa summer, when you get physically hot you can become irritable. And I, personally, really don’t want to touch my sweaty body to a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g – bleacher bench, car seat, my cats, or another person. Yet I’m still called to reach out and touch (literally as well as figuratively) those in need.

Lately I’ve had a vivid memory nagging at me reminding me of a failure in my call to care for others which has to do with this wretched heat. I was living in seminary housing with a window AC unit that struggled to keep up with the heat-n-humidity. I remember sitting on the couch when my eldest child came in, plopped her sweaty little body next to mine and laid her head on my arm. I shrugged her off and told her please not to touch me. How many times did my agitation at being hot blind me to my child’s need for affection/affirmation? I don’t really know but today, at age 28, she does not like it when people touch her – pat her on the back/arm or try to give her a hug.

How many times does irritability/agitation blind us to opportunities to reach out to others and make a positive difference in their lives? In a recent children’s message I used, it asked the kids to look at one’s hand and recognize the amazing things God enables us to do …and God gave us TWO of these remarkable appendages! With these two good hands we can constantly reach UP to God for help and guidance with one hand so as to channel the power of the Almighty through us so we can then reach OUT with the other to our human brothers and sisters to meet their needs. (The message was based on Mark 5:21-43.)

All  this is to say we need to be intentional in our efforts to be Christ-like. We need to be aware of what is going on inside of us before wandering out into the world where we will inevitably encounter other human beings. So often we just walk out the door on auto-pilot, often with our smart-phones grasped in our hands, and totally UNaware of how we are perceived by those we pass on the street – and whom we sometimes are literally bumping into!

Whether it be warm or cold in your little world, take time with God to prepare for the day (the afternoon, the evening, the “whatever”) so that you are connected in a firm hand-in-hand grasp with the Giver of all Love before seeking to encounter other people. If you are holding on to the Lord with one hand, you can’t help but then reach out in love with the other – hot, sweaty or otherwise!

Rev. Kim Gates
St. Paul’s Waukon and
Forest Mills United
Methodist Churches

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